Sync.com provides better value for money without a doubt. Both options are very simple to use. File syncing is better with Dropbox (although very expensive). File sharing is much more advanced with Sync.com. Files will stay in the trash bin for a longer period of time with Sync.com. Dropbox comes out as an overall better cloud storage service with exceptional pricing, integration, download and upload speed, and most importantly – outstanding security. However, OneDrive has the potential to outdo Dropbox only with a few improvements. Login to Dropbox. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and keep your files safe.
We are putting more and more data into the cloud, including personal photos, important documents and videos from recent vacations. This takes place for a variety of reasons. Mobility and data security play an important role:
- Accessing files from any device
- Accessing files from anywhere in the world
- Storing all data safely in one place
- Managing and editing files in collaboration with others
There are as many types of providers as there are user interests. Users can choose from a wide range of offers from small web services to all-in-one solutions. This has led to the emergence of clear competition. In one of our other articles, we explained the differences between ownCloud and Nextcloud. In this one, we will cover the battle for dominance between the two major services: Dropbox vs. Google Drive.
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- Google Drive vs. Dropbox: which can do what?
Google Drive vs. Dropbox: which can do what?
Google Drive and Dropbox are considered pioneers in cloud technology. They have both been on the market for over ten years now and introduced many users to the concept of the cloud.
Google’s storage service has been around since 2006. However, it was only for text documents and spreadsheets back then rather than an independent cloud storage. Google Docs and all the other Office applications still exist and are an integral part of Google Drive. Although it was initially limited to documents, the service has since evolved into a flexible cloud storage service which can handle any type of file. In addition, Google Drive has been integrated with Gmail (Google’s email service) making it even easier to manage and send files over the internet.
Using Google’s Office applications makes it easy to collaborate with other users on documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Anything you create in one of these applications is automatically saved to Google Drive. You can also easily share data with others by assigning them different roles like who is allowed to view, comment on or edit the content.
Google Drive is fully operable through a web interface. Users can access a file management system via the website. You can create new folders, upload files or even entire folders and move them. There is also a software application called Backup and Sync which makes it even easier to work with the cloud storage service. It works on Mac and PC as well as on iOS and Android devices.
This software allows you to synchronize selected folders from your hard drive with the cloud storage. In other words, if you make any changes to these folders on your hard drive, the changes will simultaneously appear in Google Drive. Users who opt for the premium service Google Workspace will be able to use Drive File Stream. This allows users to directly access the cloud storage from the file management system on their PC or Mac without using any space on their hard drive.
Google provides interfaces to other developers. This is why many third-party applications provide the option to save files directly from the application to Google Drive.
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The standard version of Google Drive is available free of charge. In this case, users have 15 GB available to them. However, you need to keep in mind that your Gmail account’s storage is also a part ofGoogle Drive. If you have large email attachments saved in your email account, this can take up a large portion of your cloud storage. If you need more storage space, you will have to upgrade to Google One. For just under $1.99 per month, this premium service will provide you with 100 GB which is its smallest amount of storage. For around $300 per month, you can receive 30 TB.
Google’s data centers are located all over the world with most of its servers in the USA. Since Google is an American company, the US government can request access to data on its servers under certain circumstances in accordance with the Patriot Act. Google itself can only take limited action against these requests.
All data is encrypted using 256-bit AES while being transmitted, such as from one server to another. Idle data is encrypted using 128-bit AES. Users generally access this service using an HTTPS channel. You can secure your account using two-factor authentication.
Special Google Drive features:
- Integrates with other Google applications
- Encrypts files
- Accessible via a browser or with special software
- 15 GB of free storage space
- Synchronization software
Dropbox has been on the market since 2007 and was most likely many PC users’ first experience with cloud storage. The required software was right there from the start. After installing it, there is a folder on your PC orMac which is constantly being synchronized with an identical folder on the company’s server as long as there is an internet connection, the idea being that two or more people could access this folder and use the files in it. It is not possible to regularly exchange files.
However, you do not have to limit yourself to one folder. Different folders can also be shared with different people. This is what made Dropbox so appealing for professional collaboration back then and now. This service is also useful for personal needs. It is often impossible to send large files, such as vacation photos, by email due to size limitations. Dropbox's cloud storage service dispenses with such concerns.
Generally, users need an account with Dropbox to be able to collaborate. However, you can make data available to people who do not have an account with the service by creating individual download links for specific files and folders.
Dropbox’s desktop application is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. There are also mobile apps for Android and iOS. In addition, you can access files using the web application. On Dropbox’s website, you can upload files, manage them and collaborate with other users, such as by leaving comments on files.
Dropbox also provides other developers with interfaces. As a result, this service can also be used in conjunction with other software.
Dropbox Paper is still relatively new. It is a document editing service which allows multiple users to collaborate on a single document. Dropbox aims to go even further with Paper and presents it as a digital workplace. Using Paper, employees can exchange information, share media files and prepare meetings.
Those who wish to use the free version of Dropbox will start out with2 GB of storage space. By recommending the service to a friend, you can receive another 500 MB for each new user registered, up to 16 GB. You can get even more storage space through one of the various subscriptions. While users (currently) receive 1 TB of storage space for around $10, they can receive twice that amount for around $20. You will also have access to many additional features such as a full text search function and a file version history going back 120 days.
Onedrive Better Than Dropbox
Dropbox also offers a special subscription for companies. In this version, you pay per user and can use as much storage space as you need depending on which rate you selected.
Dropbox’s servers are located in the US. Since Dropbox is also an American company, user data may be requested by US government officials under the Patriot Act. However, Dropbox publishes a transparency report in which every request from the government is documented. Both idle files and files in transmission are encrypted. The company uses 256-bit encryption for idle files and 128-bit encryption for files in transmission. With Dropbox, files are transmitted via an SSL channel.
Special Dropbox features:
- Synchronization software
- 2 GB of free storage space
- Dropbox Paper
- Additional collaboration features for premium users
How are they different?
In the early days, Google and Dropbox took very different directions. Even though the two services are becoming increasingly similar, you can still see the difference in their approaches today. Dropbox’s focus was and still is on synchronizing files between different users. The software provided for this makes collaborating in specific folders extraordinarily easy.
Initially, Google only intended Drive to be storage space for Gmail accounts and the cloud computing services associated with Google Docs. It was not until 2012 that users could manage their cloud storage as a single system. This service also provides its users with an enormous amount of storage space free of charge for this purpose. This strategy was also successful when Gmail was introduced and has attracted many people to Google's email service.
Trends show that the two cloud storage services are becoming increasingly similar. Google also provides software which synchronizes folders on your PC with cloud storage, while Dropbox is currently targeting functions with Paper which were previously only found on Google Docs.
Meanwhile, many users are only concerned with the amount of storage space provided, and Google clearly provides more in both its free and paid versions. In this regard, Google provides better value for your money. However, Dropbox differentiates itself with a unique idea which leads to higher speeds. Instead of replacing the entire file when a change is made, Dropbox only copies and replaces the edited parts. This significantly increases the transfer speed.
In terms of data security, there is little difference between the two companies. Nowadays, both Google and Dropbox have adopted standards which are widely accepted as secure. This was not always the case. In the past, both companies have found themselves embroiled in data breach scandals. In 2013 it was discovered that the NSA, an American governmental agency, was monitoring Google’s servers, and in 2016 unidentified parties published the login information for several million Dropbox accounts on the internet.
Aside from the amount of storage space provided, your choice will depend on what you want to use cloud storage for. Dropbox’s ability to exchange files in a shared folder provides unique collaboration opportunities, while Google ensures that Drive is integrated with its other cloud services for word processing and email if you want to use them.
Overview: Dropbox vs. Google Drive
We have compiled these services’ most important features in a table so that you can decide which option is best for you as easily as possible.
|Free storage||2 GB (up to 16 GB via recommendations)||15 GB|
|Premium storage||1 – 2 TB (unlimited amount for business subscriptions)||100 GB – 30 TB|
|Premium rates||starting at $9.99 per month||starting at $1.99 per month|
|Encryption||AES (256 bit for idle files/128 bit for files in transmission)||AES (128 bit for idle files/256 bit for files in transmission)|
|Direct collaboration||Dropbox Paper||Google Docs, etc.|
|API for external software applications|
|Desktop software application||Windows, macOS, Linux||Windows, macOS|
|Mobile app||Android, iOS||Android, iOS|
|User count||over 500 million||approx. one billion|
Dropbox is a top-rated file sharing platform, with a free version. However, it might not meet everyone’s diverse needs. Check out these free Dropbox alternatives.
Gone are the days when businesses relied on hard drives to store files and users had to plug in a thumb drive to move files from the office laptop to the home computer.
Today, we expect our files to be available on all our devices, with the latest version synced automatically. We also expect to be able to share files with a couple of clicks and have multiple people work together on a single file.
This has been made possible by the likes of file sharing software such as Dropbox, which offers free and paid file storage services. The platform currently has over 500 million users, of which only 13.2 million are paying users.
For the non-paying majority using Dropbox’s Basic (free) version, one of the biggest challenges, ironically, is space. Dropbox Basic offers a measly 2GB of free storage. It also caps the number of devices you can sync to three and does not offer full text search, shared link controls, or viewer history.
With that in mind, here are the four best free Dropbox alternatives for you to explore, all with at least 5GB of storage.
4 Best Dropbox alternatives for file sharing
To be shortlisted, products have to offer at least 5GB of free storage and have received 100 user reviews on Capterra’s software directory in the past two years. See the full selection criteria here.
Accordingly, we narrowed down our list of free Dropbox alternatives to the following four providers (arranged alphabetically):
Dashboard view in Box (Source)
Box is a cloud-based file storage and sharing platform that is quite similar to Dropbox in its look and feel, as well as functionality. Both of them let you drag and drop files into the cloud and invite others to view, edit, and upload files to folders.
Some of the platform’s highlights include:
- View over 120 types of files, including Word, Excel, PDF, AI, EPS, PSD, and photos without downloading.
- Document and share ideas, discussions, and to-do lists with BoxNotes—a collaboration tool similar to Dropbox Paper.
- Control access to determine who can view and/or edit your documents.
- Integrate with over 1,400 third-party applications, including Microsoft Office 365, Google Suite, Slack, Salesforce, and DocuSign.
|Ease of use and integration with multiple third-party tools.||Initial learning curve can be difficult.|
|Sync between mobile app and desktop are almost instant.||Limited editing and creating functionality built into the platform.|
How much storage does Box offer?
|The free version of Box offers 10GB storage. But there’s a 250MB limit on the size of individual files that can be uploaded.|
2. Google Drive
MyDrive in Google Drive (Source)
If there’s one free Dropbox alternative that you’ve probably heard of, it’s Google Drive. Google offers this free file storage and sharing cloud to its 1.5 billion Gmail users. So, if you already have a Gmail or Google account, this is the obvious cloud storage option to go with.
Some of the platform’s highlights include:
- Connect with 100+ Drive Apps, including Slack, Airtable, Freshdesk, and Zipbooks.
- Save files directly to the cloud from email using the “Save to GoogleDrive” icon in Gmail.
- Find files quicker with the platform’s full-text and image search features.
- Use the “work offline” mode to work on files while off the Internet. The files get automatically synced to the cloud as soon as you go online.
|Ability to access, edit, and save documents on the go.||On rare occasions, uploads and downloads can be slow.|
|Ability to move files quickly within the interface.||Files and folders are prone to becoming disorganized when used by multiple people.|
How much storage does Google Drive offer?
|Google Drive offers a whopping 15GB of free storage. However, the catch is that the storage is shared between Gmail, MyDrive, and Google Photos (storage for low-resolution photos is unlimited and not included in this 15GB).|
OneDrive synced with desktop folders (Source)
OneDrive is a file storage platform offered by Microsoft. Just like Gmail users have access to Google Drive, OneDrive comes built-in with Windows 10. So, if you’re one of the 700 million Windows 10 users, you don’t even have to think of OneDrive as an additional service to sign up for.
Some of the platform’s highlights include:
- Auto-sync files—any files you save on your computer will get automatically uploaded to the cloud.
- Search files stored on the cloud via your browser. Also use the “files on demand” feature to download files to use when you’re not online.
- Control access to your files, share them with users via a link, and control what they can do with the files.
- Search the full text of files (not just filenames), with the “search and discover” feature.
- Automatically upload photos and videos from connected devices.
|Easy to set up and use.||Autosave on files doesn’t work without an internet connection and you have to remember to manually save open files in case of lost connection.|
|Android app and browser access make cross-platform use effortless.||Setting auto-sync on Macs can be complicated.|
How much storage does OneDrive offer?
|OneDrive gives you 5GB of free storage with a Microsoft account. If you have a Microsoft Office 365 Home account, you get 1TB storage on OneDrive for up to six users.|
4. Zoho Docs
File sync online and offline in Zoho Docs (Source)
Zoho is usually recognized for its CRM software and invoicing software. However, it also has a not-so-widely-known file storage and sharing platform Zoho Docs, which is a viable Dropbox alternative.
Zoho Docs can be downloaded as a desktop app and from there it functions like OneDrive. It supports file types such as documents, presentations, spreadsheets, audio, and video. However, it doesn’t have the capability to host industry-specific file types, such as AutoCAD (.dxf), Photoshop (.psd), or Microsoft Project (.mpp).
Some of the platform’s highlights include:
- Use the built-in document editors—Writer, Sheet, and Show—to create and edit documents online.
- View as many as 25 iterations of a document in version history.
- Find information with full-text search.
- Control who accesses which files and if they can view/edit them.
|Real-time collaboration between multiple users.||User interface can sometimes be slow to respond.|
|Preview files in the cloud, without the need to download.||To share files with external users who do not use Zoho Docs, users need to convert files to popular formats such as MS Office or Google Suite files.|
How much storage does Zoho Docs offer?
|The platform offers 5GB of free storage per user, and supports up to 25 users. However, the combined free storage caps at 25GB.|
Before choosing to implement Dropbox, we recommend exploring these free Dropbox alternatives for your business. You can also check out user reviews on our website for better insight into how users experience these solutions.
Read user reviews for:
Is Icloud Better Than Dropbox
- Storage: While Dropbox Basic offers only 2GB of free storage, in our research we discovered that a lot of Dropbox competitors offer anywhere from 5GB to 15GB storage in their free plans. For this list, we included products that offer at least 5GB of free storage.
- Security and privacy protocols: Dropbox uses 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to protect stored data, and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS) to protect data during transfer. Both of those are widely used security protocols. Dropbox also has measures in place to protect user privacy, as well as detect any suspicious account activity, phishing, and malware. For this guide, we considered options that have similar protocols to maintain security and privacy of user data.
- Mobile apps: Dropbox offers both Android and iOS mobile apps. For this guide, we included options that offer a mobile app for at least one of the two platforms.
Dropbox Vs Google Drive
In addition to these qualifications, we checked for products that received over 100 reviews over the last two years.
Note: Listed pros and cons are derived from features listed on the product website and product user reviews on Gartner Digital Markets domains (Capterra, GetApp, and Software Advice). They do not represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by Capterra or its affiliates.