Dropbox is a freeware application for Windows, OSX, and Linux that allows you to seamlessly keep the files on multiple computers in sync and backed up off-site.

Basically you install the Dropbox client on two computers you want to keep in sync. The client creates a folder on each machine and when you place files in this folder Dropbox automatically copies those file between the two systems and creates a secure backup on their servers.

As an added benefit the copy on their servers is accessible from their secure web site on any computer with Internet access. This has three main benefits for our web design and consulting business.

  1. I can share large files with clients by simply emailing them a link to the file on Dropbox’s servers. This gets around the email attachment limits in place at most organizations.
  2. If I forget an important file I can simply bring up the web site on my smartphone and either view the file there or email a link to the client all with out having to wait until I get back to the office.
  3. No one remembers to backup every time they make a change to a file, let alone keep a copy of the file in a secure off-site location should something happen to the office. With Dropbox we don’t have to change our work flow. Simply save your file to the Dropbox folder and the rest is handled in the background.

Best of all, 2GB of storage is free. If you need more, 50GB is only 9.99 a month. If you need to backup an entire computer look at Carbonite.

Dropbox Features

File Sync

Dropbox allows you to sync your files online and across your computers automatically.

  • 2GB of online storage for free, with up to 100GB available to paying customers.
  • Sync files of any size or type.
  • Sync Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
  • Automatically syncs when new files or changes are detected.
  • Work on files in your Dropbox even if you’re offline. Your changes sync once your computer has an Internet connection again.
  • Dropbox transfers will correctly resume where they left off if the connection drops.
  • Efficient sync – only the pieces of a file that changed (not the whole file) are synced. This saves you time.
  • Doesn’t hog your Internet connection. You can manually set bandwidth limits.

File Sharing

Sharing files is simple and can be done with only a few clicks.

  • Shared folders allow several people to collaborate on a set of files.
  • You can see other people’s changes instantly.
  • A “Public” folder that lets you link directly to files in your Dropbox.
  • Control who is able to access shared folders (including ability to kick people out and remove the shared files from their computers).
  • Automatically create shareable online photo galleries from folders of photos in your Dropbox.
  • Online Backup
  • Dropbox backs up your files online without you having to think about it.
  • Automatic backup of your files.
  • Undelete files and folders.
  • Restore previous versions of your files.
  • 30 days of undo history, with unlimited undo available as a paid option.

Web Access

A copy of your files are stored on Dropbox’s secure servers. This lets you access them from any computer or mobile device.

  • Manipulate files as you would on your desktop – add, edit, delete, rename etc.
  • Search your entire Dropbox for files.
  • A “Recent Events” feed that shows you a summary of activity in your Dropbox.
  • Create shared folders and invite people to them.
  • Recover previous versions of any file or undelete deleted files.
  • View photo galleries created automatically from photos in your Dropbox.

Security & Privacy

Dropbox takes the security and privacy of your files very seriously.

  • Shared folders are viewable only by people you invite.
  • All transmission of file data and metadata occurs over an encrypted channel (SSL).
  • All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted (AES-256) and are inaccessible without your account password.
  • Dropbox website and client software have been hardened against attacks from hackers.
  • Dropbox employees are not able to view any user’s files.
  • Online access to your files requires your username and password.
  • Public files are only viewable by people who have a link to the file(s). Public folders are not browsable or searchable.

Mobile Device Access

The free Dropbox iPhone app lets you:

  • Access your Dropbox on the go.
  • View your files on your iPhone or iPod Touch.
  • Download files for offline viewing.
  • Take photos and videos and sync them to your Dropbox.
  • Share links to files in your Dropbox.
  • View interactive photo galleries.
  • Sync downloaded files so they’re up-to-date.
  • A mobile-optimized version of the website is available for owners of Blackberry phones and other Internet-capable mobile devices.