Why Is Dropbox So Expensive? (& How To Get It Cheaper)

If you’re considering signing up for Dropbox or have recently run out of your free 2GB storage and been promoted to upgrade, you might be wondering why Dropbox is so expensive.

Dropbox is expensive because cloud storage costs a surprising amount of money compared to physical storage. Dropbox is expensive compared to larger companies like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive because they don’t have the same resources.

Keep reading to understand why Dropbox is more expensive than other file storage solutions and how you can make Dropbox cheaper.

Dropbox Logo Blue
Blue Dropbox logo

The 2 Main Reasons Why Dropbox is Expensive

Let’s take a closer look at why Dropbox costs so much. 

1. Cloud Storage Is Expensive

Storing data in the cloud is surprisingly compared to physical storage like hard drives or USB sticks. Here are a few of the reasons why…

  • Data Center Rental – Dropbox has space in 3 data centers around the US. Data centers are specialized buildings where companies can rent space to house their IT operations, data, and equipment. Renting space in these specialized buildings comes with a high cost. 
  • Power-intensive hardware – The hardware that Dropbox installs at its data centers is extremely power intensive and has nearly 24/7 uptime. That power usage is expensive and also creates extreme amounts of heat. Large amounts of heat require high-tech cooling solutions, which cost a lot of money.
  • Data Redundancy – One of the reasons that Dropbox rents space at multiple data centers is data redundancy. Data redundancy ensures that there are multiple copies of data, making sure that clients can always access their files even if one data center is experiencing issues. Data redundancy is a core offering of cloud storage services but adds cost because of the extra space and hardware it requires. 
  • 24/7 Data Availability – Dropbox offers customers the ability to access their files at any time. Dropbox has to keep all of its servers up and running 24/7 year-round to keep data available, increasing wear on its hardware and upping costs. 
  • Limited Life of Hard Drives – All of the data in Dropbox’s cloud is stored on hard drives at one of their data centers. Hard drives have a limited lifespan and often need to be replaced, adding cost. 
  • Security – Securing the massive amounts of customer data that Dropbox manages is difficult to manage and requires a large investment in both software and personnel. According to Dropbox’s website, “We have a dedicated security team using the best tools and engineering practices to build and maintain Dropbox…”. Large security teams with specialized personnel come with a hefty price tag. 

2. Fewer Resources Than Competitors

Dropbox is a relatively small tech company compared to its competitors.

Alternative cloud storage services are run by Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Apple iCloud. These companies have far greater resources than Dropbox.

For example, Google owns 21 data centers, Microsoft owns 200 data centers, and Apple owns 11 data centers. Dropbox only owns 3.

The larger companies’ advantages in infrastructure allow them to operate at much lower costs than Dropbox. This leads to lower prices for the consumer and makes Dropbox slightly more expensive by comparison.

Is Dropbox Worth Paying For?

Is Dropbox Worth Paying For
Is Dropbox Worth Paying For?

Dropbox (like any service) has pros and cons, so whether it’s worth the money depends on your requirements. 

For example, If you work with both Google documents and Microsoft Word documents, Dropbox is very useful.

Dropbox allows you to save and edit both types of documents, whereas Google Drive and OneDrive only allow for their document types. If document versatility is important to you or your company, then Dropbox is worth it.

Dropbox is also known to have one of the best syncing out of all the big cloud storage players (although it’s not without its problems) So if you have multiple devices and need to access your files on all of them, Dropbox is popular for that.

Sam A, a UK business owner, recently switched from Dropbox to OneDrive. He liked the UX and ease of use of Dropbox, but OneDrive simply offered better integration with the Microsoft 365 suite of apps. You can check out what he had to say in the video below:

Is Dropbox More Expensive than Other File Sharing Services?

Overall, Dropbox is noticeably more expensive than other file sharing and cloud storage services.

When comparing the cost for a single user, Dropbox is up $2-4 per month more expensive than Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, and Sync.

Other services also offer more customizable experiences, with more options for smaller storage and lower prices.  

Dropbox vs Google Drive

Dropbox vs Google Drive
Dropbox vs Google Drive

Google Drive is Alphabet’s cloud storage service and is integrated with the Google Workspace apps like Google Docs and Google Sheets.

Two terabytes of storage with Google Drive will cost $9.99 a month. Dropbox Plus, Dropbox’s entry-level offering will cost $11.99 per month for 2 terabytes of storage.

Google offers a more customizable experience, with options available for as low as $1.99$ a month for light users. Google also offers more free storage for users who want a free cloud storage service, 15 GB compared to Dropbox’s 2 GB.  

Dropbox vs OneDrive

Dropbox vs OneDrive
Dropbox vs OneDrive

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service and integrates well with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office.

Dropbox and OneDrive offer less of a one-to-one comparison. OneDrive can only be bought as a standalone product at its base tier: $1.99 a month for 100 GB of storage.

If you want more storage, OneDrive must be bundled in with Microsoft 365 Personal, which comes with all the Microsoft Office apps and costs $6.99 a month. 365 Personal comes with 1 TB of cloud storage to go with access to Microsoft apps and is a good value proposition for anyone who works with Microsoft documents and needs cloud storage.

Dropbox comes with its word processor Dropbox Paper but doesn’t offer as many features as Microsoft Office.

Dropbox vs iCloud

Dropbox vs iCloud
Dropbox vs iCloud

iCloud is the Apple cloud storage service that comes integrated into every Apple device.

2 TBs of storage on iCloud is $9.99 a month in comparison to Dropbox’s $11.99 per month. iCloud also offers paid storage for as little as $0.99 for 50 GBs for light users.

iCloud works great for users who only use Apple devices, but its integration with Windows and Android products is virtually nonexistent.

Dropbox would be a good option for users who need to access documents across a wide array of devices and has more features.

Dropbox vs Sync

Dropbox vs Sync
Dropbox vs Sync

Sync is a relative newcomer to cloud storage and focuses on user data privacy.

Sync offers 2 TB of storage for $8.00 a month in comparison to $11.99 a month for Dropbox. Sync offers a cheaper option of $5.00 a month for 200 GB of storage.

Sync is focused on its user’s privacy and is a no-access cloud storage provider. This means that Sync cannot access user data at all, which is not true of Dropbox or its other competitors.

How To Make Dropbox Cheaper

Dropbox has fewer flexible options and higher prices than most of its competitors, but there are a couple of ways to bring its cost down.

1. Pay For Dropbox Yearly

Choosing a yearly plan to save 20% of the pricing
Choosing a yearly plan will save 20% of the pricing

The easiest way is to buy Dropbox yearly. Dropbox Plus is $119.88 if bought yearly, bringing its cost per month down to $9.99 per month.

Buying yearly is enough to bring its price much closer to its competitors for 2 TB of storage. 

2. Refer Friends

Dropbox also has a refer a friend feature. For every person that joins via your referral link, you will receive 500 MB of space up to 16 GB. Adding free space is an easy way to bring your cost per GB down.

How To Refer A Friend on Dropbox
How To Refer A Friend on Dropbox

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