Tag: dropbox

Upgrading Dropbox to >16GB for 25USD

I love Dropbox and use it daily. From sharing project files and source code repositories in professional life to saving and synching my important personal belongings, I wouldn’t want to miss it.

For the services I like and use, I usually don’t bother paying for them. But in the case of Dropbox, just no plan seems right. I’m not even talking money here, but storage – the entry plan being 50GB. On my main machine(MBA 11″), I’m running a 128GB SSD – meaning that after having installed all necessary tools, I don’t even have 50GB storage free for things that I want backed up or synched. Since I can’t even physically use the plan properly, I don’t see myself paying for it. I would have been glad to pay for a 10GB or 20GB plan, though.

Not even having 50GB storage might seem very little space to the reader – or for my former self, that is. But for the stuff that I previously needed a NAS or even dedicated servers, I now have the cloud. Mail is on my private server (and backed up), music is on Spotify and Soundcloud, movies are in iTunes. The only thing I’m still hosting and managing myself are pictures.

Still, I wanted more than the 2GB storage that Dropbox offers for free initially. Luckily Dropbox offers up to 16GB extra space for bringing in referrals. Over the last year, I’ve gotten a few people to use Dropbox and got my account up to over 4GB. But then I thought that I could improve this process and set up an AdWords campaign.

Just one day later and having only spent 25USD, my Dropbox account is now 16.8GB.

Here are the details of the campaign. You can see that it only took a day to accumulate enough referrals.

dropbox adwords campaign

So now I can start putting more files into the bigger Dropbox.
dropbox storage

Update: As mentioned in the comments, Dropbox normally grants 250MB per referral. If you own an edu email address, however, they will give you 500MB – even retroactively. If you happen to live outside the USA and your university uses a different TLD, don’t worry – there’s a form to put your address, they will verify it and let you join the edu program.

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Secure your Dropbox on Mac and Linux

Ever thought it might be worth encrypting your Dropbox, but were held back because it’s just too much work? I know I was. But not anymore – welcome to this 5 step guide to a secure Dropbox. It only takes a few minutes of work – compile time excluded.

This guide will use encfs, which uses business proof AES or Blowfish algorithms. Most importantly, it has a major benefit over other available encryption mechanisms – it operates on blocks. It doesn’t hide an entire encrypted volume in a single file. This approach doesn’t work well with Dropbox, because once the user changes only one file the whole Dropbox will be synchronized.

  1. Install MacFuse.
  2. Install encfs. If you have Homebrew, this is as easy as:

    $ sudo brew install encfs

  3. Delete your files from Dropbox. After deleting them, make sure to go to the webapp, hit ‘Show Deleted Files’ and delete each file/folder permanently.
  4. Now comes the fun part. Set up your encrypted Dropbox:

    $ encfs ~/DropboxEncrypted ~/Dropbox

    Enter ‘y’ to create the folder DropboxEncrypted, enter ‘p’ for Paranoia mode and chose a password.

  5. You’re done. ~/Dropbox will show your files just fine, but when you take a look at them on the webapp, you will see them encrypted.

After a reboot, the userspace mount of ~/Dropbox will be lost. Repeat step 4 to mount it again. If you ever want to unmount yourself, just umount it. This process can be automated with encfsvault.

Linux users, don’t worry – I didn’t forget you. Switch MacFuse with fuse and encfsvault with pam-mount. You’re a Linux user, you will manage.

Update for Lion users:
Don’t use MacFuse, it’s obsolete. Just install fuse4x and fuse4x-kext, then encfs – all via homebrew.

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