Sugarsync vs Dropbox: The Battle Of The Cloud Storage Titans

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SugarSync and Dropbox may not be the only two companies that provide online file storage services, but they are the definitely the one that provide excellent services and great usability. Being a computer geek (that’s what I love to call myself), I am always asked whether SugarSync or Dropbox is better and which one I will recommend. Instead of me making the recommendation, I have decided to do a fair comparison between SugarSync and Dropbox and let you make your own decision. In this article, we will check out the various features of SugarSync and Dropbox and see how they match up with each other.

Disclaimer:

1) This is not a full feature comparison between SugarSync and Dropbox as that will take up several pages. I have only listed some of the most commonly used features and users’ concern

2) All the points listed below are factual at this instance when the article is published. Things might change in the future and all the points stated here might not be valid any more.

3) I have tried my best to be unbiased and impartial in making judgement. You may not agree with some of the points below and are encouraged to share your opinions in the comments.

OS Support

At the moment, SugarSync only supports Windows and Mac (I will go into the mobile platform later) whereas Dropbox supports Windows, Mac and Linux.

Clearly the winner for this round: Dropbox.

File Management

SugarSync makes use of a sync client (SugarSync Manager) to manage all your file synchronization.

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sugarsyncmanager   Sugarsync vs Dropbox: The Battle Of The Cloud Storage Titans

After you have installed the client, it automatically creates a Magic Briefcase folder in your Documents folder and everything you add to the Magic Briefcase will be synced to the cloud and across all other computers that have SugarSync linked. In addition, you may select any folders outside of the Magic Briefcase folder to be backed up to the cloud. These folders won’t be synced across other computers unless you specificy it in the SugarSync Manager. It gives you a certain degree of control and flexibility in backing up your files and syncing across computers but require much repetitive work.

Dropbox, on the other hand, works very differently from SugarSync. Instead of a file management client, it integrates itself into the file manager (Windows explorer for Windows, Nautilus for linux and Finder in Mac) so that you can handle your files like you have always done.

dropboxintegration   Sugarsync vs Dropbox: The Battle Of The Cloud Storage Titans

There is no learning curve at all and you can use it immediately after you have installed it. Everything you place in the Dropbox folder will automatically be synced to the cloud and across all other computers.

You won’t be able to sync any other folders outside of the Dropbox folder unless you move/copy them into the Dropbox folder. Also, you can’t choose which files you want/don’t want to sync across computers. In this aspect, Dropbox gives you lesser flexibility and control but it makes it extremely easy to use. (While you can create symlinks to sync folders outside of the Dropbox folder, this is more of a workaround rather than the core feature in Dropbox, so I will not take it into consideration here.)

Winner: Draw. One gives you the flexibility of managing your files while the other gives you the ease of use. No clear winner here.

Sharing Options

To share files in SugarSync, you have to do it via the Web interface. Even if you click on the Share option in the SugarSync Manager, it will still direct you to your Web account. In your Web account, you can enter the email addresses of the persons you want to share the files with.

sugarsyncshare   Sugarsync vs Dropbox: The Battle Of The Cloud Storage Titans

In Dropbox, there are two ways you can share a file/folder. You can share your folders with your friends (by sending them an email in the Web interface), or place them in the Public folder (within the Dropbox folder) and have them accessible by everyone. Public sharing can be done within the file manager and you can quickly grab the Public link and broadcast them on your site. This is a great way to share large files without having to worry about the storage space and bandwidth.

dropboxshare   Sugarsync vs Dropbox: The Battle Of The Cloud Storage Titans

Winner: Dropbox, for the additional public sharing feature.

Mobile support

Sugarsync comes with native iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile apps where the users can access their files directly from the handset dashboard. Dropbox users who want access to their files can only do so via the Mobile web interface. Not to complaint about the Dropbox mobile Web interface but somehow, a native app is able to integrate with the handset better and provide better viewing and features.

Winner: Sugarsync

Storage space (and pricing)

Dropbox gives you 2GB after signup and another 3GB after referring a friend. Sugarsync comes with a 2GB of storage space when you sign up a free account with them (see below for the limitations of the free account).

When it comes to premium account, Sugarsync offers more choices than Dropbox. Sugarsync comes with 4 upgrade options, ranging from $4.99 (30GB) to $24.99 (250GB) whereas Dropbox only have a $9.99/month (50GB) upgrade option. Editor’s note: Dropbox has now added a 100GB package for $19.99/month.

sugarsyncpricing   Sugarsync vs Dropbox: The Battle Of The Cloud Storage Titans

In terms of choices, flexibility and value for money (price per GB), SugarSync offers better value and choices.

Winner: Sugarsync

Limitations of Free Account

While SugarSync comes with a 2GB free account, it also comes with certain limitations:

  • You can only backup & sync up to two computers.
  • You can only maintain up to 2 past versions of each document.
  • The upload time on the 2 GB free plan isn’t as speedy as with the paid.

In Dropbox, there are no limitations on the free account and you can use it on multiple computers.

Winner: Needless to say, Dropbox is the clear winner here.

Conclusion

Dropbox 3 – Sugarsync 2, Draw 1

It is quite obvious (at least to me) that Dropbox is the triumphant winner in this clash of the titans. Personally, I prefer Dropbox as it supports Linux, integrates fully into my Nautilus and allows me to host and share large files with all the readers of my blog. Perhaps you have a different reason for choosing Dropbox (or SugarSync)? Do share with us in the comments.

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61 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Alek Davis

It would be nice to know how they work across proxy servers (corporate firewalls). Dropbox handles them quite nicely (as does Syncplicity), but I’m not sure about Sugarsync.

John McCoy

Yes, SugarSync support access via proxy.
I am surprised that the reviewer does not mention that in SugarSync you can stream all your music library via the web interface and directly to the iPhone great application I use every day. I love it.

Reply

Vadim

DropBox simply wins here because of “OS Support”. I’m full-time Ubuntu now.

There is also https://spideroak.com/ that’s a competitor, but I found it to be not so integrated as DropBox.

Damien Oh

Thanks for recommending spideroak. I have not tried it yet.

Reply

henk

I also prefer Dropbox. I found a limitation in being able to share contents of an entire folder located in the dropbox public folder, as the current features only allow sharing the files individually. I found a great forum where other users wanted the same functionality and an awesome solution was derived, i have posted about this if anyone is interested @

Damien Oh

Can you point out to me the link to this awesome solution?

axl456

A very simple solution to this is to compress the folder and share the compressed file..

henk

But this still does not allow for a selection of files to be shared on one link and allowing the recipient to decide what he wants to download from the selection. daddyposts.blogspot.com/2009/05/sharing-multiple-private-files-on-one.html

Reply

adrian boioglu

the basic dropbox is just perfect for me. i’ve been using it for the past few months for back-ups and some pics. i love it!

Reply

Rarst

Despite similar offer these two feel quite different to me.

Dropbox is “we give you full featured service and you can pay for more storage space”.

SugarSync is “we have paid service and you can use crippled free version”.

It is very hard to get balance right when you offer both free and paid. In this case I think Dropbox gets it right, but SugarSync doesn’t.

Damien Oh

In my opinion, there is no right or wrong in such case. Being the developer, they have the right to decide how they want to market their product. Being the users, we can just switch to the one that is better and provide us with more convenience at lower cost.

Rarst

Sure it’s for developers to decide. But for me as user Dropbox is more lucrative even if it has less features.

Age of ultimate solutions has ended, today there are dozens of ways, services and products to do same thing.

Whoever catches user attention and sympathy wins. :)

Reply

David

I definitely prefer SugarSync now that I’m a Windows user, but I did prefer Dropbox on Mac. The Dropbox folder wasn’t so bad when I could create symlinks of other folders. On Windows, however, Dropbox does not constantly update folders that use symlinks (admitted on the Dropbox site). SugarSync’s ability to let me choose whatever folders and/or files I want is far superior.

Reply

axl456

totally agree with your article..

Dropbox is for now the best option for cloud storage..

Reply

Rishi Talreja

“Dropbox gives you 2GB after signup and another 3GB after referring a friend.”
I love Dropbox myself, been using it for a couple of months now on my Mac..Had to point out that Dropbox gives 2GB and another 1GB after referrals…so that becomes 3GB overall…

Rarst

Nope, article is quite correct. Except that would require few friends but Dropbox referrals give up to 3Gb extra so max free total is 5Gb.

Rishi Talreja

Yeah, I realized I was mistaken…But hey! I am going to invite more friends now!!

Reply

z00nk

Dropbox definitely a winner. The wiki page features add-ons and tutorials that can help users maximize its usage. e.g. using dropbox to sync firefox bookmarks and profiles..etc

Reply

IP

I have both installed and neither wins IMHO. Each of these has it’s pluses and so does Syncplicity but each is also lacking in huge areas. The only one I pay for is SugarSync which has the most features but I’ve had a tech problem with it and support has been horrible… email replies taking 2-10 days, lack of real forum support, etc.

That being said, although tempted, I haven’t cancelled my account. The ability to choose any folder/file to sync in addition to the outstanding iPhone app leaves it head and shoulders above DropBox. That is, if I can get the damn thing to work properly…

Reply

Drew

Drew from SugarSync here. I’m surprised you didn’t drill down into mobile functionality more… We are investing heavily in the mobile apps. We’ve got native apps for iPhone, BlackBerry, WinMo, and more on the way. We also have a mobile website for all other phones (m.sugarsync.com) We want to provide our users with anytime, anywhere access to their data and mobile is a huge component.

You can do some pretty cool things with the mobile apps – for example, you can stream music from the cloud to your iPhone (not necessary to use up valuable space on the device). On the BlackBerry, you can even edit documents and then sync it back to the cloud and your computers. You can also take photos on the devices and do a real-time upload to SugarSync, which then syncs the files locally to your computers (no wires required).

Thanks for the coverage – we appreciate the feedback. BTW – Linux is definitely on our roadmap :-)

Drew Garcia
Product Management @ SugarSync

David Keating

Have you guys considered a Synology Server plug in?

would open your product to thousands more potential customers & make me very happy indeed!

Reply

Al Bsharah

Nicely done article. Unlike most, I’m actually thinking of leaving Dropbox for SugarSync. Main reasons:

1) SugarSync seems to have a faster development cycle
2) SugarSync allows selection of folders
3) SugarSync has native iPhone app (see #1)
4) I don’t currently need more than 2 PC’s sync’d.

All this said, I run my own servers and would love to be able to install my own “SugarSync” or “Dropbox” server on my own equipment and sync to that instead of someone else’s cloud… Been looking for an affordable solution like this for ages, with no luck…

Cheers!
AL

Reeko

Try funambol on your personal server. This with DropBox allows you to have the magic briefcase and you can store as much as you have room.

Reply

Paul

Do any of these services support a hot-link to a shared file or the link is to a downloadpage that requires a second click to get the download started ?

Thanks
Paul

Rarst

Dropbox has direct http links to files in special public folder. Works quite well if there is no need for tight security in sharing files.

henk

“a downloadpage that requires a second click to get the download started”

Using Dropbox the following will create an index.html for your selected publicly shared files, allowing a second click to get the download started.

daddyposts.blogspot.com/2009/05/sharing-multiple-private-files-on-one.html

Reply

John Lee

I haven’t tried Sugarsync but I did use Dropbox. I cannot say I was over impressed as had many problems with the sync’s producing empty files and also found it to be a resource hog using 40-50mb of ram minimum and over 100mb in use. If you have loads of ram then no problem but if you are running 512mb or less on your computer then you are really going to feel it. As you may of guessed, it is no longer on any of my computers but I look forward to giving Sugarsync a go.

Reply

MMM

I have been using sugarsync since the early days, It is a GREAT PRODUCT, with constant improvements!!!

They recently added mobile access, including BlackBerry and Itouch, I use them both ALL the time and it is great!

I plan on trying dropbox for comparison purposes, and I will write what I feel about it, but for now, SugarSync is just an amazing product, it changes my computing forever!

Reply

G-Man

I’ve been using both on the same computers (4 on different platforms) for over 3 months now. Without getting into many details, my personal winner is DropBox.

One of the only features that was leaning me to SugarSync at some point was the native BlackBerry client. The problem is that it’s pretty much a useless feature when using a standard EDGE cell phone data connection. Of course it works ok on Wi-Fi and maybe so so on 3G but simply useless on slower connections. A simple task like viewing a 100KB PDF on a new BlackBerry 8900 over EDGE could never be completed. It’s one of those features that works great from a marketing perspective but not in the real world.

Also for Mac users out there: Both products DO NOT handle syncing Apple package files properly. I know DropBox is working on it. Not sure about SugarSync.

The ability to select folders to sync outside the DropBox folder will also be available soon according to their Blog.

Damien Oh

I don’t have a Blackberry to test, so I have absolutely no idea of the incident you are experiencing. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Reply

Dropbox

It’s perfect software. I love it. Price is not so much as speed :)

Reply

Diego

Mobile support
[…]
Winner: Sugarsync

I used SugarSync for a while from my Blackberry Bold, and it sucks. You need to be over a wifi connection to connect to your account. Not BIS or BES. Just wifi. DropBox works by mobile browser, yes, but you can use it weherever you are.

Reply

J Ward

Dropbox works through our strict firewall at school that blocks the download functionality of programs like Windows Skydrive, Orb.com, and many other file sharing services. This program is great, and pasting links to large files instead of attaching them in emails is great for work when we have limited email storage.

Reply

Kay

Very helpful article!
Downloading Dropbox as we speak. I leaned towards Dropbox because it seems really clean and simple to use, although I was considering SugarSync because it has a mobile app which I know can come in handy! After reading this, I now know the limitations and that did it for me. Thanks much!

Reply

Felix

EXTRA FREE STORAGE
Get 500 MB extra for free when signing up:

sugarsync.com/referral?rf=fcmhetfa3g3ob

G-Man

Felix: Please don’t use this forum to post sales ads. That’s simply wrong. This is precisely a FORUM.
And trust me, 500 MBs free are not going to get you more users. Only the best tool out there will win.

Reply

ajonque

Hey all, found a great comparison for this topic on LinkedIN Answers: http://www.linkedin.com/answers/technology/information-technology/information-storage/TCH_ITS_IST/533487-13804608?browseCategory=TCH_ITS_IST
I personally like DropBox on my Macbook.

Reply

Stjerneklar

i was totaly Dropbox up untill recently when i got an android phone and looked up “mobile devices” faq on getdropbox.com
every single item is on development of the iphone app.

screw that pice of shit, android is the future.

G-Man

You could be a little bit more professional and mature and avoid your entire “piece of s…” sentence. It’s enough to say that you don’t like it.

To your comment: DropBox does NOT have an app for iPhone. Their FAQs clearly state that they are working on it. They have a mobile web interface which works well for most mobile devices though.

In my opinion, DB is still the best sync app out there. Let me also remind you that this is NOT an iPhone vs Android forum either, so your comment is out of context.

Good luck with your new Android piece of tech :0)

Reply

Stjerneklar

…oh yeah forgot, Sugarsync has a free android app that i am currently using

Reply

Computer Repair

I found a lot of my custormers started using dropbox, and they are quite happy with that service.

Reply

Rey

Sugarsync dominates here… better storage options, streaming music and mobile photo uploads, better file management for the discretioned user…

I’ve used Dropbox, and it has its merits, but I think it comes down to personal experience, if you want no hassles simple syncing, Dropbox is your choice. If you want some flexibility, Sugarsync. But, in all honesty, the mobile uploads on the go makes a HUGE difference if you are an iPhone or Andriod user.

Reply

Evan

I think the ease of using these services for backups bears some consideration. Both are great products, but the folder selection capabilities of Sugarsync are the clear winner–no need to alter your folder structure to accommodate the software. Dropbox may have this feature on the way, but I doubt they will implement the other half of this feature, which is to choose which computers get a copy of synchronized folders. I have some folders where I just want an offsite copy, but do not want a copy on every computer I use.

My opinion is Dropbox is elegantly simple, but Sugarsync is much more functional for me and more powerful in general–as well as less expensive. If I were recommending one of them to a non-technical friend, I would probably recommend Dropbox. Hopefully the competition between the two will just help both get better and better.

Reply

Ma890

Guys Get 2.00GB + 250MB on Dropbox By Clicking On The Referral Link Here:

getdropbox.com/referrals/NTI0MDgxMjM5

With This You Will Get 250MB More Than A Standard Account.

Cheers Guys

Reply

G-Man

In fact, you get 250 MBs free for each person you refer and opens a DropBox account. This is good up to 3 MBs on top of your original 2GBs free so you can get up to 5GBs total for free. No bad at all.

Reply

Javier

For the record, spideroak does not work well with proxies. I just uninstalled it after several unsuccessful attempts to connect from my work’s LAN. i have SugarSync installed and it works like a charm.

Another one that I tried this morning and did not work well with the proxy server was humyo. Can upload single files but multiple ones, are handled by JAVA and it fails with my connection.

Reply

Evan

Since my previous post, I have been playing around with DeltaCopy, which is basically just rsync for Windows with an easy install and setup.

It works much like Sugarsync and Dropbox, but you run the server (storage location) on a second PC and thus provide your own storage. This is definitely a solution for people who are not afraid of a slightly more complicated solution. The advantage is that it’s free and the storage is basically unlimited assuming you are willing buy a disk or two. For example, I am now backing up a 65GB image of my office server to my home during the night.

Assuming you don’t want to build your own cloud, I have been impressed with SpiderOak. Their client software is not as easy as Sugar or Drop, but their prices are much less. They also take pains to explain the exact technical details of their service in a conspicuous place on their site. Techies like me get nervous about vague “clouds”, but tell me about your datacenter and the duplicate block handling characteristics of your software and I feel a lot more comfortable trusting you with my very most important files. Their service works great, is cheaper, and is more transparent, so well worth a look.

It’s nice to have so many great choices.

Reply

ben

Started using DropBox today and already canceling, to use for collaboration is kinda lame, I have a 13GB folder I was using with CVS on my own server, but wanted to get away from using my own server, and saw Dropbox, thought I’d lookinto it, now I have to pay the $10 for every user, not what I was looking for as it’s over the free amount of storage from Dropbox and the “shared” folder even though easily fits in my 50GB account, does not fit into my employees free user accounts. Very lame, looking into sugarsync tomorrow and even if same, $5 a month for 30GB per user is way better than $10 a month!

G-Man

I agree with Ben. DropBox is twice as expensive as SugarSync. I hope the DropBox guys realize this soon and change their price structure to remain in the game.

However even with that price difference, my personal winner is still DB. I decided to pay a higher price for a better product that just does what it says it does and does it right 100% of the time. I use it in a collaboration environment too and I happily paid $10 for each one of my users.

Too bad you can’t afford it in this case. It’s really a great sync solution.

And they finally announced the long-awaited iPhone native App. Awesome!

Reply

yurx

SugarSync doesn’t work on linux while DropBox does. This is the deal-breaker for me as I only use linux.

Reply

ML

I use sugarsync to backup my home computers. I have a netbook, laptop for the wife, a desktop, and my work laptop and sync my main folders (my docs, photos, music, etc) across them all.

From a simplicity standpoint factor I think sugarsync wins once it is configured and setup. My wife wouldn’t be bothered to add certain files to the shared folder as would be needed in dropbox from what I gather, by syncing all 4 computers they are always in the same state. The cool thing is that when my hard drive crashed on my desktop I didnt worry about it because all my files were backed up across the other computers and the net.

DropBox seems cool for the individual user or someone just wanting to sync certain files here and there but for the peace of mind and flexibility Sugarsync provides I think they are a worthy competitor.

Reply

John Isenhour

I use dropbox for the simple reason that it integrates seamlessly to the file manager. I never even think about using it! Plus, you can’t beat the opportunity to get up to 5GB free storage.

Reply

Alexi Helligar

As a user of Ubuntu Linux, I find Dropbox to be the Sync tool of choice. It has also reduced the need for backup tools for my clients since backups are automatically generated on other computers and online. Finally, the ability to attach multiple computers to my Dropbox account as well as my iPhone and iPod Touch is very useful.

Reply

Bolson

Used to be a huge dropbox fan…until I needed urgent support. I am typing this message as I sit here with my data synching to a strange location and who-knows what is happening…waiting for a blasted email from a tech support desk that WILL NOT CALL AND HAS NO PHONE NUMBER. That may be OK for home users, but DropBox will NEVER make it in the corporate space with the lackluster support they have right now. On features etc. dropbox may win…but in times of trouble I found the sugarsynch phone number in 3 clicks and can’t find a dropbox number anywhere. Wow this sucks.

Reply

Jim Gatos

Stay away from Sugarsync! That’s all I gotta say!

I tried twice to “love” sugarsync. Twice I was having the same problems, mainly, a total confusion as to what the files were going to sync like. They also tend to completely ignore their support@sugarsync.com emails at times, or reply back in lame answers…

The problem I had in Sugarsync was I wasn’t sure what file I’d wind up with. The files would sometimes totally disappear or I’d get TWO files of the same name from two of the computers I’d be using, or they wouldn’t sync at all.. Sometimes I couldn’t get Sugarsync to even connect for days!

The only thing tech support knows to tell people is to uninstall and reinstall the software.. Over and over and over .. Some answer..

None of these problems with Dropbox. Syncing has been excellent, no headaches.. Sharing isn’t a problem for what I want, and everything works fine..Sharing folders is easy and simple.. No headaches.. I just signed up for the 50 Gig plan..

Reply

jc

SugarSync on paper has everything. And it gives a really good initial first impression. I really wanted to like them, and spent 5 months trying my best to use it (uninstalling/reinstalling several times as instructed by their tech support). At the end of the day though, their server proved extremely unreliable. And their mac client is the worst coded piece of absolute garbage ever built. It used up all my processing power, even when no new activity was going on. And it would pause forever until I reinstalled.

Moral of the story… do NOT use SugarSync in any capacity on the mac until they decide to fix their client. And dev progress was almost nonexistant in the 6 months I struggled with their crappy tool.

Switched to dropbox recently and while I really dislike it fundamentally (why cant I sync multiple folders? seriously, wtf?), I’ve worked around this retarded limitation (via symlinking) and overally at least have something that works.

Reply

G-Man

I couldn’t agree more JC. So true.

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Nathan

I haven’t used Sugarsync (though I investigated it), but I wanted to say that this article does an injustice to Syncplicity. I like Syncplicity over dropbox because you can sync any folder, not just the “drop box” folder. Also, you can have shared folders with other syncplicity users. I’m not sure if you can do that with Drop box.

Reply

celldork

Dropbox wins hands down. Mac, Widows, Linux, iPhone, Android (comming soon.. and app already exists that is decent).

Want a folder in dropbox, but really want to leave files in their proper place, use
– Link shell extension
http://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinkshellext/hardlinkshellext.html.

Reply

Buncha

I used DropBox for a couple months and has since dropped it. If you use standalone it’s fine. When your friend shares files to you, you will loose your valuable space to the file sharing. So if you have 2GB to start with and used up 1 GB and your friend who has 10GB has shared a folder which contains 2 GB, you will loose all your remaining 1GB not to mention the annoying message telling you to upgrade or do something about it.

Reply

G-Man

So you judge it just because you are using your free storage? Just pay for it! It’s such a great tool and worth every penny. Don’t you expect them to try to push people to upgrade from the free version to their paid plans? Come on…

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