4 Ways To Optimize Your Dropbox Experience

Danny Stieben 19-12-2011

dropbox experienceIt can’t be denied. We at MakeUseOf, along with most of the world, still love Dropbox dearly. It’s the synchronization tool of choice because it simply works like you expect it to.


However, using just the basics of the software may make you miss out on some useful stuff that could make your life even easier. I know, I know, it’s hard to fathom the idea that life could get even better, but just listen (or to be more accurate, read).

Bandwidth Limits and Pausing

File synchronization is great, right? Well, not when it’s trying to update almost 2GB worth of data all at once and in the process sucks on all of your bandwidth, leaving you unable to do any kind of web surfing whatsoever. Worse yet, what if you need to do some time-sensitive work? Well, Dropbox gives you a solution to the said problem.

dropbox experience
You can set bandwidth limits and even pause the synchronization. By default, the download portion of synchronization doesn’t have a limit while the upload portion is set to be limited “automatically”. If that doesn’t seem to be working for you, you can always manually set limits yourself, especially when it comes to downloading. This way, you can still be synchronizing while doing your precious work.

improve dropbox
On the other hand, if you want to speed up synchronization, you can also enable LAN Sync, which will update information between computers on the same network. This should be plenty faster than going through Dropbox’s servers.

The pause feature also exists to, you know, pause the service. Technically you could also just exit Dropbox, but logically speaking you just want to pause it, not exit it, right?


Get More Space with .EDU Email Address

improve dropbox
Are you lucky enough to be a student, faculty member, or more with an .edu email address? If so, Dropbox would like to make your educational experience even easier. While Dropbox lets you refer people to the service for a gift of 256MB of free space per referral up to a maximum of 8GB of extra space (10GB total for a free account), those who verify that they have an .edu email address can refer people to the service for a gift of 512MB of free space per referral up to a maximum of 16GB of extra space (18GB total for a free account).

If you have already referred people in the past before you verify your .edu email address, the previous referrals will be upgraded to the 512MB size.

You can verify your .edu email address by going to this page, entering in your email address, and clicking on the verification link that will be sent to that address.

Consolidate to a Local “Dropbox Server”

If you’re tired of having to update all your data on each computer, why not consolidate the number of computers that poll Dropbox for updates? You could easily dedicate one computer to synchronizing with Dropbox, and then connect from your other computers to that one via Shared Folders or any other method you prefer. This way, less computers need to be constantly updated, less computers need to run the software, and less computers will have to store the data that is being synchronized with Dropbox.


This is very helpful if say you have a Pro account that syncs 100GB of data, as you’ll take up 100GB on one computer, instead of 100GB on every single one. Imagine what you could put on those other computers with 100GB of free space!

Use Dropbox’s Web Interface

dropbox experience
I know this may be a very simple tip that automatically brings out the “duh” response, but some people still need to be reminded about it. Dropbox offers very excellent web tools to upload and download files, as well as change anything else that you normally can without a browser. Just because you may be on a computer that doesn’t have Dropbox installed doesn’t mean that you can’t access your data. However, with the website, you can be anywhere in the world, on any computer, and get the exact files that you need.


Dropbox is still my number one synchronization tool and will stay that way for the foreseeable future. With these tips, you can make your Dropbox experience even better and love it that much more. However, things can get really interesting if you start using it in very unique ways.

How do you use Dropbox? Any other tips you’d like to add to this article? Let us know in the comments!


Related topics: Cloud Computing, Cloud Storage, Dropbox.

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  1. Mohamed Tair
    December 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Great article!i use minus :D
    thanks again,

    • Danny Stieben
      December 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      Is minus another synchronization service?

  2. Fribriz
    December 20, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Why do we need a desktop client to manage cloud apps? Having a client defeats the purpose of cloud apps.

    • Danny Stieben
      December 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      Dropbox links together the computer and the cloud. Would you want to upload each file individually? Especially every time it gets updated?

  3. Allen
    December 20, 2011 at 2:25 am

    You guys should review B Drive. Its like DropBox except all files are stored in your own personal cloud.

  4. Joel Lee
    December 20, 2011 at 1:23 am

    Wow, I wasn't aware of the .EDU email address bonus. That's actually pretty awesome.

    I've been using Dropbox ever since it was in beta, and being able to access my files from anywhere with a browser has been a life-saver on numerous occasions.

    I cannot recommend Dropbox enough.

    • Henry J. Lahman
      December 20, 2011 at 2:35 am

      what's really awesome is it's retroactive too meaning past referels give you the extra space too

    • Danny Stieben
      December 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      Neither can I. Many people are trying to replicate its features, but I don't see Dropbox declining anytime soon.

  5. Guest
    December 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Great article! I use a company called YouDazzle that has integrated with Dropbox in my line of work. It offers great additional features to my Dropbox account. I love using Dropbox for work, it makes it so easy! 

  6. Jo
    December 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I've not noticed an issue with synchronisation, I have Dropbox on my laptop, netbook and iPhone... Will take a look tomorrow to check the bandwidth settings. I have my blog automatically backing up to Dropbox, so easy and for peace of mind.

    • Danny Stieben
      December 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      There don't have to be any issues, since Dropbox normally does a pretty good job with managing bandwidth. There are always special cases, though.