Dropbox is one of the best file synchronisation tools around, but you start out with only 2GB of space, which isn't always enough to sync music or collaborate with your co-workers. Here's how to increase your storage without paying anything.
You won't get to the 50GB level with just these free methods, but you can certainly get enough space to keep your Dropbox from overflowing. Here's a comprehensive list of all the ways you can get extra space into your Dropbox.
Many of you are already using Dropbox, and know how the referral link system works. Sending out your referral link is a great way to get extra space, but please do not post your referral links in the comments of this article. Unlike sending an email to your friends or posting your link on Twitter, we'd have tens or hundreds of referral links in the same place, which is just plain spam. Feel free to post in the comments if you have other great ways to score free space or other ideas on how to effectively share referrals, but if you post your link in the comments, we'll delete it.
Click the Getting Started Tab
When you log into Dropbox, you'll notice a "Getting Started" tab on the top of the interface. If you complete all the steps under that tab, Dropbox will give you an extra 250MB of space for free. The steps are extremely easy to complete, and if you've been using Dropbox for awhile, you've probably already completed most or all of them:
- Take the Dropbox Tour
- Install Dropbox on Your Computer
- Put Files in your Dropbox Folder
- Install Dropbox on Other Computers You Use
- Share a Folder with Friends or Colleagues
- Invite Some Friends to Join Dropbox
Once you've completed all of those things, you should see an extra 250MB of space show up in your Dropbox.
Connect Dropbox to Your Social Media Accounts
If you're a Twitter or Facebook user, you can get up to 768 MB of free space by performing a few simple social media-related tasks on Dropbox's "free" page. Most of them are quite simple—connecting your Twitter and Facebook account to Dropbox, following @Dropbox on Twitter, sending them a one-line feedback message, and tweeting about Dropbox to your followers. With the exception of the last one (which we'll come back to in a moment), they're all very easy things that will take just a few minutes to do.
Refer Your Friends
This is the big one. The best way to get extra Dropbox space is to send your referral link to others, which, after they sign up with it, will give you (and them) and extra of 250 MB of space in their accounts. So, if you get four people to sign up for Dropbox using your referral link, that's an extra gigabyte for you. There are a few good ways to go about this (without getting spammy), and you can seriously increase your space with just a few choice words and link.
Post Your Referral Link On Facebook And Twitter
If you have a lot of followers on Twitter or Facebook, you can try tweeting or sharing your referral link and explaining to people what Dropbox is and why it's awesome (Facebook's a little easier since there's a larger character limit). Anyone who isn't already using Dropbox—which, if you have the right audience, is quite a few people—can sign up with your link and give you some extra space. Obviously, you don't want to get too spammy with this, or your friends will start to hate you—I'd say just one post on each network during peak hours (lunchtime, Sunday evenings) is more than enough to get you a few nibbles.
Send It Out To Your Friends And Family
Email is also a pretty great way to send out your referral link to your closer friends and family. In an email, you can explain in a little more detail what Dropbox is and why it's awesome, and how it can actually be a great productivity tool. The extra length provided by email (and the closer you are to the people you're sending it to) can help guarantee a few extra signups from people, and get you more space.
Some of you guys have mentioned that you've even posted it on off-topic forums you frequent and other online outlets, which is another great place. I even had a friend who sent out an email to his law school classmates with a heap of tech tips to help them get through the class, in which he included his Dropbox link. He now has 20GB of space from referrals alone.
The key, really, is finding a large enough and appropriate enough audience to get people to actually sign up. Dropbox really is a great tool, so it's not even like you have to lie to tell people why it's great. The less tech-savvy your audience, the better (if you try to send it out to a bunch of Lifehacker readers, you probably won't get many bites), and the more use they have for it (say, students or people with more than one computer), the more likely they'll be to check it out.
Connect a .Edu Email Address to Your Account
Connecting your account with a .edu or .edu.au email address will double all the space you get from referrals, which is a great way to bump up your space quickly. That means you get 500 MB for each referral instead of 250—so if you referred 4 people, that's two whole gigs instead of one.
The best part about this is that everything is retroactive, so if you've given out a bunch of referrals but not linked your .edu email address yet, Dropbox will double all your previous referral space once you link it up—so even if you're not planning on sending out your link anymore, you should still link the two now for extra space.
Keep An Eye Out For Other Dropbox-Related Events
Every once in a while, Dropbox will come out with other ways to get extra space, like their recent Dropquest scavenger hunt. In addition, you never know when they're going to add new features like the ones above, so keep an eye on Lifehacker to stay up to date on all the goings-on at Dropbox—don't worry, if there's a way to get more Dropbox space, we'll find it and post it as soon as we can.
There are quite a few ways beyond referrals to get extra space, but the meat of your space is going to come from sending out those referral links. If you've got a tip, trick or cool place for sharing those links for maximum effectiveness, please share it with us in the comments (but again, don't post your own referral link).