As a creative type, it seems I’m always on the hunt for new ways to store and share electronic files. Part of it is out of curiosity, but lately it seems it’s more about necessity.
It seems I can’t turn my computer on without getting a warning from Dropbox that my account is nearly full. Granted, $9.99 per month is not terribly expensive for 3TBs of storage, but if you combine those costs with other websites that I pay for, the bills can really start to creep up on you.
The other factor is something that seems all too familiar these days. I have relied on Flickr for nearly a decade to house my photos that I share with different groups. It was great—it offered more storage than I needed and it was all free. Then it happened. Flickr was bought by SmugMug—another photography website that allows you to store your images online and even sell them.
Once SmugMug took over, it changed the pricing models and cut the storage down to 1,000 images. I relied upon Flickr to back up my photo catalog and next thing I knew, I had to download more than 10,000 images before a certain date or SmugMug threatened to delete my files.
So I recently created an account with Box, another file storage website.
The first thing I would say about Box is that it really acts and operates just like Dropbox. There is a website that allows you to access your files on your desktop and an app that allows you to access them on your mobile devices. You have the ability to share files and work with your files through the app, as well as access them while offline.
The highlight for me is the storage. Unlike Dropbox, Box provides users with 10GBs of free storage up front. This provides a great amount of space to back up a large quantity of files without having to upgrade to a paid account.
Box does present a few challenges for a person like me who deals with photos and videos. At least in the free account, Box limits an individual file size to 250 MB. For most people, it would be highly unlikely that they would ever have a file that big, but if you start creating videos, 250 MB doesn’t get you very far.
The good news is, I haven’t run into a situation where Dropbox prevented me from uploading a large file—unless, of course, I don’t have enough space left on my drive. So I devised a plan to move everyday files that are more numerous in volume but smaller in file size to my new Box account, and save Dropbox for times when I need to store or share a large file.
Box also has other apps that allow you to edit documents of a variety of file types or integrate with operating systems. If you are looking for more storage, for free, then Box is a great option.
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Russell Lahodny is vice president of W.A.C.E. and vice president of local chamber relations at the California Chamber.