Home > How-To, Lifestyle, Technology, Tips > Dropbox vs Copy.com: A Detailed Product Review

Dropbox vs Copy.com: A Detailed Product Review

Copy is a new cloud backup service that is at start looks like a Dropbox clone but once you compare its offering you come to realize it is actually better in many ways. It was recently launched by Barracuda Networks, a large provider of security, data protection and backup solutions and is starting to spread among geeks and early adopters.

The idea of both services is the same – once you install their app for PC or Mac, you get a folder on your computer that is always synced to the cloud. Any folder or file that you move into that folder gets automatically synced to the cloud. This allows you to backup files, sync files between computers (your personal & home computer for example), between your computer & smartphone and also share files with others which is extremely useful when working as a team and having a need to constantly share files with each other without the hassle of emailing files as attachment.

Dropbox has been around for a while, it has millions of users and has created a fantastic service that I have been using for several years. So how can Copy succeed in such a competitive space? The answer is very simple – Copy is giving away plenty of free storage space for new signups – 15GB (vs. 2GB you get in Dropbox). In addition, for anyone that you refer to the service, both of you will earn an extra 5 GBs for completed referrals and there is no limit to the number of people you can refer.

Interested? Click this link to signup & get 20GB free space – 15GB plus 5GB since I will be your referrer.

After you are done signing up, make sure to:

  1. Verify your email address
  2. Download and install the Copy app (for PC/Mac)

Only after completing these two steps you will get the 5GB bonus.

By the way, you can also signup as a regular user without a referrer and not get any bonus.

Although the services are very similar, there are still some pros and cons for Copy compared to Dropbox.

– Free account size: 15GB vs. 2GB in the case of Dropbox. Initially Copy started with 5GB but as soon as Google announced that Google Drive free space will be 15GB, Copy rushed to match it.
– Referral program: Copy gives 5GB for both you and the friend you refer with no limit. Dropbox however, gives 500MB to you but nothing to your friend and it limits the bonus amount to 16GB (32 friends).
– Fair Storage for all – instead of counting data in shared folders against all members’ individual storage quotas so everyone pays for the same data over and over, Copy allows users to “split the bill” and control which files count against their storage capacity.
– Sharing a folder over the internet is more secured. In dropbox, when you share a link, you have no control if the link is being emailed to someone else. With copy, you can enter a specific user’s Copy username (an email address) and that would restrict access to the shared folder.
– Beautiful web interface that is much easier for viewing files on the web
– For mobile designers Copy is better for viewing a screenshot on an iPad. The image quality is better since Copy does not compress it like Dropbox and it also displays the screenshot in full view (without the iPad’s status bar)
– Quicker sharing – you can share a link to a file from the app rather than being redirected to the website and sharing from there like Dropbox does
– Caching – Copy allows caching of whole folders on mobile devices
– Copy allows easy access to old versions of a file straight from a file’s contextual menu


– According to Garrett Reil (comment below), the upload speed seems to be slower compared to Dropbox

– There is no live preview of video files in the web interface

– Copy for Mac is available only for OS 10.7+ (credit: Disqus user JBonatto)

Bottom line – Copy has done a fantastic job in launching a well designed, feature reach product that supports all platforms (Win, Mac, Linux) and Smartphones (iOS, Android). To us, the users, the competition is a good thing as it will drive both Copy and Dropbox to improve overtime. As for Copy, I’ve been using it for several months and have not experienced any glitches or outages. Highly recommended!

Click here to signup for free and get your 20GB free space.

  • hola

    About these public invitations – what data is shared with you as inviter about people accepting your invitation?

  • hola

    and thanks for the post!

  • http://www.about.me/jaymeydad jaymeydad

    I only see the first name & the first letter of the last name of the person who signs-up. This information is displayed under the “Bonuses Status” page under my copy.com account.

    I don’t know the person’s full name/age/location and I don’t get they person’s email address. And frankly, I don’t care. As long as I helped someone get 5GB extra space (and myself), it is a win-win for both of us.

  • tolgamorf

    As a user of both Copy and Dropbox, I’d like to correct some information about Dropbox in Pros/Cons section.

    – It is possible to securely share a folder with another Dropbox user just as in Copy.
    – Dropbox also allows quick sharing, no need to visit the website, link is directly copied to clipboard.
    – ‘Beautiful web interface that is much easier for viewing files on the web’: this comment is highly subjective.

    Finally, an addition for cons of Copy would be that Copy still doesn’t have a Developer API, hence you cannot use your Copy space for synchronization in third party apps.

  • boxbuster

    Dropbox works on 10.6.8 and older whilst Copy only works on 10.7 newer. So for design studio with mixed OS versions Dropbox offers more flexibility. Especially for collaborating with clients who also have older OS.

  • JBonatto

    I love Copy, but there is no support for 10.6.8… And I dont know it worth an upgrade to 10.7 just to use Copy… Dropbox wins.

  • http://garrettreil.ie Garrett Reil

    I’m using both and I’d say so far there seems to be a significant upload speed difference. Dropbox is using some technology that beats all others on speed for upload (Using google drive drove me nuts in this way). So if you’re on a less than ideal connection (which i often am, I’d have to recommend dropbox. But don’t take my word for it, try copying a folder to both.

  • http://www.about.me/jaymeydad jaymeydad

    Good feedback Garrett. I will mention it in the post.

  • http://www.about.me/jaymeydad jaymeydad

    Dan – I am not aware of any special policies. It is probably covered in their TOC. My assumption was that it would be similar to Dropbox’s, Box’s or Google Drive.

  • http://www.about.me/jaymeydad jaymeydad

    Good point. I’ll mention in the post.

  • RandomAccess2

    How much space do you have now? If you don’t mind me asking. Just wondering how well you are doing out of the referral scheme! Is there a max limit of free space?

  • http://www.meydad.com JayMeydad

    I have 400GB. After I’ve reached that amount, I began circulating friends’ affiliate code so they will enjoy the bonus.

  • Alex

    Hello RandomAccess2, no there’s no max limit. During the promo (5 GB per referral) you can get ‘unlimited’ free space, which is of course not really unlimited, but I’ve seen people earning around 2.5 TB and maybe even more, so don’t hestitate to send your link to people :)

  • Tom

    Ummm, there’s a tradeoff at work with unlimited vs. limited upload speeds, Jay.
    While I’m sure Copy limits the transfer speed & number of simultaneous connections to prevent overloading their service as the scale it up, there is a slight benefit for the user if you tend to be dependent on the internet pretty much full time.
    I have both DropBox and Copy, and while DropBox transfers files faster, it can eat up your bandwidth for several minutes if a large file starts transferring, and then your browser slows to a crawl.
    I find with Copy, it never freezes my browser, and it can be doing stuff in the background while I keep on working without interruption, and my browser doesn’t slow down at all.
    Just sayin’. Some people probably will prefer one approach, some the other, but I personally like the way Copy works quietly in the background.

  • nishalnmaster

    I tried Copy today, using Chrome.. it just doesn’t allow me to logout saying they are facing technical difficulties… going back to home logs me in automatically… is it security if I get on to a shared PC??

  • richfiddler11

    My understanding is that Dropbox does incremental updates to files, while most other cloud services send the entire file. That *may* be the reason why Dropbox appears faster.

    I was just reading up on putting a TrueCrypt container on Dropbox for extra security. Apparently, the Dropbox incremental sync even works with binary files like this, it just makes sure the bytes are all the same with minimal bandwidth.

  • Sanger

    Does Copy uses storage from the Harddisk? Fx, if I share a file/docs that I have installed from the web and would like to have it only a map on Copy (not i my computer), does this file/doc uses the space at my computer?

  • Jez

    Hello Everyone.
    I’ve been using both for a while now, and have noticed a couple of really problematic things about Copy.
    of all – when sharing a folder on either service, you might often find
    yourself working on a file while another person is working on the same
    file at the same time. In dropbox, the service will identify that, and
    to prevent loss of data will save another copy (the famous “conflicting
    copy”). On copy, the only file saved is the last one saved – so that
    there is permanent loss of data if you’re not careful. Happened to us a
    few times. VERY annoying.
    Another thing is that we (about 4-5 of us
    here at the office) are all sharing folders with each other, and it
    seems like the shared folders aren’t really syncing like they should.
    Anyone encounter these problems? Find any good solutions?

  • Kashif Umair Liaqat

    Copy now have a Developer API.

  • Noyb

    Copy does not version. You guys better check your files as I can change mine as much as I want but unless I change the name of the file on save, the old one is the only one that shows up on other computers/devices. Probably an issue with their systems but so far, after 2 months, I find Copy utterly useless.

    Talking about cheap space is hardly the point, the product needs to work and this one does not.

  • Guest

    Copy now has a 25GB referral space limit (so you can only get up to 40GB for free).

  • http://xaviesteve.com Xavi Esteve

    The promo has ended, Copy now has a 25GB referral space limit (so you can only get up to 40GB for free).

  • neversink

    I’m starting to wonder about all these reviews throughout the internet on Box and Copy and all other products. I tried both Box and Copy on the same day, and tried to upload large and small files of all different types. Guess what? Both applications, on different computers and browsers, failed to complete any upload. It was so frustrating I went back to Google Drive which has been redesigned. I was able to upload nearly a gigabyte of files at once in only a few minutes. Thank you Google. Good riddance Box and Copy!!!!!!

  • Trainkid93

    I know this post is about a year old but I thought I’d put my 2 cents worth, I’ve just recently received an email from Copy saying that I’ve not used my account in over 60 days and I have 30 days to sign in to my account before any data is removed from their servers and my account deleted.

  • Fofer

    Yep, just discovered this myself… but happy to see they haven’t demoted my account. I earned 557 GB from referrals from two years ago (all the way through 7 months ago) and that 557 GB remains. I guess they’ve “grandathered” me in and I’m happy about that. Fingers crossed it stays that way :)

  • Win8-TrackBlows

    I’m testing out Copy right now because Dropbox made changes to the Linux version of its manager that made it nearly impossible to use, i.e. the changes caused the indicator panel icon to disappear. Without that you can’t control bandwidth, monitor sync progress, manage folders and files to be synced, change settings, etc. When you’re paying as I do for the service, you expect to get your money’s worth, especially if your OS is “officially” supported, which Dropbox claims Linux is. The solutions to getting back the indicator (change desktop environment or OS, even turning off compositing) are unacceptable and were time-consuming to research and test out – everyone seems to offer a different solution, most of which no longer work and the rest cause other headaches.

    So finally I decided instead of switching OS, desktop environment, changing this or that in my system, I’d simply switch services and try to find a cloud storage provider that wouldn’t treat my business as an afterthought. So far Copy is proving to be every bit as convenient as Dropbox used to be. They could be a little more explicit in the instructions on how to install the manager, but once it’s done it works just like Dropbox’s. I still have to test out sharing and download of entire folders and multiple files. But so far it’s off to a good start, and it stays this way I’ll be upgrading to a paid service soon. I don’t need 1 TB of storage for $99 a year, so doing the 250 GB storage, still far more than I need, is a bargain at half that.