Copy vs. Dropbox: Features comparison

Some time ago I wrote an article: Dropbox vs Copy: Copy offers more free space and after some testing and daily usage, I prepared this comparison table.

Feature Copy Dropbox Comments
Desktop client
Windows, Mac, Linux Yes Yes
Selective sync Yes Yes
Pause sync Yes Yes
Bandwidth Limit Yes Yes* Dropbox has an additional option: “Limit automatically” for upload (I don’t know how it works)
Manage shared folders Yes No
Web client
Search Function No Yes Sadly, Copy has not yet a search function (which I think it’s very handy in Dropbox), so you will have to browse all your folder structure to find what you need…
Picture Gallery Yes Yes
Video Player Yes Yes
Download entire folder as Zip file Yes Yes
Move files into another folder No Yes
Versioning Yes* Yes *In Copy.com you have to click the file, then on “File activity” to see the older versions. In Dropbox it’s more user friendly: you click directly on “previous versions” and you can directly restore to an older version (which is not yet offered in Copy.com)
Restoring deleted files No* Yes *Copy.com doesn’t allow yet to undelete files via web client. Recover deleted files with the desktop client
Sync speed Fast Slow Maybe it’s just my impression, but Copy seems faster than Dropbox.
Sharing
Share a folder and let people add/remove files Yes Yes Invitation sent by email
Copy a shared folder to your account Needs a few minutes Instant Copy seems buggy: it creates a folder and it’s empty. Only a few minutes later you will see your files… so don’t worry, be patient.The button “Save to Copy” is available only when you are logged in and it is displayed at the bottom of the page, like in this screenshot:save-to-copy-download-all
Space used when sharing Shared between peers* Counted the same for each person *With Copy, if you share a 2GB folder with 3 friends, “Copy” will count 500MB (2GB/4) for each person. With Dropbox, every person will lose 2GB from his/her account
Storage
Free account 15 GB, 20 GB with a referral 2 GB, 2.5 GB with a referral
Maximum free size Unlimited (!) 18 GB :( With 8 people using my referral link I already have 60 GB (thank you!)
Bonus / referral system 5 GB (!) 0.5 GB :(

Feel free to comment. I may update this table as soon as I discover new features or relevant differences.

Conclusion: it seems to me that Copy.com is the most generous service available (unlimited space offered for free, and 5GB for each referral). I just canceled my crashplan account and didn’t renew my flickr pro one. Why paying when I can get my backups hosted for free?

However, if you need a better support for versioning and undeleting files, I recommend you to use Dropbox for that. I use both. Dropbox for my little projects (source code doesn’t require a lot of space) and Copy to save my entire collection of pictures and videos, which needs a lot of space.

Check also my post on How to use Copy to backup an external hard drive.

Note: I will remove the referral links in the comments, so please do not put them. Thank you.

22 thoughts on “Copy vs. Dropbox: Features comparison

  1. Lazza

    I think you didn’t consider versioning. It’s the only essential feature for people using Dropbox for university or work. :)

    Reply
    1. Paolo Brocco Post author

      Ciao Andrea, actually I was about updating my article to mention Versioning (see notes under Web client). Versioning is not so user friendly like in Dropbox, but it’s available, so: enjoy ;)

      Reply
  2. Anand

    I guess my question is regarding the length of version history maintained. Dropbox only has one month of version history for free. Beyond that you need to buy ‘Ratpack’ for unlimited version history. What are the equivalent features for copy.com?

    Reply
    1. Paolo Brocco Post author

      Hi Anand, for what I’ve seen, copy.com keeps the first version + the history of the same week. I can see the old versions (in one case 23 revisions, in another case also more than 40 revisions) till “last Monday” (beginning of this week).

      Reply
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  4. Krzysztof

    Copy.com upload speed is at 50% speed of Dropbox sync (180KB/s vs 400KB/s)
    Overall Copy.com is great Dropbox replacement.

    Something interesting: I have 2GB on my account, one directory has 1GB, I shared this directory with someone, my usage dropped to 1,5GB, then I stop sharing this directory and my usage is now 1GB. I still have the same data as before.

    Reply
    1. Jake Lee

      That’s what they call ‘fair usage’, it drops amount usage since you are sharing the same data with someone else.

      Reply
  5. David

    Absolutely no problems with either the desktop or iPhone app so far, and fantastic value. Upload speeds seem fast compared to other backup services I’ve used. Watch out Dropbox!

    Reply
  6. Charles

    Thanks for the comparisons. I was a paying SugarSync user and it just got too pricey, so I tested out several other services, and Copy has been the fastest so far (I tested Google Drive and DropBox). For version control, I use my local TimeMachine for my Mac.

    Reply
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  8. Vincent Raja

    Does the copy client has the feature like dropbox has “auto copy our photos and videos from Phone/Camera to dropbox folder when it is connected”?

    Reply
  9. David

    I’ve been using Copy on iPhone, iPad and Macbook Pro for 2 months now and all are working perfectly. It’s a quality product well supported. Much better value than the competition.

    Reply
  10. Garrett

    Love Copy! For heavy collaborating being able to evenly distribute the data storage is wonderful. 8 GB folder between 4 people = 2 GB usage for me.

    In Drop box my cloud storage would be done-so.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  11. mark

    I switched to copy.com after finding dropbox so slow when used on multiple computers. The sync speeds on start up were killing my laptop. Copy.com does not seem to impact my desktop experience on start up.

    Reply
  12. Johannes

    I’ve been testing out Copy for about a day and there is one thing that your post doesn’t touch on: how Dropbox and Copy differ when it comes to handling web content.

    Dropbox allows you to host static web content (html, css, javascript). In other words, you can redirect your domain to point at a subdirectory of your ‘Public’ folder and so benefit from dropbox’s scalability and reliability, not to mention how easy it is to upload files without having to use ftp.

    While this may not be relevant for the typical user, I know many web developers have come to rely on dropbox, if only for smaller projects and test websites.

    Sources: http://alexcican.com/post/guide-hosting-website-dropbox-github/ and https://www.dropboxwiki.com/tips-and-tricks/host-websites-with-dropbox

    Reply
  13. Martijn

    You cancelled you Crashplan account? While Copy appears to be very nice network drive, I wouldn’t consider it a replacement for proper back-up software.

    Specifically, proper versioning with very long retention, unlimited backup sizes (I’m backing up 300GB+), correct backups of metadata (ownership, permissions, etc.) on all platforms and so on, are all reasons why neither Copy nor Dropbox can be considered a replacement. I guess that realization will come the next time you’ll need to recover more than a few files.

    Reply
    1. Paolo Brocco Post author

      Martijn you are right, crashplan is a solid solution, but for my home/personal use I needed the versioning only one time in 2 years (and it was not a big issue if the file in question would be lost – specifically, it was my itunes xml library file). It’s just a personal choice, I prefer to save some money and risk to lose some files from time to time. For my main files I’m happy like that. Ratio cost/security ok (cost = 0 in this case, and security, quite ok I would say).

      Reply
  14. Anthony

    I am a heavy dropbox user and have noticed that upload speeds have taken a huge hit since I first started using their services a long time ago. However, 18GB is not the max that can be earned.

    Dropbox does have a lot of service sponsor bonuses, and because of the phone I use I received the 50GB bonus. Granted, it does expire like all great things, but I could never see myself using all that space up even with camera upload enabled so as far as I see it what is given to me is far a plenty.

    Still a good article, but I smell the breath of heavy opinion of the two services. I personally have never used copy.com simply because I have never heard of it being widely used by the general public. General public to me meaning blogs, forums, and word of mouth.

    I might give a try to copy.com when it becomes a household name and has proven a tight security record that can sing to the heavens. Until then dropbox has never let me down, nor has Google drive.

    Reply
  15. Ray

    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 I find Copy utterly useless.

    Reply

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