Dropbox Suspends My Public Links for Generating Excessive Traffic

Dropbox Sucks

Well, it looks like I won’t be recommending Dropbox on this website anymore, at least not for public file sharing. Less than 2 full days after starting to use Public Links for two measly files, Dropbox has temporarily suspended my use of public links for three days for “generating excessive traffic”.

For those of you wondering what the heck Dropbox is, it is a file syncing and supposedly “sharing” service for computers, tablets, and phones. You can upload files from your computer and then access them from another device anywhere you have an internet connection, and vice versa. Plus you can get links to share your uploaded files with other people so they can download them too.

But it turns out the sharing part is limited. If you want to share with a large number of people Dropbox will boot you to the curb.

A couple of days ago people were leaving comments on this website about some file downloads not working for the Nook Touch and Nook Tablet. So I decided to just link to my Dropbox folder so I wouldn’t have to worry about the links going dead and having to update yet again.

That didn’t last long.

It turns out Dropbox will suspend the use of public links if a link generates more than 20GB per day of downloads for free users and 200GB for paid users. At least that’s what it says on this Dropbox help page because the email I received from them explained nothing.

But I find that cap limit hard to believe. One file I’m using is only 2.5MB. That would take 8,000 downloads in one single day to reach 20GB. Now the other file is pretty large at 112MB. But even still that file would have to be downloaded 179 times in a 24 hour span to hit 20GB.

I think it is unlikely that that many people are downloading the file given how many people are visiting the page. But I have no way of knowing because Dropbox doesn’t give users access to that kind of information.

Regardless, it illustrates the point that Dropbox is a file syncing service and not a file sharing service, despite what their marketing department would lead us to believe.

Imagine if you wanted to upload and share videos you took while on vacation, or of your kids playing sports. Video files are large and often exceed 1GB. Just make sure you don’t share them with very many people in one day, especially on Twitter or Facebook, or Dropbox will shut the links down and leave you hanging…

18 Responses to “Dropbox Suspends My Public Links for Generating Excessive Traffic”

  1. You could use Amazon S3/Cloudfront to distribute the files, at a cost of a few pennies a month probably. Hell, if you want, send me the files and I’ll put them on my S3 account (biz expense).

    • Thanks, but I already went ahead and uploaded the large file to mediafire and it should be good for now. Since this morning it’s had a whopping 15 downloads. Dropbox is full of crap if they are saying it exceeded 20GB in one day.

  2. Yeah this sounds like BS to me. Someone probably checked you out and found this blog, then assumed you would be a free traffic risk. They want you to pay up.

  3. I’ve just hit this exact problem with Dropbox. Only created an account to store some files associated with a YouTube video I did explaining how to root an Android phone and put custom firmware on it – all legal. The file is just over 200mb so was too large for SkyDrive (my normal choice), so tried Dropbox. To be honest, was totally happy until I received this email. You’d think a big company like Dropbox would give us small guys a break?! After all (as you said) thats how their marketing department is advertising them as a file share… so you’d think they would be able to handle a little traffic?! Maybe they’re panicing because of cases like MegaUpload, etc… but they should check file contents before suspending an account as this is totally unquantified and distruptive.

  4. I use it to store the images of my website sometimes. I hope I don’t get suspended as well.

  5. I’ve been suspended 5 times now, and there’s NO WAY I’m coming close reaching the 200GB/day limit of my “Pro” account.

    I emailed tech support who told me “If your links get banned again, I would suggest using a different service”.

    …I want iDisk back.

  6. Dropbox is the greatest service in the world.. I suddenly got 100GB free storage from dropbox, and i dont know why.. I dont have to carry my usb drive all the time anymore..

    • It would be, if they didn’t suspend links at the drop of a hat.

      For syncing – they are still fine, for filesharing – Dropbox is no longer fit for purpose

  7. I shared an 18mb time lapse amateurish video of a sunrise during my holiday with 10 others and got suspended. My friends must have each downloaded it 10,000 times for my suspension to be consistent with their stated terms of use. Sounds like it’s time for a class action on this.

  8. Dropbox suspended my links too after I shared 2 gb over the last 15 days.
    I’m a pro photographer and have to transfer files to clients and was excited at the ease of using public links. But I guess Is all BS. N Dropbox Iis lying and chcheating the public n shouldn’t be pulled up for it.
    I’m never recommending it ever.

  9. once your link is suspended when will it be unsuspended? any idea?

  10. same issue here I shared a 1gb file with one person and they tell me I’ve gone over my daily limit of 200gb. I’m supposed to believe the person downloaded it 200 times in one day? sheesh. they are so full of crap someone oughta take them to court for not meeting their terms of service. oh but they’ll have some powerful lawyers. and they already have my money!

  11. They suspended me when there was no way I was near the limit. So I moved two urgent files (24Mb eacH) to my wife’s dropbox acct to share short-term. She had NEVER shared publicly ANY files before and her acct got suspended within 2 HOURS of uploading these files. Dropbox MUST be lying to us here. No way was there over 20Gb of access in 2 hours. (They are on a blog and the blog shows NO access at all in that time). Come on drop box sort it out.

  12. Hm, this must be something new/recent. About 1-2 years ago, I used to host a Team Fortress 2 server and had all of my custom maps and files and other stuff hosted on there for people who join the server to automatically download. The amount of files hosted is about 200-300 MB I think, although at most 50-100 MB was downloaded to completely new players. None of my files ever were disabled, and I’m on a free account. Guess something is glitching up their counter or something?

  13. Pro user here: shared a 1gb video with my family. Got banned in about an hour. No way I exceeded the 200gb. While I love Dropbox for all that it provides, this is total BS. I will be discontinuing my paid service because of this. Put me down as not impressed…

  14. Interesting to hear that Dropbox is so readily banning share links that have too much traffic. I would recommend using a product like ours http://orangedox.com/dropbox to track the number of times your file was downloaded so you can calculate and watch the bandwidth yourself. Contact me directly if you guys need more links and I’ll set you up with them!