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Dropbox enforces metered plans due to unlimited plan misuse

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Dropbox, a leading cloud storage service provider, has announced a significant change to its Advanced plan, transitioning from an “as much space as you need” policy to a metered storage with a cap of 15 TB, with each additional active license garnering an extra 5 TB.

There will be minimal disruption for customers who fall within the majority (over 99%) using less than 35 TB of storage per license. They can maintain their existing storage amount and receive an additional 5 TB credit of pooled storage for five years without an extra charge to their current plan.

For the minority (less than 1%) of customers utilising 35 TB or more of storage per license, Dropbox has promised a seamless transition. These users can retain their current storage capacity at the time of notification and receive an additional 5 TB credit of pooled storage for one year (up to a maximum of 1,000 TB), without additional costs.

Additionally, storage add-ons will be available for purchase, offering 1TB of storage for $10 per month on a month-to-month payment plan or at $8 per month when purchased annually. The migration of existing customers to the new policy will begin on November 1, and users will receive ample notification before their migration date.

This transformation comes as a response to the growing misuse of the Advanced plan for purposes unrelated to its original business-focused intent.

Google Workspace for Education has also introduced a limited plan for its users.

Dropbox announced that the Dropbox Advanced plan was initially designed primarily for businesses and provided users with unlimited storage capacity, catering to varying storage needs as teams expanded. While acknowledging that such an approach might lead to uneven usage patterns, Dropbox encouraged its customers to utilise the platform for their essential tasks.

However, the company observed that the plan was being used for activities outside the intended scope, such as cryptocurrency and Chia mining, personal storage pooling, and even unauthorised storage resale. This behaviour notably intensified in light of similar policy changes by other services such as Google. Dropbox noticed that such users were consuming substantially more storage than legitimate business customers, thus undermining the service’s reliability for all users.

“We’ve observed that customers like these frequently consume thousands of times more storage than our genuine business customers, which risks creating an unreliable experience for all of our customers. Importantly, our policy for Advanced has always been to provide as much storage as needed to run a legitimate business or organization, not unlimited storage for any use case,” observed Dropbox.

While Dropbox had pre-existing anti-abuse policies, it found the creation and enforcement of detailed “acceptable” and “unacceptable” use cases for the Advanced plan to be impractical. Hence, the decision to transition from the unlimited storage model to a metred approach was made, marking a strategic move to curb the misuse.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: [email protected]