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OwnCloud vs. Dropbox


For years I have been using a free account from Dropbox that I have managed to accumulate about 40+GB of space through referrals and other promotions. I have been very happy with the service and the reliability of the service itself. I have used it to share content with other people (pictures, videos, programs, documents, etc). But with trying to get myself off as many free services where I am at the mercy of the other providers I decided to see if I could run my own Dropbox like service for myself and even friends.

Enter ownCloud. ownCloud is an Open Source project that has been in development for a number of years. I have tried it out in the past when it was younger and ended up not using it due to misc little issues that were present. I submitted bug reports (like the Android app not seeing the new camera shots with HTC phones) and they did implement the fixes for the issues that I reported. Currently their most recent version (6.0.0a) appears to be very quick and stable.

The Plan

Currently I have installed and setup ownCloud on my DreamHost account utilizing a MySQL database (this is faster and more robust than the SqLite DB). I installed this with their easy setup-owncloud.php installer. I am NOT using HTTPS but I am using end to end encryption to send and retrieve the data. I have uninstalled Dropbox from my phone and all my computers. I have synced the data that was on my Dropbox folder up to my ownCloud install and I am using it like Dropbox. I have 3 Windows machines (2 running 8.1 x64 and 1 running 7 SP1 x64) and 1 Android Phone (HTC Droid DNA) with the ownCloud clients on them.

Once I have been using it for about a month (Feb 7th, 2014) I will post a followup review to let everyone know what my thoughts on it are as a viable Dropbox replacement. Now I will be very careful to not let my web host service issues (if any) reflect poorly on the ownCloud service. If for some reason I cannot complete the review due to technical issues I will push back the followup and then resume from there.

So that’s all! I am going to use my ownCloud install just as I did Dropbox (camera upload, sharing files with public links, syncing between many computers, etc) and then post a follow up 30 days later (started using on 1/7/14) to let you know how it all went. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!