Evaluating Box.net

As all of our lives, or rather the services we use, become more and more web-based and moving away from being locked down to one specific computer, online storage capabilities is definitely a huge part of that transformation. Sure, one can drag an USB memory stick around or a MP 3 player with a hard drive etc, but I prefer just getting online and downloading things.

As of lately, I’ve been testing the Box.net service, which has a nice sleek interface and is easy on the eyes.

A picture of Box.net

The general features are:

  • 1 GB storage for free (with prices starting at $4.99 per month for 5GB)
  • Private sharing
  • Public sharing
  • Desktop Sync software (upcoming)
  • Work groups


There are two basic ways to upload files: through Flash and through drag and drop, and since I’m a big fan of drag and drop, that’s the option I use.

Flash upload dialog

A picture of the upload dialog

Drag and drop upload dialog

A picture of the drag and drop upload dialog


One great feature is sharing your files. You can either share them privately with other Box.net users or you can share them at a public URL for anyone to download, with optional password protection. Very handy, as opposed to e-mailing large files, sending them over IM or something similar.

The Public sharing dialog

A picture of the public sharing dialog

What I miss

I would love to have FTP access to my account, for easy and swift uploading. Sure, Desktop Sync might happen, but I’d like to have free access to my file structure and to use my FTP tool of choice.


Conclusively, I think Box.net is going places. They’re still working on some minor issues, but they’re also very humble and open for feedback, so just let them know if you have any questions.

Except from a good service, Goowy‘s file sharing is based on the Box.net API and they have also become a module in Netvibes, so they seem get their share of attention. πŸ™‚

The creators of Box.net also blog about the service and what’s going on in terms of competitors’ services, for anyone wanting to stay on top of things.

Go try it out now!


  • Jules says:


    Also, I think this service is mostly of use to the people that donΓƒΒ’Γ’β€šΒ¬Γ’β€žΒ’t have the same possibilites with hosting services.

    My downloads folder doesn’t see much activity but it is there when I need it. Other people may need to provide more frequently used downloads than I and some hosting service contracts forbid the use of some hosting packages for file sharing (I am refering to legal sharing) simply for the sake of prolonged bandwidth activity, even if the total is below the limits. For these people, box.net may be of use.

  • Henrik Box says:

    I like the service, hate the name πŸ˜‰

  • Jules says:

    I am not alone in having two domains and hosting contracts: my blog is hosted with a cheap service and my business site is hosted with a slightly more expensive service with lots of space and bandwidth (5GB/40GB) so I use the larger space for downloads.

    Therefore, I, and others like me, wouldn't need to use this service.

    (To make a short story long, let Jules tell it.)

  • Jules says:

    Henrik: I just caught on to your joke!

    I have a similar gripe with rickards.ca: this domain name was purchased by Molson, a beer company who owns the brewing rights to Rickard's beer (note the apostrophe in Rickard's beer which is not present in my last name, Rickards). To add insult to injury, Molson has never created a site from that domain name but is just holding it.

    Sorry Robert, off topic.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Yeah, I know… πŸ™‚


    No problem, go crazy! πŸ™‚

    Also, I think this service is mostly of use to the people that don't have the same possibilites with hosting services.

  • Kalle Wibeck says:

    That sounds similar to the old x-drive service that I used during a period in 2001. I wonder if that one is still available?

    Anyway I had a lot of help from that service when I was consulting at a large company that just couldn't grant me access to their servers.

    Really scary, but we used x-drive as team storage in a part of that project πŸ˜‰

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Well, I also meant people in general that don't use a host provider. They have no web site or anything, and then to get 1 GB for free online is quite a sweet deal. πŸ™‚


    War stories… πŸ™‚

    Anyway, Xdrive seems to still be around. πŸ™‚

  • D. Olsson says:

    Hi! Really like all those new services that you bring up to light, well sort of… Google Calendar and now this πŸ™‚

    Shall try this to, sounds interesting.

    Btw. Nice read worthly (read läsvärd :P) blog!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    D. Olsson,

    Yes, do try it out!

    And thanks! πŸ™‚

  • Maarten Leewis says:

    If you want (S)FTP access take a look at strongspace. I'm on their 20Gb account and i mirror my complete Library (os x) there a few times a week. Works pretty good, and i'm glad to have a good place where i can backup my mail.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Thanks for the tip!

  • Yikes, the storage requirements these guys must have access to is frightening – I mean, if your service gets popular, and you're giving away 1gb per user, wow, that's a lot of storage…

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Oh, definitely. πŸ™‚

  • Max says:

    Hi also try IBackup. This is an altogether different service. It’s a good choice, if you are looking for a good online backup and restore solution. With IBackup for Windowsyou can perform interactive backup and restore and also schedule regular online backups for Windows desktops, laptops and servers. IBackup accounts are FTP-ready and they are compatible with most of the FTP clients on most platforms to ensure flexible transfer of files.

    IDrive enables you to map the IBackup online storage account as a local drive on your computer. You can then drag-n-drop, edit and save files in your online backup account using IDrive. Another advantage of using an IBackup account is that the `Mirror path’ option in IBackup for Windows enables you to maintain the exact directory structure of files or folders selected for backup from your computer.

    IBackup has a cool application called IDrive. IDrive, a virtual drive, maps your IBackup online storage account as a local drive on your computer allowing you to drag-n-drop and edit files in your online backup account as if they were on PC. IBackup supports one-way syncing of files or folders from your computer to your IBackup account and all data transfer is totally secure with a high level of 128-bit SSL encryption.

    To share files and folders, you can use Web-Manager and to backup and listen to your music files, you can try IDrive Multimedia . IDrive Multimedia can be used to create playlists or do 'shuffle' using your favorite media player pointing to IDrive's media files. IBackup also supports Open file Backup for most common application data types. You can even manage the scheduled backups and restore without even logging into the application.

    IBackup has several subscription plans suiting all kinds of users. Upgrading your account to a higher plan is very easy. You can also try IBackup Professional, which provides a secure, efficient, reliable, cost effective and easy-to-use Internet based backup solution with additional emphasis on security and data retention. IBackup Professional enforces 256-bit AES encryption on storage in addition to 128-bit SSL encryption during transmission with a user defined key known only to the user.

  • Sogno Elena says:

    Another beta version back up softwere is memopal: 250GB space storage, access from everywhere, unlimited pc access, sharing files. To download the file you need to contact them via mail in their site, and they give you a code.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Max, Sogno,

    Thanks for the tips!

  • Random says:

    I know this blog post is outdated, but wow nice analysis of Box.net. I use Box.net now and the interface has changed SO much. They FTP access too from what I heard. Great post, again.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Yes, definitely an old post, but glad you liked it! πŸ™‚

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