Droplr: File Sharing, Reinvented

Droplr is one of the original simple file sharing apps, popularized by its simple Mac menubar app that lets you drag files to its icon and instantly share them with the world. Its clean design and simple sharing features have made it popular with many users, and I personally first started using it when I wanted to share files from Windows easily and discovered WinDroplr, which was added as Droplr’s official Windows app.

One thing that easily sets Droplr apart from other file sharing tools is that their team has kept refining the service. Today, it’s one of the best ways to share files from your browser, and with new pro accounts, it’s got more features at a better value than most of its competitors. If you’re looking for a better way to share files online, Droplr is definitely one of the first apps you should consider.

The All New Droplr

Droplr has been a popular file sharing service for a couple years, but this year, they took things to the next level and nearly reinvented the service. It was originally built around having a Twitter account, since most people looking for a simple file sharing tool were wanting to share files on Twitter. With Droplr 2.0, however, it’s been redesigned with a nicer interface, one that’s focused solidly on the web. Its sharing pages and file organizer was originally very spartan, with few options to do much directly from your browser. In fact, you originally could only upload files using the app.

In the new Droplr, sharing files takes only one click right from your browser, and works blazingly fast. Without even signing up, you can drag-and-drop files to Droplr’s webpage, and they’ll be instantly uploaded with a short URL you can share online. Files uploaded like that will only be kept around for 7 days, but if you signup for a free account, they’ll be kept forever. Free accounts let you upload up to 25Mb files, and you can store up to 1Gb of files for free. It’s not the highest limit, but if you’re sharing small images, screenshots, text files, and other smaller files, it’ll likely last you for a long time.

Upload files to the new Droplr, without even signing up!

You can then download their Mac, Windows, or iOS apps to upload files quickly from your computer. Or, you could just keep sharing files right from your browser. Even in your account page, which looks like an online version of Finder, Droplr lets you drag-and-drop files to upload them. You can view your uploads by their type, search through them, or sort them by name, size, number of views, and more. Each file you’ve shared will show up with a thumbnail, the file’s name, size, number of views, time uploaded, and the short link Droplr created to make it easy to share. You can select multiple files to delete them, or scroll down to see the rest of your files, which will load as you scroll. It’s a very nice online file browsing experience.

Organize your files online, and add new ones via drag-and-drop

Droplr lets you share files with a short d.pr address, and the url is usually only 11 characters long. Your files will be displayed with a nicely designed texture background, and can easily be reshared via the sharing buttons on the top. One nice thing is that the .pr domain is from Puerto Rico, which should be a bit safer than sites using a .ly domain, which is from the rather volatile Lybia.

One thing to note is that on free accounts, Droplr shows an ad from Fusion Ads on the bottom of your share pages. The ads from Fusion are usually nice looking and represent high-quality products and services, but it still can be frustrating for those who don’t want their sharing pages to have ads on them.

Share screens are beautiful and make it easy to re-share

One very nice Droplr feature is notes. You can upload plain text or Markdown formatted notes, and Droplr will display them nicely in your browser. You can even upload raw code, and Droplr will display the code with syntax highlighting. The only problem is, you can’t add new notes or code snippets from your browser, and have to use a native app to add notes. Even if you upload a .txt or other plain text file, Droplr will show it as a file download, not as a text note. That’s the only downside of using Droplr as a browser-only sharing tool.

Droplr works great with notes and code, but not from the web

Going Pro

Then, to make a great app even better, Droplr just added new Pro accounts. With a pro account, you can upload up to 1Gb individual files, and can store up to 100Gb of files online. Pro accounts also have no ads on their sharing pages, which give your viewers a much nicer experiences. You can set your own custom URL for shares, view statistics on files, pick a drop background color, and more. Right now, pro accounts only cost $3/month or $30/year, but the price will go up for users who sign up after the current introductory period. The good thing is, if you go pro and then decide to downgrade to a free account, your files will never be deleted and will still be ready for you to share.

Nice pro options, in a neat settings pane

As mentioned before, Droplr’s web app is very fluid, and really feels more like a native app running in your browser. Click the Settings button, and your file browser section slides away to reveal the settings underneath, similar to the options in Facebook’s new mobile apps. With a free account, there aren’t many options available, but pro accounts have quite a few more settings. One of the less useful but still nice options on pro accounts is a setting for your drop appearance. Droplr share pages have a light texture view by default, but you can select a dark texture or a plain white sharing page in the settings. And as always, with free or pro accounts, Droplr shares recognize the file you’ve shared and make it easy to view it or play it back in your browser.

New beautiful share screens, with Droplr's built-in playback goodness

Droplr has option menus on your shared files in any Droplr account, but when you upgrade to a Pro account, the option menus get much more useful. In addition to setting the title of the file and deleting it, you can now also choose to make them private, and set your own password on the file. Alternately, if you set your drops to be private by default, you can make individual drops public easily.

Droplr’s private file integration, though, is a bit confusing. When you create a private drop, Droplr will change its link to something like d.pr/5vhz/dofP86Ks. If you share this link, anyone with the link can still see the whole file without needing a password, but it’ll still be much harder for someone to find without knowing your link. If you want to share the private drop with a password, you’ll need to share just the first part, such as d.pr/5vhz for this file, and then share the last part of the URL as the password (yes, this is a real, private Droplr link, and feel free to try it out to see how it works). It seems odd that Droplr doesn’t make the private link and password more obvious. As it is now, sharing private links is still slightly awkward.

Share files privately, with passwords you set

Another nice feature of Pro accounts is file stats. Click the options menu on any file to open its stats, which will show a graph of yoru visits over time, as well as cumulative visit numbers and the links that referred visitors to your files. For the most part, stats aren’t really that necessary for most file sharers, but it can be fun to see more about how your files are being shared. You might discover what people are sharing your links and content the most with the Referrers list, which might be nice especially for brands using unique URLs with Droplr.

Stats, for all the sharing geeks out there

Conclusion

There’s so many apps for sharing files online, but when it comes to quickly sharing small files from your browser or menu bar, there are two main apps that stand out: CloudApp and Droplr. I’ve used CloudApp by default for the longest time, using it to share everything from long, complex links to quick text notes to screenshots. It’s worked great, and seldom given me any reason to want to switch. The new Droplr web interface, combined with their new Pro account features, is almost enough to win me over. I’ll be using it by default over the next several weeks, and we’ll see how it goes. At the end of the day, what really matters is being able to share your files in the way that works best for you, and Droplr’s nicer web app definitely makes it easier to use in my browser-centric workflow.

Have you given Droplr a try lately, and do you like the new features? If you’re already using it, would you be interested in getting a Pro subscription? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. And if you haven’t tried it lately, go give it a shot. You just might find yourself getting hooked with one of the nicest file sharing apps on the ‘net today.


Summary

A dead-simple way to share your files online, from your browser or your OS menubar.

  • Droplr  | 
  • Free up to 1Gb of storage, $3/month for 100Gb of storage  | 
  • Droplr
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