Install and Use DropBox on Ubuntu Linux

When you need to share and store files, photos, documents, and videos on the Internet on a cloud storage service, DropBox is the right solution for you. All you need to do is install the application on your system, create a DropBox account at the dropbox.com website and sync(synchronize) your backup folder with the DropBox storage. DropBox allows backing up data from your laptops, PCs and mobile devices in a secure manner so if any of these crashes, you can restore from an online cloud storage. You can choose from the Free service that allows 2GB of free data upload or the Pro version that lets you store as much data as you want.

In this article, we will explain how you can install the DropBox application on your Ubuntu system, both through the UI and the command line.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on an Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system.

DropBox Installation through the UI

For a person who does not want to open the Command Line much, installing a software package through the UI is fairly simple. For DropBox, we will be downloading the .deb package from the official DropBox website then install it through Ubuntu software Install.

You can download the official .deb installation package from the following website:

https://www.dropbox.com/install-linux

Scroll down on the page and click on the download link for Ubuntu 14.04 or higher, depending on whether you have a 64-bit or 32-bit flavor of Ubuntu.

Download DropBox Linux client

Save the file on your system; it will be saved to the Downloads folder by default.

Save the file to disk

Open the Downloads folder where you will be able to see the DropBox .deb package.

Open downloads folder

Right click on the package and select the Open with Software Install option from the menu. This will open the following installer:

Install DropBox client .deb package

Click the Install button on the above window. The following authentication dialog will display for you to provide the authentication details for a sudo user as only an authorized user can install a software on Ubuntu.

Authenticate yourself as admin user

Enter your password and click the Authenticate button. After that, the installation process will begin, displaying a progress bar as follows.

DropBox install

DropBox will then be installed on your system and you will get the following message:

DropBox has been successfully installed

However, the installation of the graphical tool will be complete after you open DropBox from the UI. The installer will also prompt you with the following message:

Start DropBox

You can start DropBox from the above message window or search for it from the system Dash as follows:

Select DropBox icon

The following message will appear the first time you open the DropBox:

Download DropBox Daemon

Click on the Ok button to start the installation of the DropBox UI tool:

Downloading takes place

Once the installation is complete, the following webpage will open in your browser:

Sign-in to DropBox account

This page will let you sign in to your DropBox account or create one if you do not have it. Once you sign in, your DropBox will be linked to your DropBox account.

Sync Files with DropBox

After the installation of DropBox, it will create a  folder by the name of DropBox in the current user’s home directory. Whatever you save to this folder will be automatically uploaded to your DropBox online folder.

You can also create subfolders in your system’s DropBox folder and they will be saved and automatically synced to your online DropBox account in the same hierarchy.

DropBox folder in home directory

The DropBox tool creates a very useful icon in the top menu bar of your Ubuntu desktop. You can access the DropBox folder, launch the website, edit preferences and do a lot more by clicking this icon:

DropBox Icon on Ubuntu Desktop

DropBox Command Line Interface(CLI)

With the above installation, the DropBox command line interface will also be installed on your system. Open your Terminal application through the Ctrl+Alt+T shortcut and enter the following command in order to fetch the list of commands that you can use with this CLI.

$ dropbox

DropBox Linux command

DropBox Installation through the Command Line

If you prefer the command line over the graphical interface, follow these steps in order to install DropBox through the Ubuntu Terminal application:

First, enter the following command as root in order to update your system’s repository index with that on the internet:

$ sudo apt-get update

Update packages

Run the following command for 64-bit Linux system:

cd ~ && wget -O - "https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86_64" | tar xzf -

Download DropBox package with wget

Or run the following command for 32-bit Linux system:

cd ~ && wget -O - "https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86" | tar xzf -

When you run this command, it will create a hidden folder by the name dropbox-dist in your home folder. Run the following command in order to start DropBox:

$ ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd

Start dropbox

This will open the DropBox page in your browser which will let you sign in to your DropBox account or create one if you do not have it. Once you sign in, your DropBox will be linked to your DropBox account. After the installation of DropBox, a folder by the name of DropBox will be created in the current user’s home directory. Whatever you save to this folder will be automatically uploaded to your DropBox online folder.

DropBox CLI Installation

In order to install the command line interface of DropBox, run the following commands as sudo:

$ sudo apt install python

Once Python is installed, please download the DropBox python script through the following command:

$ sudo wget -O /usr/local/bin/dropbox "https://www.dropbox.com/download?dl=packages/dropbox.py"

Now, make the script executable through the following command:

$ sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/dropbox

After this, enter the following command in order to fetch the list of commands that you can use with this CLI.

$ dropbox

For example, you can start DropBox through the following command:

$ dropbox start

By following the steps described in this article, you can learn to download and install the latest version of DropBox on your Ubuntu system, both through the graphical user interface and the command line. You can also learn how to sync the files and folders on your system with the DropBox online cloud storage.

How to Install and Sync DropBox on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS