Dropbox is smart about using bandwidth. By default, the app will only use as much bandwidth as it can without interfering with your normal internet usage. Dropbox automatically throttles uploads to prevent any noticeable slowdown in browsing. Downloads are performed at the fastest download speed available.
However, you can manually customize these bandwidth-usage settings. To do so:
- Open your Dropbox desktop app preferences.
- Click Bandwidth (Windows or Linux).
- On a Mac, click Network and then click Change settings… in the Bandwidth section.
- You can manually adjust the bandwidth settings with the button next to Limit to under the Download rate or Upload rate sections. Enter the rates you prefer to continue. If you want the fastest rate possible, click the button next to Don't limit.
- Rates are set in kilobytes per second.
- Setting your Upload rate to Don't limit or a higher number than your connection is capable of may cause all your other Internet activity to slow down significantly.
- If you're a Dropbox Business user, and you’re signed in to both a personal and work Dropbox on your computer, the network preferences will apply to both accounts.
Why does my sync speed change?
Sync generally refers to making files available across all your computers, phones, and tablets, and on dropbox.com. Depending on what devices and files you're working on, sync can involve both uploading and downloading data between Dropbox storage servers and your devices.
When a file syncs to Dropbox, it gets uploaded from your device to our servers. Dropbox sync works smartly to maximize upload speed; however, upload speed is dependent on your Internet Service Provider (ISP), not Dropbox.
To measure your connection on a certain device and at a certain time, you can use a speed test (there are free tools online). Higher upload speeds translate to faster syncing, and higher download speeds mean faster downloading and streaming. You can use the upload speed measured by a speed test to estimate how long it will take to sync a particular file.
- Other apps on your computer will also use bandwidth. Running multiple apps at once may also affect the speed of Dropbox sync.
- Upload and download speed might differ in the packages offered by ISPs. If you've ever noticed that downloading and streaming in Dropbox is faster than uploading files, then you're experiencing faster download speeds compared to upload speeds.
- ISP reported speeds are theoretical maximums—the actual connection you experience may be slower than what your internet package advertises.
- Download and upload speeds are reported separately by ISPs and speed tests in Mb/s (megabits per second), while the Dropbox desktop app reports both upload and download speed combined in kB/s. Be aware that the sync speed reported by the Dropbox app may not match speeds reported by a speed test.
Latency and sync speed
Latency measures the response time between your device and a service's server, which means that distance is important to consider when measuring latency. As it travels from device to server, data must perform multiple hops, and more hops increases latency. The further that you are from Dropbox storage servers the longer the period of latency you’ll experience. Latency can explain the disparity you may see between upload seeds in a speed test and your actual Dropbox upload speed.
Other factors that impact sync speed
In addition to the factors described above, the following also play a role in sync speeds:
- Traffic/Packet shaping and Bandwidth limits: ISPs and other organizations set limits on the amount of network traffic allotted to a service or to prioritize bandwidth for certain services over others.
- Network Congestion: Too much traffic on a particular network (congestion) impacts connection speed.