I have a large web app which currently stores all user data on my own server (with the usual precautions to deal with security, backups etc). I have recently tested out an alternative - all user data would go into the Dropbox/Apps folder to which the user would provide a token to use via the Dropbox API. This helps in a number of different ways but most important of all - it returns full ownership of the user's data to the right person:the user.

I have the technical solution to this worked out. No issues there. What concerns me is this: from what I understand Dropbox stores user data on servers in the US (America) and Ireland (Europe). This introduces a small degree of latency (small because I fetch their data once and cache it for a while). But where does this leave the rest of the world? A user in, say, Sydney or Bangalore, would have their data being fetched from the US even though they are being serviced by, say, my geolocated app server which is based in Singapore?

2 Answers 2


Honestly using Dropbox as a repository for your application is probably a bad idea for the following reasons

a) It's a consumer product that was designed for consumer usage b) As you've determined you have no idea where the data is stored, so latency will be an issue c) You'll end up paying MUCH more than other cloud storage solutions like Amazon

I would seriously consider using Amazon S3, you'll be able to choose which geographic areas your data is stored in, it's made for developers and it's going to be cheaper and faster latency wise

  • I generally agree that this would be a bad idea for most use cases, but on this point: You'll end up paying MUCH more than other cloud storage solutions like Amazon Are you sure about that? Dropbox's ~$10 for 5TB comes out at ~$0.002 per GB. AWS's S3 is ~$0.02 per GB - an order of magnitude difference. Generally these consumer storage companies can be cheaper because they rely on their consumers throwing their files in and not touching them for years. This leads to the high latency characteristics that OP mentions. Backblaze B2 is $0.005/GB/month, which is great pricing but has some latency.
    – joe
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 21:30

I am pretty late to the party, but this is possible and while it might not be ideal under many circumstances, it is not necessarily a stupid idea and there might be good reasons for it, as you point out.

You might want to have a look at remote storage for example, which allows you to use Dropbox among other providers as backend.

You can also have a look at Joplin or Super Productivity which are both using cloud storage as backend.

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