Self Hosted Dropbox


Seafile - Self-hosting dropbox for teams. Contribute to eliasp/seafile development by creating an account on GitHub. Why Need a Self-Hosted Dropbox? Maintain data privacy and ownership. Simplify permissions control. Fully leveraging existing NTFS permissions and AD users for access control. Maintain compliance. Meet compliance with centralized data management, auditing, and reporting. Provide a central file. Looking for a Dropbox alternative? NextCloud is a self-hosted cloud storage solution that provides an open-source alternative to Dropbox.


Businesses traditionally collaborate on an on premise file server with file shares and mapped drives. These file servers normally have large file shares that have implied permissions associated with folder and file access. Using Dropbox at work on a file server ignores existing permissions on files and synchronizes all files to each device. This tends to fill up devices and make files visible to everyone.

This often proves problematic for businesses. Employees move data into Dropbox which compromises data privacy, negates existing permissions, and can inadvertently violate regulatory standards or compliance requirements. And then there's the challenge of managing multiple copies of documents with different revisions. So, continuing the analogy, you're now flying naked, not sure where you are, which language to speak or which laws you've broken.

Perhaps it's time to retire the silly analogy, but the point is clear. How do you get the convenience of Dropbox without sacrificing data privacy, security and control and solve the following problems?

Big Data

File server has more data than a laptop with a small SSD can store.

Data Privacy

Synchronizing every file to every device exposes every file.

Data Ownership

You don't know where your data is after it's moved to Dropbox.


Some files are at the on-premise file server but some revisions are in Dropbox.

Data Security

There are no NTFS permissions or permission controls for Dropbox.

Central Control

Dropbox distributes files to every device, making it hard to manage.

The Dropbox app isn't designed to run on Windows Server operating systems.

However, this configuration may work if you run the Dropbox app as an application in a user account, instead of as a server service.


Important notes:

  • You can run Dropbox on a computer that is also running a server OS.
  • Dropbox runs within individual user accounts rather than as a single service that many people access. Dropbox user accounts must remain signed in on a machine for files to sync properly.
  • We recommend that only one user account accesses a given Dropbox folder, and that this folder is located on the main drive of your computer or on a drive that is physically connected to the computer.
  • Dropbox Support may not be able to assist with problems that occur when running the Dropbox app on a server OS.

Open Source Self Hosted Dropbox Alternative

Can Dropbox be shared locally on our network from our server?

Some teams attempt to share a single Dropbox folder over local network sharing so that multiple people can access the same Dropbox account. We don't recommend sharing the Dropbox folder, or any folders inside the Dropbox folder, over your local network.

If you share a Dropbox folder over your network, issues can occur because network file systems do not send messages when files change. Dropbox waits for these ‘file update events’ to sync changes. If you attempt to share a single Dropbox folder over a server, the following issues can occur:

Self Hosted Alternative To Dropbox

  • Permission issues
  • Files stuck in sync
  • Extended sync times

How can I make sure that my files stay on my server for backup purposes?

Some teams want to keep a copy of their files on a local server, in addition to in Dropbox, for secondary backup and to access files offline.

Self Hosted Dropbox Alternative

By default, all of the files you put in Dropbox are synced online and remain on your local hard drive (unless you decide to use selective sync). This means that you can access your files from your local drive even if you're offline. Once uploaded to Dropbox, your files and any subsequent edits to your files are backed up as long as the application is running. The time frame for recovering edits and deleted files depends on the account type. For more information please visit this article.

Self Hosted Dropbox Like

Note: For information about migrating data from a server, including setting up the folder structure and options for space management, visit this article.