Dropbox Alternative for file storage/sharing

I am the IT Guy for a Charity organisation currently storing/syncing their files via a personal Dropbox account. The issue is that this is full and is now asking for payment to upgrade space but they aren’t likely to fork over money to Dropbox. So I’m looking for suggestions for better solutions to this which still allow the files to be stored/shared.

Why don’t you buy a cheap refurbished box and install Debian headless, then use something like owncloud or nextcloud, easy to setup. Helpful to use a VPN obviously.

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Looking for free or commercial solutions?

With some basic Linux admin/network skills you can easily make use of the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure ‘Always Free’ tier. You can create a very respectable VM with 200GB disk at no cost. On this you can install whatever file sharing solution you like.
I run ubuntu with docker, traefik, vaultwarden, squid web proxy (and others) along with their VPN (also no cost) as an off-site hot standby for my homelab. Docs are good but you’ll need several days set aside to absorb them.

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Have you looked into any discounts Google or Microsoft will give to charities?

I would also look at a site called IT Soup that is designed for charities to help them get deals and discounts for popular products like adobe and MS office.

I signed my church up for it awhile ago (its free), but we haven’t had the need for anything in there just yet so I can’t speak to the site too much.

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Do you have any spare computers with lots of hard drive space? You could easily spin up a NextCloud server in a virtualbox environment. If you have a budget to work with, it would be worth it in the long run building a micro ATX nextcloud box specifically for this. I have nextcloud setup on my system over virtualbox with Acronis mirroring my drives for redundancy and it works pretty slick. Nextcloud can be setup with free SSL as well so it would be a 1:1 with what you got now with dropbox by accessing external and internal networks to it. You do not need a business or enterprise switch or gig internet if you are worried about bandwidth issues either.

NextCloud is free. Build a decent box with some good hardware and run it!

Think the site is called Tech Soup but I have used them a while back to purchase Office licenses.


This is the way. The ARM compute instances are the way to go. More resources can be applied for free than intel or amd

Thanks for that! I will definitely look into it for them!

While I agree, rolling your own with VPN for remote access is the best long-term goal, you may want to sign them up for Google accounts. I believe the free account is still 15GB and you get the added features of Google cloud docs to edit things on the fly as well as long standing pc/mac clients and ios/android apps. Might be a good quick switch while you ramp up your own solution.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium for Non Profits.
Licenses 1-10 are FREE
You can apply for non profit direct with Microsoft, no need to get side tracked in TechSoup.
Business Premium gives great management abilities, best in breed security, built in antivirus, etc.

It’s only $120-240 a year, not much will be cheaper then that whatever you do. You will spend days working out some convoluted “solution” that no one will understand then have train everyone with a new “system” how much data are we talking about clearly not much. So even a free Google account has 15Gb of storage.there isplenty of non profit/charity plan of Google and MSFT.

Grab an old PC with 2 or 3 hard drives. Install TrueNAS with zfs raid. You can tie it to their Windows domain if they have one. Set up OpenVPN for access and you have all the space you need for free.