Install Dropbox on Bluehost Shared Host

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With the advancement of cloud computing, Dropbox has become a cornerstone of mobile computing. The ability to manipulate files on one device, have them stored “in the cloud”, and then reflect these changes on all of one’s devices has provided a great deal of flexibility for consumers. I wanted to extend this functionality to a shared web hosting environment (in my case, BlueHost).

First, you’ll need SSH access to your box. For security reasons, all Dropbox files will be kept outside of the public_html folder.

1.) Login via SSH to your box.

2.) mkdir ~/dropbox-exec

3.) cd ~/dropbox-exec

4.) wget -O dropbox.tar.gz "https://www.dropbox.com/download/?plat=lnx.x86"

We created a directory, navigated to it, and downloaded the latest 64-bit compliant Linux source for Dropbox.

5.) tar -xvzf dropbox.tar.gz

6.) rm dropbox.tar.gz

7.) ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd

Now we unzipped the tarball, removed the original compressed file, and executed the main Dropbox script.

8.) You’ll get a message like:

This client is not linked to any account… Please visit https://www.dropbox.com/cli_link?host_id=xxxxxxxxxx to link this machine.

9.) Copy and paste that link into a browser and navigate there. This essentially “links” your shared host to your Dropbox repository.

10.) BlueHost periodically terminates the Dropbox process, so I added a cronjob (under CPanel) to keep the process running every 5 minutes. The cron command will simply be the path to your dropboxd script. For example: /home/fill-in-your-username/dropbox-exec/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd

You’ll notice that under your root directory (/home/username) you now have a “Dropbox” folder with all the contents of your repository. Now you can throw things into the cloud whenever you want. For example, I have a simple PHP script which backs ups and optimizes my WordPress SQL databases every day, eliminating the need for a resource-hogging plugin and giving me the piece of mind that my database is stored in more than one place.

Let me know if this guide helps and/or if you have any questions! 🙂

9 COMMENTS

    • I had to stop using Dropbox on BH a long time ago because it was a recurrent process that used too much memory. BH paused my account until I removed the Dropbox files.

  1. Great post, thanks! By the way, what do you use to copy the files from your dropbox directory to the public_html automatically? I was thinking of using Bluehost’s “cron-job” function to run a copy command? Have you developed anything more sophisticated to “synch-up” the two folders?

    Thanks again!
    Jason

    • I’m fine with the Dropbox folder on my Bluehost account being outside the public_html path (for security reasons). If you want to create a mirrored directory inside public_html, I would look into rsync. 🙂

  2. Hi great info do you have more detailed instructions for this process I also have a bluehost shared hosting and would like to connect to dropbox. the ssh is enabled on the bluehost side? or dropbox? Any aditional info you might have would be great.

    • You need SSH access to your BlueHost server – contact tech support and provide the representative with some form of identification so they can authenticate your request.

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