How to Install Dropbox on Ubuntu 18.04/20.04 (Terminal/GUI)

install dropbox ubuntu

Dropbox online storage provides us support for Ubuntu Linux. Now, we will install Dropbox on Ubuntu 18.04/20.04 LTS server terminal and as well as from GUI.

Dropbox provides us online storage to store or backup our data automatically. We use Dropbox to backup our contents with some security and peace of mind. In the event of our PCs crash, Our data will be saved and ready to be restored onto server.

Dropbox offers both free and paid services, each with varying options. The Free service provides us 2GB of free online storage whereas in Pro you can get as much as we want depending on our requirements.

Method 1) Installing Dropbox from Command Line

We will install the wget package using the apt command.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install wget

Dropbox cli version is available for both 32 and 64 bit editions, we will download Dropbox upon out version.

$ cd ~ && wget -O - "" | tar xzf -
$ cd ~ && wget -O - "" | tar xzf -

After executing this command, It will create a new hidden folder named .dropbox-dist in our $HOME directory.

Run the following command to start the Dropbox from .dropbox-dist folder.

$ ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd
This computer isn't linked to any Dropbox account...
Please visit to link this device.

Now open the browser and navigate to the above link to connect system with your dropbox account.

Enter Dropbox username, password and click Sign-in.

The server is connected to our dropbox account, we should see a message like below.

This computer is now linked to Dropbox. Welcome Smart

Folder named Dropbox will be created in our home directory. keep the data in this folder to access it from any devices.

$ ls Dropbox/
'Get Started with Dropbox.pdf'
'Simply Raspberry Pi.pdf'

Congratulations! The Ubuntu server has been linked to our dropbox account. The dropbox will keep running until we stop it by pressing CTRL + C. We should start it manually every time
when we want to use dropbox.

Method 2) Installing Dropbox CLI

Frist thing we will install Python using command below.

sudo apt install python

Now, Download the dropbox python script and put it in our PATH, for example /usr/local/bin/.

$ sudo wget -O /usr/local/bin/dropbox ""

Make it executable:

$ sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/dropbox

Now we can start using the dropbox cli. To display help, simply run:

$ dropbox
    Dropbox command-line interface


    Note: use dropbox help <command> to view usage for a specific command.

      status       get current status of the dropboxd
      throttle     set bandwidth limits for Dropbox
      help         provide help
      stop         stop dropboxd
      running      return whether dropbox is running
      start        start dropboxd
      filestatus   get current sync status of one or more files
      ls           list directory contents with current sync status
      autostart    automatically start dropbox at login
      exclude      ignores/excludes a directory from syncing
      lansync      enables or disables LAN sync
      sharelink    get a shared link for a file in your dropbox
      proxy        set proxy settings for Dropbox

To view the usage of a specific command, for example running, run:

$ dropbox help running
dropbox running
Returns 1 if running 0 if not running.

To see if dropbox service is running or not. Type command below.

$ dropbox status
Dropbox isn't running!

To start dropbox service. Type command below.

$ dropbox start

Let us again check if it is running using command.

$ dropbox status
Up to date

It will keep running until we reboot the system.

To stop dropbox service. Type command below.

$ dropbox stop
Dropbox daemon stopped.

To get the current sync status of a file, Type command below.

$ dropbox filestatus Dropbox/smart.txt
Dropbox/smart.txt: up to date

we can exclude a directory from syncing. For instance, We will exclude dir1 folder using command below.

$ dropbox exclude add dir1

We can add multiple directories with space separated values to exclude them from syncing like below.

$ dropbox exclude add dir1 dir2

To view the list of directories currently excluded from syncing, Type command below.

$ dropbox exclude list

To remove a directory from the exclusion list, Type command below.

$ dropbox exclude remove dir2

To get a shared link for a file, for example smart.txt, in our dropbox folder, Type command below.

$ dropbox sharelink Dropbox/smart.txt

We can now pass the above URL to anyone.

To enable lansync, Type command below.

$ dropbox lansync y

To disable lansync, Type command below.

$ dropbox lansync n

Starting Dropbox Automatically Every Reboot

We can make Dropbox service to automatically start on every reboot. Create a systemd service unit for Dropbox.

$ sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/dropbox.service

Add the following lines:

Description=Dropbox Service

ExecStart=/bin/sh -c '/usr/local/bin/dropbox start'
ExecStop=/bin/sh -c '/usr/local/bin/dropbox stop'


Replace User, Group and dropbox cli path /usr/local/bin/ with our own values. Save and quite the file.

Reload daemon using command below.

$ sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Enable dropbox service using command below.

$ sudo systemctl enable dropbox

Start dropbox service using command below.

$ sudo systemctl start dropbox

Now dropbox service will automatically start at every reboot.

Check running of the service using command below.

$ sudo systemctl status dropbox

Method 3) Install Dropbox On Ubuntu Desktop GUI


First, download the Ubuntu deb package. Select 64-bit or 32-bit according to OS architecture.

Once downloaded, open file manager, navigate to the Download folder. Then right-click the Dropbox deb package, select Open With Software Install.

Ubuntu Software will be opened.

Click the Install button to install Dropbox CLI and Nautilus extension. You need to enter your password in order to install software. Once this step is finished, a window will appear. Click Start Dropbox.


Then click OK button to download and install the proprietary Dropbox daemon.


Once the installation is complete, you can login with your Dropbox account and start using Dropbox to back up or sync your files.

We can see that Dropbox will not be able to verify binary signatures if python-gpgme is not installed. We can install python-gpgme by executing command below.

$ sudo apt install python-gpgme

Note: Dropbox Linux client supports HTTP, SOCKS4 and SOCKS5 proxy. We can configure proxy in Dropbox Preferences > Proxies. This is useful if our country or area is banned from accessing Dropbox.


Method 4) Installing Dropbox from Software Application

Step 1: Use top left activities menu to open the software application

ubuntu software

Step 2: Search for Dropbox application

search dropbox
search dropbox

Step 3: To begin the installation press the Install button.

press install button

Step 4: Enter your username and password. Your user needs to belong to sudo administrative group.

auth required

Step 5: Start the Dropbox application

launch dropbox

Step 6: Sign in to your Dropbox account

signin dropbox
into dropbox

Now you linked Dropbox account to Ubuntu 18.04/20.04 Desktop.


We have successfully learned how to install Dropbox in Ubuntu 18.04/20.04. If you face any kind of issues, do let us know in the comment section.

18 Comments... add one

  1. Hi, sorry to bother you. I have come across the following error after I typed in $ ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd
    The error is :
    [2559:2559:0109/] Not implemented reached in virtual void libgtkui::X11InputMethodContextImplGtk::SetSurroundingText(const base::string16 &, const gfx::Range &)
    [2559:2559:0109/] Lost UI shared context.
    [1:8:0109/] ContextResult::kTransientFailure: Failed to send GpuChannelMsg_CreateCommandBuffer.
    And I couldn't go further and create the Dropbox Folder. Could you clear my question? Thank you so much!

  2. I have been having problems getting Dropbox configured. I followed your guide to see if it would resolve the issue. I am running KDE Neon 18.04 and when I tried to install 'python-gpgme' it was reported that the package is obsoleted and no longer available. Apparently it has been replaced by 'python-gpg'. Installing this helped but the issue is not fully resolved. I am still experiencing problems signing into Dropbox. I also use Deepin 15.9, Modicia O.S. LMDE3, Linux Mint Cinnamon Edition and openSUSE Argon and they all work fine. The problem did crop up in Ubuntu Budgie 18.04.

  3. I am trying to install Dropbox onto Ubuntu Server 18.04. It is a server, so it doesn't have a browser. I tried to visit the URL using a text browser (w3m), but that doesn't accept my Dropbox-credentials.
    I think I have to visit the website on the Ubuntu computer; not another one. Is that right?
    How to install it on a computer without a browser?

  4. this is one of the best info for installing Dropbox with no gui I have seen yet. I SO WISH... someone would publish instructions for moving the Dropbox folder (or folders as in the case of the Business version) to another Volume like /mnt/Shares/(Dropbox Folders)

  5. Is there also an option to connect more than one Dropbox-account at the same time?
    I have to setup a cloud storage (Nextcloud) for a few users who has now a Dropbox account each.
    Of course I can synchronise the first account and after that the second account, et cetera, but I prefer to do it in one session.

  6. I have a paid Dropbox account: a Dropbox Business.
    After the command
    dropbox start
    Ubuntu creates two directories:
    ~/Dropbox (team name)

    As far as I can see, the contents of these directories are equal and spent a lot of disk space. I am not able to free more disk space.
    What is the best solution?

  7. I tried to exclude some directories for syncing. The exclude command immediately returns the prompt without thinking.
    When I want to know which directories are excluded, there are no directories listed.

    What is going wrong?

    root@vanharten:/home/guido# dropbox exclude add Nextcloud-backups Uploader123
    root@vanharten:/home/guido# dropbox exclude list
    No directories are being ignored.

    • Ok I figured it out: the directory HAS to be formatted as: Dropbox/ where is the name of a folder in your Dropbox folder. if the directory name has spaces use quotes as normal: 'Dropbox/directory name' ---> etc. would be good if OP mentioned this assumption because I would naturally assume that of course it is looking in Dropbox directory already and that this wouldn't need to be specified

      • IMHO the code is pretty lazy, authors should have added something like:
        elif any(result["unrecognized"]):
        for unpn in result["unrecognized"]:
        console_print("Failed to recognize directory: %s" % unpn)


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