Dropbox not synching

Dropbox seems to have stopped synching for me. When I edit something in PAW the change doesn't appear in Dropbox, and vice versa. I've waited several minutes. The trouble seemed to start after I did a mv oldfile newfile.

@krpete: Welcome to PA. It's great to have you as part of the community. I personally don't do any syncing with Dropbox, so I can't confirm your findings, but I'm sure others will respond soon. I hope you get a resolution to the trouble soon!!

krpete, I know Dropbox has been messing with their API, and this may be the issue. If it is, then the PA guys will be moving heaven and earth to get syncing back up and running

(I am currently in the prcoess of falling out of love with Dropbox. I turned on my laptop, and discovered Dropbox deleting all my files and folders. Of course, I can get them back through the miracle of undelete. But what a pain...)

just checked on mine, created a file and it seems OK, updated to my dropbox without any trouble?

Thanks everyone, it seems to be synching now.

Hi everyone -- sorry about that, our Dropbox server was misbehaving over the weekend -- it wasn't syncing between 02:00 and 04:50 UTC on 7 October. It's back to normal now and we're investigating what happened. As rcs1000 says, they (Dropbox) have been messing around with their API recently and it might have been something to do with that.

Seems I have this problem now. Any advice on how to fix it? I'm considering installing the Dropbox client and running a console for syncing.

@beruic: Have the problems resolved themselves yet? I'm not sure there's a lot that us users can do about it, unfortunately. I don't think installing your own Dropbox client is a good idea - I'm not sure it would have permission to connect anyway.

@giles: Given what a pain Dropbox is being, I wonder if Google Drive might be easy to integrate, since they appear to have a relatively open API for it? Having said that, I guess it might be a significant amount of effort. I'm not sure any of the current unofficial solutions are any good.

Hi beruic,

We are aware of the problem and are monitoring the server. It has a large backlog of work at the moment but should hopefully clear soon. Running the dropbox client on PythonAnywhere would be a bad idea.

Hello there i'm running with this problem too, is there any solution close? I tryied unsharing and sharing again, reducing the number of files in the shared folder but it seems it neves finishes syncing the entire folder


@wasuaje, it looks like we've accepted one sharing request for you and there are some others where we have emails, but Dropbox seems to have forgotten about them somehow. Drop ma an email at so we can do more detailed troubleshooting in relative privacy.

Thank you, email already sent !

Have you found something about my case ?


No. We have a number of users whose folders are just not syncing. We've spent the whole day trying various things to get them to work and to try to work out what the problem may be. We still don't know what the problem is, but we've eliminated several possibilities.

OK, we're trying something pretty heavyweight -- a complete reindex of the system. This is going to take a while, but we're hoping that by tomorrow morning UTC it will have recovered.

Looks like that didn't fix the problem, though some people might see improvements. Work continues.

Aha! We've found something that looks like it might have caused the problem -- a very large shared folder that had escaped the disk quota mechanism. We've unshared it and restarted the Dropbox server once more. We'll keep you posted.

[Edited to add] In case it's not obvious, while the Dropbox server is restarting then nothing will be syncing, and we won't be able to accept new Dropbox shares.

Right, it's restarted. It looks like some users are getting stuff synchronised now, but some people will still see problems. Investigations continue.

It's still syncing, but most users should be OK now; there are 42 users for whom synchronisation is still pending. I won't post the list here so as not to breach anyone's privacy, but if you want to know if your account is still affected, drop us a line with the "Send feedback" link above.

Just to keep everyone informed: We're still having trouble for around 50 accounts and we're still working hard to get it fixed.

Any update on the issue affecting around 50 accounts? Still having problems with my folder not syncing. Thanks

For a brief minute it looked as if it was actually working. I checked my Dropbox folder and all the files where there. This was during the time where you had the old backup mapped..... As of now my Dropbox folder is not in sync.

None at the moment. Other than that we are still trying a variety of different things to get it working.

Right now there are 62 users affected, but it looks like there's some movement -- some of the people who were affected are not, but more others have become affected. @evonspappa -- you're still on the list unfortunately.

We're still trying to fix the problem.

Hi guys, looks like yesterday's deploy hasn't fixed the problem. Unfortunately, we've run out of things we can do to fix it just now. It may be that we've hit some kind of limit in Dropbox itself, but we can't tell - it's a black box.

We're waiting to hear from Dropbox themselves. They may be able to help.

Other than that, we're going to have to look into how we change things in future. We may not be able to support Dropbox sharing on free accounts any more.

Dropbox have now got back to us. No news yet, but we're working with them to try to sort things out, and hopefully with their help it'll be possible.

One possibility we're considering is identifying the accounts of free users who haven't used PythonAnywhere in the recent past and unsharing their folders. We did this a while back for people who'd not used the site in 6 months, but we might have to pull that a little closer to the present.

Obviously we'll keep sharing the folders of all paying customers.

I wonder if it would be possible to make free account syncing "on demand" so that you have to click a button in the UI to trigger it? Could also rate limit this fairly easily. Although I'm not sure if that would be any help with this particular problem - depends if it's related to the number of simultaneous syncs or the number of accounts which have stored credentials to sync.

That might be tricky, unfortunately. One thing we're considering is using Dropbox's "other" sharing mechanism to support free accounts. The two mechanisms are:

  • The kind of sharing we support now -- you make a folder available to one other Dropbox user. The folder appears in their account, and they can access and modify your files as it they were their own. This is what our underlying Dropbox infrastructure uses (along with a load of extra stuff to make sure that people can only see their own shared folders inside their own PythonAnywhere sandbox).
  • "One-shot" sharing, where you essentially make a folder visible in Dropbox's web interface to anyone who has the (not very discoverable) URL, and then send that URL to people.

If we supported the second type for free users, you'd send us a URL (or maybe paste it into something on our site, or...) and we'd then suck down the contents of the folder and put them in a sensibly-named place in your sandbox.

Would that be useful, do you think?

You mean the "share link" option on the Dropbox web UI? Yes, that sounds like a perfectly reasonable compromise. Probably a useful differentiation for free vs. paid accounts as well.

From a brief perusal of the Dropbox documentation, it doesn't sound like it's a one-shot thing - I just tried sharing a link and then updating the source folder and the version via the link updated as well. So it sounds like this would be a reasonable way to keep things in sync constantly, the main problem being that you'd either have to run a regular rsync-style crawl job, or require the user to click a manual "sync up" button. I guess in the latter case you could make it "one-off", but remember the URL provided to make it convenient to repeatedly sync to the same location.

Anyway, I certainly think that would be preferable to dropping the functionality entirely for free accounts, provided it solves the problems.

Right, we definitely don't want to drop Dropbox entirely from free accounts. And I think existing free accounts would keep any Dropbox shares they already had (though perhaps we'd auto-unshare those owned by people who'd not done anything on the site for some particular time period, so that we don't keep consuming CPU for people who aren't using PA any more.

I guess if sharing via URL is lighter on system resources, you could feasibly just allow an arbitrary URL to be specified instead of just a Dropbox one - that might even be a useful additional feature for paid accounts as well. As long as the disk quotas are enforced I can't really see any opportunities for abuse, although I can imagine you may wish to impose the same whitelist on free accounts as existing HTTP access (although given that you're doing the fetching and can arrange that only GET requests are performed, and quite possibly rate-limit them, then perhaps the need for whitelisting is somewhat diminished).

Anyway, just a thought - I can see pros and cons. As long as you allow requests to Github it's not like free accounts don't have an easy way to get files on to the system whatever else is available.

Just a quick note to say that the problems are still there. We're talking to Dropbox, but their turnaround time seems a bit slow.

Some people have had some luck in getting a folder to sync by unsharing it on the Dropbox site (making sure that the "I want my collaborators to keep a copy of these files" box is unchecked), waiting until it disappears from their Dropbox directory on PythonAnywhere, and then re-sharing it. This seems to work about 50% of the time.

We hope that we'll have more encouraging news soon.

I would prefer the behavior stay the same as it currently is, but I use my dropbox sync a little bit diferrently than some I think.

I use mine to manage backups of various DBs and other things. I have an hourly task for doing a backup and a daily task that zips everything and dumps it into my dropbox folder which is then syncd to a NAS so I have a simple backup solution in case something goes down here.

I would have to come up with another solution for this if I lost the two-way sync and all you were doing was sucking files out of a public URL.

Don't worry, we'll keep the existing Dropbox behaviour as it is for paying customers, and probably for existing free users. It's just new free users that we're considering changing things for.

Not sure i it helps the troubleshooting/resoltion process but after unsharing and re-sharing this issue reared its ugly head at me again; so I did some basic tests. 1. I can create a file in PA and it shows up on my laptop as expected 2. I can create a file on my laptop and it appears in the PA share as expected 3. Edits don't sync either way - if I edit on PA the change wont make it to DB but if I edit on my laptop it will make it to Dropbox but not PA

Thanks for that RR,

New to the site. Dropbox integration is definitely a feature I'd like to use. I'll become a paying member if I need to. I assume that it is not yet fixed for paying or non-paying members?

@comicflask: Welcome to PA, Dropbox integration is included for all account types. I don't personally use it though, so I can't give any indication on it's current functionality.

We can't guarantee that shares will work at the moment. Paying or non paying doesn't make a difference. We are trying to work with Dropbox to fix the issue. Paying users can use git over ssh to get a much better sync/update service. Sorry. This sucks and we know it.

Are there other sites that support Dropbox like PA? I mean with substantially the same size (or bigger) sync list.

We don't know of anyone, but surely there must be... anyway, we know that some devs at Dropbox are looking at the problem -- we've through the first-level support stage now -- so hopefully they'll either fix something, or tell us what we're doing wrong.

That's all you can do....LOVE PA!!!!

Still waiting

have some errors?

Looks like our Dropbox process got stuck on Saturday and didn't tell us that it was stuck. We've restarted it and it should be catching up on the weekend's work that it missed. I'll keep an eye on it.

@sunlifeng, looks like we've caught up. Your share is synced.

I have tried three times to run your example "Hi - user_name" in my facebook canvas. I did all the steps exactly the way you wrote them. I only got a blank page all three times in my canvas. Then I saw the message "Dropbox is having trouble at the moment.Your shares may not sync. See here for details." Is that the reason of my fail? How can I fix it?

Are you storing your code in a dropbox share? Also, you need to be aware that Facebook can take a long time to create your app on their end. We have seen this taking as long as 8hrs.

My share is not showing up...

Still waiting... Help Me.

I'm moving code back and forth with Dropbox, and sometimes its instant, sometimes its a few minutes. I have not observed anything longer.....

I'm working in Django, not Facebook. So I would not "see" any FaceBook speed issues....

Other than their iPhone App is SLOW to update right now.. I suppose that could well be related....

Same here... despite adding PA to the folder yesterday and getting a confirmation email, the warning is still there on the files tab: Dropbox is having trouble at the moment. Your shares may not sync. See here for details.

I created an account a couple days ago, and I also have this problem of dropbox not syncing. I received confirmation that PythonAnywhereDevelopers joined my shared folder 18 hours ago, but I still see the connection error.

From the bash live-console, " status" returns "Dropbox isn't running."

The warning isn't necessarily a sign that there's a problem -- it's always there, because we have had quite a few problems with Dropbox recently. And status won't work from your consoles.

The real test is, are your dropbox folders (in your home directory/Dropbox) showing up and syncing? It looks like we have shares for both @dickdickmore and @evanphelps.

@giles It looks like I might have had some issues on my local computer while the connection error message lead me to think it was on your side. Thank you!

dropbox is still having problem, when you edit application file in PA then nothing changes in dropbox, what can we do for this?

@evanphelps thanks for confirming!

@Raman -- I'm a bit confused, I don't see any shared Dropbox folders associated with your account. Are you sure you've shared anything with us? Perhaps you have several accounts and I'm not looking at the right one?

oh, I had some mistakes, i corrected them. thanks anybody. PA is really perfect

No problem, thanks for confirming it works now!

Dropbox has stopped syncing both ways about 1 or 2 days ago and this is just with my PAW account. My tablet is still in sync. Is it only on my account ? Is there a way to check if the service is up and running ? Is there a command to manually trig the sync ?

No, unfortunately this is a problem affecting all users. We're trying to fix it at the moment. We may need a little bit of downtime in a couple of hours.

Great to know your looking at it :)

Unfortunately the upgrade we just did doesn't seem to have fixed the problem :-(

Still investigating.

Still chasing this:

root@livefile# while true; do sudo -u dropbox /mnt/user_storage/ status ; date; sleep 30; done
Downloading file list...
Updating (100,995 files, a long time left. Grab a Snickers)
Uploading 474 files (39,362 kB/sec, 1 min left)
Downloading 100,521 files (1.8 kB/sec, a long time left. Grab a Snickers)
Thu May 16 14:27:22 UTC 2013
Downloading file list...
Updating (100,931 files, a long time left. Grab a Snickers)
Indexing 41 files...
Uploading 469 files (39,362 kB/sec, 1 min left)
Downloading 100,421 files (2.3 kB/sec, a long time left. Grab a Snickers)
Thu May 16 14:27:52 UTC 2013
Downloading file list...
Updating (100,839 files, a long time left. Grab a Snickers)
Uploading 468 files (39,362 kB/sec, 1 min left)
Downloading 100,371 files (2.3 kB/sec, a long time left. Grab a Snickers)
Thu May 16 14:28:22 UTC 2013
Downloading file list...
Updating (100,787 files, a long time left. Grab a Snickers)
Uploading 466 files (39,362 kB/sec, 1 min left)
Downloading 100,321 files (2.3 kB/sec, a long time left. Grab a Snickers)
Thu May 16 14:28:52 UTC 2013

It's looking better than yesterday, when it wasn't moving at all!

In the background, we're also looking into more innovative ways of dealing with Dropbox...


Downloading file list...
Updating (85,077 files, 2 days left)
Indexing 31 files...
Uploading 7 files (956.6 kB/sec, 1 sec left)
Downloading 85,039 files (10.7 kB/sec, 2 days left)

More windows file-copy dialog antics:

Downloading file list...
Updating (78,239 files, 5 days left)
Downloading 78,239 files (4.7 kB/sec, 5 days left)
Thu May 16 16:04:57 UTC 2013
Downloading file list...
Updating (77,569 files, 2 days left)
Indexing 30 files...
Downloading 77,539 files (45.0 kB/sec, 2 days left)
Thu May 16 16:07:27 UTC 2013
Downloading file list...
Updating (77,391 files, 23 hrs left)
Downloading 77,391 files (62.0 kB/sec, 23 hrs left)
Thu May 16 16:07:57 UTC 2013
Downloading file list...
Updating (77,141 files, 4 hrs left)
Downloading 77,141 files (34.8 kB/sec, 4 hrs left)
Thu May 16 16:08:27 UTC 2013
Downloading file list...
Updating (76,541 files, 10 hrs left)
Downloading 76,541 files (34.8 kB/sec, 10 hrs left)
Thu May 16 16:10:03 UTC 2013

Yup, this XKCD strip definitely springs to mind...


Updating (61,160 files, 1 sec left) 
Downloading 61,160 files (0.2 kB/sec, 1 sec left)

Clearly the Dropbox servers are moving at near-relativistic velocities. Actually, that would probably explain a lot of things...

We've been talking to them, but they didn't mention anything about a warp drive. Perhaps they're keeping it under wraps for the time being.


Downloading file list...
Updating (1,121 files)
Indexing 1 file...
Uploading 2 files...
Downloading 1,118 files...

Everything seems to be syncing normally now, and new Dropbox shares are being processed. Fingers crossed that it will stay that way...

Been watching the status all day today, as it's been syncing about 20,000 files. You can't imagine how it feels to see this:

$ while true; do ./ status; date; sleep 120; done
Dropbox isn't responding!
Sat May 18 19:33:58 UTC 2013
Downloading file list...
Updating (153 files, 50 mins left)
Indexing 17 files...
Uploading 107 files (13,559 kB/sec, 6 secs left)
Downloading 29 files (10.7 kB/sec, 50 mins left)
Sat May 18 19:35:58 UTC 2013
Downloading file list...
Updating (130 files, 49 mins left)
Uploading 114 files (13,559 kB/sec, 11 secs left)
Downloading 16 files (10.7 kB/sec, 49 mins left)
Sat May 18 19:37:59 UTC 2013
Updating (3 files, 1 sec left)
Indexing 1 file...
Uploading 2 files (1,212 kB/sec, 1 sec left)
Sat May 18 19:39:59 UTC 2013
Downloading file list...
Updating (1 file)
Downloading 1 file...
Sat May 18 19:41:59 UTC 2013
Updating (8 files)
Indexing 5 files...
Uploading 2 files...
Downloading 1 file...
Sat May 18 19:43:59 UTC 2013
Updating (6 files, 2 secs left)
Uploading 5 files (3,612 kB/sec, 2 secs left)
Downloading 1 file...
Sat May 18 19:45:59 UTC 2013

By some weird renaming of folders while not fully synced i managed to create a folder that can't be removed anymore from my Dropbox folder on PAW. Is there a way to remove this folder?

Hi jmfrank63, do you want to email with more details. You can't delete anything in the Dropbox folder because you don't have write access. The correct way to delete a folder from there is to leave the folder via dropbox and tick the box to not let us keep a copy at that point. But if that didn't happen then we will need to tidy it up manually.

Hi. I was cleaning up my Dropbox folder (via ssh) this morning, watching the sync on my Mac. Worked great for a while, then it decided it had enough and stopped working. Nothing is synching now. I've checked that it's not the Mac -- it's not synching with the web site either, which I imagine is the authoritative version of what files Dropbox actually has.

I have seen (and used, on a Raspberry Pi) a shell script that can force a file copy to or from Dropbox as though it were a network drive. I wonder if there might be some way to use technology like that to forcibly synchronize Dropbox and get it started again.

Anyway, it would be nice to get Dropbox working again.

(In all other respects, fantastic service, as always... :-) )


Well, that's interesting. One of the changes just synchronized, ten or fifteen minutes later.

I have other changes that have not synced yet, at least one of them (a new file at PA) is about 25 minutes old.

If it's just a question of waiting in a long line for synch to happen, that's fine, though almost a half-hour seems like a long time. I'll keep watching.

Best wishes,


About 45 minutes later all the synching is done. (syncing? sp?) Maybe this is normal. It's good that it works, but it's not really convenient for a code-on-one-machine, test-on-another workflow. Maybe Git is a better solution there.

Anyway, it seems to have eventually syncronized, and that's the critical thing. Sorry to have bothered you. :-)

Best wishes,


It really depends on what everyone else is doing; currently we have just one Dropbox server that's shared between everyone, and so if someone does a large change it can back things up for everyone else. It seems to be OK right now, and syncing pretty fast.

I think given the scale we've reached now (there are thousands of people sharing stuff with us on Dropbox) we're going to have to shard the Dropbox server (so that, say, we have one for users with usernames starting a-m and one for the usernames n-z). That's doable, but will be a bit tricky...

As an aside, if you go the sharing route I suggest something like splitting based on the hash of the username rather than the name itself, to help keep things more evenly balanced.

Good idea, I think we should be able to do that.

Quick question: is the

file in the Dropbox folder special in some way? I notice it was created at the same time as the README.txt file, and it doesn't want to be deleted, but it's not clear to me what it's for. Can it be deleted?


It's there because users were sharing Python modules in Dropbox and then they were unable to import from there because Python looks for to determine if it's looking at a module. So we dropped it in to prevent that confusion. Other than that, it doesn't have any effect. It's also an empty file so it's not having any appreciable effect on your disk usage.

No problem. I'm not worried about it; I just wondered if it was something I had done and somehow forgotten. Thanks for the explanation.

What is the current status of Dropbox ? Is there something I can do to sync ?

The only thing that's worth checking is permissions. The dropbox client runs as a member of the group "registered_users", which shoud be the group of all your files. Make sure that all your files are group read + writable, and that directories are group executable. I've just done that for you, and I think it unblocked things.

Often there's nothing you can do though. Occasionally Dropbox seems to have a fit and decide it needs to re-sync 100,000 files, which sometimes takes it several days. It does seem to be settling down now...


Can you translate that into actual BASH commands?

When I do an ll I get:

drwxr-xr-x 3 65432 60 Mar 14 17:22 .
drwxrwxr-x 5 rcooke 4096 Jun 18 15:11 ..
-rwxr-xr-x 1 65432 855 Jun 17 18:50 README.txt
-rwxr-xr-x 1 65432 0 Jun 17 18:50
drwxrwxrwx 5 65432 71 Jun 17 18:51 pythononline

Assuming "65432" is the group name, I tried

chown -R :65432 *

And got lots of "can't do that" errors.

I think this should do it (from the Dropbox directory):

chown -R rcooke:registered_users pythononline/*

Thanks. But I switched to SVN anyway. Drop box was quick and easy to do some quick tests. But I need revision history, and the wonky fluctuations in Dropbox updates were making test-edit-test really annoying.

Sounds like a good idea. We generally recommend not using Dropbox for deployment, but it sounds like we should either change the way we interface with it or stop recommending if for development too :-(

Accept my invitation please.. Thanks you.

Hi fedevin, do you want to email with more information? The name of the share would be enough.

Any change of getting another service , for instance SugarSync, Box etc for the syncing?

It's unlikely in the short term, but if you have a favourite I'll give it an upvote in our tracker?

I am waiting for the Dropbox invitation to be accepted. Is there anything that I can do to check if everything is fine?

Looks like Dropbox is clearing down a backlog. It was on 30,000 files to sync a couple of hours ago, now it's down to a few hundred. That should mean it will be able to process your share soon.

I'll check again in an hour or so. If it still hasn't worked, I might be able to do some kind of manual workaround...

Looks like it's managed to clear down the backlog, and process your invitation. Let me know if things seem to be working OK...

I'm also getting the notification:

Dropbox is having trouble at the moment. Your shares may not sync. See here for details.

Which led me here, but it seems to be seeking i just tested:

1) creating a file in PythonAnywhere: ""

And it appeared quickly in Dropbox: ""

2) deleting the same file in PythonAnywhere: ""

And it deleted quickly in Dropbox: ""

3) creating a file in dropbox: ""

It took a little while to appear in PythonAnywhere: ""

4) deleting the same file in dropbox: ""

It took a little while to appear in PythonAnywhere: ""

It seems to be working, but the notification is a bit worrying, so here it's my experience.

Thanks for posting that! It does look like our last release has fixed our recent spate of Dropbox problems. But we'll leave the warning there for a little while longer until we're sure it's all reasonably well sorted out.

I'm getting a several minute delay, even with something this simple

testfile = open('testfile.txt', 'w')

testfile.write('Summer is nearly over.')

I access these files at: Dashboard > Files

Several minutes is a long time to wait to see if my code is working...

When I put the same code in a python file and run it, the file is created, but the file remains empty (0 Bytes).

@mroswell: See my answer in the other thread you opened.

Hi guys, suggestion: your threads should be reversed in terms of posts and their placement. Latest at the top, older posts below it. I thought the last update was from 2012 at first glance

Warning is still up -- does it still pertain? If not, probably a good idea to remove it.

Things seem to have quietened down, yes. Thanks for the heads-up, I'll remove it for our next release (or sooner if we can).

I'm not sure I'll recognize the UI without that warning...☺

Well, it's gone now...

I'm seeing the pink box with the message "Dropbox is having trouble at the moment. Your shares may not sync." And I've changed my email address on pythonanywhere to match the one I use with Dropbox, and I have shared the folder with pythonanywhere...and nothing happens (for > 12 hrs now). Frustrating.

The pink box is just something we put up when we are having Dropbox problems generally, it doesn't indicate a particular problem with your share. Your one should actually be working right now -- there was a glitch when our system tried to accept it at around 6:20 UTC, but I processed it manually at 14:15 and sent you an email then to let you know. What are you seeing when you try to access it on PythonAnywhere?

Thank you, Giles! I just tested it with a dummy .txt file and it did sync and was there on PA right away. For some reason that pink message box is still there, but I appear to be syncing now anyway.

I shared my dropbox folder and added dropbox at awhile ago, but on my dropbox folder settings it is still showing the email as "Still waiting". Can someone help process it pretty please?

I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do at the moment.

We have written a wiki page with some alternative options for getting files in and out of PythonAnywhere