Cloud storage is an undeniable part of our life now. You most probably use it knowingly or unknowingly. From saving your WhatsApp messages on Google Drive to synchronizing your contacts for safe keeping.
Storing your data online provides a reliable backup for all your important files. It gives you access to all your files from any computer, tablet or phone. Using off-site storage isn’t hard. Choosing the right free cloud storage solution is more difficult.
I have come up with a list of the top ten cloud storage services addressed how they work and focused on their strengths and weaknesses. This should give you all the intel you need to begin leveraging the awesome power of online storage.
Dropbox is synonymous with cloud storage. The seamless integration with common applications and websites and support for virtually any operating system and platform you could think of earns it quite a reputation.
A basic Dropbox account gives you a measly 2GB of storage. This is more than enough for documents. If you are thinking multimedia, you definitely will have to upgrade to the 1TB plan for £7.99
Alternatively, you could invite a friend and get an additional 500MB with every referral you make. The bonus referral space caps at 16GB.
Setting up a Mailbox account earns you an extra 1GB while taking the Dropbox introductory tour earns you 250MB.
Camera uploads automatically synchronize your smartphone or tablet photos with a bonus 3GB storage space.
These freebies could effectively raise your free Dropbox storage space from the basic 2GB to a total of 21GB.
Dropbox’s apps integrate the cloud storage into your PC or Mac by creating a local folder that mirrors the online storage slot. This folder isn’t subject to the normal delete or destroyed data problems as Dropbox will keep a copy and even save any changes made to backed up files for up to a month.
You will get two-step authentication and AES 256-bit encryption for all files backed up with Dropbox.
Dropbox is highly reliable. It will integrate with most applications and websites. Even Microsoft Office has a Dropbox plugin. It’s versatility and reliability will keep your data safe and ensure compatibility with the latest technologies.
Microsoft OneDrive started with a tantalizing 15GB free online storage offer. But it will be slashing that down to only 5GB.
OneDrive tightly integrates into Windows Phone and Windows OS 8+ by creating dedicated folders and accounts that let you access your online data right from your file explorer.
Initially, OneDrive never kept a local copy of the backed up files hence you cannot use it when you are offline. This changed with the selective sync features in Windows 10 that lets you choose what will sync on your PC and what will exclusively stay on the cloud.
If you want to access your files using another PC, you can just log into your account over at the OneDrive website.
Microsoft doesn’t let you earn any additional storage space the Dropbox way. Moreover, their sense of privacy is a bit loose as Microsoft will occasionally scan your files in search for illegal content. This will range from pirated content to explicit or pornographic material.
The free 15GB was the main catch with OneDrive. That’s why I always referred people to OneDrive. The drastic drop to 5GB just made me lose interest in OneDrive.
Google Drive is the excellent office and productivity tool with extra room for some play and fun. Drive gives you a word processor (Google Docs), spreadsheets (Google Sheets) and a presentation builder to replace PowerPoint.
Everyone with a Google Account already has 15GB of Drive storage. You can upload whatever files you please to drive. The 15GB makes it more practical to people who want to save photos and a couple of video clips.
Drive.google.com gives you access to your files through a web browser, preferably Google Chrome. Alternatively, you could download and install the Drive app on PC or Mac to access these files through your file explorer.
You will also get apps for iOS and Android to help you access and edit your files on the go.
The powerful web client and seamless integration with third-party apps that let you do anything from sending faxes to signing documents makes Google Drive an efficient office tool. It is a worthy adversary to the reigning Dropbox.
Box offers different blends of off-site storage tailored to serve individuals and agencies. The business plan lets you set up a team and offers efficient collaboration tools to make your workflow better.
If you are thinking free, however, you will have to stick with the personal plan that gives you 10GB of storage and a 250MB file max (each single file in your account mustn’t be greater than 249MB.)
You will either manage your files from the Box website or use apps that synchronize your online data with your hard drive.
Additional plugins and app connectivity will let you push your Box beyond the limit.
Box is perfect for enterprises. The sharing, privacy and collaboration features will only be helpful in an organizational setting. If you intent to use Box as an individual, take care not to entangle yourself in the settings and features maze. Just enjoy the free 10GB online storage as much as you can.
Mega is the perfect toy to heavy storage users. The free package gives you a staggering 50GB of space. This is more than enough for a couple of valuable photos, videos and apps you never want to lose.
With Mega employing end to end encryption, your data will be at its safest. Mega has no access to your data as it doesn’t know your encryption key. Anyone who needs to see what you store on Mega will have to go through you.
Mega has local clients for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. You can also use a secure plugin for your Chrome or Firefox browser and expect full support for all common smartphone platforms, as there is an app for Android, Windows Phone, iOS and Blackberry.
Sharing files with Mega users is equally simple. You can send an invitation to a friend and give them the necessary permissions. If you want to send files to non-Mega people, you will have to privately send the encryption key so that they can decrypt the files.
Mega wants to include voice calls, video chat, IM and email to its end-to-end encryption catalog. This will prove to secure and private than most available solutions
Mega is perfect for people seeking huge storage spaces and privacy. No one will scan what you store in your Mega account. The only problem is Mega doesn’t give you any productivity tools. Forget about it if you want to manage and organize your office work – unless your office work focuses on graphics and video editing.
pCloud starts you off on a modest 10GB that you can easily upgrade to 13GB if you finish going through the tutorial and share with your friends. Each referral you generate also earns you an extra 1GB.
With no file restrictions, you can upload any file as big as your storage space. All your data will be encrypted to and from the server making pCloud safe enough for general use.
A notable feature that makes similar to Dropbox would be the file versioning that keeps track of changes made to a specific file in up to 30 days.
If you are so obsessed with security, you will find the Crypto Folder feature quite welcoming. Crypto Folder encrypts on your device and leaves you in charge of the 4096-bit RSA encryption key.
The additional 256-bit AES encryption serves to make pCloud data secure in comparison to a couple of other unencrypted cloud storage service providers.
pCloud offers an impressive minimum storage package and upgrade incentives that come in handy to power users. The additional encryption feature will also make you feel safer when accessing your data. It is such a pity it doesn’t have productivity features like Dropbox or Drive.
Dropbox and Google Drive proliferate the off-site storage world courtesy of their seamless integration into the average user’s life. Google Drive’s office tools and Photo Sync service is especially lucrative to many people.
However, Mega would be a better alternative to anyone looking for extra online space. pCloud, on the other hand, can give you up to 20 GB with the impressive encryption. This would be a great alternative to Dropbox.