We’re living in an era where most of our personal data are digital. Storing this data on physical hard drives is not convenient, not only because is not appropriate to carry a load of hard drives with you wherever you go, but also that way has little to offer in terms of security. All of your photos, music, videos, and business projects can disappear if you damage the external hard drive or you lose it.
Upgrading and moving to a virtual cloud storage service not only makes it easier for you to access your files but also makes them much more safe and affordable to store. Data storage hardware and infrastructure makes an expensive investment and moving files and apps in the cloud is more convenient not only for individuals but as well as for businesses.
The physical environment and infrastructure cloud storage service managed, maintained, and provided by a hosting company. Given the load of cloud storage providers available out there, you’ll be looking to find a provider that offers the most of low-cost storage and bandwidth and as well keep your files safe.
Dropbox is one of the initiators of cloud storage hosting industry with around one decade of active business. It also is the only online storage provider to offer its services for Linux, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry besides standard Android, Windows, and iOS. Dropbox simplifies adding and management of your personal cloud data via an app for all of its supported clients.
Upon sign up, Dropbox offers 2GB of free cloud storage with the free basic account. However, you can expand the available cloud memory by referring friends to join the service and get 500MB of extra space per referral. You can get along with the free Dropbox account if you’re looking for a place to store your photo collection, but if you need to host videos, music, or other massive files, you’ll want to upgrade.
Still, with the free Dropbox plan, you can sync files across devices, use Dropbox Sync for a view-only view of your files via creating shared links, and experience a whole new simple way of document editing or project creation. Dropbox Connect allows an easy connection and file syncing from mobile to computer and vice versa. The app has a ‘Connect a Computer’ option on the app that will tell your desktop to start downloading the Dropbox app. The how-to guide is easy and all steps are visible during the process.
Dropbox creates a local folder on your computer, tablet, or smartphone that then syncs the files you move there to an online version. On mobile, files should be selected and uploaded. Thus, you will be able to access and manage your data whether you’re connected to a network or offline. On the free version, shared documents cannot be protected in any way, and viewers can access them as an admin and have sufficient power to edit or erase them. However, if you’re not trying to share files, Dropbox will store an edition history of anything you change for a period of 30 days. You can access any of old version or undelete any file enough the change was made within this 30-day period of time.
The first of the Dropbox plans is the Plus with its pricing set at $9.99 a month and offers 1TB of cloud space (1000GB). It includes everything that comes with the basic version adding the ability to set permissions on shared files. You can make shared files read-only or set a password and share them with friends or colleagues. In case you don’t want the files you share to be permanently available, there’s an option to set expiration dates. Some sort of self-destructing file sharing.
The mobile Dropbox app, and in particular the Dropbox app for Android categorizes your files by type and places images into one category and Paper documents in a separate place. For offline access, you should select what files you want to access. Document-editing is best when done offline.
The professional plan which is a Dropbox business plan is priced at a bitty $19.99. It includes everything that comes with the Plus plan and has the Dropbox Smart Sync especially designed to save your hard drive by letting you access all of your files from your desktop. The file sharing on the Dropbox Pro plan allows you to obtain full control over who sees them, brand your files, and also provides analytics regarding engagement. There’s as well a 120-day backup of any change on your files coming with the plan.
Dropbox secures your files using Advanced Encryption Standard 256-bit encryption and has a two-step authentication for your account. It is always recommended to enable the two-step login wall to prevent any unwanted access to your file hosting directory. If you do that, the rest will be taken care by Dropbox.
Personal Cloud Storage provided through Google Drive is one of the core services Google currently offers. It is a natural online backup storage for Android users as it is part of Google’s “One Account for All,” thus, if you have a Gmail, YouTube, or even a Google Calendar account you already are equipped with a G Drive as well.
Google Drive starts with 16GB of free storage in the cloud for every user that already decided to become part of the giant Google family. The space offered by Google is shared across all devices. Thus, your Gmail, Blogger uploads, or automatic photo backups to Google+ as well count in the total amount of free space you have. However, Google will not take from your space for files others have shared to you from their cloud, this space is always taken from the other part.
What’s actually amazing about the Google Cloud is that it offers free unlimited cloud storage backups for photos and videos via Google Photos. High-Quality photo uploads and video backups are not included in your metered cloud space, but the original resolution uploads will not be accepted without taking memory space. There’s a checkable widget on the Google Photos that lets you choose between the two.
Google Drive paid plans begin with 100GB of storage in the cloud priced at $1.99 a month, 1TB for $9.99, and $99.99 a month for 10TB of online memory in the cloud.
Your files stored in the Google Cloud will be accessible across devices. Google comes with downloadable Backup & Sync for individuals and Drive File Stream for businesses applications for Windows and MacOS. Mobile users have their respective Google Drive app for Android and iOS. Google offers a selective sync to allow you choose which folders sync on a desktop or laptop.
You can store Google sheets, forms, docs, slides, drawings, images, videos, songs, and a series of Google Drive web Apps for your browser on your G Drive account. It lets you scan documents as well, enable offline availability for any file you want to access without relying on an Internet connection, and view older versions of files where your changes and editions are applied. File sharing is as well supported.
Everything is offered under an innovative and user-friendly design that lets you quickly jump across files and folders by search. Although most of your files will already become part of an automated categorization managed by the drive its self when you upload or add new files.
Google maintains a 128-bit AES encryption of files stored on the drive. Although it may not be as promising in terms of security when compared to the later 256-bit AES, Google’s account security is what has your back. There’s a two-step verification and unless you’re using an extremely-easy-to-guess password on your Google account, none else but you will be having access to it. Google tracks your IP and even if somebody really gets into your account, you’ll still be logged on your device and can reset the password by clicking on the link sent to your Gmail account via email.
Amazon is an electronic commerce and cloud computing company, and of course, cloud storage service plays a significant role in its business. Amazon Drive, formerly known as Cloud Drive, offers 5GB of free memory in the cloud for any Amazon account holder. That’s not much of space, but if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you get unlimited digital storage to backup and save your photos.
When you upload photos on your Amazon Cloud account, they are managed and categorized by Amazon’s own filters and allow you to easily find them by name, people, place, or things. Prime members can as well invite up to five of their friends or family to receive unlimited backup space for their photography.
Besides Amazon Photos offering unlimited cloud backups for images for every Amazon Prime subscriber and their friends, it also allows an instant access to Amazon Prints. Uploading your files to Amazon Cloud lets you select prints and if you’re a Prime member will have your high-quality printed photos shipped to you for free. A good combination of Amazon digital services that get the job done quickly.
The paid Amazon Digital Storage plans start with $11.99 a year and lend to you 100GB of cloud space. Again, Prime members have their image storage not counted against their paid space, and they’ll be hosted and backed for free. If that’s not sufficient for you, Amazon can offer 1TB of space for $59.99 a year.
Amazon as well has apps for desktop, iOS, Mac, and Android. You can access your files from any of these devices by simply logging on your Amazon account. File sharing support allows you to share any kind of document or file with your friends or colleagues. Its image search function supports face recognition for easier searching among your gallery.
pCloud is not just another file backup and file management service in the cloud. It is one of the best and secure ways to store your files and documents on a digital service and not only have them stored in one place but in multiple servers that are all highly secured but also assure you that you’re never losing anything you add.
Anybody that chooses to make pCloud their cloud storage option of their choice receives 20GB of free memory that can be utilized for uploading files of any format or size. pCloud won’t actually forbid you from uploading original format of your files like some other services of this kind. Its file sharing service lets you share files with friends or take your entire business team to pCloud Business and grant to each of the members adjustable access to files and folders. This is, however, part of pCloud’s paid services and starts at $49.95 a month for a minimal team of five members.
When opting for backing and storing your files online with pCloud, you can choose amongst monthly and lifetime subscriptions. $4.6 per month or $148 one-time payment for 500GB of storage and $9.5 per month or the $250 lifetime subscription where you receive 2TB of space. Payments for monthly subscriptions are charged annually.
pCloud lets you access your file via your computer and mobile phone via the downloadable supported apps or via a browser. To find your files, you can use the search bar or the filters that separate them by type format. All files you delete are stored in the trash section where will be siding for 15 days for the free account and up to 180 days for various premium subscriptions.
pCloud file backup service not only allows you to share files with your friends but it also enables you to share entire folders. You can as well generate upload and download links to and for your folders and files. Regarding security, the company uses industry standard 4096-bit RSA for users’ private keys and 256-bit AES for per-file and per-folder keys. Your files are secure enough that won’t be accessible without your encryption password even in case you lose your physical device.
Mega is a unique cloud storage and file backup service. Not only it offers the most of the free storage upon sign up (50GB), but it is also so secure that your password is as well your encryption key and it curses you with being only responsible for the security maintenance of your files and folders. If you share your password and somehow your account gets compromised, even the support team will not be capable of returning back your account. Because the password you enter upon registration process is encrypted as well and even the Mega support team does not know what password did you use to secure your account.
Mega can be found at Mega.co.nz, but now it redirects its website and services for computer to a browser extension, and everything is managed from there. Mobile users, however, can enjoy having all tasks managed via an app. Mega has apps for Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows phones, PC and Mac users can access their Mega account via extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
The whopping generous free storage you get at Mega and the maximum security guaranteed by end-to-end encryption makes Mega not only one of the top cloud storage services but also one of the best places to host and share heavy files such as movies or high-res videos.
Mega cloud storage and file backup premium plans are currently set at four. Each varying by the total amount of free storage and a monthly transfer quota, growing in size for each higher subscription. Mega cloud plans start with $5.9 per month where you receive 200GB of backup storage and 1TB of file transfer. The highest plan will cost you $35.5 a month and hands at you 8TB of cloud space and 16TB of memory for file transfers. Mega certainly supports the highest amount of available space for individual users without hiding prices behind contact forms.
Mega as well allows you to share files with users where you can set up viewer access to files and create downloadable links for your files. The Mega cloud is vastly used by people that have heavy files to share or host, like movies, games, or apps.
Just like Google Drive is the natural cloud storage provider for Android users, OneDrive is for Windows faithfuls. As it is built on Windows 10 and interacts with other Microsoft platforms, Microsoft OneDrive makes a great file backup alternative service. Although with the free account user receives only 5GB of space in the cloud. This cloud space used to be 15GB, while Google keeps its Drive storage still at 15GB, Microsoft offers 50GB for a low-end subscription of just $1.99 a month.
You can get one TB of space on the Microsoft cloud service if you subscribe to the $69.99 Office 360. OneDrive for individuals alone has only one plan for storage. The only way for individuals to get beyond the 50GB limit is to subscribe to other plans of Office 360. The $99.99 a year Office 360 plan includes 5TB of cloud memory that can be divided into five users, a good place to bring everything your small team has about the business.
However, Microsoft OneDrive cloud service has cheap plans for businesses. OneDrive for business starts at $5 a month and includes 1TB of storage that allows you to store single files up to 16GB in size. For $10 a month the OneDrive business plan goes unlimited in storage, and for $12.50 a month you receive Office 360 Premium, unlimited cloud storage, and some Office applications like Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher. But that’s not all. This plan also includes Microsoft services like Exchange, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and Skype for Business along the rest.
OneDrive lets you to remotely access your cloud files via another PC via its live website. The web version is equipped with several social networking buttons to easily allow you to share your files with friends and partners. Microsoft has an extremely powerful security wall that protects your data, and as well it scans your files for any copyright infringement.
Box deems its self as a secure file sharing and file management solution for businesses, although it still has a service targetting cloud storage services, it sometimes is shaded by the Dropbox counterpart. That’s primarily because of similar branding. To be noted is that Box dates earlier than Dropbox, it launched in 2005, two years earlier than the now-popular Dropbox.
Box offers 10GB of free storage on the Box cloud service to everyone that signs up for a Box account. However, this comes with a glitch. You are restricted from uploading files larger than 250MB in size. This service will not come much handy if you plan on backing online a video game or a movie. However, individuals can have up to 100GB of cloud memory and a maximum file backup of 5GB per single file for a pricing of $9.5 per month.
Box business plans for cloud start at around $4.5 per month where you are given 100GB of storage in the cloud that can be used for up to 10 users. The most popular Business plan is priced at $14 and gives you unlimited storage in the cloud but still limiting the maximum size of a single file. For the first business subscription, your maximum file can be 2GB while for the second is 5GB. Even for Box for enterprise maintains a 5GB limit for maximum file upload. This can be a turn off for anyone looking to upload heavy files on the cloud, while for music, photography, short videos, documents, or apps Box does offer a great alternative solution.
Box engages with multiple other companies such as Microsoft, Google, IBM and more (here’s a full list of Box partners) that allow you to use third-party apps for editing your files. Box allows file sharing via URL’s or via Box. Also, you can edit your files online or offline. Regarding security (read everything Box has to say regarding security of your files), there is a two-factor authenticating and encryption that makes everything you backup accessible only to you or to your partners that have their power granted by you.
SpiderOak is a cloud storage provider alternative that mainly focuses on the security of files and documents. It is not as much cooperative with users, and you may not find many file-editing-software you could find elsewhere, but dropping editions for a reliable security maintenance might be what many could just be okay with.
SpiderOak is a secure cloud storage but it, unfortunately, does not come with a lifetime free account. It, however, has a 21-day trial for any new user that opts for one of the paid plans. Plan for individuals is called SpiderOak One, and it starts with $5 a month for 100GB of space. For $4 more per month, you receive 256GB, one TB of cloud storage is priced at $12 a month, and for $25 monthly subscription SpiderOak will provide 5TB of space.
SpiderOak comes with a similar desktop app to that of Dropbox. The app is called SpiderOak Hive and offers a simple and yet effective way to instantly tell the app what data to save in the cloud. All you have to do is drop files into the Hive folder, and SpiderOak will automatically begin creating a backup of these files on the cloud and keep them in sync. You can then access all of your cloud-stored documents and files from any device, regardless of your SpiderOak subscription plan.
SpiderOak encrypts your files on transit while being transferred from your device to SpiderOak servers. The company calls this end-to-end encryption, and it creates the key from your machine, making the data readable only to you. SpiderOak One features something called Point in Time that allows you to restore the state of your data before a malware attack, just in case you get infected by a virus or malware. If you believe your Android device has been struck by a hacker, take a look at these antivirus apps that will help you get rid of malware.
With SpiderOak you may as well share files with colleagues and communicate amongst each other using the SpiderOak Semaphor messenger. This messenger simplifies file sharing and file searching between you and your team members, with all your conversations being encrypted and anonymous.
Zoolz Intelligent Cloud Storage
Zoolz describes its self for offering intelligent cloud services and having file management on the cloud designed smartly. But having a secure cloud backup with an intelligent touch is not everything about Zoolz. Currently, it is actually offering so much free lifetime cloud storage that makes the 16GB of space provided by Google to seem nanoscopic. Zoolz’ offer is even larger than what Mega offers, totaling 75GB of space to store all you can with just a sign-up. You aren’t also required to enter your financial information to get this enormous free space in the cloud.
However, this fantastic Zoolz cloud deal is available only to businesses, not individuals, and individuals are offered with only 5GB of free space. But still, all you need to do is own a business email, and you can become part of this amazing offer.
If you choose to go on with Zoolz business cloud storage plans, upgrades will cost you $0.8 for GB of space. You can get up to 99TB of storage in the cloud using the Zoolz cloud computing service.
Although Zoolz personal account doesn’t offer much in terms of free space, it is very cost-efficiently if you choose to upgrade. For just $2.99 a month you receive 100GB of cloud space that can be used to backup three computers and three mobile phones or tablets. For $6.99 you get 500GB of space to backup data from nine computers and six phones. Both these two plans won’t limit the maximum size of a file you can upload and are equipped with a built-in video streamer to view videos and films in Standard Quality. If you choose to go higher and subscribe for the 1TB plan, you’ll be paying $12.99 per month and you can backup fifteen computers, unlimited smartphones or tablets, and videos will be streamed in HD.
Zoolz is a great cloud alternative for photography backup and storage. The software its self is equipped with smart AI that includes facial recognition for finding stored images. It also lets you find images by their metadata or filter them by size, camera type, color, resolution, location, and more. It also lets you find documents and scanned documents by utilizing what the company calls Optical Character Recognition (OCR). The OCR software lets you find documents by entering words from them into a search bar. Quite easy.
Zoolz is an Amazon partner, and everything is worked through Amazon AWS cloud computing services, files uploaded and stored on Zoolz (once you upload a file on Zoolz the software will automatically create a backup of it on the cloud) are encrypted using the 256-bit AES end-to-end encryption. Offering a high security for your files.
Tresorit is another service that provides secure storage in the cloud. Being a provider that mainly focuses on encrypting anything you upload or sync in the cloud, Tresorit makes your files accessible only by you. Although it isn’t the only encrypted cloud storage provider, it still makes an amazing alternative that worths a try. There are 3GB of free space coming with any new account, but it will last only for two weeks as it’s part of a trial. The pricing begins at $12 a month for the lowest subscription.
Although Tresorit may seem to be an expensive choice, it actually isn’t. It targets mainly businesses, but there’s a plan for individuals priced at around $9 that gives you 200GB of space and another priced at $22 with 2TB of storage. For the first plan for individuals, there is a 90-day history activity stored on each account while for the second you can view unlimited editions on your files and folders.
Tresorit for business starts with $11.7, and it offers 1TB of space, lets you view unlimited history activity and revert to any of the versions of your files, share files and restrict permissions for the receiving part, and as well as sync data from up to 10 different devices.
Tresorit also integrates with Outlook and other file-editing apps that allow you to modify our files via your computer or mobile device regardless if you are connected to the Internet. Offline file editing is something sweet to have in your cloud.
Files you host in the cloud are stored in servers hosted in the EU and obey to Swiss privacy laws, and this prevents agencies from smuggling into your privacy whenever they feel they have the right to do so. Also, your account is part of a two-step authentication, that secures your files even in case you lose or have your device stolen, your phone number will be required for any access into your account or anything that’s there. The end-to-end encryption takes care of the rest of security.
Tresorit has apps and web portals for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. The large variety of supported operating systems enables you to access your files regardless of the type of device you’re using.
Luckily, cloud storage providers host plenty of files completely free of charge. Actually, if you were to set up an account on all of these ten providers, you would get over than 200GB of space for free. That space discludes camera uploads because some like Google Cloud will not even count in your free storage photo and video backups.
With that said, all providers are also built to serve the same purposes. Some will even limit you to services or in size when uploading files. But if you are looking for a place to store a few heavy files, Mega and Zoolz are very tempting.
If you want a place to store photographs and videos in the cloud, Google Drive, Amazon Drive, and Zoolz probably are your best alternatives. Zoolz will not only offer you an extremely extended amount of free storage space but also will equip you with the right filters to quickly reach any stored image.
Chromebook and Microsoft Office users will experience a better support and have much more to do if they’d go for Google Drive or OneDrive. pCloud and Tresorit mainly focus on security, and if you don’t want anyone to keep an eye on your files and folders, those two (but not limited to) make amazing cloud storage alternatives.