If you’ve never used it before, cloud storage is a game changer. The ability to seamlessly share files and folders with friends or co-workers, automatically back up thousands of photos, or sync your most important work across all your devices will instantly make your digital life more manageable. Additionally, we have options ranging from big names like Dropbox and OneDrive to lesser known competitors like pCloud and Icedrive.
The challenge is finding the right combination of features, security, compatibility, and price to meet your cloud storage needs.
What is cloud storage?
Cloud Storage is a way to store data online instead of on your local computer. Requires Internet connection to download, edit and share documents, presentations, spreadsheets, images, audio, video, etc. with others. Online storage service providers do not store any data on your PC’s hard drive. Cloud storage tools help you access your data from any device.
How We Select The Best Cloud Storage Services
You’re probably familiar with the big names in cloud storage, file syncing, and cloud backup. What you may not know is that there are many high-quality competitors trying to alienate users from Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, etc. with better security and tons of unique features. When selecting services from this list, we take into account key features such as security and encryption, ease of use, file sharing and synchronization, compatibility with various desktop and mobile operating systems, versioning support, annoying limitations or fine print, and, of course, the cost of the monthly, annual and, if applicable, lifetime plans.
Due to the wide range of features we considered, some of the biggest names like Google Drive and Dropbox didn’t make the cut. In both cases, privacy concerns and a lack of encryption prevented these two options from cracking our list.
Most Popular Cloud Storage Providers in 2021
Here are the most popular cloud storage service providers you can trust in 2021.
pCloud is ideal for: Suitable for storing large files.
pCloud will allow you to store your files and make them accessible on all devices. Sharing and collaborating on files will be easier with pCloud. Additionally, private files can be encrypted and kept private here.
- For data security, it provides TLS / SSL encryption.
- With pCloud, file management can be done from the web, desktop or mobile devices.
- Provides several options for file sharing.
- During a specified period, save the versions of the files.
- You can backup your photos from social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Picasa.
Cons: Enforces bandwidth limits.
Operating system platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.
Pricing: pCloud offers free 10 GB storage. It offers annual and lifetime pricing plans. With the annual plan, you’ll pay $ 3.99 per month for 500GB of storage and $ 7.99 per month for 2TB of storage.
For lifetime plans, you’ll pay a one-time fee of $ 175 for 500GB and $ 359 for 2TB of storage. A free trial is also available.
Sync.com is best for ease of use and security.
Sync provides encrypted cloud storage. It will allow you to send or share any file with anyone. Provides good collaboration features. You can access your files from anywhere. Data is synced across all your devices.
- For data protection, it provides features like 365-day history, advanced sharing control, download restriction, password protected sharing, etc.
- It has productivity features like file requests, document previews, automatic camera download, offline access, and more.
- It provides the basic functionality of unlimited share transfer limits, sharing and collaboration, real-time backup and sync, and anywhere access.
- Provides privacy protection through end-to-end encryption, no third-party tracking, HIPAA compliance, GDPR compliance, and PIPEDA compliance.
Cons: It does not offer a monthly billing option.
Operating system platforms: Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android and Web.
Pricing: Sync offers three pricing plans for teams, Standard ($ 5 per user per month), Plus ($ 8 per user per month), and Advanced ($ 15 per user per month). All these prices are for annual billing. Sync.com also offers individual plans starting at $ 8 per month. It offers the starter plan for free with the basic features. It is free forever.
Livedrive is the best for personal and commercial cloud storage solutions.
Livedrive is an online backup and cloud storage solution. You can back up an unlimited number of files. It offers solutions for personal assistance, business assistance, and reseller assistance.
It will automatically back up your files. It has data centers in the UK. Its data centers are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Livedrive’s data center monitoring equipment is ISO 27001 certified and has three levels of physical access security.
- Livedrive offers a briefcase feature that will allow you to view or edit files from any computer, mobile device, or tablet.
- It uses the strongest encryption available to transfer your files to UK data centers.
- It supports two-factor authentication and thus will prevent unauthorized access.
- Provides the business solution to securely access work files anywhere.
- Team folders will help your team collaborate and work remotely.
Cons: The mobile backup feature is not available for Windows phones and RT tablets.
Operating system platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Windows mobile phones.
Price: A free trial is available for 14 days. For businesses, it offers two pricing plans, namely Business Express ($ 50 per month) and Business Standard ($ 160 per month). He also has plans for personal products.
Icedrive is the best for easy-to-use cloud storage with high-level security encryption.
Icedrive is the synergy of the embodiment of ease of use and absolute security for your stored files.
The revolutionary desktop software allows you to access and manage your cloud storage as if it were a physical drive directly in your operating system, giving you all the functions you know about your native drives, such as opening, uploading, editing, etc. at an incomparable speed.
Also, any file you want to keep safe or private can be encrypted on the client side using the TwoFish bulletproof algorithm.
- Modern and streamlined user interface.
- Twofish client-side encryption.
- Responsive support.
- Great mobile apps for Android and iOS, plus drive-mounted capabilities for Windows desktop users.
- Version control of stored files.
- A variety of file sharing options.
Operating system platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.
Price: Icedrive offers a multitude of packages tailored to your needs.
- Free storage up to 10 GB
- Monthly plans: Lite ($ 1.67 per month for 150 GB of storage). Pro ($ 4.17 per month for 1TB of storage). Pro + ($ 15 per month for 5 TB of storage).
- Annual plans: Lite ($ 19.99 per year for 150GB of storage). Pro ($ 49.99 / year for 1TB of storage). Pro + ($ 179.99 / year for 5TB of storage).
- Lifetime Plans: Lite (£ 49 one-time payment for 150GB of storage). Pro (one-time payment of £ 119 for 1TB of storage). Pro + (£ 399 one-time payment for 5TB of storage).
5. Microsoft OneDrive
The best personal cloud storage
- 5 GB free
- Integrated into Windows 10
- Integration with Microsoft Office
Why it was successful: Microsoft OneDrive is the most convenient cloud storage solution thanks to its seamless integration with Windows, great collaboration tools, and a wide range of plans to choose from, some of which include an Office 365 subscription.
• Seamless file sync between devices
• Good file sharing support
• Excellent documentary collaboration
• Limited security and encryption
• Poor version control
As a cloud storage solution for syncing and sharing files, Microsoft OneDrive is the most convenient option and the best personal cloud storage. It’s on the same level as Dropbox or Google Drive, but benefits from additional features like seamless integration with Microsoft Office, great collaboration features, easy-to-use file sharing tools, and robust support for multiple operating systems and devices. If you’re a Windows 10 user, OneDrive is pre-installed on your system, but even if it isn’t, the macOS and iOS implementations are virtually indistinguishable from the PC and Android versions and work well for syncing files.
OneDrive does support some versions of files, but this is very limited and we don’t recommend using it as a heavy backup solution. However, for personal cloud storage, it’s hard to dispute the convenience of OneDrive; at least it’s ubiquitous.
Visit Microsoft OneDrive
6. Google Drive
Ideal for: teams and collaboration.
Google Drive is a free online data storage service provided by Google. The service syncs stored files, photos and more across all of the user’s PCs, tablets and mobile devices. It offers 15 GB of free space.
- You can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
- Provides real-time synchronization.
- You can create forms to help you complete a survey.
- The tool can be used for macOS.
- It integrates with thousands of external apps like mind map, Gantt chart, chart tools, etc.
- It allows you to store documents up to 1.02 million characters, spreadsheets up to 5 million cells, presentations up to 100MB, and Google sites up to 2,000,000 characters per page .
Cons: The interface is a bit confusing.
OS Platforms: Apps are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices.
Price: It is free until the first 15 GB. It has more plans and the prices are mentioned in the table below. Offers unlimited storage space with your professional version of Google Drive for Work.
|100GB||$1.99 per month|
|200GB||$2.99 per month|
|2TB||$9.99 per month|
|10TB||$99.99 per month|
|20TB||$199.99 per month|
|30TB||$299.99 per month|
Website: Google Drive
7. Amazon Photos
The best cloud storage for photos
- Full resolution photo and video storage
- Automatic smartphone backup
- Share storage with up to 5 people
Why it made the cut: Amazon Photos offers full-resolution photo and video storage with support for all popular formats, including some RAW files. And if you have an Amazon Prime account, you get unlimited photo storage for free.
• Prime members get free and unlimited photo storage
• The “family safe” allows you to share unlimited storage with up to 5 people
• Auto-sync feature automatically backs up your photos
• Video storage is limited to 5 GB, even if you have Amazon Prime
• Additional storage is more expensive than the competition
Earlier this year, Google grabbed the headlines when it stopped offering unlimited storage of “high-quality” photos, but few realize that Amazon is doing the same, only better. Amazon Photos is our choice for the best cloud storage for photos. If you’re one of over 200 million Amazon Prime subscribers worldwide, you get access to free, unlimited, full-resolution photo storage through Amazon Photos. As an added bonus, Prime members can invite others to be part of their “family vault,” allowing you to share your unlimited photo storage with up to 5 people.
Backing up your photos is easy, whether on the web, through the desktop app, or through the mobile app, with auto-backup support included.
There are some minor limitations. Namely, Amazon Photos only supports a small number of RAW photo formats, and video storage is always limited to 5GB unless you pay Amazon for more. But given the other perks of a $ 13 / month Prime membership, unlimited full-resolution photo storage seems like something more people should take advantage of.
Visit Amazon Photos
Ideal for storage and backup
- 5 GB free
- Strong file synchronization
- Full device backup and restore
Why it made the cut: IDrive is a hybrid cloud storage and backup solution, and the best option if you want the best of both worlds – full device backup and restore, plus online storage / sync of your favorite files and Folders.
• Support for backup and recovery of multiple devices
• Encryption is standard
• Very affordable compared to most other options.
- Limited support for file sharing
- All plans are paid per year
IDrive is a hybrid cloud storage and backup solution that gives users the best of both worlds. You can always choose a custom folder that will sync across multiple devices and operating systems, just like with pCloud or OneDrive, but you also have access to a multi-device backup with strong version and recovery options. IDrive will even protect you from ransomware attacks by taking regular “snapshots” of your system and allowing you to roll back to a previous version, and 256-bit “zero-knowledge” AES encryption is standard.
The only thing keeping IDrive from getting “Best Overall” is the relatively limited file sharing features and the fact that paid tiers are all paid per year. Fortunately, even with these annual fees, IDrive is extremely affordable.
In conclusion of this article about cloud storage providers, we can say that Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, Box, IDrive, iCloud, and pCloud provide a certain amount of storage for free.
Dropbox only offers 2GB of free storage, while Google Drive provides the most free storage at 15GB. SpiderOak offers affordable pricing plans and Amazon S3 pricing plans are a bit confusing.
Hope this best cloud storage list is helpful for you in deciding and comparing the best providers with their free and paid storage plans and other terms. From there, you can compare and select the best provider for your personal or business use.
Hope this article helps you select the best cloud storage provider.
Is Google Drive Better than iCloud?
iCloud is the more secure platform, although Google Drive has made several necessary steps forward recently. Both platforms enable you to use multi-factor authentication, which we highly recommend. Almost all data stored on iCloud’s servers is encrypted both in transit and at rest to 128-bit AES standard.
Is Google Drive a cloud service?
Google Drive is a cloud-based storage solution that allows you to save files online and access them anywhere from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can use Drive on your computer or mobile device to securely upload files and edit them online. Drive also makes it easy for others to edit and collaborate on files.
Is it safe to store pictures in the cloud?
“Cloud storage is important for photographers as localized back-ups of images are never totally safe, even if you have mirrored copies on two separate drives. Using a cloud storage solution means your images are kept safe, while you can access them from any device.”
Which data storage is most reliable?
External hard drives
Fast compared to tape and optical, hard drives are generally reliable for the short term, and if removed from operation and safely stored, may last a decade or two before magnetic properties diminish to the point of producing unrecoverable errors.