Best Cloud Storage Services For 2020 (Compared)
We ranked the best cloud storage providers for personal and professional usage through our data-driven methodology.
Our Evaluation Methodology Gist:
- We compare key metrics and factors (storage, speed, security).
- We look for essential cloud storage features (sync, share, and more).
- We compare pricing packages and their restrictions.
Top 13 Cloud Storage Platforms
- Best For Large Files And Videos
- 500GB - 2TB Plans With No Setup Fee
- TSS/SSL, 256-AES Encryption On All Files
- Works on Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android, Linux
- Best Free Cloud Storage Plan (50GB FREE)
- Comprehensive Link Sharing Options
- End-To-End Encryption on Files & Chat
- Works on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android
- Best Cloud Storage Collaboration Options
- Free: 5GB, Paid Personal Plans: 100GB - 1TB
- Enterprise-Level Security, Zero-Standing Access
- Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Xbox, Wear OS
- Best For Big Cloud Storage Needs (Starts at 2TB)
- Data Privacy and End-to-End Encryption
- In-House Support On All Premium Plans
- Global Privacy Compliance (USA, UK, GDPR, Canadian)
- Best Family Cloud Storage(Unlimited Devices)
- Good Price-Storage Ratio ($2TB For $52.12/year )
- 256 AES Encryption, 2FA- Authentication
- Works on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
- Best Businesses Plans (1TB/User)
- End-to-End Encryption, GDPR & HIPAA Compliance
- Best Support & Link Sharing, Reporting Features
- Works on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, and Android
- Feature-Rich Cloud Storage Provider
- Personal Plans: 2TB/$9.99/mo, 3TB/$16.58/mo
- Comprehensive Team Collaboration Features
- Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows Phone
- Best For Collaboration Features
- 200GB/$2.99/mo, 2TB/$9.99/mo, 30TB/$299/mo
- Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and more apps
- Works on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
- Best For Data Backup & No of Devices
- End-To-End Encryption on Private Blockchain
- Monthly: $6/150GB, $11/400GB, $14/2TB, $29/5TB
- Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
- Cheapest Cloud Storage provider
- Better Security With Twofish Algorithm
- Annual: $19.99/150GB, $49.99/1TB, $179.99/5TB
- Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
- Best For Businesses and Enterprises
- Unlimited Storage at $15/mo
- Cheapest Business Plans ($5/User)
- Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
- Best For Apple Devices
- Rich app ecosystem
- Great Media & Document Editing
- Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
- Decent Backup and Sync Options
- $7.49/mo/100GB, $9.99/mo/250GB, $18.95/mo/500GB
- 2,000+ Integrations Through Zapier
- Supports Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
The Best Cloud Storage Services - Detailed Reviews & H2H Comparison
Having all your files accessible on the go is amazing! But getting this extra file storage is something web hosting providers frown upon. So many hosts promise unmetered storage space… as long as it is not used to store files but for actual hosting.
The thing is, extra file storage is always useful and that the main reason why we checked out the best cloud storage providers and reviewed them here – to help you store all the data you need without violating the terms of service of your web host.
You’d be surprised how many people use hosting plans as a place for extra storage, but that’s a very cumbersome way to go about it. And, indeed, many providers will outright cancel your subscription if you abuse their servers, so you might even lose everything.
Cloud storage is a much more suitable alternative. You can get lots of insanely reliable storage for as little as several bucks a month, plus much better ways to access all your data.
Let’s dig right into the specifics and see what the top cloud storage companies offer.
How We Ranked the Best Cloud Storage Services – Our Review Process
To evaluate it well, cloud storage requires a specific approach so our review process was tailored accordingly.
Here’s what we checked:
- Background—Cloud safety is a major concern for everyone on the web. The last thing you need is a provider with a bad track record of keeping private data actually private.
- Plans—Pretty much all storage providers offer multiple plans. We checked what each provider claimed was in the mix. We signed up anonymously and tested how the service actually performs.
- Device compatibility—Most cloud storage platforms today grant access from various devices. The services usually work not only with desktop computers and laptops, but also phones and tablets. Of course, support for multiple operating systems is a factor too.
- Ease of use—Good cloud storage providers make it easy to upload files (across all devices). We ensured the platforms below were easy to use.
- Features—Cloud storage usually includes a bunch of features and third-party integrations. We confirmed all the available functions worked well.
- Data privacy—This one is a big deal, especially with providers in the US, where data privacy laws are not on the side of consumers or businesses. If you want to keep your private data private, it’s best to go for a provider with zero-knowledge encryption.
- Price—We checked how well the above features justified the end price. The hosts with the best value deals made it to the reviews below. Keep reading to find out who made the cut on Hosting Tribunal.
The Best Cloud Storage Platforms
1. pCloud Best security, media features, and long-term value
Things we liked / disliked
- 65% Off On Lifetime Plans
- Fast Upload Speed
- No File Limit and File Versioning
- 30 Days Of Trash History
- Comprehensive Link Sharing
- Comprehensive Collaboration Features
- Video and Audio Player
- Virtual Drive On Desktop
- Automatic Camera Roll Upload
- Social Media BackUps
- Free Plan With 10GB
- The family plan is the same as the Premium Plus (2TB) Plan.
Ease of Use:
Best Plan (2 TB):
$9.99/mo or $ 95.88/year
Value For Money:
pCloud is a popular provider. It offers unique cloud storage options, so let’s see how they perform.
pCloud works well on most devices.
The desktop client is pretty easy to set up. pCloud keeps your files in the cloud only by default, thereby freeing up space. If you want a file copy to stay on your machine for offline access, you can change the selective sync settings.
On a side note, the desktop client functions as a virtual drive. This is irrelevant in most cases. If your computer has multiple user accounts, though, you’ll need to switch off pCloud after you’re done using the computer. Otherwise, other users will be able to open the virtual drive, which is a flaw if you want secure cloud storage.
Of course, you can bypass this by using the web client. It keeps all the functions, and the only drawback is that its drag-and-drop functionality is a bit clunky.
The mobile app works on Android and iOS devices. The client has all the features of the desktop app, and it plays well with other mobile apps, which is always a plus.
Ease of Use
pCloud’s desktop client is easy enough to handle. The main pCloud folder appears as a virtual drive, which can be new for some users, but it works pretty much the same as any other folder.
It’s relatively simple to send or copy files to your pCloud folder and start syncing. The desktop app lets you do things typically exclusive to the web client—like managing share links—which adds to the user experience.
The browser client is well-designed too, though it lacks seamless drag-and-drop upload of a few other platforms.
The mobile version is also intuitive and has easy navigation, complete with buttons for quick access to important folders. You can also set up automatic upload for both photos and videos, which is helpful if you’re looking for the best cloud storage for photos.
The mobile app lets you quickly send shared links through other social media apps. It is an awesome feature, and it makes sharing via the phone fast and easy.
Speaking of, link sharing is a piece of cake from all devices. You can generate generic or custom links, set up passwords and link expiry times, preview all shared files, and even look at download metrics. There’s a lot to love about pCloud’s features.
pCloud comes with a bunch of cool features like social media backups, file versioning and rewinds (up to 30 days), document previews, and more.
The data protection features are tight. pCloud gave 2,860 professionals six months to find a vulnerability and even offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who succeeded. No one managed to collect it.
That said, pCloud charges extra for no-knowledge encryption, which isn’t great news if you want the most secure cloud storage solution. The feature is worth it if you get a lifetime subscription (more on that later), but there are cheaper alternatives (like MEGA) if you’re paying month-to-month.
The platform uses block sync, though Dropbox’s technology is superior here.
pCloud has excellent features for media. You can upload and preview photos. Not only that, but you can also upload videos and watch them from the cloud environment. Fast upload speeds, no file size limit, and the possibility to pick video quality when streaming make it a fantastic provider for storing videos.
The audio features take the cake, though. Not only can you upload and listen to audio, but you can create playlists and even shuffle songs while streaming.
Business plans let you track account activity, and users can comment on files. There’s little in terms of other collaboration functionality to speak of, though.
Still, the features make pCloud one of the best personal cloud storage platforms.
pCloud isn’t the most integration-rich platform.
The platform does run apps that let you connect to social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Picassa. This lets you back up data from your accounts.
If you run a WordPress site, you can also connect pCloud and run backups. This is a handy way to get offsite backups if your hosting provider doesn’t offer them.
pCloud has more integrations in the works, but that’s it for now.
pCloud has a free tier with 10GB of storage. You can expand this by referring others.
The free plan does lack some features, like setting passwords on files. Nevertheless, pCloud is the best free cloud storage provider if you want to upload a bunch of songs and listen to the playlist on your phone.
pCloud offers two personal plans. You can get 500GB of storage for $3.99/month with an annual subscription. 2TB of storage would cost you $7.99/month.
The deals are great as is. That said, pCloud lets you get a lifetime subscription. This costs you $175 with the 500GB plan, and $350 with the 2TB one.
If you’re looking to use the service for 4+ years, the plans get you awesome value. If you can make the one-time payment, you’ll be set for up to 99 years.
We could speculate how online file storage services will develop in the future. Still, it’s tough to say if 2TB of storage will be useful in, let’s say, 15 years. As things stand, though, this is a fantastic investment.
pCloud does limit your link download bandwidth to prevent you from overusing the file sharing feature, which is standard. The limit is equivalent to your storage capacity.
There is a Family plan that costs $500. It allows for up to five users, but it is pretty much the same as the $350 plan, so you’re getting less value here.
The business plan costs you $9/month per user, with a minimum of three users, each getting 1TB storage. The price is fair.
pCloud is one of the best cloud storage providers. If you want to store photos, audio, or video files, or just want a fast and secure service, it’s the go-to option. Plus, you can get fantastic value with the lifetime subscription.
2. MEGA Best for private users
Things we liked / disliked
- Easy To Use Transfer Manager
- Video & Voice Conferencing
- File Versioning
- MEGA’s Redundant Server Infrastructure
- Easy Automated Synchronization
- Public Source Code (71 GitHub Repositories)
- Automated Interaction using MEGAcmd
- Chrome, Firefox, Opera Extensions
- Fewer Collaboration Tools
- No Block-Level Sync
Ease of Use:
Best Plan (2 TB):
Value For Money:
MEGA is a popular storage provider that’s all about change and new advancements. Here’s how it shows in its service.
MEGA is pretty platform-agnostic. Its desktop client works on Linux, Windows, and Mac machines. You can also use the web app.
MEGA also has a mobile app that might just be the best-designed one out there. The solution feels like it was built with mobile users in mind, rather than being only a dumbed-down version of the desktop app.
Ease of Use
MEGA is straightforward across the board.
You can track all account stats from one place. It’s also easy to upload, share, categorize, and filter files. Everything is fairly intuitive.
The mobile app takes you through the initial steps of the setup. Afterward, it presents all the options in a way that makes sense for mobile users.
MEGA also puts a handy online cloud storage starter guide into your storage file. It can be helpful if you’re unsure where to start.
One tip to add is you should get the recovery key from the dashboard starting page and save it somewhere safe. This will let you gain access to your account if you lose your password.
All in all, MEGA’s overall platform is one of the most intuitive out there.
MEGA comes with a plethora of features, including robust security, versioning, selective sync and syncing for any folder, and more. You can easily share files or entire folders, and even create share links with passwords or expiry dates.
You can also use the MEGAcmd, which is a command line. It supports control over all of MEGA’s functionality while opening up an array of other possibilities for technical users.
MEGA’s main benefit is privacy. The provider offers end-to-end no-knowledge encryption for free.
This means no one but you, not even MEGA, has access to your data. Unlike providers like Sync.com, MEGA makes its code open-source, so anyone can confirm it doesn’t store your private encryption key.
This means it offers some of the most secure cloud storage of 2020, and you can confirm it.
MEGA extends this to its chat feature. You can message others through an encrypted connection. The provider even assigns you a barcode to make it easier to connect with other users.
Many messaging services, like WhatsApp, now offer end-to-end encryption, though. While the feature is charming, there are easier ways to establish a secure messaging channel if you’re a private user.
One instance where messaging tools are useful is if you use MEGA for business. Any employees you add will become contacts of other members, so they can easily and securely exchange info through chat or video calls.
One complaint is that file uploads are kind of sluggish. MEGA also has no block-level sync, so each file has to be uploaded in its entirety, even if you make small modifications. The fact that the upload speed is inconsistent doesn’t really help. If you absolutely need fast upload speeds, MEGA might not be among the best cloud storage options for you.
Otherwise, the features are top-notch.
MEGA makes all tools part of the core software and doesn’t include third-party integrations.
The platform allows you to preview some documents and media files, but offers little beyond that. You can’t make any meaningful changes on docs, leaving MEGA without collaboration tools.
MEGA’s free tier is kind of tricky.
It starts you with 50GB storage, which is excellent, but this goes down to 15GB after the first month. You can get achievements for installing MEGA apps or inviting your friends, which boosts your storage for up to a year.
You can get plenty of storage for free, and MEGA makes a strong case for being the best free cloud storage provider. However, it pays off to be careful with the free plans, as you’ll lose data if you’re over the storage limit when bonus storage expires.
You can choose from four tiers of personal plans:
- Pro Lite $5.69/month—200GB storage, 1TB bandwidth
- Pro I $11.38/month—1TB storage, 2TB bandwidth
- Pro II $22.78/month—4TB storage, 8TB bandwidth
- Pro III $29.78/month—8TB storage, 16TB bandwidth
The personal plans cover a broad range of solutions, and you can get a hefty amount of resources. The bandwidth limits are there so you don’t overuse the plans for file sharing, and they are reasonable.
You can get a business plan for $11.15/month per user. This gets you unlimited storage and bandwidth, as long as you really have a registered business. It’s not available in all countries, though.
MEGA is one of the best personal cloud storage companies. It has great features, is easy to use, and the data privacy is a cherry on top. It can also be used for business if you need to share files and run communication lines, all with one solution.
3. OneDrive Best for business and large-scale projects
Things we liked / disliked
- Free Web Office For Collaboration
- Real-Time Collaboration
- Document Co-Authoring Options
- Intelligent File Management
- 30-Day Versioning
- Block-Level Sync
- Real-Time Security Monitoring
- 2FA Authentication
- 6TB Family Plan (1TB/Person)
- Free One Month Trial On Family Plan
- No Linux Client
Ease of use;
Better with the business plans
Available, but a bit clunky
OneDrive is a file hosting service by the big boy Microsoft itself. Let’s see if the service lives up to the company name.
OneDrive lets you connect as many devices as you want.
OneDrive’s compatibility is surprisingly broad. It supports Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, which is standard. Beyond that, you can also connect Xbox One, or Wear OS and watchOS devices.
Surprisingly, there is no Linux client, so you’d have to use the web interface to access it from a Linux machine.
The file sharing service apps integrate well across the board, but definitely work the best with Windows 10. Not only is OneDrive installed on Windows machines by default, but it also includes extra features like using Cortana to search uploaded files and accessing the Personal Vault.
Don’t misunderstand—OneDrive feels natural on all devices. It’s just that it works amazingly well with Windows machines.
Ease of Use
OneDrive has a bunch of features that make the cloud drives easy to get the hang of.
For one, the overall design is sleek and intuitive. It’s easy to create share links or manage multiple files, even from the web client.
OneDrive also has one of the best search features out there. It uses machine learning to spot different objects in photos and classify them by specific tags, which you can search for. The machine learning system also uses data like history of your coworkers to determine what’s the file you likely need next.
OneDrive also integrates excellently with both Office Online and Office 365. If you use these apps, you get excellent functionality like autosaving to OneDrive or sharing files straight from the Office app.
All in all, OneDrive is easy to handle and even adds a few features for an even smoother experience. It’s one of the top cloud storage services in terms of ease of use.
OneDrive comes with a host of practical features like advanced search, selective sync, bandwidth management, versioning (up to 30 days), and more.
OneDrive’s strongest point is definitely in its productivity collaboration features. You can easily share files with others and work on them simultaneously, even with Office 365.
You can also take advantage of editing and file annotation features. You can make notes on Office files, as well as PDFs. If you turn on notifications, you can get alerts about any new notes, which is essential if you’re collaborating on multiple files.
The cloud data storage features block-level sync, but this only works with Office files.
OneDrive also lets you preview files, and has decent features for working with media. You can preview photos and do basic editing (like putting a filter on a photo). OneDrive also lets you listen to music, though this actually downloads the audio file to your device and then plays it.
OneDrive also includes a Personal Vault, which is a file with significantly more robust security measures. It requires two-factor authentication and locks after 20 minutes of not using it. This feature is limited with the lower-tier plans and isn’t available on macOS, though.
Unfortunately, privacy isn’t OneDrive’s strong suit. It lacks no-knowledge encryption, and Microsoft is based in the US. You do get encrypted cloud storage, but the provider holds the keys, meaning government agencies might sniff around your data.
There are also file sharing capabilities. Although OneDrive makes file sharing extremely easy, it lacks a couple of advanced features like creating password-protected links.
All in all, you get solid features, especially if you’re looking to collaborate with others.
OneDrive really shines here, as it integrates a bunch of Microsoft apps into its cloud-based storage.
The basics include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Sway, Forms, and OneNote. You can use them as the Office Online version or the desktop Office 365. The phone apps integrate with the Microsoft Office mobile apps, of course.
Skype is also a part of the web client. It’s nice that you get easy access to it, but it’s essentially the same as using Skype online.
You can also connect OneDrive to apps like Autodesk, Smartsheet, Salesforce, DocuSign, SkySync, and a bunch of other productivity, analytics, security, or workflow apps.
And speaking of workflow, OneDrive for business can also integrate with Microsoft Server apps like Exchange, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, or Yammer. These are all excellent solutions for handling communication and workflow management inside organizations.
All in all, OneDrive’s integrations are excellent. The collaboration tools are on par with Google Drive’s, which didn’t make the cut for other reasons.
OneDrive has four cloud storage pricing plans:
- OneDrive Basic (free tier)—5GB storage
- OneDrive $1.99/month—100GB storage
- Office 365 Personal $5.83/month—1TB storage
- Office 365 Home $8.33/month—6TB storage (1TB per user)
The first two plans are meant as storage only. They are cheap but pretty limited in both storage capacity and features.
The Office 365 plans are sort of a package deal. You get both the Office license for your computer and the storage, which gives the plans awesome value—especially the 6TB one.
The prices apply if you pay on an annual basis. You can pay month to month, but you’d have to pay a couple of bucks more in the long run.
The business plans cost $5, $10, or $12/month per user. They come with 1TB to 25TB storage per user, which is flexible, depending on your business. Keep in mind only the largest plan includes a desktop Office Suite for all employees—the rest can use Office Online, though.
OneDrive is one of the best cloud storage providers for businesses and collaboration. Even if you want a plan for personal use, though, the Office 365 offer is tough to beat in value.
4. Sync.com Top-notch data privacy and security
Things we liked / disliked
- Generous 2TB Storage For $8/mo
- SAS Raid Storage
- Comprehensive Link Sharing Features
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Real-Time Backup and Automatic Sync
- 180 Days File History and Recovery
- Automatic Camera Upload
- 99.9% Uptime
- Only Yearly Plans
- Only Selective Sync
Ease of use:
During working hours
Sync.com is a provider based in Canada. This might seem like a small factor. However, the company is close enough to the US, but is in a country with much more favorable privacy laws, which is a massive benefit already.
Let’s see what else it offers to its customers.
You can connect just about any desktop or mobile device to your account. The file hosting solution allows up to five devices for a single account, which should be enough for most users. Business plans allow you to create accounts for multiple users.
If you’re connecting a Mac or a PC running Windows, you can use either Sync.com’s application or open the web app in the browser.
There is no installable app for Linux. This is something many cloud storage providers leave out, but it isn’t ideal for Linux users.
You can download an app if you want to connect a mobile device, be it an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone or tablet. This app is also easy to use and keeps pretty much all the functions of other versions.
It does have the additional feature of enabling continuous camera upload—meaning your device will automatically back up photos when you connect to WiFi. The feature is pretty handy, though it doesn’t have the most advanced options.
What’s pretty great is that the app is lightweight and takes up only 8.5MB, unlike most that need five times that. It won’t bog down your phone’s memory.
Ease of Use
All variants are reasonably intuitive, though the solutions are less sleek than some in these cloud storage reviews.
The web application has the advantage of a drag-and-drop upload feature but is a bit slower with large files. You do have to find the upload option to enable the drag-and-drop, though.
In general, uploading and managing files is easy enough across the board. Having drag-and-drop enabled by default would add to the user experience, though.
It should be pointed out the file filtering is kind of limited on the mobile app. The app also has a few counter-intuitive quirks (like sending you to the home screen if you try to close the side menu by clicking the back button).
All in all, most users will navigate the apps rather easily, though it could use just a little improvement.
Sync.com’s main selling point is data privacy, so let’s start there.
It offers no-knowledge encrypted cloud storage. This means you get your own private key, and no one, not even the provider, can access your data. The system uses 2048-bit asymmetric encryption—the same used for SSL certificates—making the code virtually impossible to crack.
On the flip side, you’ll have to save your private key. If you lose it, you won’t be able to read your own data. You can disable this feature altogether, but that would eliminate the main advantage of Sync.com.
One thing to point out is Sync.com keeps its source code private, meaning there’s no way to confirm it doesn’t keep your private key. If it did, though, it would be a massive breach and grounds for a class-action lawsuit. Still, it’s something to be aware of.
The provider lets you use the service to sync files automatically across all devices, which also backs them up on the cloud. You can also just upload the files to the “Vault” without keeping them on your device, which is great for freeing up space.
Whichever you choose, Sync.com saves unlimited versions of your files. You can roll back changes up to a month with the free online storage plan, four months with the smallest paid plan, and a year with the rest, which is excellent.
You can also easily share files with others and even set passwords on share links. Paid tiers unlock advanced features like limiting file downloads, doing remote wipes, and managing multiple user accounts. I’ll explain in the next section why Sync.com might not be ideal for collaboration, though.
You also get a bunch of other features that add security and reliability like two-factor authentication and setting mobile authentication codes. The facilities are also SSAE-16 certified and compliant with a number of standards, including GDPR and PIPEDA.
Sync.com has great features for file sharing among organization members. That said, it’s not ideal if you need to collaborate with others within the file sharing service.
This is because Sync.com doesn’t allow third-party integrations. You can preview your images and documents, but that’s about it. This is a security move, but it essentially forces you to make changes locally instead of collaborating with others within the storage environment.
It’s worth it for individuals concerned about safety, but it’s less than ideal if your business relies on members accessing and editing files simultaneously.
Sync.com offers three tiers of personal plans and three for business.
- Free—5GB storage
- Personal $60/year—200 GB storage
- Solo $96/year—2TB storage
- Business Solo $120/year—3TB storage
- Business Teams $60/year per user—Up to 10TB storage per user
- Business Enterprise $240/year per user—Custom storage
The free and personal plans also limit the amount of data you can share. The limit equivalent to your storage cap.
Sync.com only offers annual cloud storage pricing plans. This is what most users get anyway, but it rules out the option of paying in more manageable chunks.
The deals are fine, although storage allocation could be more generous. The personal plans are worth it if you are concerned about data security, especially the Solo plan. If your organization needs to store or share a lot of files, the business plans are fine as well, though they are not ideal for collaboration.
Bottom line—go for Sync.com if you want to keep your data away from prying eyes while still getting relatively cheap cloud storage.
5. IDrive Insanely Efficient Data Backups
Things we liked / disliked
- Real-Time Backup
- Fast Upload Speeds
- 2TB - 5TB Storage Plans
- Folder Sharing Feature
- File Versioning(30 Versions)
- 30-Day Trash Recovery
- Easy Tagging of Stored Photos
- Server Backup Options, Disk Image Backups
- IDrive Express For Physical Backups
- AWS S3 Compatible
- No Monthly Pricing
Ease of use:
Very easy and intuitive
Only has relatively large plans
Though it started under a different name, IDrive has been in the online file storage business for 25 years. Today, it offers robust plans with some of the most colorful features in the industry.
This is what you’ll get if you sign up for the service:
IDrive has desktop clients for Windows and macOS. These make it easy to access all the features, though the design looks a tad dated.
Linux users will have to settle for the web client. It is reasonably similar to the desktop one, but it’s not as easy to bulk upload files. Using the web client is also the only way to share files, which is a bit odd, but not too much of a problem.
The mobile apps for Android and iOS do the job as well. These let you access all the key features, have a full backup suite for mobile devices (which a few cloud storage providers neglect), and even add a few features to be more convenient for mobile users.
One is the so-called “timeline” which lets you view all the backed-up photos in a photo album view. IDrive also allows many advanced search tools for photos, including a facial recognition system similar to that of Google Photos.
Ease of Use
IDrive is reasonably easy to get the hang of.
Picking which files you want to back up or sync between devices is extremely straightforward. All you need to do is go through your folders and tick a checkbox next to the ones you want saved. IDrive won’t mess with your file hierarchy, and it will even helpfully preselect some folders like Documents.
The actual online data storage client is divided into six main tabs. It’s fairly obvious where to find all the most important functions. For instance, you’ll find the files you’re syncing in the “Sync” tab, and you can handle data restoration from the “Restore” tab. Pretty easy, right?
Using the web client is similar enough. The only real difference is that the web client adds a few extra options like restoring files to a device remotely. This speeds up things, since you won’t have to switch computers for every little thing.
IDrive probably has more backup options than any other service.
For starters, you can choose to upload files to your actual IDrive storage or even store backups locally. You can also sync files between multiple devices, which won’t drain your cloud file storage capacity. The latter is especially handy since IDrive allows you to connect any number of devices, regardless of your plan.
Extensive Backup Options
You can also speed up backups by letting the client upload multiple file chunks simultaneously. This creates multiple CPU threads, which use a bit more taxing on the processor but results in faster uploads. You can also enable block-level sync, which makes it much faster to edit and reupload files.
One common issue with cloud storage services is that clients might need to upload several terabytes of data, but have a poor internet connection. In such cases, the upload can take a week or more.
IDrive has a creative and unique solution. You can opt for IDrive Express, and the provider will deliver a physical drive to your personal address. This way, you can deliver massive amounts of data in just a few days.
You can use the same service if you need a large-scale data restoration. It’s an absolute godsend for those who want to back up or restore entire drives’ worth of data quickly.
If you’re in the US, the service is free once a year for private cloud storage users and thrice a year for businesses. Otherwise, the exact price of the service depends on your location.
You also have a few other options for restoring files. IDrive even saves 30 previous versions of your files, and you can restore whichever you want. This is kind of your insurance from accidents or ransomware. It will also hold on to the files you remove from the storage, which can save you in a pinch.
Businesses in particular can take advantage of some of the best cloud backup features out there. IDrive’s business solution is designed to work with various databases, emailing servers, SharePoint, and hypervisors like VMWare and Hyper-V. IDrive includes tons of features for each use case, so you can check out the exact offer if you use these applications.
Managing backups for both private users and businesses has never been easier!
IDrive has a few neat data protection features, and enables additional measures on your end, like two-factor authentication. All files are encrypted via AES 256-bit encryption (which is uncrackable with today’s technology).
When you sign up, IDrive will offer to hold on to your private encryption key. This might not be the best idea if you want to keep the government out of your files, especially considering IDrive’s data centers are in the US.
Fortunately, you can opt to keep the key, which means not even IDrive will be able to access your data. This disables the file sharing feature, which is kind of a given. You should save your private key in a few safe locations, however, since you won’t be able to decrypt your cloud file storage without it.
And that’s just scratching the surface. Backup and activity reports, advanced server backups, GDPR and HIPAA compliance, and a bunch of other features are all part of the offer.
IDrive is excellent for private users that want an easy-to-use and robust platform with top-of-the-line security.
As for businesses, IDrive focuses more on security than collaboration features. That’s why it’s best to use IDrive for database and full-server backups or simple file sharing. If you need productivity tools, you can go for providers like OneDrive or Google Drive and get real-time coediting of documents.
IDrive handles third-party integrations a bit differently than most cloud storage providers.
Namely, the service is compatible with AWS S3, so it can work with most S3 tools. This means you can access your storage with apps like Cloudberry and CyberDuck, which experienced users might prefer.
The API is also public, so developers can integrate their own applications with IDrive.
Apart from that, IDrive focuses more on data protection, so third-party apps don’t really get access to the platform. This is kind of expected from a platform that offers zero-knowledge encryption, though.
IDrive has multiple plans for private users:
- Free 5GB— forever
- Personal 2TB—Starts at $52.12/year, renews at $69.50/year
- Personal 5TB—Starts at $74.62/year, renews at $99.50/year
All plans allow you to connect unlimited devices. You are only restricted by the storage quote, which is an advantage not many providers get you.
Admittedly, personal plan users can only pay annually which is something to be aware of. You do get some of the cheapest cloud storage rates in the industry, though. For reference, DropBox charges about 50% more, even without IDrive’s discount.
Speaking of, the discounts do add a bit of value for those starting out. You can extend the discount for an extra year if you pay in advance, which is fine if you can afford it.
Students can also take advantage of a flat 50% discount, which is a nice gesture on IDrive’s part.
In addition to this, there are six Business plans that allow unlimited cloud storage users. They allow paying monthly, annually, or biannually.
The plans start at $74.62/year for 250GB storage. There’s definitely more variety here, so you’ll likely find a plan that fits you if you run a business.
Your best bet is to compare the pricing with a few other providers and see which deal fits you best. IDrive is definitely more suitable for businesses with a large number of employees, though, since there’s no cap on user accounts.
All in all, the plans are generous. One thing that would be helpful is a 500GB or 1TB personal offer, since not all clients need 2TB. Still, I am getting a bit nitpicky here, since the pricing is fine for most users.
IDrive is easy to use, comes with dozens of excellent features, has a zero-knowledge option, and is developer-friendly. Plus, the solution has a unique way to help individuals and businesses handle bulk data backups.
Bottom line—IDrive has some of the best cloud storage for personal use. Businesses that need robust backups or file sharing options can take advantage of it as well, though.
6. Tresorit A premium beginner-friendly service with excellent security
Things we liked / disliked
- Comprehensive User Management
- 3GB Free Plan
- 14-Day Trial (Paid Plans)
- Client-Side Encryption
- Zero-Knowledge Technology
- Encrypted File Sharing
- Certified Data Centers
- File Recovery and Unlimited Versioning
- Ransomware Protection(File Restoration)
- Automation Options For Linux Devices
- Offline File Access
- 10GB Maximum Single File Storage
- High Price-Storage Ratio - 500GB/$10.42, 2500GB/$24
- Limited to 10 Devices
- Limited Integrations
Ease of use:
Easy, but has a clumsy folder system
Lacks a 1TB plan
Excellent, but not available 24/7
Tresorit is a provider based in Switzerland—a popular location for its data privacy laws. The company styles itself a slightly higher-end provider than most.
Let’s see what it has up its sleeve.
The free plan lets you connect two devices. Paid personal plans can raise this up to 10 devices.
Its apps work on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Tresorit’s client integrates well with desktop devices. One unique feature of running it on Linux is you can use a CLI client version. In this case, you miss out on some minor functionality, but you can automate functions like generating reports.
The mobile app keeps pretty much all the functions of the desktop one. It also lets you take photos to upload immediately, upload photos automatically, or scan documents—all standard useful features for cloud storage services.
Ease of Use
Tresorit is relatively easy to use across the board. You can upload files or set them to be synced by dragging them to the right folder.
One thing to point out is that you can’t upload files directly to the root Tresorite directory. Instead, you have to create special folders called “Tresors,” which you can do relatively easily.
This forces you to have some sort of folder structure, which helps disorganized users stay out of trouble. On the other hand, it adds an unnecessary step to using the platform, which can be annoying.
It’s only a small complaint, though, and Tresorit’s design is intuitive on all devices.
Tresorit might be slim on integrations compared to some of the best online storage companies, but it’s out-of-the-box features are nothing short of impressive.
For starters, you get the usual tools like security features, remote wipe, password-protected folders, etc. All but the smallest paid plan include unlimited versioning and deleted file recovery, which is excellent.
The link-sharing features include custom branding, password protection, expiration dates and download limits, and even IP address access restrictions.
On a side note, if you invite someone to an entire folder via email, they’ll have to create a Tresorit account. In all other cases, anyone can access the files you share.
If you go for a business plan, you also get a bunch of features that help user management, setting device restrictions, forcing two-factor authentication, monitoring, and generating and exporting reports.
The integrity of your data is ensured by a no-knowledge policy. Not even the provider can access your data. Tresorit’s code is closed-source, but the system was audited and validated by Ernst & Young, which adds credibility.
Tresorit has some of the best cloud storage for 2020. The provider offers excellent features if you need pure file storage or sharing, though it lacks in-app collaboration or media playback features.
Like most no-knowledge providers, Tresorit has little in terms of integrations. It does incorporate Outlook for secure emailing and Active Directory for user management, but that’s all there is.
A Splunk monitoring integration is in the works, but Tresorit doesn’t state when it’ll become part of the standard service.
The free tier offers only 3GB of storage, which is sort of slim, and leaves out much of the features. There are better free options out there, like MEGA.
The two personal plans are:
- Premium $10.42/month—200GB storage
- Solo $24/month—2TB storage
The business plans all get you 1TB of storage per user and cost:
- Small Business—$20/month per user
- Business—$12/month per user
- Enterprise—$24/month per user
All prices apply if you pay annually, and they go up if you opt for monthly payments.
The plans are relatively pricy compared to the competition. You can get awesome features, but it’s not among the cheapest cloud storage services.
You might also wonder why the Business plan is cheaper than the Small Business one. The catch is that the business plan has a minimum of ten users, while the small business plan allows as few as two. The plans all have some unique features, so it pays off to weigh the options before picking one.
Tresorit’s offer is nothing short of fantastic, but this comes at a price. If you can afford it, though, you can take advantage of one of the most complete file storage services out there.
7. Dropbox A data storage giant that caters to beginners
Things we liked / disliked
- Smart Sync On Unlimited devices
- All Essential Link Sharing Features
- Dropbox Paper - High-End Text Editor
- Instant Live Chat Support
- Mobile Offline Access
- Document Scanning Option
- Business & Enterprise Discounts
- 30 Day Trial For Business Accounts
- 30 Day File and Version Recovery
- GDPR Compliant
- Integration-Rich Cloud Storage
- Priority Chat Only On $16.58 Plan
- Browser Upload Limit is 50GB
- Upload Limits 2GB/$9.99/mo, 100GB/$16.58/mo
Ease of use:
Faster for paid plans
Dropbox is the provider that made online file storage accessible and popular. Being a pioneer has its advantages, and Dropbox is now the second-largest storage provider in the world.
Here’s how its offer remains competitive.
The free plan lets you connect up to three devices, while the rest allow unlimited connections. If you go for a business plan, you can limit the number of devices your employees can use.
Dropbox is supported by Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices. You can also use the web client to access it from any browser.
Dropbox looks to appeal to everyone, so its platform works well no matter your device. The integration is especially seamless with desktop devices, but it works pretty well on mobile ones as well.
Some functions do require you to open the web client, like previewing previous versions of your file. This is just a tiny quirk since you probably won’t have to get into versioning that often.
Dropbox’s cloud drives are easily accessible across the board.
Ease of Use
The apps work well on all desktop devices. It’s pretty much the same story with the mobile app. It’s easy to upload and manage any or all files, and the search feature works well.
The web client does get a bit unwieldy if you have a lot of different files per folder, but it’s just a small issue.
Another thing is that you can easily select which files to sync or upload, but all the files have to be within the same top-level folder. You can’t just pick a bunch of folders from your different disk partitions. This usually requires you to change your folder structure a bit, which can be annoying.
It’s relatively easy to share or collaborate on files and set permissions. Just keep in mind Dropbox only lets you share entire folders, so you’ll have to create a separate folder if you only want to share specific files.
The file sharing service is generally intuitive, though it has a few annoying quirks.
Dropbox offers a bunch of handy features like camera upload, document scanning, versioning and rewinds for 30 to 180 days, and more.
You can easily select which files from your Dropbox folder to upload and enable selective sync. Just uploading files frees up space on your computer, but they will only be available if you are connected to the internet.
Dropbox also does a better job than any other provider with block syncing. This means the app doesn’t upload an entire file whenever you have a new version. Instead, it only uploads chunks that have changed, which speeds up upload dramatically.
You can not only share files and set passwords for them but also requests files from users without a Dropbox account. This is handy if you want to, for instance, collect submissions for a project or resumes for a job opening.
Business plans come with a bunch of helpful features for managing projects. The roles you can assign are fairly restrictive, though, even with more expensive tiers. This makes Dropbox kind of stiff if you have a massive workforce.
One massive concern with Dropbox is data protection and privacy. Dropbox has never had the most secure cloud storage platform.
Even worse, the provider has a pretty poor track record for handling data breaches (it hid one for years), and it has also been involved in the PRISM scandal.
The provider has apparently tightened its security, but there is still no end-to-end encryption, and its employees can access all your data. If you’re concerned about NSA peeping on your files, you should either use an app to encrypt them or look into a different provider.
Other than that, it’s a respectable service.
Dropbox offers its own solution called Paper that helps users access docs, images, sound files, and more. It’s a handy feature, though it’s rather new, so it’s not as robust as some out there. It does have a few cool features, though, like using a template to set up a brainstorming document.
The service also integrates with Office Online, Slack, Jira, Okta, and Autodesk, along with an array of others. You can get tools for workflow organization, project management, access management, and a bunch of other functions.
Dropbox has an excellent portfolio of integrations which is always expanding. It outperforms most cloud storage providers here.
The free plan starts off with 2GB of storage, which isn’t too generous compared to most free services. You can expand this by referring your friends, which is basically a way for Dropbox to get some free marketing. You only get 500MB per successful referral, which is slim, to say the least.
The two personal plans are:
- Plus $9.99/month—2TB storage
- Professional $16.58/month—3TB storage
The two business plans are:
- Standard $12.50/month per user (min 3 users)—5TB storage
- Advanced $20/month per user—Unlimited storage
You can take advantage of the prices above if you pay annually. You can make monthly payments, but the price is slightly higher.
Also, be vary of the unlimited storage on the Advanced business plan. The tech team actually sets a storage cap per user. If you do reasonably need more storage for your business, you can request it, but you can’t just dump hundreds of TB of data.
If even the advanced plan isn’t enough for your organization, Dropbox has a quoted enterprise plan. You can use this to get a custom solution for your business.
Dropbox is one of the best cloud storage companies. It’s easy to use and has one of the best sync features in the game. That said, the way it handles data and the relatively high costs make its offer a bit less competitive.
8. Google Drive Impressive Productivity Tools
Things we liked / disliked
- Best Search Features
- Generous 15GB Free
- Rich Third-Party Integrations
- Document Scanning Feature
- Offline Access
- 30-Day File Versioning
- Store and Access All Popular File Types
- Compatible With All Microsoft Office Tools
- Photo and Video Playing Options
- No Linux Client
- No Block-Level Sync
Ease of use:
One of the easiest solutions
Decent knowledgebase, but a bit difficult to contact support
Google Drive is the biggest storage provider out there. Each Android device runs some aspect of it, which helped Google Drive acquire over a billion users and host two trillion files to date.
Let’s see if the rest of the service is as impressive as the numbers.
Google Drive is accessible via a web client and desktop clients for Windows and macOS. They share a similar interface with pretty much every other Google app, so you can expect a familiar dashboard.
The Android and iOS apps are also well-designed and easy to navigate—as much is expected from Google. In fact, if you have an Android phone, you most likely already have a Google Drive app installed. If so, you can go to your “Google” folder and check it out right away.
Ease of Use
Google Drive makes it easy to get started with your cloud-based storage. Installing the client on your computer is about as tough as setting up Google Chrome. Afterward, all you need to do is select which folders and files you want to keep backed up or synced between multiple devices.
Google Drive won’t mess with your folder structure like OneDrive. This is mostly a matter of preference, though, as some users prefer having centralized folders for files they back up.
The web client makes it beyond easy to manage files. You can drag them around and freely rearrange your Google Drive folder structure. The web client even supports right clicking for quick access to commonly used functions (which a few other providers neglect).
The search feature is absolutely amazing and can save you a ton of time. Besides looking at file names and contents of text documents, Google Drive also scans images and PDFs for keywords. It’s a massive timesaver if you have hundreds of files in your drive and need to find a specific one.
All in all, Google’s cloud drive services are incredibly user-friendly.
Google Drive has decent capabilities for backing up files or keeping them synced between devices. All you need to do is pick which files you want saved and the client will do its magic.
The storage service also retains deleted files, and it saves previous versions of your files. That way, you won’t lose any data to mistakes or ransomware.
Possibly the best part is that files you create with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides don’t take up your storage space. The same goes for photos under 16 megapixels. The latter doesn’t really help photographers, but you can back up a bunch of smartphone photos without really losing image quality.
One thing to point out is that you can’t really run scheduled backups or do a full-system backup. Google Drive is excellent if you want to save essential files like text documents, spreadsheets, or photos. If you want a full backup of your computer’s drive, a solution like IDrive would be a better fit.
The online data storage also comes with solid media features and lets you preview images and videos. Although you can’t really edit images by default, you can use an integration like Pixlr Editor and import photos directly from your online storage.
The file sharing features are fine, but not amazing. It’s easy to invite users to view or edit files, or you can just generate a link and give access to anyone who clicks it. There’s really no way to set up link passwords, though, and the only user management you can do is set a time restriction.
Where Google’s cloud drive services really shine, though, is collaboration.
Users can access documents simultaneously and coedit them in real-time. When you open a text document or a spreadsheet, Google Drive color-codes all coeditors. That way you’ll have a clear overview of who is working on the document, and users won’t interfere with each other.
One cool feature for working on text docs is the suggestion mode. Instead of editing a section of text immediately, you can leave an edit suggestion, which another user can accept or decline. This is excellent in pretty much any profession that involves working with text, whether you’re a freelancer or a company.
Google Drive will encrypt the files you upload to protect it from attackers, so you do get secure cloud storage. That said, the company will still have full access to your files. If the US authorities want to snoop around your files, there’s no guarantee Google won’t let them. Plus, it doesn’t really help Google got implicated in the PRISM scandal.
If you’re not backing up sensitive data, though, Google Drive is excellent.
Google Drive’s effectiveness is greatly due to its native integration with the Google Office suite. This includes excellent tools for working and collaborating on text files, spreadsheets, and presentations.
Unfortunately, there is no Microsoft Office integration. That said, you can easily convert the MS Office documents to readable file formats.
The service also integrates with pretty much every other relevant Google app, like Google Keep, Google Photos, Calendar, etc.
Aside from those, Google runs an app library with some 2,000 add-ons. You can integrate Google Drive with Slack, Asana, various business and productivity tools, CRM apps, media apps, and a lot more.
Google Drive works in one of the best cloud storage ecosystems out there. It’s very likely it integrates with some of your favorite apps.
Google Drive has a variety of plans:
If you go for up to 2TB of storage, you can get an additional discount. Essentially, you can pay for ten months of storage and get a full year, which is a discount of about 17%.
The free plan is generous, and Google Drive has a solid range of plans. The cloud storage pricing is competitive when you compare it to similar services like OneDrive and iCloud Drive. It doesn’t really make sense that the 10TB plan has a worse price-to-storage ratio than the 2TB one.
Google Drive provides an excellent service for both private users and businesses. It’s robust, integrates with thousands of other services, and the time it can save you is off the charts. A few providers do outperform it when it comes to privacy, but it’s still in the run for having the best cloud storage for business.
9. SpiderOak ONE A US storage service with top-notch privacy
Things we liked / disliked
- Unlimited Devices
- Free 21 Day Trial
- Zero-knowledge Policy
- Unlimited Version Control
- Decent File Sync and Share Options
- Annual Discounts
- Poor Mobile Apps
- Clunky Interface
Ease of use:
A bit clunky
SpiderOak ONE is a US-based service known for its tight data-privacy measures (as opposed to most big storage providers in the States). In fact, the storage company was recommended by Edward Snowden as an alternative to DropBox and other companies implicated in the PRISM scandal.
This is what its offer covers:
Desktop users can download the SpiderOak ONE client for Windows, Linux, or macOS. These work reasonably well, though the Windows client offers a few more quick access options than the other two.
A feature technical users might appreciate is the CLI. This is supported on all three variants of the desktop client, and it can help you manage your cloud data storage more efficiently.
One small annoyance with the desktop version is that there’s no auto-update feature for the software itself. When a new version of the client comes out, you have to download it manually from the website. The client will notify you about updates, though.
Unfortunately, the mobile apps are a bit more minimalistic in features. They are pretty much read-only, so you can’t perform mobile backups at all. You do get a few features for file sharing, but that’s about it.
The web client is also much more limited than the desktop apps, and it can compromise the zero-knowledge policy (which SpiderOak does warn you about).
Your best bet is to stick with the desktop apps if you can help it. If you want more comprehensive support for mobile devices, an online data storage service like iDrive might serve you better.
Ease of Use
Most users will go for the SpiderOak ONE’s desktop client. The interface is okay, though not amazingly beginner-friendly.
Even though all the tools are separated into five tabs, there’s still a lot of options, and they’re not that neatly organized. Plus, the UI is a bit dated.
SpiderOak ONE also has a few potentially annoying aspects – not letting you move the sync folder and only letting you share already backed up files, for example.
All things considered, the overall design and utility are in need of a revamp.
SpiderOak ONE starts you off with some of the best cloud backup features.
For starters, the software will present you with your full folder hierarchy, so you can select what you want saved. There’s also a ton of filtering options. For instance, you can choose not to back up old files or folders over a certain size. This can save you if your data connection is limited and you only want to upload the essentials.
You can even back up data from external drives or other devices on your local network. The files will stay in the online storage even after you unplug the connected devices.
You can also opt for continuous sync or scheduled backups. The former is obviously more convenient, but scheduling your backups can help save bandwidth.
SpiderOak ONE features block-level sync. This means the file storage solution won’t reupload the entire file when you make just a small adjustment. It can usually reupload files much faster and take up less of your internet connection.
The service also keeps unlimited versions of files and will let you restore deleted files (unless you opt to fully wipe them). This provides insurance against accidentally deleting a key file or it being held hostage by ransomware.
The only thing really missing is image backups. You can’t back up your entire system and restore it on bare metal, but that’s about the only lacking feature.
You can also do desktop-to-desktop syncing. The only caveat is that the files you sync have to be included in your backup. It’s a bit annoying that the syncing files takes up online storage, but it’s usually not a massive issue.
SpiderOak ONE is also one of the few US-based cloud storage options that lets you keep your private encryption key. This means not even the storage provider will be able to read your files, since only you can decrypt them—a massive deal for data privacy.
You will have to store your private key somewhere to keep it safe, though—preferably in two or three locations. If you lose access to it, your stored data will remain inaccessible. Of course, you can just let SpiderOak ONE hold on for the key for you, but there are hardly any advantages to that.
SpiderOak also lets you create so-called “share rooms.” These are essentially folders where you can share files for viewing or editing. You also get a few advanced options for cloud sharing, like enabling password protection.
Just keep in mind the files you share have to be in your backup storage (like with file sync). The files in your share room are also not encrypted. This is really the only way others can access it without your private key, but it’s something to be aware of.
Like most services with a zero-knowledge policy, SpiderOak ONE doesn’t really integrate third-party apps. The service is meant for high-security backups and not really for business and collaboration, which is why it doesn’t include things like workflow and CRM apps.
SpiderOak ONE has four cloud storage pricing plans. All plans allow you to connect as many devices as you want, which is handy. They are as follows:
- 150GB—$6/month or $69/year
- 400GB—$11/month or $115/year
- 2TB—$14/month or $149/year
- 5TB—$29/month or $320/year
There is no free tier, but you can get a free trial of the 150GB plan for three weeks. This is fair, since it lets you test out the service with larger amounts of data.
The plans are kind of pricy, though, even if you take advantage of the annual discount. It’s about 50% more expensive than even more premium services like Google Drive and iCloud Drive.
SpiderOak ONE offers some of the best cloud backups of 2020. You get full privacy, even with data stored on US-based servers. The service is kind of pricy, though, and lacks support for mobile backups. It does fulfill its intended purpose, but it’s not all that flexible.
10. IceDrive Excellent storage with an affordable price tag
Things we liked / disliked
- 10GB Free Account
- 14 Day Money Back Guarantee
- USB-Like Virtual Drive
- Drag and Drop Feature On Web Version
- Entire Device Backup
- In-Built Video, Audio Player
- Zero-knowledge Policy
- Client-Side Encryption
- Monthly, Annual and Lifetime plans
- Intelligent Caching Control
- Bandwidth Caps
- Basic Collaboration Options
Ease of use:
Not the smoothest
Phone, Skype, and Email
Only on the portable app
IceDrive is something of a new kid on the block. Still, it makes some pretty big claims, like the service being “perfect for everyone.”
I put these claims to the test.
One of IceDrive’s goals is to feel completely natural to use.
The desktop app does this well. You can mount IceDrive so it looks like a regular partition on your Windows computer rather than a cloud drive service. You can also manage it just as easily—it feels like plugging in a USB stick.
macOS and Linux users will have to use the portable app. This version does extend the functionality somewhat and allows file editing and media playback. That said, it does feel slightly less natural, though.
The web client has a sleek and intuitive interface. You can access all the essential features from the sidebar. Plus, it enables cool utility tools like a search bar, right-click support, and drag-and-drop.
The apps for Android and iOS also work well. They even add a few options for phone users.
For instance, you can automatically back up all photos you take, ensuring you won’t lose a single one. This and a few other options peg IceDrive among the best cloud storage for photos.
Ease of Use
IceDrive is relatively straightforward.
The virtual drive works just like any other drive on your computer. You can quickly access, add, or remove files from your storage, update them, etc. It feels no different from organizing any other folder.
You can access the more advanced options in the system tray. This is a pretty straightforward system, though IceDrive could implement some of the features of the web client into the desktop one—like storage monitoring.
The web client gives you a much more comprehensive overview, and it makes it easy to find all the critical options. If you do opt for IceDrive, it can be a good idea to bookmark a link to the web interface for more advanced configuration.
IceDrive handles cloud file storage and sync with one feature, admittedly, with mixed success.
Namely, you can upload any files you want backed up to the IceDrive image drive. This will both store your files on the cloud and make them accessible from any connected computers.
The advantage of this system is that you’ll save local storage space. The issue, however, is that you can’t access these files while offline, unlike with the traditional desktop-to-desktop sync model.
The cloud storage solution works well and even has a few advanced features, like a caching system. This actually downloads the files you are working on to your hard drive, so you get a speed boost. You can even cap the cache memory, so the system doesn’t strain your bandwidth or storage with excessively large downloads.
That said, IceDrive does also lack a few of the common features, including versioning and block-level sync. This does make it somewhat less robust than established services like pCloud.
The storage also lets you preview images, MS Office file formats, and PDFs. This is helpful when looking for a specific thing. There are file editing and media playback tools, but these are only available with the portable app.
IceDrive also implements zero-knowledge encryption. Only you have the key to your encrypted cloud storage, and no one else can access it, not even the provider. Even if the government has a court order for your files, it won’t be able to read the data.
What’s more, IceDrive boasts about using the Twofish encryption algorithm instead of the standard AES. Twofish is a bit slower, but it is generally considered more secure than AES. Both algorithms are uncrackable with today’s technology, though, so don’t ask me about the math behind this. What’s important is that the security doesn’t compromise IceDrive’s speed, so this works just fine.
Like most other zero-knowledge storage providers, IceDrive focuses on providing completely private cloud storage. This means it doesn’t give other services access to the solution. Your storage can only be read by you, so connecting third-party apps would be kind of pointless.
IceDrive has a free plan, which gets you 10GB of storage. This plan disables the client-side encryption, though, so it’s not ideal.
The three paid plans are:
- Lite 150GB storage 250GB bandwidth—$1.99/month, $19.99/year, or $59/lifetime
- Pro 1TB storage 2TB bandwidth—$4.99/month, $49.99/year, $149/lifetime
- Pro+ 5TB storage 8TB bandwidth—$17.99/month, $179.99/year, $499/lifetime
IceDrive has very cheap cloud storage, even if you go for a month-to-month deal. The 1TB plan is the best for the majority of users since it has a hefty amount of storage and only sets you back $5 each month.
The bandwidth restriction is on a monthly level. It’s mostly there to discourage using the service for mass file sharing.
This might be annoying for users that work on huge files, like videographers. Most clients don’t really ever reach the cap, though. Unless you work on or share very large files daily, you’ll have plenty of bandwidth.
The lifetime cloud storage deals offer insane value. You basically only need to pay for three years of data storage, and you’ll be able to keep your plan forever.
One place where you might need to vary is the lifetime subscription to the Lite plan. Even though getting 250GB forever for only $59 is attractive, you might outgrow this very quickly. It depends on what you want to upload, but most users find the 1TB plan less restrictive.
IceDrive offers a lot of the advantages of services like pCloud and Sync.com at way better rates. The value of the lifetime plans completely outweighs any minor disadvantages. It makes for the best cloud storage service for users on a budget.
11. Box for Business A robust storage provider for business
Things we liked / disliked
- 10GB Free
- Multiple Pricing Plans
- Granular Sharing Features On Business Plans
- Straightforward App Designs
- No-knowledge Encryption Add-On is Available
- Unlimited storage plans
- No block-level sync
- 5GB File Upload Limit
- Limited Features on Personal Plans
- No Official Linux Support
Ease of use:
Excellent on paid plans
With a third-party app
Box is a provider that followed in Dropbox’s footsteps and added a few features of its own. It is immensely popular among businesses, including quite a few Fortune 500 companies.
It does offer plans for personal use, but these are rather underdeveloped, so let’s check out its business offer.
Box used to have a problem of presenting users with a bunch of app versions and letting them guess which is the main app. The provider has fixed this, but website navigation is still a bit of a pain.
If you want to download the client, find the “Downloads” page (it’s linked in the footer). From there, you can just choose your operating system and set everything up.
Speaking of, Box supports Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry OS devices. There is no Linux client, which is a shame if you’re looking for online cloud storage for Linux.
Phone and web clients are definitely smoother than desktop ones. Box did have some issues with desktop apps, and it’s good to see most of them are resolved, but it still has some ways to go to provide the best desktop experience.
Ease of Use
Once you’ve set everything up, the interface is pretty intuitive across the board.
You can easily upload files from both desktop and mobile devices, or you can create blank text documents, spreadsheets, or slideshows.
There’s a lot to like about the search feature as well. You can search for files by name or filter them by type, last update, or owner. It’s a great help when managing projects with a bunch of scattered files.
A unique feature of the business plan is that owners can also manage all the advanced functions from one place. You can manage access levels, view usage data, generate reports on employee activity, and much more.
If you need extra assistance, the help center is available from the top of the dashboard, which is a nice touch.
Box’s cloud-based storage comes with features like two-factor authentication, versioning, and user management tools.
Advanced features include enforcing password rules, watermarking documents, using document metadata and custom templates, setting up your own branding, and generating advanced reports.
There is no block sync, which makes implementing file changes slower than with some providers. There is also a 5GB file size limit, which can be annoying if you work with larger files.
Box has one of the top cloud storage security suites. The provider holds on to your encryption key by default, but you can have it transfer they key to you for a fee. Since the provider is US-based, this is a welcome privacy feature.
Box comes with a decent note-taking app that lets you include photos and tables into the notes. You can also take advantage of a basic workflow management tool, though a third-party integration might do a better job.
Business plan users can also get fantastic value out of Box’s user management tools. You can assign a certain amount of storage to users and assign them various permissions. If you work with a lot of employees, you can add groups of users and set who can manage them.
Although Box lacks some out-of-the-box features, it has an app library worthy of the best cloud-based storage provider.
Box lets you preview files in-app, but you can’t edit them by default. To make up for this, it lets you edit files in Google Docs or Office Online by default. You can even create files in respective formats from the dashboard.
You can also connect to 1,400+ other apps, including Slack, Asana, DocuSign, Salesforce, and a bunch of others. The library is rich in integrations that help with workflow management, security, CRM, and pretty much anything else that can come in useful.
If you’re looking for an extensive platform, Box does the job well.
Box has four business plans. The first costs $5.80/month per user and allows for 100GB storage for a maximum of 10 users.
Other plans lift the limit on users and storage. The second and third plans cost $17.30/month and $28.70/month per user, respectively. The fourth plan is enterprise-grade, and you’ll need to request a quote if you’re interested.
You can get some of the best cloud storage options for business here. Each plan comes with its own set of features, though, so it pays off to check what you can get with each plan and choose accordingly.
Box is a decent storage provider for businesses and a worthy rival to OneDrive and Dropbox. The advanced user management features, combined with numerous integrations, make it a great option for just about any organization.
12. iCloud Drive Go-to service for Apple devices
Things we liked / disliked
- Top-Notch Sync Function
- Rich App Ecosystem
- Great Document Editing Capabilities
- Photo And Video Editing Integrations
- Intuitive Dashboard
- Competitive Price
- Not Fluent On Windows and Android
Ease of use:
Very easy of Apple device users
Big jump from the third to the fourth plan
Okay, but the system is very clunky
iCloud Drive is Apple’s file storage and sharing solution that’s meant to provide a smooth experience for macOS and iOS users. Let’s see how it goes about achieving its goals.
iCloud Drive is meant to work with Apple devices. It offers a macOS desktop app and an iOS mobile client.
The apps sport the signature Apple look, so you’ll likely be familiar with the interface. If you’re a Mac user, it’s one of the best cloud services and only takes minutes to set up.
Now, iCloud drive can technically work on Windows and Android. I say “technically” because actually making it functional is a proper nightmare.
The issue is that you need to have an Apple device to activate an iCloud account—even if you want to use it on a different operating system. That alone is a massive hurdle for the vast majority of Windows users.
Even if you do create an account, it doesn’t really make sense to use iCloud on Windows. A lot of the document types won’t work for Windows applications iCloud Drive also can’t convert Microsoft Office documents into a readable format.
In short, iCloud Drive might offer the best cloud storage for Mac and iPhones, but Windows users can find a more suitable solution.
Ease of Use
One of the main benefits of iCloud Drive is that it works very smoothly across Apple devices. Once you log into your account, all the application backups practically handle themselves.
File sync between different desktop computers also feels very effortless. The service automatically syncs all the most important folders, like documents and photos.
All you really have to do is select which files you want uploaded or synced, or just do full-system backups. Handling everything is as easy as one-two-three.
iCloud Drive features the best cloud backup of 2020 (if you’re on an Apple device). You can easily upload pretty much anything, and managing files in the cloud feels just as natural as working with physical storage.
You can view and work on different file types from the web interface. This includes media playback features and using apps like Notes in the cloud. This mostly supports Apple’s specific file types, though, so you won’t really be able to open or even convert MS Office documents.
The sync feature is excellent as well. It’s very straightforward to keep your data accessible from any device. Besides standard files and photos, iCloud Drive can sync your desktop and even some data for apps like Siri, Notes, and text messages. That way, you’ll have pretty much the same experience across all your devices.
You can also sync data used by some third-party apps. You just need to check if your favorite apps support this functionality.
iCloud Drive is also one of the most secure cloud storage services, but Apple doesn’t give a lot of peace of mind in terms of privacy. Even though the company denies participation, it was one of the first accused of involvement in PRISM. The software is closed-source, and Apple keeps your encryption keys, so there are no guarantees as to what can happen with your data.
File sharing is there, but it’s not the most comprehensive. You can share specific files easily enough, but you can’t set passwords or time limits on sharing. This is fine for most private users but isn’t really the best cloud storage for business.
All in all, the backup and sync work splendidly with Apple devices, but the rest of the features are kind of average.
iCloud Drive integrates a lot of Apple’s proprietary apps like Numbers, Pages, and Keynotes. You can edit these without downloading, though there’s no collaborative editing like on Google Drive.
iCloud also integrates with a bunch of third-party applications, including big ones like Slack. The list also includes various CRM, emailing, and scheduling apps, among others.
iCloud Drive has a bigger ecosystem than many providers, though it doesn’t really cover thousands of apps like Google Drive. Your best bet is to check with the support if your favorite services are supported.
If any company is known for premium pricing, it’s Apple. Surprisingly enough, though, it offers relatively cheap cloud storage.
The free tier comes with about average storage allocation. Since most Apple users spend this on automated backups, though, the 5GB tend to run out fairly quickly.
The paid tiers are fine. iCloud Drive’s pricing is pretty much in line with OneDrive and Google Drive, though there are even more affordable services.
One cool thing is that you can share storage with your family. This can make the service more affordable, though your family members might not be too happy if you enable full desktop-to-desktop sync for everyone.
iCloud Drive is among the best cloud storage companies for macOS and iOS users. It provides an easy way to keep data safe, extend storage features, or just run basically the same setup across devices. Its business application is kind of limited and the Windows client just doesn’t get you the same features. It’s best to go for it if you’re already an Apple user and need more storage for your data.
13. SugarSync A Decent Premium Provider
Things we liked / disliked
- Free 30 Day Trial
- AES-256 Encryption
- Automatic Sync Options
- Decent File Sharing Features
- 2,000+ Integrations Through Zapier
- Offline File Access
- Online Editing and Collaboration Features
- No Password Protection or Time Limit Options for File Sharing
- Poor roductivity Features
- Convoluted cancellation process
Ease of use:
Mostly easy to use
Up to 1TB
Only during working hours
SugarSync is an online storage and backup service that has been around for a little under 11 years. Here’s what technologies it developed in all that time:
SugarSync runs desktop apps for Windows and macOS. You might be able to find a Linux client, but this version is no longer supported, and it’s not advisable to use it.
The design of the desktop clients is sleek and colorful. All the most important online cloud storage features are there, so you won’t have to keep jumping to the web client for every little thing.
The web client looks a bit less crisp, but it works just as well. All the options are relatively easy to find, and even complete beginners should have no trouble configuring their storage.
The apps for Android and iOS include all the most important features and a few extra. You can upload new photos and videos automatically, preview media, and even specify files for offline access.
All in all, SugarSync handles cross-platform support well, though Linux users don’t really get a client they can install.
Ease of Use
SugarSync is easy to handle across the board, but the file storage solution does introduce a few annoying practices. For the most part, you can find anything easily, but the solution will make you activate some options that should be active by default.
For instance, you have to toggle the drag-and-drop area before you can drag a file over for upload. Also, uploading files for syncing doesn’t make them accessible on different machines. After uploading a file, you actually have to log in to your other connected machines and select which files you want synced to them.
You get the idea. It’s one of the easier cloud storage deals, but activating some functions takes more work than it ought to.
SugarSync handles file backup and sync well. All you need is to select which files you want backed up from your file hierarchy. You don’t have to have centralized folders in one specific location, so you won’t have to reorganize everything.
If you connect a mobile device, you can also automatically upload certain new files like images and videos. The storage service has a few more handy features—for instance, remote wipe, which ensures the integrity of your files if you lose one of you devices.
The service saves five previous versions of all files, which doesn’t count towards your storage limit. You can enable it to save up to 12 versions, but the extra ones count toward your storage cap.
Having five versions is fine in the great majority of cases. If you make a lot of file changes, though, or are worried about ransomware, you should selectively enable the extra versions. This will make your cloud storage more secure for critical files.
The feature also works on entire folders, so you won’t have to individually specify each file. You can set your own backup schedule, and you can also roll back entire folders to a previous version—excellent functionality, all in all.
The cloud sharing capabilities work well too. You can share specific files or entire folders, either by sending out access links or inviting users via emails. There are no advanced access control options and you can’t really see who’s currently working on files. SugarSync isn’t the greatest for collaboration.
Your files will be encrypted via the AES 256-bit protocol. The provider doesn’t have zero-knowledge encryption, though, so you can’t be confident in 100% data privacy.
In the end, SugarSync offers plenty of decent features, though it’s nothing other established services don’t have.
SugarSync has a few handy integrations. This includes Genius Scan for document scanning, Cumulo for connecting multiple cloud storage services, and a variety of other services for text and media.
The storage provider also supports Zapier. This adds integration capabilities with 2,000+ other apps, including Slack, Gmail, MailChimp, various CMSs, social media, and a whole lot more.
The solution is highly extensible, so both personal users and businesses will likely be able to connect apps they already use.
SugarSync discontinued it’s free tier. You can get a 30-day free trial of any plan, but this gets a bit complicated.
Namely, you have to enter your credit card info to set up a trial. If you do not cancel your plan before the trial is up, SugarSync will charge your card.
This might sound easy enough, but you can’t cancel a plan from the dashboard. Instead, you have to contact billing support, which isn’t available 24/7. The whole cancellation procedure is just too complicated.
The paid plans are:
- 1TB—$55/month (allows three users)
As you can see, SugarSync is kind of pricy. If we make a cloud storage pricing comparison, even premium services like Google Drive and iCloud Drive offer eight times the storage space for the same price.
SugarSync is a solid service, but the price is a bit much across the board. Other providers like OneDrive and pCloud offer everything it has and then some at a much lower price. All in all, it works well but isn’t the best cloud storage company in terms of value for money.
Common Questions about Cloud Storage
Which is better, Dropbox, or Google Drive?
Both Dropbox and Google Drive have a lot of similar features, as well as similar problems.
Dropbox does handle file sync a lot better than much of the competition, which is what landed it in our top seven. Google does integrate a few more services than Dropbox, but not enough to give it a competitive edge.
It’s worth pointing out neither Dropbox nor Google Drive has the best track record when it comes to privacy. If you’d like to keep your files truly to yourself, either encrypt them on your own computer or go for a provider with more secure online storage.
What is the best value cloud storage?
pCloud’s offer is absolutely impossible to beat in terms of value. The provider lets you purchase a lifetime plan that lasts for up to 99 years. It’s an awesome solution if you’re in it for the long haul.
If you want to pay in more manageable chunks, though, MEGA has a pretty decent offer for personal users. It’s easy to use, keeps your data private for free, and has a reasonable price.
If you’re looking for something with collaboration features for your business, OneDrive is a decent option. The solution makes it a breeze for users to work together and exchange information. It has one of the best cloud storage deals for businesses.
How much does 1TB of cloud storage cost?
It varies from provider to provider. A fair price for 1TB of storage would be anywhere from $5 to $15 per month. Still, it depends on what features you need and if you’re looking for a personal or a business plan.
Where is cloud data stored?
A lot goes into cloud infrastructure, but the basics of it are that you’re getting storage in your provider’s data center.
The exact location depends on where the provider’s data centers are. A popular location for cloud storage solutions is Switzerland, because of its data privacy laws, but there are also storage providers in the US, Canada, China, and dozens of other countries.
A provider might not disclose the exact location of the data center for safety reasons. It might even store multiple copies of your data in separate data centers to ensure reliability.
Essentially, your data is still on a physical drive somewhere, but the exact location depends on the provider’s facilities.
What is the best cloud storage you can get for free?
MEGA has a pretty generous offer for a free provider. It starts you with 50GB of storage, but this goes down to 15GB after a month. You can add more temporary storage by referring friends or downloading the mobile/desktop clients.
Still, it’s important to understand a free account will only get you so far. If you need a serious amount of storage, check out the best cloud storage companies above and see which one fits you best.