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Linux dominates the hosting world. That’s why few providers have a Windows service, and fewer still offer quality.

Bu Windows Server outperforms Linux in certain scenarios and is often the logical choice. Finding a provider that handles Windows hosting well might be tough, but it pays off in spades.

To help you do just that, we reviewed the best Windows hosting companies

 

Top 7 Best Cloud Storage Companies

1. pCloud

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pCloud’s offer is simply brilliant. You can use straightforward apps and get lots of storage, no-knowledge encryption, and hands-down the best audio and video playback features in the game. Plus, its lifetime subscription option lets you take advantage of an amazing value deal. It’s a fantastic offer all-round.

Things we liked / disliked
  • Intuitive interface
  • Fantastic for media
  • Decent security
  • Fast
  • Excellent value
  • No-knowledge encryption is a paid add-on
  • Not the best for collaboration

pCloud’s offer is simply brilliant. You can use straightforward apps and get lots of storage, no-knowledge encryption, and hands-down the best audio and video playback features in the game. Plus, its lifetime subscription option lets you take advantage of an amazing value deal. It’s a fantastic offer all-round.

2. MEGA

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Whether you’re in the market for a free plan or more robust personal storage, MEGA has an excellent offer. Easy to use apps, top-notch sharing, and no-knowledge encryption are all part of the standard offer. With four pricing tiers that can scale up to 8TB of storage, MEGA is more than enough for most users.

Things we liked / disliked
  • Easy to use
  • Robust security and data privacy tools
  • Decent value deals
  • Generous free tier
  • Few collaboration tools
  • No block-level sync

Whether you’re in the market for a free plan or more robust personal storage, MEGA has an excellent offer. Easy to use apps, top-notch sharing, and no-knowledge encryption are all part of the standard offer. With four pricing tiers that can scale up to 8TB of storage, MEGA is more than enough for most users.

3. OneDrive

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Over the years, Microsoft has put forward an assortment of awesome products, both for personal users and businesses. OneDrive falls into both categories. With an Office 365 license included, support for an array of devices, and seamless integration with dozens of apps, there’s a lot to love about OneDrive. And if your business already relies on technologies like SharePoint or Exchange Server, OneDrive works with those as well. It’s an overall excellent option.

Things we liked / disliked
  • Top value deals
  • Fantastic for collaboration
  • Top-notch features and integrations
  • Easy to use
  • Works awesomely with Windows 10
  • No Linux client
  • No no-knowledge encryption
  • Limited starting tiers

Over the years, Microsoft has put forward an assortment of awesome products, both for personal users and businesses. OneDrive falls into both categories. With an Office 365 license included, support for an array of devices, and seamless integration with dozens of apps, there’s a lot to love about OneDrive. And if your business already relies on technologies like SharePoint or Exchange Server, OneDrive works with those as well. It’s an overall excellent option.

4. Sync.com

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Sync offers a broad range of plans, no-knowledge encryption, and is compliant with various standards. The service has a few quirks to watch out for. If you’re fine with an annual subscription, though, you can get a decent deal.

Things we liked / disliked
  • No-knowledge policy
  • Integrates well with most devices
  • Reasonable price
  • No integrations available
  • Navigation could be a bit easier
  • Only lets you pay annually

Sync offers a broad range of plans, no-knowledge encryption, and is compliant with various standards. The service has a few quirks to watch out for. If you’re fine with an annual subscription, though, you can get a decent deal.

5. Tresorit

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Tresorit is a Swiss provider that’s all about advanced technologies. You can get access to an easy-to-use platform and some truly fantastic features. The provider also ensures data privacy, and its inner workings were audited by EY. It’s one of the top services out there, though this comes at a slightly higher price.

Things we liked / disliked
  • Straightforward and intuitive interface
  • Fantastic features
  • Solid privacy and security features
  • Can be costly
  • Lacks collaboration and media tools

Tresorit is a Swiss provider that’s all about advanced technologies. You can get access to an easy-to-use platform and some truly fantastic features. The provider also ensures data privacy, and its inner workings were audited by EY. It’s one of the top services out there, though this comes at a slightly higher price.

6. Dropbox

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Dropbox is probably the most recognizable cloud storage provider. Its offer features one of the fastest block sync algorithms and fantastic ease of use. Slightly higher costs and a poor track record with security take away from the value, though. Still, Dropbox is a decent provider.

Things we liked / disliked
  • Intuitive interface
  • Works well on most devices.
  • Decent features and lots of integrations
  • Poor privacy
  • Low free plan storage
  • Can be pricy

Dropbox is probably the most recognizable cloud storage provider. Its offer features one of the fastest block sync algorithms and fantastic ease of use. Slightly higher costs and a poor track record with security take away from the value, though. Still, Dropbox is a decent provider.

7. Box for Business

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Box is a decent solution for just about any business. You can get access to advanced use management tools, an intuitive interface, and 1,400+ integrations, including popular services like Slack and Asana. Box’s personal offer might be limited, but the business platform is nothing short of excellent.

Things we liked / disliked
  • Straightforward app designs
  • No knowledge encryption add-on available
  • Unlimited storage plans
  • No block-level sync
  • 5GB file size limit
  • Cluttered website

Box is a decent solution for just about any business. You can get access to advanced use management tools, an intuitive interface, and 1,400+ integrations, including popular services like Slack and Asana. Box’s personal offer might be limited, but the business platform is nothing short of excellent.

 

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.

Methodology

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.

1. pCloud

pCloud is a popular provider. It offers unique cloud storage options, so let’s see how they perform.

Device Compatibility

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.

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 security 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.

Integrations

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 off-site backups if your WordPress hosting provider doesn’t offer them.

pCloud has more integrations in the works, but that’s it for now.

Plans

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.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Great media features
  • Robust security
  • Fast platform
  • Excellent price, especially with the lifetime plans

Cons:

  • No-knowledge encryption is paid
  • Few collaboration features

Bottom Line

pCloud is one of the best cloud storage providers. If you want to store photos, audio, or video files, or just want fast and secure service, it’s the go-to option. Plus, you can get fantastic value with the lifetime subscription.

2. MEGA

MEGA is a popular storage provider that’s all about change and new advancements. Here’s how it shows in its service.

Device Compatibility

MEGA is pretty platform-agnostic. Its desktop client works on Linux, Windows, and Mac machines. You can also use the web app.

On a side note, if you use the browser client, you should get the MEGA browser extension. This doesn’t do much at first glance, but it makes your browser load JS code from your own computer. Since MEGA uses JavaScript for encryption, this makes for more secure cloud storage.

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.

Features

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 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.

Integrations

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.

Plans

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.

Pros:

  • Awesomely straightforward
  • Tight security and privacy features
  • Reasonably priced
  • Free plan comes with plenty of storage

Cons:

  • Limited collaboration features
  • File upload can be slow

Bottom Line

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

OneDrive is a file hosting service by the big boy Microsoft itself. Let’s see if the service lives up to the company name.

Device Compatibility

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 the 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.

Features

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.

Integrations

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.

Plans

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.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Awesome collaboration features
  • Among the best features and integrations
  • Easy to use
  • Fantastic integration with Windows 10

Cons:

  • No Linux App
  • Dubious Data Privacy
  • Limited “Storage Only” Tiers

Bottom Line

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

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.

Device Compatibility

You can connect just about any desktop or mobile device to your account. The platform 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.

Features

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.

Integrations

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. 

Plans

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 is 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.

Pros:

  • Solid data privacy
  • Compatible with most devices
  • Reasonable price

Cons:

  • No third-party integrations
  • A few extra features could make navigation faster
  • Doesn’t allow monthly payments

Bottom Line

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. Tresorit

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.

Device Compatibility

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.

Of course, you can also use the web client. Tresorit has switched from using JavaScript for encryption to a more secure system, so this option works splendidly as well.

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.

Features

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 wiping, 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.

Integrations

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.

Plans

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.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Lots of advanced features
  • Decent privacy and security

Cons:

  • Can be costly
  • Lacks in-app collaboration and media playback

Bottom Line

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.

6. Dropbox

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.

Device Compatibility

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.

Features

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 security 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.

Integrations

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.

Plans

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.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Platform-agnostic
  • Great features and integrations

Cons:

  • Iffy privacy
  • Relatively pricey
  • Limited free tier

Bottom Line

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.

7. Box for Business

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.

Device Compatibility

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.

Features

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.

Integrations

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.

Plans

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.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • No-knowledge encryption available
  • Awesome integrations
  • Unlimited storage plans

Cons:

  • No block-level sync
  • 5GB max file size
  • Clunky website

Bottom Line

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.

8. What is Cloud Storage?

Many online resources give really complex explanations of what cloud storage really is, and few people truly understand what it’s all about. Knowing what you can do with it doesn’t have to be a challenge, so I’ll break down cloud file storage in simple terms.

Cloud Storage and Hosting

People often want easy solutions, and purchasing a web hosting plan might look like a cheap way to store extra files. This is why most providers have a bunch of user reviews along the lines of “The $3.99/month hosting plan said ‘unlimited storage,’ so I uploaded 500GB of photos, and now my account is canceled.”

Indeed, many providers advertise features like unlimited storage. Still, it’s important to understand no provider can give you as many resources as you want and remain profitable. If you overuse resources, the provider will have to force you to pay more, which is when conflict starts.

You may say it’s false advertising, and that would be a fair point. Still, you should be aware that no one will (or can) offer you terabytes of storage for a couple of bucks a month.

Which is where cloud storage comes in. Cloud storage providers are specialists that run vast facilities that can store petabytes upon petabytes of data. This is why that can offer you vast amounts of storage for a relatively small fee. Here’s how they work.

Why Cloud Storage Matters

Cloud storage is the next phase of data storage evolution. There’s a lot that goes into creating and managing a cloud environment, but the gist of it is that cloud storage companies sell you storage in their data centers.

You can use this for any number of purposes. Some common uses include using it as primary or backup storage, sharing files, easy access, and collaboration, etc.

Another thing is that the best cloud storage providers often store versions of your data in several highly secure facilities. Even on the off-chance that an entire data center goes down, your data is still safe and accessible.

You can also access the files from anywhere, provided you have an internet connection. This makes it awesome if you’re frequently changing locations, using multiple devices, like a phone and a laptop, or even sharing something with others. If you work with digital data, a simple OneDrive link can save you the trouble of getting into a car and driving to meet up with a client physically. 

Speaking of business, cloud storage sees great use among organizations. For starters, it can save you the money you’d have to spend on maintaining physical servers. Cloud services often come equipped with a range of tools that help dozens or hundreds of employees access files and collaborate on them. A simple cloud storage solution can cut down costs dramatically.

In essence, cloud storage solutions are an easy way to get extra space, and even a couple of useful tools, at a reasonable price.

Cloud Storage Advantages

Now you know what cloud storage can do. Let’s cover, in more concrete terms, how cloud storage compares to local storage.

Price

This is a key point when purchasing any type of storage.

Many online sources state that getting more computer storage or external drives is more affordable. They’ll even do some math and compare the cost of a 1TB SSD drive and a five or ten-year cost of 1TB of cloud storage. One source goes as far as talking about the price of keeping files in the cloud for fifty years.

This type of calculation is misleading for two reasons.

First, any drive that you purchase now may very well be obsolete in five years, let alone ten or more. Just think of CDs and DVDs—they used to be irreplaceable for storage or file sharing, but now they’re pretty much a relic. 

Then there’s the cost of replacing drives. Hardware failure is a real thing, and even cloud storage providers lose entire servers at a time. That said, each provider has systems that ensure this doesn’t affect customers. You, on the other hand, would have to replace any malfunctioning personal drives out of your own pocket.

Then there’s the cost of backup storage. Having backups is simply a good idea. And if you use external drives for primary storage, you should get at least another backup drive.

This essentially doubles the cost of your local storage. With cloud storage, though, the provider typically handles data backups as a standard part of the service.

The bottom line—the costs can get pretty high if you’re going for local storage. 

To be fair, it all depends on what kind of online file storage or storage devices you’re going for. While cloud storage might be marginally more expensive, the long-term prices aren’t that different—especially when you consider the next point.

Scalability

This is also important in minimizing costs.

If you purchase a storage device and it has way too much or too little storage, well, you’re stuck with it. All you can do is get a different device, and you’ve essentially wasted money.

Cloud storage companies, on the other hand, give you some degree of freedom in scaling your storage capacity up or down. You can always have the amount of storage you need, without overpaying.

Ease of Use

If you’re anything like me (or most people out there), you hate dealing with hardware. Digging through files, moving them from one device to the next, and waiting for that progress bar to fill is just a massive pain.

Cloud-based storage lets you say goodbye to all that. All you need is an internet connection, and you can easily upload your files in the background.

Most providers even let you sync files in specific locations of your computer automatically. That means you can set your parameters when you get cloud storage and have a working continuous backup solution.

Accessing your files is just as easy. All you need is to connect your phone or laptop to the internet, and you’re good to go.

Speed

Now this one goes in favor of local storage. Storage devices are either part of or are plugged directly into your computer, which inevitably makes them faster.

Even the best cloud storage, on the other hand, can only be as fast as your internet connection.

This is not really that much of a factor if you’re storing smaller files or just using cloud storage as a backup. If you need quick access to larger files, like videos, it can be a bit hindering.

Functionality and Reliability

It’s tough to match all the functions cloud providers offer, especially some factors that boost reliability. For instance, backing up your data in multiple facilities is practically impossible with local storage, unless you already run a multi-million dollar company.

With local storage, every piece of hardware, every tweak you make, and any maintenance costs you money. Cloud providers run these projects on a massive scale, so they can offer incredible services at a negligible price.

This is helpful for private users, but it’s even more of a money saver for organizations that rely on all the extra features.

Security

This one could go both ways, but it really depends on the specific case.

If you’re looking at cloud storage options, definitely go for one that encrypts all the uploaded data. It’s a bonus if you alone have the decryption key, though few providers offer this.

Also, familiarize yourself with the best security practices, like using two-factor authentication and creating strong passwords. Also, if your business stores some sensitive client information, make sure the cloud storage provider is compliant with all the necessary standards like HIPAA.

Bottom Line

Cloud storage has its fair share of advantages, but local storage doesn’t go down easily either. It all comes down to your requirements and what you can afford. Here’s how to know if online cloud storage is for you.

9. Should I Get Cloud Storage?

If you’re reading this, you could probably use extra data storage. Here’s how to know whether the cloud is the solution for you.

Private Users

There’s a lot of uses for extra data storage, but private users mostly need two things—backup storage or additional primary storage.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again—making frequent backups can be a pain, but it is a good idea. If you keep all your files in one place, all it takes is one hardware failure, and you can lose all your photos, videos, or whatever else you have.

The thing is, external SSD drives or even larger thumb drives can do the job here. You can copy over important data and just keep them in a safe place. It might not be as seamless as cloud file storage, but it gets you decent reliability.

It all depends on what you prefer. If you want to automatically back up files, or have flexible storage, or just don’t want to haul a lot of gear when traveling, go for cloud storage. Otherwise, an old-fashioned physical drive does the job.

If you’re running short on storage on your computer or phone and want to offload some of it, it might be better to consider the cloud. This is just because the cloud storage provider will handle both the primary storage and backups, so you’re killing two birds with one stone.

Freelancers/Entrepreneurs

If you’re freelancing or want to start your own business and you’re working with digital products, cloud storage can be a great benefit. This includes developers, videographers, digital artists, writers, and anything similar.

In such fields, losing data can not only lose you time or money but cost you your reputation. Just imagine a wedding photographer having a drive fail before delivering photos, and it becomes clear why there are so many photo cloud storage services out there.

A cloud drive is also a good place to archive all your previous work without burdening your computer.

Cloud services also let you share some of your files with others. This makes it an awesome way to get feedback or even deliver a finished product. You can avoid the hassle of having to copy files to a separate drive and deliver them in person.

All in all, cloud storage can be a really worthwhile investment for freelancers and agencies.

Organizations

This one’s a bit tricky.

On the one hand, if you need to keep a large amount of data in one place or if you have a lot of employees collaborating on projects, cloud drives can be an excellent option. They can boost reliability and enable easy access to everyone while eliminating the costs of server maintenance.

If you already have an on-premises device, though, it might not be cost-effective to switch. It’s best to project upkeep costs for both options and see what would serve you better in the long term. 

Another point to consider is whether cloud storage is the right type of service. Many organizations use their servers for more than just storage.

While some cloud data storage services are versatile and even integrate useful apps like SharePoint Server, they’re not a one-size-fits-all platform. You cannot use them to install and run your own apps.

If you need a cloud solution that can do everything a powerful in-house server can, you can look into cloud computing services like AWS or managed cloud providers.

If you need storage and some collaboration tools, though, cloud storage companies can provide amazing value.

10. Free vs. Paid Cloud Storage

You might have noticed many popular cloud storage companies offer a free plan that lasts indefinitely. You might wonder—what’s the catch?

Let me be the bearer of good news and tell you—there is none.

Providers often offer somewhere between 2 and 50GBof free online storage, with no strings attached. They also usually reserve the more advanced features for paid plans, but you can use the free ones without worry.

Some providers also impose bandwidth restrictions on free plans. This isn’t that much of an issue, though, as free plans aren’t suitable for large files anyway.

The deal is that the amount of storage you get isn’t all that much. The provider can offer free plans without going out of business. Meanwhile, it is betting that you’ll appreciate the extra storage and functionality of paid plans and upgrade.

Providers often even add extra storage to your free plan if you refer a friend. It’s just a marketing strategy.

So, should you get free or paid storage?

It mostly depends on how much storage you need and what you want to use it for.

If you just need something simple, free storage can do the job just fine. For instance, a simple 15GB plan can really take you a long way if you’re just backing up emails or text files.

On the flip side, even the largest free cloud storage plans don’t get you that much compared to paid ones. If you need a few hundred gigabytes of space, only a paid plan can handle it.

It’s a particularly good idea to get a paid plan if you have a lot of photos stored on your phone or computer—and who doesn’t these days? Having everything properly backed up can really give you some peace of mind.

If you’re running a business, paid storage can also be a fantastic investment. Not only will you have enough space for all your files, but the extra tools will be helpful in managing projects and delivering any files to the right place.

If you’re going for paid storage, a good rule of thumb is to get a bit more than you need, especially if you’re prepaying for a longer period. 50-100% extra space simply leaves you enough breathing room to add more files without having to upgrade.

Of course, you can always use the free plans to test the service beforehand. We have some of the best cloud storage companies listed above, and all offer a free plan, so feel free to check them out.

11. Wrap Up

That concludes the reviews of the top names in the cloud storage business. Feel free to take any provider that catches your eye for a spin and see if it’s for you.

 

FAQ

Q: Which is better, Dropbox, or Google Drive?

A: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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. 

Q: 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.

Q: 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.