Whether you want to back up your files, share them with other people or collaborate on one thing, cloud storage services are probably the easiest way to do it. Put this old script in a digital filing cabinet and put your photos in a digital shoe box where they will stay safe, for sharing and easily accessible.
The hard part of uploading your digital life to the cloud is deciding which service to use because the choices can be incredible. We’ve sorted out your options for multiple choices to suit different people, devices, and scenarios. But we are focusing on cloud storage services for ordinary people, not for businesses. For more tips, check out our tutorials on how to back up your digital life, how to securely share files online, and our cloud storage security tips.
Best for Google services
Anyone with a Google Account has access to Google Drive, a handy service for backing up and syncing files. It is fully integrated with Android and Chromebook devices and is a natural choice when you work with Google services such as Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides and Photos. Google Drive is sleek and easy to use, with full search, version history and multiple file sharing options. You can use it through a web browser and also have mobile and desktop apps. Data is encrypted during storage and transmission, and there is support for two-factor authentication (2FA). You can find more information about additional bonuses and storage options in our Google One explanation.
Unfortunately, Google Drive does not have end-to-end encryption and is not the best choice if you have privacy issues. It is also not possible to set passwords or expiration dates for the files you summarize at the link.
15GB free storage, 100GB cost $ 2 / month or $ 10 / year, 200GB cost $ 3 / month or $ 30 / year, 2GB cost $ 10 / month or $ 100 / year
Best for Apple devices
For those who use only Apple devices, iCloud is an easy choice. It is polished, easy to use and fully integrated into macOS and iOS. It is designed to run unnoticed in the background most of the time. You can share files and edit files of pages, numbers and keynote online. You can also collaborate on documents and password protect them. There is 2FA support. Subscribe to the iCloud + plan and you’ll get iCloud Private Relay to protect your privacy while browsing, Hide My Email, which lets you create temporary email addresses instead of posting your own, and HomeKit Secure Video, which you’ll need if you have there is a HomeKit security camera or video call.
Although it is compatible with Windows, iCloud does not support Android. Although iCloud has improved, compared to most other cloud storage services, iCloud feels simple. (The web interface doesn’t even have search options.) File versions are limited by Apple application performance files, and end-to-end encryption is limited, although Apple’s security is generally reliable.
5GB of free storage, 50GB for $ 1 a month, 200GB for $ 3 a month, or 2TB for $ 10 a month (iCloud + also available as part of Apple One)
Provided by Microsoft
Best for Windows
The sleek and affordable OneDrive has many features. This is a natural choice for people who mostly work on a Windows PC and use Microsoft Office. It has a powerful search tool, excellent collaborative editing support and solid file sharing options (including password protection and expiration dates). There is support for most platforms and you can sync files between them or save space by uploading files only on demand. There is also a personal repository with 2FA protection. OneDrive is perhaps the best option for viewing or editing files, since you can open anything in the program. (It even lets you edit photos.)
On the other hand, free storage is limited, there is no end-to-end encryption, and free and basic levels have a small feature set. This is an obvious choice if you use Microsoft Office and Skype because it’s a good value bundled with those included in Microsoft 365, but it’s harder to sell as a separate service.
5GB of free storage, 100GB for $ 2 a month or $ 20 a year, 1TB for $ 7 a month or $ 70 a year (with Microsoft 365 Personal), 6TB for $ 10 a month or $ 100 a year ( with Microsoft 365 Family)
Provided by iDrive
Best for backup
If you just want a digital locker to store your files from a variety of sources, then IDrive may be your best choice. You’ll find enticing starting prices for high-capacity plans. It is easy to use and supports most devices. With most plans iDrive will send you a physical external hard drive for a faster initial backup and then transfer the data to your online account. You get a private encryption key, so iDrive can’t decrypt your files even if it’s forced by law enforcement, and there is 2FA.
IDrive has limited support for file sharing and collaboration, so I don’t recommend doing this if this or that is a priority for you. The program is quite simple and downloading files can be slow. It is also important not to be too surprised by the starting price. First, check the regular price and remember that you need to manually turn off automatic updating and plan to move the data to the update date if you are not going to stay. You should also watch out for overpayments if you exceed your allowance.
10GB of free storage, 5TB for $ 7.95 for the first year ($ 79.50), 10TB for $ 75 for the first year ($ 100 after)
★ Alternative: Backblaze ($ 7 / month, $ 70 / year) allows you to create unlimited data from a single PC or Mac. There is support for 2FA and end-to-end encryption, you can back up and restore them using a physical drive, and you can access files from mobile apps. But it’s easy on other features and configuration options.
Provided by SpiderOak
Best for privacy
Oak spider one
For people who care about security and privacy, you should look at One Backup from SpiderOak. It has a policy of zero trust and ignorance, so no one but you can access your data, and everything is encrypted from end to end. Tariff plan prices are per person, but unlimited devices and file versions are supported. SpiderOak also uses transport-level security (TLS) for data transit to guard against human attacks in the middle. (TLS is the successor to SSL.) The service rewards security, and SpiderOak has a transparent set of policies. You’ll find support for Windows, Mac, or Linux, solid recovery options, file version control, and universal file sharing options, including links that are destroyed.
SpiderOak is relatively expensive, and there is no support for mobile apps. No 2FA for web logins, which is a weird omission for a company that focuses on security. It’s important that you keep your password secure not only because people can access your files when they get it, but also because SpiderOak can’t reset it if you forget it.
150 GB for $ 6 a month or $ 69 a year, 400 GB for $ 11 a month or $ 115 a year, 2 TB for $ 14 a month or $ 149 a year and 5 TB for $ 29 a month or $ 320 a year
★ Alternative: Tresorit (5GB free, 1TB for $ 12 a month) – it’s fast, efficient and secure. There is support for end-to-end encryption and 2FA, comprehensive platform support and a universal feature set. But it is expensive, slow to download files and has no ability to work together.
Provided by Dropbox
Best for extra
Dropbox, one of the first players in cloud storage available, boasts support for virtually any device and is reliable. I’ve been using it for over a decade, mostly as an easy way to move files from one platform to another. It has many integrations and works well for collaboration (whether it’s file sharing or collaborative document creation and editing), especially if all employees use different platforms. But additional services are raising Dropbox; it has a robust password manager and digital signature support. I also like the built-in document scanner in the mobile app.
No end-to-end encryption. Although Dropbox promises not to search, it has a key to decrypt your files. It may match a government request for access, or a fraudulent employee may peek. Dropbox is also relatively expensive, and the free version offers limited storage.
2GB free storage (additional 500MB for friends referrals up to 16GB), 2TB for $ 12 / month or $ 120 / year, 3TB for $ 20 / month or $ 200 / year