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    Top 5 Best free cloud storage services

    Looking for the best cloud storage provider around right now? Well, we’ve got you covered with the most extensive, thoroughly-researched, and complete buyers guide with as little jargon as possible.

    Most importantly, nobody has tested and reviewed more of the best cloud storage services online than us in 2021. We have researched nearly 50 services, from personal cloud storage to enterprise-grade secure cloud storage, that store files in the cloud – and so much more – in a bid to provide you with our curated list, ranking on aspects such as capacity, price, file size, security and ease of use.


    What is a cloud storage service?

    To understand what cloud storage means, you need to grasp what the cloud is. In one line, that’s a resource (usually computing power or storage) that you can access remotely online either for free or for a fee.

    Best Cloud Storage Services of 2021

    if you can’t find what you’re after, check out some of our other guides, including the best free cloud storage, best photo storage, and best business cloud storage roundups.

    1.IDrive is a cloud storage service.

    Because of the low price, that’s the best overall choice.

    IDrive Remote Backup


    SPECIFICATIONS

    • Free storage: 5GB
    • Storage size: 5TB
    • Number of devices: Unlimited


    REASONS TO BUY

    • +Fast and capacious
    • +Easy to use
    • +Good Security

    REASONS TO AVOID

    • -No two-factor authentication

    IDrive offers continuous syncing of your files, even those on network drives.

    The web interface supports sharing files by email, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Cautious or click-happy users will be pleased to hear that files deleted from your computer are not automatically deleted from the server, so there’s less danger of removing something important by accident.

    Up to 30 previous versions of all files back to your account are retained.

    Another thing to note is that IT admins have access to the IDrive Thin Client application, which allows them to backup/restore, manage settings, and more for all their connected computers via a centralized dashboard.


    2. pCloud cloud storage

    Best for those who want to pay a one-off fee

    pCloud Premium

    SPECIFICATIONS

    • Free storage: 10GB
    • Storage size: 2TB
    • Number of devices: 5

    REASONS TO BUY

    • +Affordable
    • +Elegant, intuitive interface
    • +Simple to use

    REASONS TO AVOID

    -No collaboration tools

    pCloud is one of the very few cloud services that offer lifetime subscriptions; you essentially get a virtual, permanent cloud drive.

    It describes itself as a “personal cloud space where you can store all your files and folders [with] a user-friendly interface that clearly shows where everything is located and what it does.”

    pCloud comes with a 30-day trash history and unlimited remote upload traffic (you only need the URL of the file); you are – as expected – limited on the download link traffic: 500GB for the Premium package and 2TB for the Premium Plus package every month.

    The service is available for all desktop and mobile platforms – users can also log in via the website.

    Note that as of August 2020, pCloud now allows its users to choose where they want their data to be stored, either in the EU or the US.

    3. IceDrive cloud storage

    Cleverly implemented secure cloud storage locker which is great value

    IceDrive cloud storage


    SPECIFICATIONS

    • Free storage: 10GB
    • Storage capacity: 5TB
    • Number of devices: Unlimited


    REASONS TO BUY

    • +Top-notch security
    • +Easy-to-use interface
    • +Impressive value, particularly lifetime options

    REASONS TO AVOID

    -Lacks any collaboration features

    IDrive may only have been in the cloud storage business for a couple of years, but the firm offers a compelling solution and one that’s rather different from the traditional cloud locker.

    The key difference is that IceDrive’s online storage can be presented as a standard drive on your (Windows) system, just like your hard drive, with the idea being that it makes this storage easier and more intuitive to use.

    It’s just the same as accessing a local drive, and you can use functions like opening or editing files with close to the same speed you’d get with a local operation – as we observed in our review, there’s almost no slowdown evident.
    Security is also a strong suit here, with IceDrive employing super-safe Twofish encryption on its servers, with the data leaving your machine encrypted client-side as well, to keep things even safer.

    The major weak point with IceDrive is the lack of any of the collaboration features and tricks you can pull off with the likes of OneDrive, for example.

    4. NordLocker cloud storage

    Secure cloud storage that majors in security and ease of use

     NordLocker cloud storage

    SPECIFICATIONS

    • Free tier: 3GB
    • Storage capacity: 500GB
    • Number of devices: Unlimited

    REASONS TO BUY

    • +Slick and user-friendly app
    • +Good on the security front
    • +‘Zero knowledge’ policy


    REASONS TO AVOID

    • -You only get 3GB with free product
    • -NordLocker app required for file sharing participants

    NordLocker might sound familiar, mainly because it’s from the makers of NordVPN, one of our best VPN services.

    If you want a workable amount of secure cloud storage, however, you’ll need to pay for a subscription, with one available plan that provides 500GB of space.

    That comes at a reasonable $3.99 per month on the annual subscription, or $7.99 if you want to pay month-by-month.

    NordLocker allows you to sync all those files in the cloud between all your devices, and using the app is an absolute breeze – just drag-and-drop your files in, and they’re automatically encrypted and uploaded.

    File sharing with others can be achieved, but they must also have signed up for a NordLocker account and be using the app.

    5. Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage

    Best for those who are invested with Microsoft Office

    Microsoft Office


    SPECIFICATIONS

    • Free tier: 5GB
    • Storage capacity: 6TB
    • Number of devices: 30

    REASONS TO BUY

    • +Comes with Microsoft 365
    • +Can edit files online without downloading them

    REASONS TO AVOID

    • -No advanced features

    Like Google Drive’s appeal to Google users, OneDrive will be a good fit for anyone who is committed to using Microsoft’s services, offering neat integration with Outlook.com, the company’s popular email platform, for instance.

    OneDrive also ties in nicely with Windows 10 and there is a selection of reasonable mobile apps to facilitate access on the move.

    It’s also integrated with non-Microsoft services like design behemoth AutoCAD.

    Free users get a mere 5GB of storage, although it’s relatively inexpensive to increase this to 100GB.

    Note that Microsoft upped the upload file size limit on OneDrive from 100GB to 250GB.

    6. Google Drive cloud storage

    Best for those who are using G Suite


    SPECIFICATIONS

    • Free tier: 15GB
    • Storage capacity: 2TB
    • Number of devices: Unlimited


    REASONS TO BUY

    • +Generous amount of free storage
    • +Integrated with Android devices

    REASONS TO AVOID

    • -Web interface isn’t the best

    Google Drive is a natural choice for owners of Android devices as it’s already integrated, but users of other platforms may appreciate the generous free storage too.
    You can also store unlimited high-definition photos on your mobile phone with the companion app Google Photos, and make use of Google’s own office suite (now known as G Workspace).
    Also, individuals upgrading to paid Google Drive plans will join Google One.
    The array of features delivered by Google Drive via One – which ties into Google’s Cloud platform – is bewildering and evolves continuously.
    At the time of writing, Google engineers were rolling out the ability to request approvals for Drive items and lock approved versions.

    How does cloud storage work?

    The concept of cloud storage has been around for a long, long time. Amazon popularized the concept with its S3 (Simple Storage Service) in 2006 but the ability to upload and save files remotely on a service provider’s disk drive can be traced back to 1983. The process is done over the internet over a secure connection via a dedicated app or via a web browser.

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