The 4 Best Free Cloud Storage Providers
The majority of cloud storage providers offer a free version, which typically includes about 2GB of storage space. Certain companies offer much more. Some plans are more limited in terms of features than others, so before you decide which company you want to go with, it’s important to determine what’s most important to you. If you’re just looking to back up the files on your computer, it’s best to select a plan with a large amount of free cloud storage and an affordable pricing structure in case you need to upgrade to a paid plan in the future. On the other hand, individuals who collaborate on documents may be willing to sacrifice a little in terms of storage space in favor of more advanced online editing and communication tools. The four companies below are some of the best considering what they offer for free.
When searching for the best free cloud storage, you should definitely consider Google Drive. Store up to 15GB of data at no cost to you. The best part is that nothing you create in Google Docs counts toward that limit, which means you could actually store much more than 15GB. One thing to note, however, is that the photos you’ve saved to your Google+ Photos and the emails in your Gmail inbox count toward your total storage limit, so it’s important to make sure you factor these in when deciding how much storage space you need. Google Drive is also an excellent cloud storage provider to choose if you need to collaborate with others because they enable multiple users to edit files at the same time and post comments directly within the document. And, if despite all these things you feel you still need more storage space, upgrade to Google Drive’s 100GB plan for just a few dollars per month.
In terms of free online storage space, ADrive’s 50GB plan simply can’t be beaten. The only reason they didn’t claim the top spot on this list is because their free plan imposes more restrictions than Google Drive’s does. For example, there’s no SSL encryption and you can’t access your files through ADrive’s desktop apps. This shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for most people, though, because you’re able to view your documents through the ADrive website or their mobile apps. Like the other companies on this list, ADrive has tools in place to enable you to edit your files from directly within the cloud rather than having to first download it to your computer. Sharing files and folders with others is as easy as sending them a link via email. Once they click on it, they’ll be able to view and possibly edit your documents depending on how you have their permissions set. If you need an easy way to work with others on important documents, these tools are invaluable.
Box is another company that stands out in terms of free cloud storage with their 10GB plan. They have desktop and mobile apps available for every major platform, which is perfect if you need to access your files from a number of different devices. When security’s your top priority, Box is a good cloud storage provider to choose because they not only encrypt your files, but they also give you the option to further protect your documents by adding two-step verification to your account. Another reason to go with Box is because they make it so easy to work on your files and work with others. Edit files within the cloud and your changes are synced automatically so you’re able to start editing your document at home; then, switch over to your mobile app later and keep working. Like Google Drive, Box helps team members communicate through comments and discussions on particular files and folders, which helps save a lot of time and prevents constant switching back and forth between your email and cloud storage account. The one downside to Box’s free plan is it doesn’t allow you to upload large files, however.
OpenDrive’s Basic plan gives you 5GB of free cloud storage space you can keep for as long as you want. This isn’t going to be enough to back up all the files on your computer, but it should be enough for your most important documents. Anything you upload to the cloud is automatically synced with your other computers, mobile devices, and the cloud, so no matter where you are you’re always looking at the latest versions of all your files. As with the other cloud storage providers mentioned above, OpenDrive has tools in place so you can quickly edit their files from right within the system. If you frequently work with videos or other large files, OpenDrive isn’t going to be a good fit for you, however. All files must be 100MB or less in order to be uploaded and synced to the cloud. In order to eliminate this restriction, you must upgrade to a paid plan. There are also limits on bandwidth, which could result in longer upload times, so this is also something to be aware of before signing up with OpenDrive.