The best cloud storage services: are free ones worth it?

on January 29 at 11:57 AM

The best cloud storage services offer affordable prices, generous storage, and serve personal and business needs.


A reliable cloud storage provider is more important than ever since many work from home. However, when it comes to your office work, you want it stored away from home, where your data is always one dropped cup of coffee away from disaster.


Dropbox's CEO, Drew Houston, started the company in 2007 after losing his USB drive. As a result, he created the first cloud storage service for individuals and small businesses. The idea was revolutionary at the time, and everyone loved it. Dozens of providers and services offer cheap or free cloud storage today. Even though they both give you hold, they are very different.


What is the best one for you? You could choose based on the amount of free storage you get. Cloud storage services are valuable when they work well for you or your business. Depending on your operating system and business plan, some work much better than others.


Let's get to it.




Best cloud storage service overall


With iDrive, you get cloud backup and cloud storage in one package. Besides backing up small businesses, it works well for cloud storage and file sharing for individuals.


Unlike other cloud backup services, iDrive doesn't restrict you to a single computer. Using one account, you can back up your Windows and macOS desktops, Android smartphones, iPhones, and tablets, as well as your network drives. For Linux servers, there is also a Linux backup option. Unfortunately, Linux does not have a desktop storage client. I hate it! Manually uploading files can, however, be done through its web interface.


Amber Cloud


Amber X and AmberPRO Personal Cloud are storage devices that allow users to store all their data privately at home or the Office and access it from anywhere. Through the friendly Amber iX mobile app, you can set up the device, backup your camera roll, browse your photos, stream and cast your videos, access and even share your files and folders. Each Amber device maintains its sovereign data domain in the Amber Hybrid Cloud by controlling its access control permission list. AmberCloud identifies the user who attempts to make a data access request. Each Amber device still grants or rejects access to the data using its most up-to-date access control permission list stored on the Amber device. LatticeWork designed the Amber Hybrid Cloud to have the Amber device rely on little trust in the AmberCloud, even though it created both sides of the system.


Amazon Cloud Drive


Best cloud storage service for Amazon users: Available for personal use and SMBs


With Amazon Cloud Drive, Prime members get 5GB of storage for free


Amazon S3 is an object storage service from Amazon Web Services (AWS). Individuals don't use that. Despite its popularity, Amazon Cloud Drive is not a first-rate storage service for personal or small business use. 


Amazon Cloud Drive is much better than it used to be. Amazon Cloud Drive now supports Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. Unfortunately, it does not have a Linux client. The web interface, however, could be more straightforward.




Best cloud storage service for Microsoft users: Merges your Windows desktop and the cloud


Free storage: OneDrive comes with 5GB of free storage


The combination of OneDrive and Windows is delicious. Windows users can access OneDrive just like any other directory in File Explorer. Users can access OneDrive via the web, a desktop app for Mac and earlier versions of Windows, or apps for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Xbox. Xbox, of course.




Best cloud storage service for productivity: Cloud storage and a document work-flow program in one


Free storage: Box starts with a free cloud storage account and 10GB of storage


Box offers clients for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. Blackberry is also supported. Linux, however, is not supported. Instead, Linux users can work with Box using a third-party program called ExpanDrive.




Best cloud storage service for those who desire simplicity: Oldest personal cloud storage that's still good


Free storage: Dropbox Basic's free storage is only 2GB


We all have Dropbox accounts since Dropbox came first. The free Dropbox Basic storage is only 2GB, but you can use it on any platform. Dropbox has a website, desktop applications for Mac, Windows, and Linux, native file systems, and mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire. Even Blackberry phones are supported. Setting it up is a snap; you won't have to worry about syncing files.


Google Drive


Best cloud storage service for businesses and Chromebook users: Boasts excellent storage and a lot of extras


Free storage: You get 15GB of free storage and an excellent office suite


Google Drive used to be just a storage service. Then Google combined Google Docs and Google One, its online office suite. With a Google account, you get 15GB of free storage and an excellent office suite. Many businesses and Chromebook users now use it as their complete cloud-based Office. I use it all the time.




Best cloud storage service for those who want open-source DIY cloud storage: Privacy and security baked in


Free storage: As much storage as you have available on your machines


With Nextcloud, you can create your cloud storage service using your existing servers and hard drives. Everyone who values privacy and security will benefit from this do-it-yourself cloud.


Nextcloud lets you set up cloud storage on your Office or external servers. Can it provide you with a lot of storage? How much do you want? My Office has a 4TB Nextcloud drive, and my co-hosted server rack has another terabyte. Although NextCloud is easy to set up for Linux power users, some might find it challenging.




Best cloud storage service for those who want a lifetime subscription: Extra security also makes it worth a look


For starters, pCloud offers 4GB of free storage, but you can increase it to 10 GB.


It's always a good idea to be cautious about "lifetime" subscriptions to anything, especially computer services. However, after nine years in business, I am inclined to give pCloud the benefit of the doubt.


Additionally, I like that pCloud offers clients for Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS devices.


Apple iCloud


Best cloud storage service for Apple users: Apple finally has got its act together


If you own an Apple product, you get 5GB of free iCloud storage


I used to dislike iCloud, even on my Macs. Instead, I used Google Drive or NextCloud. It's finally cleaned up enough bugs that Mac, iPhone, and iPad users can trust.


iCloud offers seamless integration and ease of use on any gadget. Except that it didn't. While I won't bore you with how it used to annoy me, it's finally mostly bug-free.

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