We are all storing more and more data on our devices and how many of you are backing them up? Free cloud storage is a great way to backup your important files to the cloud for peace of mind and instant access from anywhere.
What is Free Cloud Storage?
Everyone has heard of the cloud but when you store your files in the cloud where do they actually go?
The Cloud is simply a name for servers provided by companies like Google, Apple, Dropbox, Microsoft etc which you access over the internet. Your files are stored on large disk drives at various data centers around the world and you can access them from anywhere.
So know you know what the cloud is, how do you access it and who offers the best and most free cloud storage.
#1 Google Drive
If you have a google account you already have access to Google Drive, you can just use the online access and copy files via the web window or the real benefit of Google Drive is the App. Installed on your computer, you assign a folder to be your Google Drive folder. Any files that you put into that folder will be synced up to your Cloud Drive.
You can choose to only sync certain folders and you can also install the app on your phone or tablet for an easy way to transfer files to and from your devices, you can also access all of your files via the app.
For more details: https://www.google.com/drive/
#2 Amazon Cloud Storage
The free account offers 5GB of storage, which Amazon assures me will store 2000 photos, but if this isn’t enough you can pay £6 per year to add 20GB, with more space available up to a limit of 1TB for £320 per year.
Amazon uses the same operation as all the others with an app downloaded onto your computer and then a folder being specified as your cloud folder, any files copied into that folder will be synced to the cloud.
Apps are then installed on your mobile devices to upload and access your files online.
If you have an amazon account you probably already have 5Gb of storage waiting for you to use.
If it’s just photos you want to store then Amazon are offering an unlimited photo plan for $11.99 per year - or an unlimited everything plan for $59.99 per year
For More Details: https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive
Probably the most recognised name in the world of cloud storage is Dropbox. When you sign up first you only get 2Gb of free storage, you can add to this by recommending your friends. For each friend you get to sign up you will get 500Mb of free storage up to a limit of 15Gb.
There are other options to sync your mailbox and take tours which give you extra bits of storage.
Dropbox is the only provider to offer clients for Linux and Blackberry and works in the same manner as Google Drive with you setting up an app on your computer that is your Dropbox folder. This then syncs up any content copied in there to your cloud storage.
You can then give access to certain folders to friends and family or co-workers by sharing access to the folder via a secure email link. Once you share access the folder, users with access can delete your files.
By upgrading to the Pro version for £7.99 a month or £79 per year you get 1TB of storage and the option to enable permissions on shared folders.
For More Details: https://www.dropbox.com
#4 Microsoft OneDrive
Very similar to Dropbox Microsoft OneDrive in operation it offers you more free space at 15Gb, you can also get extra storage by referring friends but this is limited to 5Gb so the maximum free space you can get is 20Gb. You get an extra 3Gb if you sync your phones camera roll and there are also paid options giving you up to 1TB of storage for $6.99 per month this also gives you access to Office365.
Operation much the same as Google and Dropbox with an app on your computer syncing a folder to the cloud and also apps available for your mobile devices to upload and access your files.
For More Details: https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/
Again very similar in operation to Google Drive, One Drive & Dropbox, Copy gives you 15Gb of free storage. With upgrade options of 250Gb for $4.99 per month or $49 per year and 1TB for $9.99 per month or $99 per year.
There are the usual friend referral schemes and a desktop and mobile device app to facilitate syncing your files.
Copy is run by Barracudda one of the world leaders in Application Delivery, Security and Storage solutions.
For More Details: https://www.copy.com
#6 Apple iCloud
Apple iCloud comes with 5GB of free storage. Users looking to bump up their storage can do so for 99 cents month for 20GB, $4 per month for 200GB and $20 per month for 1TB. iCloud is meant for Apple users, but there is an iCloud app for the Windows. Android users would have to use a third-party app to access their iCloud storage.
I am not sure why you would use iCloud if you didn’t have an Apple device, it is mainly to be used for storage from your iPhone or iPad.
More Information: https://www.apple.com/icloud/
Box will give you a basic plan of 10Gb of free storage, you can upgrade this to 100Gb for $5 per month. It is typically aimed at business users and sold as a collaboration storage so your team can work on projects and store all the data in a central place - https://www.box.com/
There are many free cloud storage solutions out there and you need to work out which one is best for your requirements. For me Google Drive ticks all the boxes as I have the app on my desktop and on my phone and I can sync files seamlessly between them all.
However since researching this post I have since discovered that as I am already paying for Amazon Prime I also have free unlimited storage for photos. So I have started to upload my photo collection there as well.