With all of the technological strides forward that humanity has made in the past decades, we have grown pretty comfortable with our entire lives, so to speak, revolving around them. From photos to important documents, most people keep them in some form online.
However, unlike a physical copy, files kept online are much easier to lose. You can delete them accidentally and not notice until it is too late. Or often, you can be a victim of theft. Many hackers online look to get people’s info and bank account passwords.
You do not want any of these things to happen to you, which is why you should consider investing in cloud storage. It is a convenient way to backup all of your data and keep important files safe where you can always find them.
Cloud storages are always encrypted so that only you can access your data and not someone with malicious intentions. This is why we decided to buckle down and do our research and find out what the best cloud storage is, and if you are interested, keep reading, and you will find out too.
Top Pick For The Best Cloud Storage Service Provider Online
- iDrive – Overall Best Cloud Storage Service Provider, Editor’s Pick
- pCloud -Best Online Storage Pick For Windows, Mac, Linux
- Backblaze Online Backup –Excellent Free Cloud Storage With Top-notch Security
- Dropbox – Top Pick For Reliable File-syncing And Storage Service
#1. iDrive – Overall Best Cloud Storage Service Provider, Editor’s Pick
iDrive is a cloud backup service that has been around since 2007. It comes with a long list of features, including backup, file sharing, cloud synchronization, and more. The service also effectively protects data from both intentional and unintentional snooping. The pricing plans are affordable, and there is even a free option.
iDrive, on the other hand, does not offer any unlimited plans. iDrive is ideal for individuals, small businesses, and large corporations looking for simple, effective, and cost-effective cloud backup solutions. In a nutshell, it’s one of the most effective backup programs available.
iDrive is a comprehensive cloud backup and cloud storage service that can backup all of your Macs, PCs, smartphones, and tablets from the convenience of a single account. After the files are backed up to your account you can have 30 previous versions saved.
IT admins also have access to the iDrive Thin Client application, which allows them to backup/restore, manage settings, and more for all of their connected computers from a single dashboard.
iDrive has a mobile backup app for iOS and Android devices that allows for cross-platform backup and recovery. iDrive Express is a service that sends you a physical hard disk drive if you lose all of your data, allowing you to restore all of your backed-up files quickly.
- File backup
The data can be backed up as individual files or in folders. It even allows you to back up your data as a full image of the hard drives. Data can be backed up indefinitely on the desktop, servers, mobile devices, and the cloud.
When you first log in to iDrive, you’ll notice that there are a few backup folders available by default, including desktop, pictures, videos, music, and documents. The change button in the backup tab can be used to remove and replace these folders manually.
iDrive backup also allows you to perform an unscheduled backup with a single click. The latter is an excellent option for those who don’t want to go through the trouble of manually backing up their hard drive.
- Sync and share
One feature that distinguishes this online cloud storage service from its competitors is a sync and share feature. A sync folder can be created to synchronize the contents between devices automatically. It effectively doubles the storage space because filling the folder does not deplete the backup storage. This means that, in addition to its online backup feature, iDrive can be used as a replacement for pCloud, Google Drive, and other similar services.
In addition to two-factor authentication, iDrive encrypts your data from beginning to end. Be aware that this requires a private key that is only known to you, so do not lose it, or you will not be able to retrieve anything.
It also means you will not share files and folders with others because the end-to-end encryption protocols will be broken. Standard encryption is another option, which isn’t quite as secure but will still protect your data from most breaches.
In this case, iDrive stores the encryption key and can assist you in restoring your data if necessary, as well as potentially handing over your files if law enforcement requests it. Another benefit of this setting is using the file and folder sharing features.
- Restoring data
The iDrive restore tab, like the backup feature, has a plethora of options. You can either use the dropdown to select the original backup device and move the file directly to your desktop or use the checkboxes to restore the file to the specified location.
You can see the ‘View Previous Versions’ option by right-clicking the file. It allows you to choose the file you want from a list of saved versions. The snapshots have also received rave reviews on iDrive.
This feature focuses on ransomware issues while displaying the backup set’s historical timeline. It also allows you to recover files from the timeline at any time in the event of hard drive failure. The overall backup limit does not include this.
- iDrive price
iDrive does have a free tier that does not require any credit card information. However, you only get 5GB of storage space, and the features you have access to are pretty limited. The personal plan offers 5TB for $79.50 per year or 10TB for $99.50 per year, while the Team plan offers 5TB to 50TB for $99.50 to $999.50 per year, with two-year programs available. The Business plan, which starts at $99.50 for a year and goes up to $799.50 for 2.5TB of storage, allows unlimited users and devices.
- Compatible with a range of devices
- iDrive is easy to set up
- Fast upload speed
- It has an excellent mobile app
- Great security
- Sync and share feature available
- No unlimited storage
- No continuous backup
#2. pCloud – Best Online Storage Pick For Windows, Mac, Linux
pCloud is one of the rare and best cloud storage services that offer lifetime subscriptions, effectively transforming your computer into a virtual, permanent hard drive. According to its website, it describes itself as a “personal cloud space where you can store all of your files and folders with a user-friendly interface that clearly shows where everything is located and what it does.”
The Premium package includes unlimited remote upload traffic and a 30-day trash history; the Premium Plus package includes a monthly download link traffic limit of 500GB for the Premium package and 2TB for the Premium Plus package.
While there are some bandwidth limitations, the size of files you can upload appears to be unrestricted, so you can easily sync large media files. The service is accessible via a web browser and is available on all desktop and mobile platforms.
As of August 2020, pCloud users can choose whether their data is stored in the EU or the US. The company is based in Switzerland, a country that has strict privacy laws. There is also a family option, which lets you share your space with up to four other family members, and a premium option, pCloud Business, gives you 1TB per user and includes pCloud Crypto.
- User interface
To get started, you can either manually register with the service or log in with your Google or Facebook accounts using single sign-on. The service comes with a few folders with sample data to help you get started exploring the service’s sharing features.
The service has excellent file management capabilities, allowing you to sort and search through your shared files with relative ease, essentially using the same options as your operating system’s file manager.
You can drag and drop files from your desktop into the pCloud web app, or you can use the upload manager, which also allows you to keep track of the files as they are uploaded to your pCloud account.
- File backup
This function is activated automatically. Select the folders or files you want to save. The software will complete its task. When you make changes to any of these files, the system automatically updates your backups. Based on our tests for our pCloud backup review, it appears to work without a hitch.
And if you are working offline, your changes will be saved when you return to the service. If you need to access previous file versions, pCloud saves them for 30 days in File History. You can keep them for a longer period for an additional fee. You can also back up existing cloud storage services in addition to your computer files.
- Media support
While pCloud allows you to share any file type, its handling of media files deserves special attention. The service’s web interface includes audio and video players, allowing you to play shared media files directly from pCloud.
To begin, you can create and manage playlists using the audio player. Then there’s the video player, which allows you to watch videos in picture-in-picture mode while still allowing you to use your browser. It will also make slideshows out of any images you’ve shared.
One of pCloud’s specialties is social media backups. You can connect your pCloud account to popular social media services like Facebook and Instagram, among others, to backup media from those accounts into your pCloud account with little effort.
It is one of the most secure cloud storage services available. When sending data to its servers, pCloud uses TLS/SSL and zero-knowledge encryption. It means that even if you forget your password, the pCloud staff will be unable to retrieve your files and that only you have access to your sensitive data.
As a result, pCloud is regarded as one of the most secure cloud storage options. There is also a service called pCloud Crypto that you can use as an add-on. You can use this feature to create a Crypto pass that will allow you to lock and unlock your files easily. It functions similarly to a password manager for files.
- pCloud price
You can create a free account that allows you to share and sync up to 10 GB of files. You can also use the service for free to send files up to 5GB in size, which can be encrypted if desired. In general, there are two paid plans available, depending on how much data you need to share.
The premium plan offers you 500 GB of storage and costs $3.99 per month or $47.88 if you pay for a year in advance. Then there is the 2 TB Premium Plus account, which costs $7.99 per month or $95.88 if purchased in advance. It is also worth noting that pCloud offers a 99-year lifetime plan for a single payment.
- Affordable prices
- Offers media support
- Free online storage of 10GB
- Excellent end-to-end encryption
- Family account available
- Easy to use
- Some features are unavailable in the free version
- There is no document editor
#3. Backblaze Online Storage – Excellent Free Cloud Storage With Top-notch Security
Backblaze, founded in 2007, is a popular online backup service for both individuals and businesses. It provides backup storage that is both affordable and simple to manage and set up. Furthermore, Backblaze assists you in backing up all of your data.
It is a straightforward and convenient service. The Backblaze online backup program scans the hard drive in real-time and displays a list of the files that should be backed up. Apart from that, it keeps an eye on your PC and updates the backup files whenever anything changes.
It does so with a minimal impact on your system – it does not get in the way of whatever you are doing. Backblaze makes the process of backing up and securing your files incredibly simple.
Simply install the app, and it will automatically back up all critical data without the need for the user to intervene. You can ignore the fact that it is installed and not be concerned about your files.
Backup speeds are quick, your data is encrypted for security, and you can have a physical hard drive or flash drive sent over for a fee if restoration is required. A 15-day free trial is also available to try before you buy.
- Backblaze interface
Backblaze’s desktop client prioritizes simplicity over power and flashiness. Because the Backblaze package’s options are limited, the software does not have to do much other than focus on the task at hand: ensuring that your files are automatically backed up in the background.
Transferring data from a whole computer to the internet can take a long time, but Backblaze’s speeds were impressive. If you think Backblaze uses too much bandwidth, you can pause or throttle the upload process to bypass the automatic throttling.
Like the desktop, the web interface is straightforward, allowing you to review backed-up files and restore them if necessary. The web interface also has an exclusive mechanism for sharing stored files.
- Unlimited backup
Backblaze allows you to back up and store an unlimited amount of data. You can save all of your files, including photos, documents, movies, and music, in this way. You can create a backup in seconds, whether you have 1 MB or terabytes of data. Backblaze ensures that all of your files are fully and securely stored. Although it can take a long time to create a backup, you can speed things up by increasing the number of backup threads depending on your internet connection and file size.
Backblaze gets high marks for security: not only can you enable two-factor authentication on your account, but you can also use AES 128-bit encryption and an SSL connection to prevent your data from being intercepted while going over the internet. While it is not complete end-to-end encryption, most users are sufficiently secure.
For those concerned about Backblaze staff prying into their affairs, there is also the option to set up a private encryption key, which adds an extra layer of protection to your data. The disadvantage is that if you forget your key, Backblaze will not be able to help you, and you will have to share it with them if you ever need to restore your data.
- Extended version history
According to all Backblaze reviews, the extended version history is a worthy feature. It is a new product, but it is already improving performance. By default, the program saves both old and deleted files.
It used to save for 30 days. However, depending on the setting you choose, it saves the files for one year or forever. Versions of a file are created when you change, edit, update or delete a file without changing its name.
The version history feature lets you recover previous versions of your data, easily restoring older versions. You can easily recover your important data and any versions or deleted files by going back in time. It is a simple method for backing up and restoring data.
- Backblaze price
Backblaze online backup is cost-effective when compared to other backup services. The program has a monthly fee of $7. You can, however, sign up for a year for just $70. It works out to $5.83 per month or $130 for two years, or $5.41 per month. The Backblaze personal plan costs the same as the Business plan, but different quotes are available depending on the number of computers and servers.
Do not worry if you are still undecided about a yearly or monthly plan. You can also sign up for a free 15-day trial. To use the online backup services, you must provide your email address and create an account.
- There is unlimited backup
- Two-factor authentication and encryption key
- There is no file size limit
- Ability to backup with email
- Ability to keep file version forever
- There is an automatic backup
- License for a single computer
- There is no live chat support
#4. Dropbox – Top Pick For Reliable File-syncing And Storage Service
Dropbox was one of the first companies to grasp the concept of cloud storage and syncing, releasing the first version of its client in 2008 to replace the widespread USB drive – a goal it has unquestionably achieved.
Like most cloud storage services, Dropbox works with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS to keep your files backed up and in sync on the web and across multiple machines without requiring any additional user effort. Despite its high price, Dropbox stands out for its unique tools like Paper, Showcase, and HelloSign digital signature features.
Your photos, documents, and files are stored in the cloud, and you can access them at any time using Dropbox’s website, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android apps. Dropbox’s free version is available on all platforms.
You can also have peace of mind when it comes to keeping your files safe with features like file sync from your phone, camera, or SD card, file recovery for anything you’ve deleted in the last 30 days. And version history allows you to revert edited files to the original within 30 days, all of which are available even in the free tier.
- Dropbox interface
Dropbox has evolved to provide a simple, elegant interface for managing all of your files. Dropbox has a simple process for sharing a folder of photos or bringing files back from the brink of digital death, regardless of the device. The client apps for Windows and macOS are always up to date and have a fresh look.
On the other hand, the web interface is quite impressive, so much so that some other cloud storage services should consider emulating it, with files and folders readily available, media ready to be played directly from the web. Plus, tons of options are available with a click of the mouse and smart touches throughout, like your most recent file changes displayed up top.
- Mobile App
Dropbox’s mobile apps have a similar clean design and slick functionality. You can easily access all of your data and folders, as well as upload files from your phone or tablet. Documents and photos can also be scanned using mobile apps as a bonus. Dropbox’s aesthetics hold up well regardless of the perspective from which it is used.
Dropbox encrypts all of your data with 256-bit AES encryption. Dropbox accounts also have the option of two-step authentication and a variety of other security features. The security scanner feature of their software scans and checks for malware and suspicious files. It also has an activity log that shows the status of your cloud data.
- Advanced collaboration applications
This cloud storage solution includes a number of features that encourage collaboration. You can use Microsoft Office or Google Docs to view and edit documents, for starters. Apps for editing PDF files, watermarking records, and commenting on files are also available.
This list, however, does not end there. You can also use Dropbox to make calls and chat with coworkers. You can also use Zoom to hold video meetings if that isn’t enough. These features make it easier for remote teams to stay engaged at all times.
- Dropbox price
All Dropbox apps are free to download, and there are a lot of them, but if you do not pay, your storage is limited. The free Basic account comes with only 2GB of storage, and you will not find it on Dropbox’s website unless you use a specific web search or go straight to dropbox.com/basic.
Individual pricing is $19.99/£14.09 per month for 3TB of storage; you can save money if you pay annually. For $45/£31.72, you can get 5TB of storage for three users. The Advanced plan has unlimited storage, tiered admin roles, and granular sharing permissions for even more complex needs.
- Elegant and smooth design
- There are apps for every operating system
- Many file-sharing features
- Excellent mobile apps
- Supports advanced collaboration
- Two-step authentication
- The free storage is limited
- There is no full device backup
What You Should Keep In Mind When Looking For The Best Cloud Storage
Before you can start looking for a cloud provider, you must first decide what you want to use the cloud for. When comparing multiple platforms, you will struggle to decide which features are important to you unless you have an exact idea of which files you will be storing and how often you will need to access them.
If you own a small business and need to run mission-critical applications from the cloud, for example, you will need to find a “hot storage” service. You can access your files quickly and easily with this type of cloud provider, almost as if they were stored locally. However, if you only need a secure location to store duplicates of key files and archived materials, you should look for a cold storage provider.
The next step is to figure out how much money you are ready to spend. You should think about which features you need. This is significant because the more options you require, the higher the cost. If you do not need it for overly important files and are looking just for a basic backup, you can consider the free version that most storage providers offer. But if you want more advanced coverage, be ready to spend more money.
Things do not always work out – and getting stuck is the last thing you want to take place when that happens. It is critical to choose a service that includes dedicated support. Find a vendor with a maximum comeback time of 6 hours. You can read through the reviews posted by customers on third-party sites, as they will likely speak of their experience interacting with the customer support of the brand you are interested in. You can also check out an online data storage price list to be sure you’re getting today’s best deals.
Cloud Storage Or Cloud Backup
You should also think about whether you want a platform specializing in cloud storage or cloud backup. Although they sound similar, there are some significant differences between the two.
Cloud storage services are intended to serve as your primary data storage location. This means that cloud storage servers are frequently configured to allow for easy file modification and come with advanced collaboration tools.
On the other hand, Cloud backup services are designed to securely replicate files already stored on different storage systems to be recovered in the event of hardware failure, software crashes, or ransomware attacks. As a result, such services typically include advanced file versioning capabilities and full drive image storage capabilities.
Benefits Of Using Cloud Storage
Data loss as a result of ransomware and malware attacks can be a nightmare. However, when you store your data online, you can rest assured that your files will be safe. To ensure the security of your data, service providers use sophisticated tools. In the event of a breach, you can quickly restore your system to its previous state.
Cloud storage service providers usually bear the costs of developing and maintaining the infrastructure. You can use the service for a fraction of the price – or even for free. Having an on-premise setup for a business can be a difficult task.
Aside from the installation costs, you will need to hire full-time specialists to manage the system. By transferring this burden to the vendors, you can focus on more important tasks, such as data backup and increasing your coworkers’ productivity.
The advantage of cloud services is that your data is always accessible. This means you can still access and download your files from a variety of devices. This is a great tool to have if you are constantly on the move.
It is a nightmare to run out of storage space in the middle of backing up data. The best cloud storage providers come to the rescue in this situation. You will have the ability to expand capacity at any time using their tools. Some vendors offer unlimited or lifetime disk resources for a low price if you are concerned about cost.
How We Made The List For The Best Cloud Storage
We put each and every service on this list to the test. By creating an account, we, as reviewers, saw how they performed and weighed their pros and cons while keeping an eye on value for money.
We also made a point of highlighting anything we thought would be of interest to the end-user. For instance, storage capacity, the number of devices that can be connected, and the presence of two-factor authentication are all factors to consider. Online file storage, syncing, and sharing services, such as those listed here, play an important role in allowing you to collaborate smoothly no matter where you work.
We made sure to also only include companies that put the customer first. We removed from our list those who seemed only to be looking to make money off their customers without a care for the quality of service they offer.
We also paid special attention to the user interface. We wanted to make sure that it was easy to use and had a nice design, and not a clunky one making it difficult for a customer to navigate through it.
Types Of Cloud Storage
You can install a device in your home that allows you to store and access data via the internet. This could be a hard drive or a computer connected to the internet. Personal cloud storage (PCS) allows you to create a private mini-cloud within your LAN. This will enable you to access data from other locations on the network or online.
Unlike a regular hard drive, which must be manually plugged into your computer, a PCS allows you to connect to it via the internet. Personal cloud storage is ideal for households because it is usually a cheaper, smaller-scale version of cloud storage.
Depending on how much you require, you can also rent online storage space from a company’s service. This is the most common type of online data storage, also known as Public Cloud Storage. Users can connect to these servers from anywhere as long as they have access to the internet. Your information is kept on servers in a large data center.
Unlike a public server, the servers in private cloud storage dedicated to your data are only accessible by your company. It is usually more expensive because you have to house and maintain the servers yourself or hire someone to do it for you.
In general, it provides more flexibility and security than a public cloud server. You do not need to buy additional hard drives or PCs for more space because private cloud storage is remote and scalable, but you will need to allocate more server space through the data center.
Hybrid cloud storage combines the benefits of both public and private cloud storage. Private cloud storage, as previously stated, stores data on servers that only you and your company have access to via private software.
Data is stored on privatized mass storage hubs and accessed via public software in public cloud storage. These two models are combined in hybrid cloud storage. You give up some security benefits when you use a public cloud, but it’s also more cost-effective.
FAQs About Cloud Storage
What is cloud storage and how does it work?
A cloud storage allows you to store your files and folders on online servers and access them from any device that has an internet connection. Your data is stored on the servers of your cloud storage provider, who usually provides you with a web interface, desktop app, or mobile app to access it.
These servers could be on the other side of the world or in your own country. Most services have a sync folder on your computer to easily store files. Any files you save to this folder are also uploaded to the cloud servers, where they will be updated automatically if you make any changes.
How secure is your data with cloud storage?
Offsite cloud storage is generally thought to be safer than storing data on your storage systems. This is especially true when it comes to utilizing public, private, and hybrid cloud storage. The more secure a data center is, the larger it is. If you go with a personal or private on-site cloud, you will have to set up the security protocols.
Especially with a personal cloud storage device, but both will necessitate additional security protocols that you must implement. Consider enhancing the security of your data management systems and connected devices with additional security protocols.
Should you use free or paid cloud storage?
Numerous cloud storage services offer a free account that usually comes with some limitations, like a storage limit or a file size limit. Instead of a time-limited trial, look for providers that offer some level of free service, even if it is only 2GB of storage space because a free account allows you to incorporate a service in your life for several weeks fully. You get a sense of how it works and what might go wrong during that time.
One of the advantages of paying for an account is that it usually includes additional support from the company, so if something goes wrong, someone from the company will be able to assist you.
There are numerous other benefits to paying for cloud storage, including increased storage capacity and the ability to upload big files. Video editors, graphic designers, and other visual artists who frequently host large files will appreciate this last benefit. Other benefits of paying for cloud storage include increased file-version history access, increased security, and also more collaboration and teamwork features.
There you have it. These are our top picks for the best cloud storage. They are largely trusted by their customers, which can be seen from the customer reviews we found online. The customer reviews speak more than anything else to brands’ reliability.
So if you are looking for cloud storage on the market right now, we recommend anyone from our list. Just make sure to read the fine print because some offers are only available to new customers. You can also use an online data storage price list to ensure you’re getting the best value with the current best cloud storage deals.
Whether you need to store a few files, an operating system, or entire collections of pictures, images, or videos, they have something for everyone. And also, you can rest assured that your data is secure and not at risk of being stolen.