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The Best Cloud Storage

Best for Light Data Users

Best for Teams and Collaboration

Best for Devoted Windows Users

Best for Enterprise Solutions

How We Found the Best Cloud Storage

5 Experts Interviewed

45 Providers Considered

The Best Cloud Storage

The best cloud storage should offer the space you need, on the operating system you love, at a price you’re ready to pay. It should also be easy to use and navigate so that you’re able to just dive right in without needing a crash course in the basic use of the platform. After evaluating more than 45 different options, interviewing power users across the nation, and testing the top apps, we are confident that our picks are the best, most reliable cloud storage providers on the market today. All four will provide you with roughly the same lineup of features, and each has a version that’ll let you take advantage of the cloud without paying a dime.

Since 2020, has helped millions of people find the best of the best when it comes to all sorts of products and services including cloud storage platforms. We’ve vetted 45 different options, performed hands-on testing to screen for ease of use, and interviewed 5 power users and experts in order to bring you the most helpful and current information. The author of this review does not own stock in any of the companies mentioned, or in any other cloud storage providers.

The Best Cloud Storage: Summed Up

Dropbox Google Drive Microsoft OneDrive Box
Best for Light Data Users Best for Teams and Collaboration Best for Devoted Windows Users Best for Enterprise Solutions
Data Limit for Free Version 2 GB 15 GB 5 GB 10 GB
Cheapest Premium Option $11.99/month for 2TB $1.99/month for 100GB $1.99/month for 100GB $10/month for 100GB
24/7 Customer Support
App Store Rating 4.5 4.8 4.7 4.8
Google Play Rating 4.4 4.4 4.5 4.3

How We Chose the Best Cloud Storage

Cloud for business vs. personal accounts

Nearly half of our initial list only offered accounts to businesses, not individuals. There’s a reason they’re not offered to people: they come with a plethora of features that most people would find confusing to use. More importantly, most people don’t need features like task management and user comments to get the most of out the cloud. We booted those off our list right away. The best cloud storage will offer a free version for those looking to gain only the minimum out of the service — and even this minimum shouldn’t be too limiting. The ability to utilize secure cloud storage shouldn’t be limited to those with business accounts; although security tends to be emphasized more on the business side, we favored those that secured personal as well.

Customer experience

We know that most people are staunchly team Apple or team PC. Cloud storage, regardless the type, should let you have the freedom to access and import the data you want from wherever you are, using whatever device you choose. Some of the contenders we considered didn’t offer services to Windows and OS X, Android and iOS — if that was the case, we put them on the chopping block.

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Speaking of the people who use the cloud, out of the users we surveyed, 53 percent primarily use cloud storage for media and file sharing services. What did that tell us? That people aren’t looking purely for a backup service. We wanted our top picks to be well-rounded and empower users with the tools to share and collaborate work rather than focus on automated, system-level backups — so we nixed backup-focused services.

Hands-on testing

After a broad first pass of all cloud-based software solutions out there, we compiled a list of 45 different providers. To narrow it down to the best online storage sites, we surveyed people who use the service, read reviews from top technology blogs, dissected user guides and toyed with settings. We then spent a week testing them all on four different operating systems (OS, Windows, iOS, and Android) and on seven different devices. We updated files, shared a ton of pictures, and installed a bunch of apps. We even used Google Drive to write and edit this review.

We also tested the transfer speeds for each contender by uploading a leisurely afternoon’s worth of iPhone photos (about 30) from three different locations. Microsoft OneDrive consistently logged the fastest times, while Box and Dropbox duked it out for last place.

We concluded that all of our top recommendations will probably get the job done. Choosing the right one comes down to how much you’re willing to pay and which operating system you’ve already invested in.

Why Should You Use Cloud Storage Everyday?

Cloud is considered one of the most secure and easiest means for data storage. Let’s check out these reasons for using Cloud Storage.

Every individual in the IT world must have come across the term ‘cloud’ at some or the other point! However, many individuals do not have a clear idea about what the ‘cloud’ is. On the other hand, you could have used the cloud already without your knowledge. Did you watch a video on YouTube? If yes, then congratulations, you’re using cloud unknowingly!

The problem here is that many people assume underlying processes and services in the cloud as ‘Cloud Computing’ in general. As a result, many individuals are not clear about using cloud storage properly. The following discussion would attempt at outlining the definition of cloud storage and its working. However, the major highlight of this discussion would be the different advantages of cloud storage. The interesting factor about these advantages is the opportunity to learn the reasons to use cloud storage.

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Definition of Cloud Storage

Before diving right into answering ‘what is cloud storage’, let us find out about the cloud-first. Many people imagine the cloud as an invisible network that provides necessary computing resources. However, fact implies that the cloud is a collection of data centers accessible through the internet. So, the cloud is a collection of networked computer hardware working together for providing various computing resources as online services.

Based on the definition of the cloud, we can answer ‘What is cloud storage’ easily. The collection of data and stashing it on hardware in a remote physical location is known as cloud storage. However, that is half the definition. The other half of the definition implies the need for accessibility for the data through any device by using the internet.

Users could send files to a data server under maintenance by a cloud provider rather than stashing the data on their hard drives. Dropbox is an ideal instance of the use of cloud storage. Complex cloud storage systems could involve multiple data servers linked with each other by a master control server.

How does Cloud Storage Work?

For many people, cloud computing and cloud storage become confusing terms. Cloud computing is different from cloud storage in the fact that the infrastructure in cloud computing has shared processing power. Further clarity on cloud storage is possible by reflecting on how it works. The formidable components in the use of cloud storage are data centers. Data centers are massive campuses of warehouses that, in turn, house large numbers of dedicated servers and storage volumes.

The ownership of data centers lies with various cloud service providers who take responsibility for maintaining servers in running condition. The data you enter into the cloud is stored in data centers and could be physically located in different places. The physical location of storage for your data on the cloud depends largely on the location of data centers of service providers.

Furthermore, data centers employ largescale cooling systems for the prevention of overheating of storage systems in data centers. One of the formidable advantages of cloud storage is evident in the working of cloud storage. Cloud service providers make multiple copies of the data you upload to the cloud.

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Reasons for Using Cloud Storage

The service providers store these copies in various localities. As a result, cloud providers ensure that your data is not destroyed or does not become inaccessible in the event of disasters at any data center. With the ideal clarification about cloud storage and its working, we can proceed towards reasons of using cloud storage.

Enhanced Security

The foremost reason for which you need cloud storage solutions is security. Many people, unaware of the working of the cloud can be doubtful of this benefit in cloud storage. The internet is a playground for malicious agents such as a hacker, and you are right to worry about security. However, the efforts of cloud storage service providers always focus on consideration for dangers of the internet.

Cloud storage providers invest massive amounts of money in better and reliable servers for upholding their reputation in the market. The benefit of using cloud storage is also visible in storing your data on a separate server on the cloud. The encryption services on different cloud storage platforms help in keeping hackers at bay alongside safeguarding your crucial information.

Improving Flexibility for Employees

The second benefit of cloud storage responds to the question of why to use cloud storage for business. Every employee in the present time wants a proper work-life balance, which is possible through telecommuting. Almost 79% of respondents in a survey stated working outside of their office at some or the other time. Around 60% of respondents in the same survey stated that they would switch jobs if they get the facility of telecommuting.

With the help of cloud storage, you can address this need of employees effectively. For example, cloud storage services such as Google Drive give much-needed flexibility for employees. Since all the data is in cloud storage, employees have to log into a cloud portal. Then, employees could work with the data they need and log off after completing their work. As a result, employees could work with higher productivity, thereby implying more benefits for startups.

Better Collaboration and Communication

Another prominent reason for which businesses need cloud storage is in the opportunity for improved collaboration and communication. In the present business environment, teamwork and collaboration are very important. Employees in every business face the need to collaborate and communicate with colleagues in different locations all over the world.

For instance, employees in different corners of the world could have to work together on the same client proposal. In such cases, cloud-based tools justify using cloud storage for businesses. You can find cloud storage tools such as Google Drive and Dropbox at your disposal for better collaboration between employees.

Furthermore, these tools also provide the opportunity to interact closely with other participants, thereby improving communication. Users could access the latest versions of any document and stay updated with the recent changes. As a result, the business could improve efficiency in workflow management without any influence of geographical location or expanse.

Prevent Data Loss

One of the prominent reasons for using cloud storage is the facility for protecting your work from unexpected incidents. Most of the time, every PC user has an idea of unprecedented incidents such as power failures. However, users fail to implement any remedial measures for the same. Imagine working on an important presentation for a new project, and there is a power outage in your area. To worsen things further, your power generator is out of order!

What can you do in such a situation? Just watch your data getting lost due to actions beyond your control. Cloud storage takes away the negative impact of such incidents by providing you access to your data whenever needed. Furthermore, using cloud storage also keeps your work away from virus infections that can encrypt your work. Therefore, you could be assured of safeguarding the integrity of your work with cloud storage.

Reduction in Infrastructure Costs

When thinking of reasons on why use cloud storage for business, the lower infrastructure costs deserve a mention! Just think of it, a one-time payment for unlimited storage on the cloud is way cheaper than physical equipment. Businesses could save a lot of money by opting for cloud storage. If you want to set up an in-house data center, then you would most likely require thousands of dollars.

Furthermore, you would also have to deal with the costs of maintenance and repairs for the in-house data center. As a result, cloud storage services can help a business achieve considerable savings in costs for capital and maintenance. The savings could be helpful inputs in the expansion of a business. Furthermore, you should also note the benefits of security, lower latency, controlled environments, and better uptime with cloud storage services. These benefits validate the feasibility of a business’s decision to opt for cloud storage.

Unlimited Storage and Facility of Backups

Many individuals and businesses using cloud storage commend the massive storage space. The additional space that you get by moving your data to the cloud comes with other advantages too! For example, you do not have to purchase any more external hard disk drives, thereby saving a lot of money.

The added benefits of security for your data also work effectively for individuals with limited experience in IT security. Another favorable reason to go for cloud storage is the facility of creating backups for private files. As we have seen earlier, cloud storage providers make multiple copies of data that you upload to the cloud. So, you don’t have to worry about losing your data.

Cloud Computing industry has undergone a number of Cloud Computing changes since its beginning. Let’s check out Cloud Computing Trends to know what is it going to bring next!

Bottom Line

Considering the various benefits of using cloud storage, it appears like a promising option. Cloud storage is a storehouse for numerous advantages for businesses and individuals. The future of cloud storage appears very bright, especially with major names in the business world jumping on the cloud bandwagon.

The cost-effective pricing of cloud storage services would be the most influential factor in the adoption of cloud storage. The most important highlight of cloud storage is the feature of scalability. Scalability enables increasing or decreasing cloud storage for a user according to their needs. In the long run, cloud storage can be the perfect replacement for legacy systems that consume excessive resources.

Cloud computing along with cloud storage brings a number of opportunities for cloud professionals at different roles. If you are aspired to start a cloud career or give your cloud skills a recognition, we recommend you to check out our cloud computing training courses now. Review: Stay Away From Cloutbucks. Not Paying!

The game in the store says Steam Cloud.
However upon loading the game on my laptop instead of my desktop there is no file or nothing.
I find this pretty disheartening as I got pretty far and am away from my desktop for a while.

Is this a bug? Does anyone else have issues with this? Can I fix it?
Steam Cloud works for all my other games that has it. Just not this one.

6 Reasons to Avoid Cloud Services and Keep Your Feet on the Ground

Why do some people say to avoid putting data in the cloud? You’ve probably seen them online. “Cloud storage is too dangerous,” they say. “Do you even value your privacy? What about the hackers?”

Meanwhile, most of your friends and colleagues are just fine storing files in Dropbox. Perhaps your job requires that you use Box. Why should you keep all your financial information offline when your finance adviser saves all the documents you give them onto Google Drive?

You’re left feeling that regular people see no problem with using cloud storage and those that do are simply paranoid. Well, that’s not true. There are valid reasons to avoid storing so much information online. It’s just hard it to convey the dangers in a way that hits us in our guts rather than our heads. Meanwhile, the convenience of having data safely backed up and accessible across many devices is very easy to see.

But at the end of the day, we’re giving up a lot more than we’re getting when we use the cloud.

First, What’s the “Cloud”?

The cloud is a very ambiguous term. In a broad sense, it means a web service that runs on someone else’s server. But that definition could apply to virtually any website. Instead, I’m referring to many of the modern web services that have popped up throughout the last decade. These are sites that function more like applications that run on your computer, but instead they run on a “cloud” of computers located somewhere else.

This list includes general cloud storage providers such as Dropbox and Box, specific alternatives such as Google Photos and iPhotos, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, web apps like Google Drive and Office 365, streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, and the list goes on and on. Basically, if there’s something you used to do offline on your own device that you now do online, where you’re depending on someone else’s computers — that activity is cause for concern.

1. Every Action Leaves a Trail

Many of us grew up thinking that everything on the web was anonymous and nothing ever goes away. Both are false. I write for the web, and there is plenty of content that I can no longer access because a site deleted old articles or has since shut down. I have social media profiles that have since gone away. Does some of this information still exist on a server somewhere? Without a doubt. But much of it is information that no one will ever see online again.

Likewise, nothing we do on the web is anonymous. In order to connect to the web, we generate an IP address. Every website we visit can see that IP address. That’s not all. Here’s a look at all the information every web browser and many sites can see about you.

Image Credit: Mikayla Mallek via Unsplash

That’s a lot of information, and we haven’t yet started talking about cloud services. I first want to establish how the mere act of getting online and viewing information also requires providing information. But this data doesn’t necessarily tell anyone who you are, nor does it have to be stored. Though many sites and ads do track this information using cookies. Thanks to them, a trail forms that can show most of the places you’ve visited across the web. Once you start creating accounts (something nearly every cloud service requires that you do), the bigger the trail.

2. Nothing You Do Is Private

In order to show you a webpage, a server has to receive certain information about you. It may even have a vague idea of where you’re connecting from. But this information does not have to be stored.

When you create an account, things change. The whole point of creating an account is to retain certain data in order to display it again later. This may be all the messages you’ve sent, the music you’ve listened to, your credit card information, or your shopping history. If this information wasn’t stored, the service wouldn’t function as expected.

This is different from the way things work offline. While someone can intercept a letter, no one tracks and stores every letter you’ve sent in the mail. Similarly, while people can measure roughly how many listeners a radio station has, no one’s paying attention to what stations you specifically are listening to. When you pay cash, no one has a log of the places you shop or the things you buy (credit cards, in contrast, keep up with this info whether you use them online or off).

Some of these accounts may reveal your identity, while others don’t. Still, once someone has certain details about you, it’s not hard to piece the rest together.

Knowing an email address or a username can be enough to associate two accounts together and assume they’re the same person. If you stay automatically logged into the same accounts, cookies or your web browsing history (which some browsers can now sync online) can quickly piece your identity together. You may be surprised how easy it is to find out who you are and what you do How Private Investigators Use the Internet to Track You Digital private investigators know everything about you — the color of your car, who you voted for, your favorite films. everything. But where do they find this information, and who is profiting from it? Read More .

3. We All Have a Data Profile

Details about us are regularly bought and sold. Facebook, for example, doesn’t just use the data it gathers from our using its services or what it finds using cookies to track us all over the web. The company also purchases information about our offline habits to fill in the gaps about us. That’s because what keeps the company in businesses is knowing more about its users and being able to target them better than anyone else.

When companies collect this much information about us, other people don’t have to. Law enforcement, intelligence agencies, hackers, and others can all approach these sources, through legitimate or illegitimate means, to find out more about us than they could ever hope to do on their own. People are now capitalizing on Facebook’s business strategy to target voters and manipulate elections all over the world.

This problem isn’t limited to services with public data, such as Facebook and Twitter. Amazon, Google, and Dropbox each store different but very intimate details about each of us. Someone with access to these accounts can figure out where we live, where we go, who we like, what we eat, the things we buy, and the cards we use.

4. Terms of Service Can (and Do) Change at Will

We expect the people we interact with face-to-face to stick to their word. We don’t see these companies in person, so all we have are their terms of service. They reserve the right to change these words at any time.

This isn’t okay in our personal relationships, nor is it acceptable in most contractual affairs. If you sign a mortgage document, you know what you’re getting. The same is true when you lease a car, pay for repairs, or hire a photographer.

This expectation goes away when we boot up our computers. The end user license agreements that come with most non-free applications 8 Ridiculous EULA Clauses You May Have Already Agreed To Here are some of the most ridiculous terms and conditions in the EULAs of popular services. You may have already agreed to them! Read More , and the terms of services required for any online service, aren’t static. They can change at the provider’s whim. Web writers express outrage whenever Dropbox or Google make noticeable changes to their terms of service, but this doesn’t have much impact when companies know the vast majority of their users aren’t paying attention.

5. The Future Is Uncertain

Do you use your smartphone as your camera? Do you automatically back up your images usng Google Photos?

Google is an advertising company. It provides free services in exchange for insight into our interests and habits, so that it can show us ads. But the kind of data it collects goes far beyond a magazine knowing our street address and sharing that information with similar periodicals. Google knows every search we enter into the URL bar, every website we visit, every contact we’ve sent an email to, and the content of all of those emails.

What does Google do with that data? What will Google do with it? Years ago Google was primarily a search engine that used our data to deliver better results. Then it expanded into email, where it now uses our data to organize our inbox and try to predict our replies.

With YouTube, Google uses our data to show us videos it thinks we’re more inclined to like. This filtering can limit what we’re exposed to and lead us down a rabbit hole of watching progressively hardcore and niche material. This is already having impacts on elections all over the globe.

The company wants to sit us all inside of driverless cars 7 Terrifying Scenarios Self-Driving Cars Make Possible Some of the risks inherent with self-driving cars range from physically dangerous to morally questionable. Here are seven potential dangers lurking in a self-driving future. Read More . Once the technology is ready for prime-time, you can expect to see Maps integration baked in. What will Google do with all the information it gains from knowing our every trip? What is Google doing with the information we store in Google Drive? And what will it do in the future when it decides to expand into a new area?

Can you opt out? Unfortunately it’s all or nothing. Once Google has your data, it has your data.

6. We’re Not Just Giving Away Our Own Data

Do you have a kid? Do you follow them around with your smartphone, snapping and recording their every move? I hear you. I’m a young parent myself, and with the ability to easily send photos to relatives, it’s hard not to. But when every photo automatically uploads to Google’s servers, that company now has your kid’s data. It has performed facial recognition scans, and its algorythms have deduced your relationship to your kid.

Your kid is already online, being profiled and monitored, without any consent or through any action of their own. And we can only imagine what products, services, or worse that information could be used for ten, twenty, or thirty years from now.

This isn’t just about children. You may not even have an account with a website, but if your friends do and tag you in a photo, the company now has information about you. Another company may launch later and build a face recognition service that learns people by scanning whatever pictures it can find on the web. Your face is now in that database, not because of your actions, but because of someone else’s. And it’s not like they were being reckless.

What Can You Do?

Should you? At the rate data breaches are happening, if you haven’t already been burned by one, it’s likely only a matter of time before a company gets hit in a way that leaves you vulnerable. Avoiding many of these services is a way to reduce the chances of that happening.

That said, I wouldn’t go so far as to say you should never use a cloud service. When you do, try to use products from a company you can trust, even though there isn’t an easy way to determine who they are. You will have to do some degree of research. Try checking out some of the reviews that come from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for our civil rights online. I personally like companies that embrace free and open source values Is Security Through Obscurity Safer Than Open Source Software? Open source software comes with clear security benefits. The opposite approach is security through obscurity. Is one approach actually safer than the other or is it possible that there’s truth to both? Read More , because that’s a big sign they’re not trying to control your data or hide what they’re doing. At the very least, gloss over an overview of the terms of service before accepting.

Even if you do manage to avoid all cloud services and never create an account anywhere, that doesn’t mean you can avoid tracking altogether. Some internet service providers are now adapting their business model to include monitoring everything their customers do so that they can sell this information. Unlike Facebook or Google, you have to do business with an ISP in order to even get online Where Does Internet Come From? Why Can’t You Make Your Own? The internet is in your pocket, right? But also the air? And your phone line? The internet comes from somewhere, but where? And why can’t we make our own? Read More .

For the situation to truly change, that will require a big shift in public perception. We often don’t know what we’ve lost until it’s gone. We’re gradually eroding our concepts of what is ours, what others should be able to see, and what’s an acceptable risk. If we don’t start treating the way companies collect our data, and what they do with it afterward, as unacceptable, they’re not going to stop doing it, nor will government regulators pressure them to.

Ultimately, not using their services (when that’s an option) is the clearest signal we can send.

Do you believe the benefits of cloud storage outweigh the costs? Are you happy with the current direction of the web? Are you perfectly comfortable with an ad-based and tracking-based economy?

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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