Best Rated Cloud Storage Services
Cloud storage services provide a convenient and economical way to store your important data online. Perhaps you are a photographer needing a fast medium to share large amounts of pictures with clients. Physical flash drives and DVDs have limited space and take time to deliver. Maybe you are a musician sharing large files between artists or recording studios. Regardless of your profession, cloud storage is a good idea for everyone. Cloud storage services provide plenty of options for personal use including sharing documents, family reunion scrapbook photos and a wide variety of assorted file types.
Businesses also make use of cloud storage services. Economically speaking, keeping all documents and data in the cloud eliminates expenses associated with owning and maintaining applicable hardware. It also helps a company to be more environmentally friendly by reducing paper, plastic and metal waste products. Centralized location of all company data accessible by all authorized employees increases workflow and project turnaround therefore also potentially increasing profit. If you are in the market for a top rated cloud storage service, these are some of the best.
Differences Between Personal and Business Cloud Storage Services
The majority of personal and business cloud storage services price their respective available storage amounts in chunks of gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB). The benefits of buying cloud storage for both personal and business uses are many. Businesses can keep all employee files and interactions within projects in one secure place while reducing overhead. Private users can access files from almost any compatible personal device provided Wi-Fi is available. The biggest differences between personal and business cloud storage services are:
- amount of users allowed per account
- storage limits
- payment options
- amount and type of file/data security.
Seven of the Best Cloud Storage Services
There are many cloud storage services from which to choose. Advanced technology combined with increased popularity and familiarity by consumers makes for a competitive, online market. Some services still manage to rise to the top, however. Seven of the best cloud storage services available today include:
- Google Drive
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Amazon Drive
- Apple iCloud
Google includes 15 GB of free overall storage space with every Gmail account created. The paid, Google Drive consumer version, which is called Google One, expands beyond the free 15 GB in tiers. Storage space ranging from 100 GB to 2 TB is priced from $1.99/month to $9.99/month. Annual price plans are available, as well as special pricing for businesses needing more than 2 TB/month. Google is highly accessible to those already having a Google account. Security issues have been reported and available space is used up by all data in each Google account, including emails.
MediaFire boasts a mission statement of storage and sharing of files made simple. The MediaFire website embodies simplicity by allowing uploads before even creating an account. Basic accounts allow up to 10 GB of free storage space. Pro accounts allow one user and 1 TB of space for $7.50/month. Business accounts allow 100 TB of space for $80/spread between 100 users. MediaFire makes it fast and convenient to upload files. Customers complain about file size limits per file as well as distracting, ad bloating in the free versions.
pCloud claims to have some of the most secure data encryption in the market. 10 GB of free storage is available to general users. Pros of this service include solid security and multiple pricing options. Cons of this service ironically include a confusing pricing hierarchy designed to draw in larger purchases. The pCloud paid plan options are as follows:
- Premium – 500 GB and either a $480 one-time payment or $59.88 annually
- Premium Plus – 2 TB and either a $980 one-time payment or $119.88 annually
- Family – 2TB, up to 5 users and a $1400 one-time payment
- Premium Monthly – 500 GB and either $ 4.99/month or $59.88 annually
- Premium Plus Monthly – 2 TB and either $9.99/month or $119.88 annually
The pCloud Business accounts have their own tier of pricing plans. The base, pCloud business pricing also has annual and monthly options, including charges per user. Inquire with pCloud sales for help with creating custom Business pricing.
Microsoft OneDrive services include eight pricing plans divided between Home and Business. These plans range from the free OneDrive Basic 5 GB option through more expanded business options, which can be paid monthly, annually or per user. Microsoft OneDrive lays out convenient pricing comparisons. OneDrive is fully integrated with Microsoft 365, has a simple learning curve and can be customized to model after your business layout. Common user complaints include syncing issues and its 15 GB file size limit.
Sync.com provides free accounts with 5 GB of storage. The Pro Solo account options are designed for individuals looking for 2-4 TB of space and are priced from $8-$15/month, billed annually. Business Pro Teams accounts cover 2-1,000 users and are priced between $5-$15 per month, per user. Business Pro Teams accounts also provide 1-10 TB of space per user. Sync.com boasts having a zero-knowledge platform, which is not subjected to the U.S. Patriot Act. There is zero live chat or phone support provided, however, and Linux is not supported.
Accessing free 5 GB of storage in Amazon Drive requires opening an Amazon account and becoming an Amazon customer. Plans range from $12/month for 100 GB through 30 TB options billed annually at $1,800. The 1TB storage plan rates cheaper than some top competitors. Amazon Prime members should find this service easy to use. However, in order to begin exploring pricing and options Amazon requires consumers to sign up for an account, making price-shopping inconvenient.
Apple iCloud comes with an automatic 5 GB of free storage. Paid plan pricing varies based on country. Pricing in the U.S. ranges from .99c/month for 50 GB of space to $9.99/month for 2 TB of space. Apple allows family sharing and cross-platform accessibility, meaning Apple iCloud can be used even from a Windows computer. iCloud has been known to be invasive in the way it accesses files on devices and frequent iOS and operating system updates can be a hassle by causing bugs and/or making some programs and files inconveniently obsolete.