Cloud storage is the model of data storage where the digital data is stored in the logical pools and the physical data storage is pooled across multiple servers and the physical environment is typically managed and owned by the hosting company. Cloud storage services keep the services available and accessible from anywhere and the physical environment is secured and running.
Free cloud storage is not a difficult task these days, many of the services are offering it for free. But the best cloud storage services offer more than just the free cloud storage like they offer multi-platform support, availability, app integration, security and more. Some cloud storage services suddenly stop the services or even they sell it to the other companies. So, here I am listing some best cloud storage solutions.
1. Google Drive
Google Drive is the most popular file storage and synchronization service from Google which enables the users to file sharing, cloud storage and collaborative editing. It uses the Google Docs cloud based software and adds the simple and easy to use file storage to it. Google Drive automatically sync with the cloud and so everything will be automatically synced across all your devices. It integrates with both Windows and Mac file systems and it also doesn’t offer support to Linux platform.
It enables the users to share and collaborate any kind of files such as music, videos, documents and images. Coming to the plans, Google is offering initially 15 GB of storage which is to be shared across three services Google Drive, Gmail and Google+ photos. For the normal usage 15 GB is enough but for the business and commercial purpose mores storage is required. Below is the price list of other plans of Google Drive.
- 100 GB for $1.99 per month.
- 1 TB for $9.99 per month.
- $10 TB for $99.99 per month.
- $20 TB for $199.99 per month.
- $ 30 TB for $299.99 per month.
Amazon cloud Drive is the cloud storage service from Amazon and it can be accessed from up to eight specific devices like different computers, mobile devices and from different browsers on the same computer. Amazon is also having an another cloud storage service known as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, the biggest cloud storage service which is exclusively for the big corporations.
Amazon cloud drive can be accessed from either the web or using the windows app, Mac and Android devices. Before windows app has only support to Window 7 and Vista and now it has extended the support to windows 8 also. When you initially signup with the Amazon Cloud Drive you will be offered 5 GB for free which is enough to protect your important files. Below are the other cloud drive plans from Amazon.
If you want the additional storage it costs £0.30 per Giga Byte per year and the subscription plans are available at 20 GB, 50 GB, 100 GB, 200 GB, 500 GB and 1 TB.
Amazon Cloud Drive also features an integrated Cloud Player, which is the music streaming application allows the users to play the music stored in the Cloud Drive from any computer or the Android device with internet access.
3. Apple iCloud
iCloud is the cloud computing and storage service from Apple Inc which has currently more than 400 million users. It allows the users to store the data such as music and iOS applications. The content like music, books, apps and TV shows which you purchase from the iTunes store are also be stored on iCloud and can be streamed from it. iCloud works hand in hand with iTunes Match, which is built into the iTunes app and allows the users to store the entire information of the music collection, including the music tracks which are copied from CDs or other sources. It costs just $24.99 per year.
Coming to the storage plans ever user on signup gets 5 GB of free storage for the iOS and Mac users. Additional storage is also available to purchase and storage plans are like 10 GB, 20 GB and 50 GB is the maximum. The data stored in cloud can be shared across all devices per iCloud Apple ID.
Dropbox is the another popular file hosting service operated by Dropbox Inc which offers the cloud storage, personal cloud and file synchronization services. The main feature which make the Dropbox popular is it doesn’t require the web-browser interface to operate as it runs on almost any PC. It also offers the support to Linux computers, Android and iOS devices. Dropbox can be used as just like other network drive like a file manager on any operating system.
Dropbox offers 2 GB free storage for the basic plan and if you require more storage then you need to upgrade to the pro version which starts from $9.99 per month and $99 per annum for 100 GB cloud storage and there are similar price deals for up to 500 GB. DropBox also offer its services for teams with prices variable starts with shared TB of storage of 5 users. Dropbox is bit costlier when compared with its competitors, but it is worthy for the services it offers.
Box is online file sharing service and it is more of a business collaboration work-flow solution than the storage solution. Box has adopted a freemium business model which offers 50 GB of free storage for the personal accounts. The business edition of the Box comes with hefty permission options which allows the users to call the shots on and who can edit and view the various files.
Box business edition also includes the variety of work programs integrated with the Box’s cloud services. The work programs includes the Box OneCloud, for the improved mobile work flow and the online workspaces. Box is offering various pricing plans for various types of users such as Starters, Business and Enterprise users.
The basic Box account starts with 10 GB secure storage with 250 MB file upload size which is for 1 user. The next plan is Starter which is the shared workspace for your team which is charged at £3.50 per user monthly and it allows maximum of 10 users and offers 100 GB storage and 2 GB file upload size.
OneDrive is the Microsoft’s cloud storage service, previously known as SkyDrive. It works similar to all the cloud service which allows you to share and access files, but it has to be used in the browser in most of the Operating systems. It works hand in hand with Windows 8 file manager and it works in partnership with Microsoft Office. For example you can edit and view all type of files in the cloud storage with the Office tools. Similar to Google Drive, it comes with its own cloud based office software called Office Web Apps.
It automatically grabs the files from any PC which is associated with your account and loads them into the cloud remotely. It may the advantage as well as drawback. It offers the 7 GB free storage for the new users and also additional 3 GB free storage to the students. If you want the additional storage you can buy it. For 20 GB you need to spend $10 per year and for 50 GB $25 per year and for 100 GB it costs $50 annually.
Mediafire is considered as the cheapest online cloud storage service and it offers 50 GB free storage upon some conditions. The free version of Mediafire includes the ads and the users can upload the files of only up to 200 MB. But this enough for many purposes. In free version it allows only to download files from the folder one at a time and you can’t download the entire directory at once.
To avoid these restrictions you need to use subscription version which starts at $1.50 per month with one year subscription, but this plan doesn’t add any storage but it just frees you from the restrictions. The other plans are, pro version for $4.50 per month which gives 250 GB and business version for $24.50 per month for 1 TB storage.