Looking for a safe home to offload your precious hard drive’s payload? Then welcome to Cloudwards.net’s top five cloud storage services for external HDDs.
Where we’ll introduce you to a selection of services that excel at the job of providing secondary storage space for an external hard drive.
The way humans interact with data information has changed rapidly over the last five years; what used to be thought of as a futuristic technology, has become absolutely mainstream today. In the past, we had to use physical media devices, such as floppy disks, flash drives, CDs, DVDs and external hard drives.
None of which provide any remote accessibility features, or redundancy, in case of hardware failure.So instead of only keeping local copies of your data, how about mounting a cloud service as a virtual drive? It’ll offer much greater protection and accessibility.
Cloud storage offers a wide variety of benefits, so let’s dig into the valuable benefits it has on offer.
$ 8.00 per month Unlimited GBStorage All Plans
|Visit LivedriveLivedrive Review|
$ 4.99 per month 500 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit pCloudpCloud Review|
$ 4.34 per month 2000 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit IDriveIDrive Review|
$ 9.95 per month 1000 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit ElephantDriveElephantDrive Review|
$ 5.94 per month 200 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit MEGAMEGA Review|
The Benefits of Cloud Storage for External Hard Drives
Just about any competent cloud storage service is going to provide a web app, accompanied by desktop and mobile software as well. Many times, cloud storage services employ a shared folder mechanism, any files copied into the shared folder, automatically become synced to all of a user’s devices.
However, the best way to ensure that files are up-to-date, across all your devices, is to use a service that can be mounted to your file system, just like a physical drive. Furthermore, this method removes the burden of having to manage backups.
Since data ‘lives’ in the cloud, there’s nothing a user needs to do to maintain redundancy. Even if your cloud storage provider of choice suffers a hardware failure, don’t worry, they do keep data backed up in multiple data-centers, to aid in disaster recovery.
And if you’re concerned about security, keep in mind that all your data gets encrypted with zero-knowledge encryption.
Livedrive isn’t particularly terrific, but they have made significant improvements over the past few years, to better serve users. Livedrive is ideal for users who want files to exist solely through synchronization, or on a web drive, and users will find to be feature rich.
Unfortunately, the interface isn’t nearly as clean as we would like, but they do offer handy ancillary features such as a media streaming. Other key features of the service include unlimited backups (regardless of the number of files you have) and secure data transfers to multiple data centers for disaster recovery.
Other Reasons Why We Like Livedrive
Livedrive isn’t just a cloud storage service, they have some great backup features too. It also offers more sophisticated file transfer protocols, like WebDAV, FTP and NAS Backup.
Last but not least, it also detects changes in files and backs them up as you work, so you don’t have to worry about manually controlling the backup process.
- Media streaming player
- External & NAS drive backups
- Cloud-based photo previews
- Terrible user experience
- Outdated user interface
- Pricier than the competition
pCloud is another great option for users wishing to use cloud storage as a mounted drive, or simply want to enjoy 20GB of free storage space.
One of pCloud's most attractive assets is the fact that they’re cheaper than most other providers — start at $3.99 a month. Their file sharing and syncing features are a little watered down and lack a high degree of flexibility, but they do provide the ability to create download/upload links for individual files or folders.
Other Reasons Why We Like pCloud
If you wish to test their service out before making a purchase, pCloud offers 10GB of free storage space. That’s expandable to 20GB of free storage space, via their referral program.
As opposed to Livedrive, we were pleased with the cleanliness of their user interface and last but not least, pCloud doesn’t have an annoying cap on file-size limits (unlike many of their competitors)
- Supports Linux
- 10GB of free storage space
- No limitations on file sizes
- File versioning isn’t clear
- Basic plan lacks zero-knowledge security
- Lacks Bitcoin support
IDrive’s is a very useful service that’s geared more towards backup, rather than being an all-in-one cloud storage service. Still, its top-notch external hard drive handling capabilities have managed to put it on our top five list.
Users can ‘mount’ IDrive as a cloud drive on their computer, which mirrors the effect of a local storage device or an external hard drive — but as a cloud drive. Better yet, IDrive provides features such as file syncing and sharing, and as users might expect, of course, they encrypt data as it is in-transit to their storage servers.
Other Reasons Why We Like IDrive
We liked how they offer 5GB of free storage without requiring any payment card details. Though, 5GB isn’t adequate to backup most people’s files.
Try using IDrive Express if you need to haul off large amounts of data, for safekeeping and recovery. Nevertheless, a one-year subscription makes the monthly price just $3.72 per month, but please note that IDrive lack an option for monthly payments.
- Free local backups
- 5GB of free backup storage
- IDrive Express
- Lacks monthly payment options
- Not a zero-knowledge provider
- Designed as a backup-centric service
ElephantDrive is a decent cloud storage and online backup service, that can backup multiple computers and NAS devices as well. People new to cloud storage, cloud backup and file syncing should consider using ElephantDrive, because it’s simple-to-use and comes with NAS backup as well.
Multiple computer owners should be pretty happy too, because ElephantDrive can sync files across multiple machines, utilizing the combination of cloud backup and file synchronization; allowing us to keep everything under control using one service.
Other Reasons Why We Like ElephantDrive
Your ElephantDrive account can get mapped to a hard drive, which shows up as a new lettered drive and provides access to files directly from the HDD.
Speaking of files, they’re encrypted with military-grade AES encryption, using a 256-bit key. Files get protected in-transit and at-rest, plus users can also opt to select a private encryption key if they so desire.
- Encrypts files during transport
- Unlimited file syncing
- Maps external HDDs
- Customer support sucks
- Unlimited plans are business only
- 1GB upload limit (5GB on business plan)
MEGA is the best solution for tons of free storage (or tons of very cheap storage). A fact it compliments with great security features, decent usability, and speed.
MEGA offers 50GB of free storage right off the bat, and the Pro version starts at only $9.99 per month and comes with 500GB of storage space, that gets combined with 1TB of transfer space.
Apart from good speeds and a lot of storage space with which to create a secondary home for your external HDD, MEGA also offers AES encryption protocols and doesn’t store passwords, or master keys.
Other Reasons Why We Like MEGA
MEGA is one of the few cloud storage providers that supports arcane or little known mobile platforms like Windows Mobile and Blackberry, alongside Android and iOS, of course.
MEGA is an entirely web-based application, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on your needs.
- Great security features
- 50GB of free space
- Great file sharing solution
- Collaboration is flaky
- Flaky native syncing client
- Service still needs some polish
Keeping local copies of your data on external hard drives, and another type of physical media is still a great option, for an active added layer of extra protection. However, note that some providers will even send hard copies of backed up data upon request, like IDrive does.
But cloud storage is the best solution for making reliable off-shore storage havens of your data, and gain the ability to access it from anywhere in the world. Lastly, remember that mounting a cloud service as a virtual drive is by far, the easiest way to backup and sync data among all of your devices.
What did you think of our top five selections? Please share your opinion with us in the comments section below.