At the beginning of the millennium, hard drives could only store dozens of gigabytes. Now, they have terabytes of space. Flash drives and external hard drives are bigger, too. The demand for more storage space is never-ending and companies deliver. Cloud storage services do the same, so we’ve created a list of the best cloud storage for large files.Sync.com is our top pick, but there are several other good options to consider. No matter how much space your drive has, relocating some of your big files to the cloud will improve its performance. Plus, your files will be safe in case your hard drive crashes or malfunctions. It’s not certain data recovery software will help you.
We’ve chosen our picks from our best cloud storage services. If you’re looking for backup, read our list of the best cloud backup services. You can educate yourself about the difference between cloud storage and backup here. Before we get to the rankings, let’s go through our criteria for the best cloud storage for large files.
Best Cloud Storage for Large Files 2018
What Makes Cloud Storage the Best for Large Files
First, we’ll look at the plans — how much storage space they offer and at what price. There’s no point in uploading large files if your storage space is like a hard drive from the ‘80s. It’s not okay if the service costs an arm and a leg, either. Doing well on both factors offers the best value and we’re going to emphasize that. If it has a free plan or trial, that will make a difference, too.
Generally, storage space isn’t the problem, but the file size limit and upload traffic cap. Some services don’t impose limits, while others only allow file sizes in the dozens of gigabytes or place a cap on daily uploads. Providers without restrictions are best.
How fast you can transfer your files will depend on the cloud storage service, as well as your internet service provider and computer. The closer you are to the service, the better your connection speed will be. Transferring large files might strain your computer, so it’s also good if a service can limit system resource use. The same goes for upload traffic on a limited plan.
Once your files are in the cloud, you’ll, presumably, want to share them. It should be fast, easy and capable of sending directly to individuals or groups of individuals. It should also give you proper content controls to restrict unauthorized access, such as expiry dates for links, permissions and password protection (read our password manager reviews to keep those organized).
Doing all that shouldn’t be tedious, so a good user experience is a must. The apps — desktop, web and mobile — should be attractive, easy to navigate and work on most operating systems.
Best Cloud Storage for Large Files: Sync.com
Sync.com was founded in Toronto in 2011 and boasts a reputation for strong security and user privacy. Besides being at the top of this list, it’s the favorite in our cloud storage comparison, too.
Before subscribing, you can sign up for Sync Starter, a free plan with 5GB of storage, to get a feel for the service. There are two plans for personal users: Personal Pro 500GB for $49 a year and Personal Pro 2TB for $96 a year. The latter is one of the best deals in cloud storage.
If you need more space, you can subscribe to Business Solo 4TB plan for $180 a year. That comes down to $15 a month, which is still a great deal. For multiple users, you can get the Business Pro plan, which costs between $60 and $180 depending on the amount of space and the number of users. You have to have a minimum of two users to sign up for it, though.
Sync.com doesn’t limit file size. A representative said in an email that they don’t limit data transfer, either.
Upload and download speeds are similar to other services and Sync.com doesn’t cap your bandwidth by default. Uploading a 1GB folder took about 15 minutes on average. Downloading took about six minutes to finish. The tests were conducted over a network in Mexico.
If the sync process uses too much of your system resources, there’s an option to throttle it using the taskbar icon of the desktop client. You can also limit monthly traffic if you’re on a limited plan.
Block-level sync, which speeds up the transfer of files that have already been uploaded, is not available, though.
Other Reasons We Like Sync.com
You can share the files you’ve sent to the cloud by using the “share” button in the web interface. If you’re sharing a file, you can only generate a link and send it via email or copy and paste it. If it’s a folder, you can invite users or generate a link. Those you share a folder with will have the option to download it as a zipped folder, instead of downloading files individually.
You can also share upload links which enable others to send content directly to your storage.
You can set permissions, attach expiry dates and password protect your links, too. The latter two require a Pro subscription, though. You’re also able to set download limits and see your download stats. A “shares” page lets you see which folders you’ve shared and with whom.
Sync.com’s desktop client is easy to use. You get to it through the system tray icon or the sync folder in your system files manager. It also enables you to use selective sync, which keeps your cloud files from syncing to your computer so they don’t take space on your hard drive.
The interface is clear and intuitive, but dark. It’s available on Windows and macOS but not Linux. You get the same features using the web client, too, plus others that enhance the overall experience.
Smartphone apps are available for Android and iOS. You can use them to access your files while offline and automatically upload photos and videos to the cloud.Sync.com plans are an excellent value with capable sharing options and no file size or data transfer limits to bog you down. The only drawbacks are the lack of monthly plans and block-level sync. For more details on the service, read our Sync.com review.
- No file-size or transfer limits
- Great support
- Competitive pricing
- No block-level sync
- No monthly plans
pCloud is a U.S.-based company ranked near the top of our best cloud storage list.
It offers plans for personal and business users. Personal users can choose between Premium, which provides 500GB for $4.99 a month, and Premium Plus, which gives you 2TB for $9.99 per month. There is a discount if you pay for the year in advance, or you can save even more green if you buy a lifetime license.
Before subscribing, you can use the free 10GB plan. That’s not enough to test the service for large files, but it is enough to see what it’s like.
pCloud lets you upload files of “unlimited” size, but it has a transfer limit of 500GB per month for the Premium users and 2TB per month for Premium Plus users. Still, those aren’t small caps and they probably won’t hinder your work.
The service has good speeds, too. Tests conducted outside of Boston, Massachusetts showed it takes about seven minutes to upload and about one minute to download a 1GB folder.
Other Reasons We Like pCloud
You only need to add another user’s name or email to share a file or folder with them. If they want to share with you, they can do so with upload links. You can set passwords and expiry dates to protect sharing links, but both require subscribing to a premium plan. A useful table that shows statistics for your shares will help you keep tabs on them.
Note that if you use pCloud’s zero-knowledge add-on to encrypt files, you won’t be able to share them.
The desktop client is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. In fact, pCloud is the best cloud storage for Linux. You use the desktop client by accessing the system tray icon or pCloud drive on your file system. Selective sync enables you to unsync files and folders you don’t need. The interface is intuitive and easy to use, but dark.
If you’re on a different computer, you can use the web interface to access your content. It gives you all of pCloud’s tools in one place, plus it’s easier to navigate and more enjoyable. The mobile app is straightforward and available for Android or iOS. It lets you access your files, share them and upload new ones.
pCloud has a couple of affordable subscription plans and doesn’t place limits on file size, but there is a cap on monthly traffic. That’s the issue we used to choose between pCloud and Sync.com and the reason it lands in second place. If you’re interested in learning more about its features, read our pCloud review.
- Affordable plans
- Easy to use
- No file-size limit
- Monthly traffic limit
- No block-level sync
Google Drive is a cloud storage service with a global network of data centers, which makes it a good fit for transferring large files.
The service recently updated its plans and they are now a much better value. Paid subscriptions start at 100GB and end at 30TB. The plan with the best price-to-storage ratio offers 2TB for $9.99 a month. If you pay for the year in advance, you get a discount. There’s also a free plan that gives you a generous 15GB of storage space.
File size limits are set at 5TB for non-document file types. You won’t be able to upload that much in a day, though, because there’s a 750GB transfer limit. Even so, you shouldn’t have a problem uploading your files.
Google Drive’s speeds are comparable to other services. It took around 10 minutes to upload a 1GB folder and about five minutes to download it. There’s no block-level copying, though.
Other Reasons We Like Google Drive
You can share your files by generating a link and copying and pasting or sending it by email. People who use it can view, comment or edit your content depending on the permissions you set. You can change them in the “sharing settings” menu. It also shows you who has access to your shared content and lets you share it to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
That said, sharing could be improved with the addition of content control features such as link passwords or expiry links. A page that shows all your shared content would be welcome, too.
The web app is attractive and will be familiar to you if you have used a Google app before. The interface is easy to navigate and won’t overwhelm you with features. Just in case, we have a beginner’s guide to Google Drive.
The desktop client follows the sync model and comes equipped with selective sync. It has a minimalist interface that’s simple to use. The mobile app is preinstalled on Android devices and lets you edit your files without downloading them. For more on the user experience, read our Google Drive review.
- Good user experience
- Strong customer support
- Could be cheaper
- Lacks important content control features
Dropbox is one of the oldest cloud storage services and invented the common model of sync and block-level sync. It has more than 500 million users.
Its Plus plan provides 1TB of storage for $10 a month. If you pay for the year, the price drops to $99. That’s a decent value, but nowhere near services such as Sync.com and pCloud. In fact, you need to pay $20 — twice the cost of pCloud’s comparable plan — to subscribe to Professional and get 2TB of space.
If you’re using the web client to upload, your data transfer will be capped at 20GB, but there are no bandwidth restrictions with the desktop client. Paid plans have a daily sharing limit of 200GB, though.
Dropbox’s data centers are in the U.S. so your speeds will be fastest there. The tests result were great — upload averaging 16 minutes for a 1GB folder, download around six for the same — considering we ran them from southeast Asia. You can use throttling to limit speeds, but you shouldn’t need to because sync uses little system resources.
Other Reasons We Like Dropbox
When you share a file or folder, you generate a link to it. You can email it or copy and send it manually. You can’t secure it if you’re a Dropbox Plus subscriber, but Dropbox Professional users can add passwords and expiry dates to links.
There’s a page that shows you what you’ve shared, too. You can even share from the desktop client by right-clicking on your file or folder and selecting “share.” Another useful feature is “file request,” which lets others upload files to a specific folder on your account.
Dropbox offers an elegant user experience. The desktop client is straightforward, using a system tray icon and a sync folder. Selective sync is available, too. It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. The web client is striking, easy to navigate and displays information in a clear manner.
There’s a mobile app for Android and iOS, as well. It lets you upload photos and videos from your phone automatically. If you want to know more, read our Dropbox review.
- Great user experience
- Content control only on Professional plan
Microsoft’s cloud storage service has several plans to choose from, but only a couple are a good fit for large files: Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home. The first gets you 1TB of storage space for $6.99 a month or $69.99 if you pay for the year. The second provides 5 users with 1TB each for $9.99 a month or $99.99 per year. OneDrive has a 20GB file size cap.
OneDrive’s speeds are fast and stable. It took about six minutes to upload a 1GB folder and one minute to download it, which is not surprising considering Microsoft has a global network of data centers. We’ve only uploaded files with sync because we encountered errors with manual uploading. Unfortunately, block-level copying is only available for Office files.
Other Reasons We Like OneDrive
Sharing isn’t much different compared to other services. You can generate a link to your content and email it, share it to social media or embed it on a webpage. Premium plans let you add expiry dates, but there’s no password protection.
There’s no way to check what you’ve shared, either. The web app is easy to navigate using the menu on the left, while your content is in the center. Different sorting options let you organize it the way you want. The interface has lots of negative space, clear lines and colors that emphasize what’s important which makes it attractive.
The desktop app follows the sync model, so it has a sync folder and a system tray icon. The system tray menu gives you a list of files, which lets you get to your files faster. It also enables you to use selective sync.
The mobile app is pleasant, easy to use and available for Android or iOS. For more details on the service and its features, read our OneDrive review.
- 20GB file-size limit
- Only up to 1TB
- Manual uploads can stall
Uploading your HD movies, textures, music and other big files doesn’t have to be a chore, and won’t be if you choose the right service. File size and bandwidth limits play a bigger part than storage space. Most services don’t impose them, which is reflected in all the services in this list except the last one.
Our top pick, Sync.com, has cheap prices, no limits on uploading files besides your storage space quota and great support. pCloud is not far behind, while Dropbox and OneDrive can boast about their transfer speeds.
Which service seems like a good fit for your needs? Do you use a service that’s not listed? Tell us all about it in the comments below. Thank you for reading.