The internet has changed; with the rise of social media networks after the invention of blogging, sharing content online became a common action performed by millions of people every day. From pandas being cute to sharing financial reports, there’s almost nothing that you can’t share, which is why we’ve put together the best cloud storage for sharing.
Whether sharing photos with family or work product with colleagues, we’ll see what kind of content control, features and security measures these services, culled from our best cloud storage selection, offer to help you manage the process.
First, let’s take a look at those important features and options that we feel cloud storage services need to have in order to be good for sharing. If you work from home and share a lot of content, see our article on how to make remote work easy.
Best Cloud Storage for Sharing 2019
What Makes Cloud Storage Best For Sharing
Sharing should be straightforward, easy to execute quickly and you should be able to share to all the major social networks, as well as with specific individuals and groups of individuals.
When sharing, content control is critical, and by that we mean the ability to restrict unauthorized file access with features like permission settings, password protection and expiry dates for shared links. Audit pages to review shares are also welcome.
Content security is also important. We’ll check whether the services encrypt data server-side and in-transit, whether they offer native private encryption (read our best zero-knowledge cloud services article if that’s your chief concern) and whether they have two-factor authentication (2FA) which helps if someone steals your password.
You probably don’t want to pay a small fortune for those security and sharing measures, so we’ll keep cost in mind. We know you’d like a free plan or at least a trial because nobody is too eager to pay for a service they can’t at least try (if you’re looking for free plans read our best free cloud storage options).
On top of all this, we need good user experience. It wouldn’t do to have all these fine features if the service itself is difficult to navigate, non-intuitive and an eyesore. Also, we want the service to run on as many devices and operating systems as possible, both computers and smartphones.
Best Cloud Storage For Sharing: Sync.com
Since it was founded in 2011, Sync.com has steadily built its reputation for capable security and user privacy, which contribute to its top placing on our cloud storage comparison list. Also, because Sync.com is based in Toronto, the service benefits from Canada’s privacy laws, some of the best in the world.
You can share folders and files from the Sync.com web interface by using the “share” button that corresponds to the content you want to share. If that’s a folder, you can invite specific users or you can generate a link that’s available to all. If it’s a file, you can only generate a link, which you can manually copy or send to others via email, even if they don’t use Sync.com.
Others using your links can download your files zipped, so if an entire folder is shared there’s no need to download files individually (that was not the case prior to 2017). On the other hand, instead of download links, you can share upload links that will enable people to share their content directly into your cloud storage space.
There’s also a “shares” page that tells you which folders you have shared and with whom. Sync.com does link sharing properly. You can attach passwords as well as expiry dates to links, those that latter bit requires a Pro subscription. A couple of rare but handy share features that Sync.com provides are setting download limits on shares and viewing download stats.
With a Sync.com Pro subscription, you can even do a remote wipe on any share. What’s more, the service also lets you add “enhanced privacy” to links which is a fancy way of saying that it adds zero-knowledge protection to them, which is no small feat.
With its free plan, Sync.com offers you 5GB. The paid pricing plans are very competitive with other services. There are two personal plans: Pro Personal 500GB ($49 a year) and Pro Personal 2TB ($96 a year).
Business Solo is for single business users. For $96 a year, those users get the option to easily request files from clients and HIPAA compliance on top of all the usual personal plan features.
Business Pro plans require a minimum of two users and cost from $60 to $180 per year, depending on the number of users and storage space. Other features include administrative control and centralized billing.
You upload and access Sync.com files through a web browser, desktop client or smartphone app. The desktop client is available on both Windows and OS X, though not for Linux (read our article on best cloud storage for Linux).
The smartphone app is available for Android and iOS. The desktop client is faster, but using the web client will also let you see your content and you’ll be able to do so on computers that you don’t own.
Other Reasons Why We Like Sync.com
At rest, Sync.com uses 256-bit AES, while TLS protocol protects transmission to the data centers from eavesdropping. It’s all zero-knowledge, though because of that, Sync.com will not be able to help you if you lose your password.
Even if your password is not weak, you should take advantage of two-factor authentication that Sync.com offers. Read more about these and other security measures in our Sync.com review. Plenty of sharing and content control options in addition to excellent security and privacy make this service fit to be the first on our list.
- Secure link sharing
- Zero-knowledge security
- Great support
- No block-level file copying
- No monthly plans
pCloud has been in the business since 2013, and today the service has eight million users. It has some big-name clients, too, like BMW, Coca-Cola and Twitter. When you want to share your content, you can just add the invitee’s name or an email (if they’re not on pCloud). Others can share their files with you, too, using upload links.
To protect your links, you can set expiry dates and passwords, though both measures are only available with premium plans. Also, if you’re using pCloud’s zero-knowledge encryption add-on, you’ll be able to share only files that aren’t encrypted with it.
pCloud provides a nice table with statistics for your links, such as weekly traffic, total traffic and total downloads. Last, but not least, you can generate a convenient short link for sharing, but note that those links are less secure.
If you’re a personal user, you can choose between Premium (500GB for $4.99 per month) and Premium Plus (2TB for $9.99 per month). Both plans will keep your file version history for 30 days and allow you to make unlimited remote uploads.
If you pay for the whole year, you’ll get a discount, as well as if you choose a lifetime plan. The free plan gives you 10GB of storage and 1GB for every referral (10GB limit).
Other Reasons Why We Like pCloud
In-transit, traffic relies on TLS encryption. Sync.com uses 256-bit AES to scramble files, too, both in-transit and at-rest. You can also use the Crypto add-on to make sure your files are protected by zero-knowledge encryption.
Also, pCloud stores your files in at least three highly secure server locations. For more about pCloud security read our pCloud review.
- Affordable plans
- Zero-knowledge encryption
- Good customer service
- File encryption is a paid add-on service
Switzerland-based Tresorit (“tresor” is German for vault) is one of the most secure cloud storage services. Though its headquarters are in Switzerland, Tresorit keeps data on servers in the Netherlands and Ireland.
You can share either folders or individual files, though folder sharing has more options. Files can only be shared via link, while you can share folders with a specific individual by inputting their email address.
If you use email, only those registered on Tresorit will be able to access the content. Links don’t require that. Folders also allow you to set permissions for others, which include view only, edit and manager access.
You can protect your links with passwords, expiry dates and download limits. To see which links you’ve created you can use the “links” view. There’s also a “contacts” page which shows people you’ve shared with. There’s no option to create upload links like with some other services, though.
What many users find to be objectionable about Tresorit is the price. It’s not very competitive. The cheapest individual plan, called Premium, costs $12.50 a month for 200GB, more than most services charge for 1TB.
The other personal plan, Solo, will give you 2TB of data, along with password protected links, the ability to sync up to ten devices instead of five and unlimited instead of 90-day versioning. All those benefits add to $30 a month. However, there’s a discount if you pay for the year.
Unlike some other services, Tresorit has a full-featured desktop client and a web interface. The desktop client approach will work for some, but it does complicate the whole experience since you need to create folders (tresors) and sync them individually.
Interfaces for desktop and web are arranged similarly, though they don’t have exactly the same options. The desktop app is available on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, while you can use the mobile app on Android and iOS.
Other Reasons Why We Like Tresorit
Tresorit’s main selling point and justification for its high price is the superb security. Its data centers are compliant with latest ISO standards and the company also runs Microsoft Azure. Those centers even have surveillance, security patrols and biometric scanning.
You’re also provided with zero-knowledge encryption and AES 256-bit encryption. Two-factor authentication is also available. If you’d like to know the details about this service, read our Tresorit review.
- Secure file sharing
- Zero-knowledge encryption
- Good platform support
- Unimpressive sync speeds
Box is a service that focuses mainly on business clients, therefore it’s not surprising to see many big companies (a lot are Fortune 500) and 59,000 smaller businesses as its clients. It’s among our top EFSS platforms. The service was founded in 2005.
Using Box, you can share links with other licensed users with no restriction. If you have proper permissions you can share with outside users as well.
When you click the “share” button you can send an email invite, or you can generate a link and then send it. Box allows you to set expiry dates, use a password to protect links and even restrict downloads on shared links. There’s also an audit page where you can check what you’ve shared.
The cheapest among the Box pricing plans is the Starter Plan. It costs only $5 per month per user (minimum of three) but offers only 100GB. Business ($15 per user a month) and Business Plus ($25 per user a month) plans offer unlimited storage.
Business Plus offers more features, including single sign-on (SSO) integration, unlimited external collaborators and access to Box Key Safe.
There’s no annual discount. You can, however, test the service with a 15-day trial or get a free 10GB plan.
Desktop clients are available for Windows and Mac but not Linux, while Google Play and Apple’s App store offer it for Android and iOS. The desktop client creates a sync folder on your system but much of the experience takes place on the web.
That experience is fluid and it won’t confuse you. In the web interface, there’s even an option to include custom URL, logo and color scheme. The mobile app is user-friendly as well.
Other Reasons Why We Like Box
When it comes to security measures, Box doesn’t skimp on them. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks, encrypts your stored data using AES 256-bit encryption and it even wraps your key with the same encryption, which is an interesting addition.
Of course, there’s two-factor authentication, too. To find out more, read our Box review.
- Strong security & content control
- Unlimited storage plan
- No block-level sync
- No annual discount
Dropbox is one of the oldest services in the industry, having been founded in 2007 by a couple of MIT students. Since then Dropbox, has become one of the most recognized names in technology. When it comes to the number of users, it numbers 500 million and its second only to Google Drive.
You can share any folder and file that you store with Dropbox, regardless of whether you use a desktop computer, a smartphone or browser. However, note that only folder shares can be used to grant edit permissions to others, so you’ll want to use it if you’re on a project.
When you want to share a file or folder, a link will be generated for you when you click on “share.” You can email this link or just copy-paste it. Free and Dropbox Plus users don’t have options to further secure shared links, but if you’re willing to pay for Dropbox Professional, you can add password protection and expiry dates to your links.
As a user of the free Dropbox Plan, called Basic, you get 2GB of storage. You can add to your free space with 500MB per referral. If you want even more storage, there are two personal plans that you can choose from: Plus and Professional.
Dropbox Plus gives a fair price of $10 for 1TB of storage space. Professional will give you more features but not more storage.
Dropbox has been at the forefront of user experience since its creation. While the desktop experience is pretty straightforward (you use a sync folder and a system icon for quick access and notifications), we’re fond of the web client. It’s striking and displays all necessary information in a clear and intuitive manner.
Desktop clients are available for Windows, Mac and Linux, while the mobile app is available for Android and iOS.
Other Reasons Why We Like Dropbox
Dropbox doesn’t offer zero-knowledge encryption (read our Boxcryptor review if you want to enhance your privacy), but there’s AES 256-bit encryption to protect your files at-rest and in-transit.
The service also decrypts your data when upon arrival at the data center in order to access your metadata for indexing (that can be avoided by using Boxcryptor). Two-factor authentication is available if you’re concerned that someone might steal your password. For more information read our Dropbox review.
- Very fast sync
- Good user experience
- Not zero-knowledge
All these services provide good sharing capabilities and we’re splitting the difference on other factors like value, security and ease of use.
By now you probably have a good idea which service would fit you. Given the criteria, we feel Sync.com is the best overall. What do you think? Is there a cloud service for sharing that you use and we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments. Thank you for reading.