- What Makes the Best Cloud Storage for Windows
- 1. Sync.com
- Other Reasons Why We Like Sync.com
Windows is one of the most popular operating systems in the world. While it’s far from the most robust and bug-free OS, the latest version, Windows 10, takes care of many of its predecessors’ mistakes. We’ll further complement that with a list of the best cloud storage for Windows, starting with Best Cloud Storage for Windows 2021: OneDrive Alternatives.
The more files you pile on to your hard drive, the more errors and drops in performance you experience. One solution is to store as much data as you can on the cloud to optimize the drive for Windows. Music, movies, photos and huge files are all prime candidates for a new home in the cloud.
If you just want backup, and there’s a difference, read our best online backup services list (we also have a guide on how to backup Windows). Otherwise, we’ll take you through our top picks for Windows from among the best cloud storage services. Before we start, though, let’s take a look at what factors we used to rate them.
Best Cloud Storage Services for Windows 2021
What Makes the Best Cloud Storage for Windows
Windows support is chief here. We’ll look at how well the service works on it and how easy the desktop, web and mobile clients are to use. It’s best if the interface is attractive and intuitive, not a clunky mess.
Being inexpensive is a plus, too. If a service has many plans, it’s more likely you’ll find the one that best matches your needs. That includes getting the most storage space for the least money, or, in other words, the best value. If that’s your top concern, read our best deals in cloud storage.
Storage space alone won’t amount to much if it takes forever to transfer files to the cloud. You’ll need a stable connection with fast upload speeds, as well. Speeds also depend on your ISP and how close you are to the servers you’re using. Block-level transfer helps, too, because it uploads only the parts of the file that have changed since the previous upload.
Once you transfer your files, tough security will keep them safe. We’ll check what kind of encryption the service uses and whether it uses it in-transit and at-rest. Zero-knowledge is best, because it prevents anyone from accessing your data other than you If someone cracks your password, having two-factor authentication is helpful, too, as an extra layer of security (make sure to read our article on the best 2FA apps for more on this).
Sync.com sits at the top of our online storage comparison list. The Toronto-based service has a reputation for robust security and good user privacy, thanks, in part, to Canadian privacy laws, which are among the best in the world.
The desktop client works on Windows 10, 8, Vista, 7 and XP. Working with it is easy and consists of using your sync folder, which looks like a regular folder with a check mark, and accessing the client through the taskbar icon. The web client is clear and intuitive and has the same features as the desktop one, as well as others that enrich the general experience.
There’s a smartphone app available for Android or iOS, too. You can use it to work with files offline and upload photos and videos to the cloud.
Paid pricing plans are competitive. Personal Pro will cost you $49 a year for 500GB or $96 for 2TB, making it one of the best deals in cloud storage. If you’re a business user, you can request files from clients and ensure HIPAA compliance, along with the other usual features, for $96 a year on the Business Solo plan.
Business Pro fits the needs of multiple users — it requires a minimum of two — and costs Best Cloud Storage for Windows 2021: OneDrive Alternatives, depending on the number of users and the amount of storage space. It includes administrative control and centralized billing.
Sync.com’s initial upload speeds are average for a cloud storage service, but you can throttle your speeds if the sync process interferes with other activities. There’s also an option to set monthly upload and download limits for those working with a limited data plan.
Other Reasons Why We Like Sync.com
Security doesn’t fall behind privacy. Sync.com uses AES 256-bit encryption and the TLS protocol to protect your data in-transit and at-rest (which helped it take the top spot in our best cloud storage for sharing piece). The service is zero-knowledge compliant — it tops our list of best zero-knowledge services, in fact — so it can’t help you if you lose your password.
Two-factor authentication can help, though, if you’ve made a weak password and someone cracked it (read our guide on how to make a strong password).
Sync.com offers good value with its subscription plans, straightforward use and security. All that makes it fit for the top of this list. You can learn more about its security and other features in our Sync.com review.
- Easy to use
- Competitive pricing
- Good security
- No monthly subscriptions
- No block-level file copying
pCloud is our second choice and it’s available for all major versions of Windows. Using the desktop client is enjoyable and easy. You’ll access it the same way you would most services — through the system tray icon or the pCloud drive in your system files manager. The interface is bleak, but clear and intuitive.
The web interface will not disappoint you, either, because it has more features, offers a streamlined experience and gives you access to all of pCloud’s tools in one place. Plus, it’s fast. The only flaw is it’s not useful for transferring large files. Stick to the desktop client for that (read our how to use pCloud Transfer guide).
The mobile app is good, too, because it lets you edit documents instead of just viewing them. It will also play your video and audio files.
pCloud offers plans for personal and business users. Personal users can choose Premium, which costs $4.99 a month for 500GB, or Premium Plus, which will set you back $9.99 per month for 2TB. Both include features such as keeping your file version history for 30 days and unlimited remote uploads. You’ll get a discount if you pay for a year.
Choosing a lifetime plan will also get you a discount. The free plan gives you access to 10GB of storage and one additional gigabyte for every referral up to 20GB.
Upload speed is comparable to other services but the connection isn’t as stable as it should be. It does tend to reach higher speeds more often, though.
Other Reasons Why We Like pCloud
pCloud and Sync.com are excellent services and comparing them is splitting hairs. We feel that Sync.com is better as it provides zero-knowledge without the extra cost and has a more stable connection while uploading. That makes pCloud second, if only by a small margin. For more about the service, read our pCloud review.
- Affordable plans
- Zero-knowledge encryption
- Easy to use
- Zero-knowledge encryption is a paid add-on
- Unstable connection speed
More details about Icedrive:
- Pricing: 10GB for free, 1TB for $4.99 per month
- Provider website: www.icedrive.net
- Great security & privacy
- Gorgeous interface
- Few collaboration features
- No productivity integrations
- No block-level sync
All these features are delivered in a very aesthetically pleasing package, with a crisp blue and white color scheme and a layout that’s intuitive and clear.
Icedrive’s Hybrid Approach to File Sync
Where a lot of other cloud storage providers force you to use a dedicated sync folder, Icedrive provides you with plenty of choice in this regard. You can choose between setting up “sync pairs” (meaning a link between one of your local folders and a folder on Icedrive’s servers) or use the virtual drive, which acts as an extra hard drive on your system and allows you to save local storage space.
Price is where Icedrive really stands out from the crowd. For $4.99 per month, you get 1TB of storage space, which is a value proposition that few other storage providers can match. Not only that, you can even sign up for lifetime access in exchange for a one-time fee of $229.
- : Bandwidth limit: 3GB
- : 10 GB
- : Bandwidth limit: 250GB
- : 150 GB
- : Bandwidth limit: 2TB
- : 1000 GB
All in all, Icedrive is one of the best value cloud storage services out there. There’s a slight hitch with missing collaboration features and no block-level sync, but these are not unusual flaws. As always, check out our Icedrive review if you’re interested in all the details.
4. Egnyte Connect
With Egnyte Connect, which is among our best enterprise file sync and share services, you can upload and access your files by using a desktop client, browser interface or mobile app.
The desktop client uses the common sync folder model, which will store content on your drive and in the cloud. It also includes a feature called Egnyte Drive, which lets you access cloud content from your file system without requiring local storage space.
The browser experience is enjoyable as the interface is easy to use and it has plenty of features. The same is true for the mobile app. You can use it to open and edit content you have in the Egnyte cloud, including .pdf files and Office documents, so there’s no need to buy Microsoft Office 365. Egnyte can also store content from your phone.
The service wasn’t a great choice for individuals before it launched the Team plan, which is good for one to three users. It’s aimed at business users, but paying $10 a month for 1TB of storage is still a fine deal, especially considering that it offers a wealth of features.
The service still offers its business plans, which require at least five users, and each is an excellent value. For $8 per user per month, you get 5TB of space, more than any other services in that range. The Business and Enterprise plans have even more features and storage space, but come with a higher price tag.
Egnyte takes longer than other services for initial file uploads. A 250MB folder took twice the time other services needed. Changing files and uploading them again is much faster — only Dropbox beats it — because Egnyte uses block-level sync.
Other Reasons Why We Like Egnyte Connect
AES 256-bit encryption will scramble files before uploading. The service can’t be classified as zero-knowledge, though, because it decrypts your files to read metadata then encrypts them again. Fortunately, Egnyte integrates with Boxcryptor, which you can use for private encryption, but doing so will prevent block-level sync from working.
You can set minimum password requirements to make sure your password isn’t weak and use two-factor authentication for more protection. To learn more about its security, read our Egnyte Connect review. To get a sense of the service, you can use the Best Cloud Storage for Windows 2021: OneDrive Alternatives.
- Fast block-level sync
- Good third-party app library
- Cheaper options
It’s not surprising that Dropbox offers a polished user experience. The desktop client is straightforward — you use a sync folder and a system tray icon — but we’re more fond of the web client. It’s striking and displays all the necessary information while still being easy to navigate.
There’s a mobile app, too, which is available for Android or iOS. You can use it to automatically upload photos and videos from your phone.
The Plus plan will get you 1TB of storage for $10 a month, which makes for decent value. It’ll also provide access to features such as priority email support, remote data deletion and offline folders on mobile. For $20 a month, Professional adds smart sync, showcase, full-text search and priority chat support, but it doesn’t increase storage space.
Basic is a free plan which gives you a mere 2GB of storage. You can add 500MB to it for every referral.
Dropbox’s servers are in the U.S., so the closer you are, the better your speeds will be. Speed test results were similar to good results from other services we’ve tested. You can use throttle to limit speeds, but that shouldn’t be necessary as sync doesn’t use a lot of system resources.
The impressive block-level sync will speed up transfers after the initial upload. In fact, Dropbox is one of the best cloud storages for sync.
Other Reasons Why We Like Dropbox
Dropbox uses AES 256-bit to protect your files in transit and at rest, but it’s not zero-knowledge so it won’t protect your privacy. If you need it, you can use Boxcryptor to achieve end-to-end encryption. Normally, Dropbox decrypts your data when it arrives at the data center in order to access your metadata for indexing, but Boxcryptor won’t allow that.
Dropbox provides a great user experience and fast sync, but doesn’t offer zero-knowledge encryption, limits storage to 1TB and charges a lot for it. To get a more detailed overview of the service, read our Dropbox review.
- Fast sync
- Good integrations
- Limited to 1TB
- Not zero-knowledge
Because all services support Windows — no surprise there — we’ve turned to other factors to make our ranking such as like value, speed, security and ease of use. Best Cloud Storage for Windows 2021: OneDrive Alternatives has those in spades, as does . The next two services are good, but not as good, and Dropbox places last because the other service set the bar too high for it.
Whatever you choose, these are some of the best services on our cloud comparison list and should fit your storage needs. Did we miss anything? What’s your favorite cloud storage service? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.