Welcome to our year-end round-up of the best free cloud backup services of 2017. We’ll be checking out the top five services that provide more than just the ability to backup for free. Join us on Cloudwards.net, as we cover the best overall services, the best security backup service, alongside providing other options with large free backup packages.
Hard drives are expensive and difficult to carry around, and they’re also prone to failure — often. Which is why it’s worth using a cloud backup service to provide anywhere, anytime, access to files in case something unfortunate happens to your PC. When trusting a cloud backup service with your data, you want it to be easy-to-use, reliable and secure.
Some users might want a completely automated backup system, while others might want a more customizable setup, while yet again, some users are concerned about privacy above all else. To help you make the right decision, we have compiled together five of the best free cloud backup services.
$ 4.34 per month 2000 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit IDriveIDrive Review|
$ 5.00 per month 100 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit SpiderOak ONESpiderOak ONE Review|
$ 9.90 per month 10000 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit JottacloudJottacloud Review|
$ 9.95 per month 1000 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit ElephantDriveElephantDrive Review|
$ 4.99 per month 500 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit pCloudpCloud Review|
How This Article is Setup
Before we commit to our deep dive into this article, let’s take a minute to figure out how it’s setup and what it is exactly. Firstly, this is not a review of each backup service. Instead, we’ve setup this article as a summary of each service, what it has to offer and why we liked it.
And every service ends with a pros and cons list.
Of course, we firmly encourage you to click the “Read review” button so that you can access our full, in-depth reviews of each service. Lastly, none of the cloud backup services here provide unlimited backup for free; they just have generous (yet limited) free plans.
IDrive has one of the neatest interfaces we’ve ever seen, but that is not the only reason it’s on the top of the list. It comes with 5GB of free storage, file syncing, IDrive Express and private encryption.
IDrive’s scheduler lets you choose at what time and on which days of the week to backup. You can also set a notification every time IDrive is done backing up. Which means when files get restored; you get the same folder structure as your primary hard drive.
This little feature could be extremely useful in case total data loss ends up happening. IDrive’s continuous backup feature is designed to ensure all your necessary files get regularly protected. You can fix its frequency to:
- 10 minutes
- 20 minutes
- 30 minutes
Which means every time a change gets made in a file, it will be instantly backed up. Coming to security, IDrive has 256-bit encryption both on server-side and local-side. It also lets users choose their encryption key, which isn’t stored on the company’s servers.
Other Reasons Why We Like IDrive
IDrive’s big ace is, of course, the 5GB of free storage, which comes with absolutely no strings attached. With IDrive, you also get to connect a single account with unlimited machines.
Which is a feature a lot of other cloud backup services do not provide. But that’s not all, IDrive has bandwidth throttling, disk image backups, a backup scheduler and mapped drive backups.
- Backs up mobile data
- Continuous data protection
- Private encryption
- Web app is very limited
- Extra features can be a little intimidating
- Lacks monthly payment plans
SpiderOak provides a great sense of privacy and security, which it combines with good syncing and backups speeds. Though sometimes the process can get a bit convoluted. SpiderOak offers file-sharing and cloud backup services — based upon a bedrock of tight security.
It’s greatest selling point is the ability to sync files while continuously logging changes online. Of course, the main reason it’s on our list is the top notch privacy on offer. Because of this fact, the company’s employees do not have access to a client’s data.
Better yet, neither do the NSA and other unsavory types. But that’s not all; SpiderOak can backup unlimited computers using only one online account.
This feature is useful for people who want to make a backup across multiple operating systems. Though SpiderOak isn’t very user-friendly towards new users, it’s still your best bet for a secure, private and easy-to-use cloud backup service.
Other Reasons Why We Like SpiderOak
SpiderOak is all about combining secure cloud backup with equally protective cross-device syncing. It comes with 2GB of free space, which isn’t a lot, but at the same time, it’s just enough to get your foot in the door.
We recommend this company for users who are on the move, need security, and use a lot of devices or computers.
- Zero-knowledge privacy
- Has a Linux app
- Strong encryption
- 2GB of free storage
- A bit expensive
- Syncing can be slow at times
With servers placed in Norway, Jottacloud is one of the most secure cloud backup services on our list. It comes with 5GB of free storage space, file syncing, and incremental backup. JottaCloud’s interface looks very sleek and gives a lot of backup options.
There is a backup scheduling option, where you can choose the time of day when you want the backup to begin. Using Jottacloud’s ‘automagic’ feature, changes in files get uploaded to the cloud server as soon as they happen.
Restorations can either be done by selecting specific folders or searching for them. Though we did find the upload and download speeds a bit slow, especially with big files.
Other Reasons Why We Like Jottacloud
When it comes to file syncing, there is a separate sync folder, where users can move all the folders which need to get regularly synced with local machines.
Coming to the privacy part, having servers in Norway means users are protected by European digital privacy laws. Also, there is server-side 256-bit AES encryption but no private encryption.
- 5GB free storage
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Backups can be scheduled
- Slow speeds on large files
- Crappy customer support
- Slightly buggy desktop app
With ElephantDrive you get 2GB of free storage, secure cloud backup via multiple machines, file syncing and private encryption. The real fun starts when you install ElephantDrive’s desktop app. It creates two folders on a hard drive, named – Backup and Everywhere.
The Backup folder is obviously where all the backed up files get stored, and Everywhere is the app’s syncing folder. You can drag and drop files into these folders, or just right-click on any file and directly upload it to Elephant Drive.
Other Reasons Why We Like ElephantDrive
ElephantDrive’s website lets you view backed up files and shared them. The backup service also provides a private encryption option, where users can set their encryption keys, which do not get sent to ElephantDrive’s servers.
There is also an option to see all the links created for sharing. It has 256-bit encryption on the server-side and the local-side.
- Backs up multiple devices
- Integrates with File Explorer
- Has a Linux app
- 1GB file-size restriction
- Can’t edit files online
- Can’t preview files online
pCloud provides 10GB of free space, which is expendable to 20GB, plus its servers are in Switzerland. Apart from capable backups, it also has file sharing and syncing features.
pCloud creates its folder on your hard drive, but here’s why we didn’t like that fact – the folder it creates isn’t empty. When digging inside the folder, we found that pCloud has already placed default images, music and PDF files inside the backup folder.
But they are deletable, so there’s no need to worry. Sacrificing 50MB in exchange for 20GB free of cost isn’t a bad deal at all.
Other Reasons Why We Like pCloud
pCloud does have private encryption, but it’s a premium feature which costs $3.99 per month. So, we get left with only 256-bit server side encryption.
pCloud initially gives you 10GB of free space, but you can extend it by clicking on the ‘Get More Space’ button and following steps like subscribing to their newsletter and referring friends. Overall, it’s a good secondary backup solution if you’re not keen on scheduling and need 20GB of free space.
- Continuous & incremental backup
- File sharing & synchronization
- No file-size limitations
- No backup scheduling
- Limited settings
- Unclear file versioning
As you can see, there are many free cloud backup companies ready to offer you their services; some provide a lot of storage space, while others provide only a little, but make up for the deficit via unique features.
So, in the end, which service to choose obviously depends on you and your requirements.
We recommend reading our full reviews of the free cloud backup services mentioned on today’s list, before making any decisions. Better yet, try using the free GBs each company gives, to test drive the service first, before putting down hard cash.
Thanks for sticking till the end, if you have any opinions or ideas to share with us, the comments section below is all yours.