5 Best Online Storage for Photos

obrBy Joseph Gildred — Last Updated: 11 Feb'18 2017-02-10T02:16:08+00:00

A photo is worth a thousand words, but what if you have a thousand photos and no space to store them all? For the shutterbug running short on hard-drive space, burning through stacks of CDs has long since been a thing of the past.

Today, there’s no better solution than storing photos in the cloud; now all you need is to find the best cloud storage for photos.

Below you’ll find our top five, culled from our best cloud storage picks. pCloud ultimately lands the top slot thanks to its combination of security, value and photo-sharing features. However, for some the choice may not be exactly black and white, as each of our picks is designed to appeal to slightly different needs.  

Before getting to our picks, though, some readers might benefit from better understanding the criteria we used to determine them. We promise to make it snappy.

5 Best Online Storage for Photos 2018

Rank Company
Score
Price Link
1 Winner

pCloud
$ 4.99 per month 500 GBStorage All Plans
Visit pCloudpCloud Review
2
Sync.com
$ 4.08 per month 500 GBStorage All Plans
Visit Sync.comSync.com Review
3
Google Drive
$ 1.99 per month 100 GBStorage All Plans
Visit Google DriveGoogle Drive Review
4
Egnyte
$ 8.00 per month GBStorage All Plans
Visit EgnyteEgnyte Review
5
Amazon Cloud Drive
$ 1.09 per month 100 GBStorage All Plans
Visit Amazon Cloud DriveAmazon Cloud Drive Review

What Makes Cloud Storage the Best for Photos

As cameras get better, photos get bigger in size. That means you’re going to need plenty of storage space to keep all of them in, and, as such, the first element we considered in putting together our list was total storage and its cost.

After that, the needs of users become more diverse. For those that want to be able to view their photos without having to download them, some form of image viewer is handy. A handful of cloud storage solutions not only let you view photos, but edit them, too, so we took those capabilities into consideration as well.

Since many of us enjoy using our smartphones for conducting impromptu photoshoots, a mobile app with automatic photo upload to the cloud is useful for saving time. Automatic upload also makes sure you don’t overlook photos that will be lost when you inevitably drop your phone in the toilet.

File versioning is another key feature for safeguarding your precious moments, as it lets you rollback files that have been corrupted to clean versions. That way, you don’t have to try your luck with photo recovery software.  

As social media continues to grow in popularity, photo-sharing features that let you post social media platforms are also useful.  

Of course, some people — for example, Hollywood celebrities — are probably more concerned with privacy. Given that, we also gave some weight to security, with a preference for zero-knowledge encryption.

Not one of our picks hits on every single point. So, while we were pretty confident that our top choice would be the best photo storage solution for most users, you’ll want to have a look at the other options if you have needs that pCloud doesn’t meet. Now, let’s get to it.

Best Cloud Storage for Photos: pCloud

When it comes to keeping photos in the cloud, pCloud just clicks. The quality that will likely stand out for most photographers, amateur and professional, is the value.

For just $8 per month with an annual commitment, you can get 2TB of cloud storage. That’s twice as much as you get with Google for a dollar less. You can also go month-to-month for $10 if you’re not thrilled with the idea of commitment.

PlanFreePremiumPremium Plus
Price Plan
Freemonthly
$ 4 99monthly
$ 47 88yearly
$ 125 009999999 months
$ 9 99monthly
$ 95 88yearly
$ 250 009999999 months
Storage 10 GB 500 GB 2000 GB
Details

pCloud is also one our picks for best free cloud storage for those without many photos to preserve. You can get 10GB for free and earn another 10GB through referrals and other steps.

You can make full use of that space to collect your selfies and other smartphones shots with apps for Android and iOS, and an option for automatic photo upload. There are no bandwidth limits on remote upload traffic to slow you down. However, an option to only upload over WiFi would be useful in order to preserve mobile data limits.

pCloud is also able to interface with other cloud services to back them up, including pulling photos from both Facebook and Instagram.

For sharing photos, pCloud lets you create URL links to each image, which can be emailed to others or posted to Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. To keep your photo links secure, you can also add password and expiry dates to them.

Besides sharing individual photos, with pCloud you can also prepare and share slideshows.

While pCloud doesn’t have any nifty photo editing options, you can at least resized images, with options for creating a desktop wallpaper, banner ads and the like.  

As far as security, pCloud offers an add-on called pCloud Crypto that creates a zero-knowledge folder. Photos stored in this folder can’t be decrypted by anybody but you, although they also can’t be shared. Then again, some private pics are best kept private, anyway.

Another add-on called extended file version history increases pCloud versioning and deleted file recovery from the normal 30 days to 365. In addition to rolling back corruptions of image files, this a great way to keep your family photos being held hostage in a ransomware attack.

Other Reasons We Like pCloud

Along with photos, pCloud is great for storing both video and music files, with playback options for both. That makes it an all-around great option for media lovers.

Recently, pCloud started offering lifetime plans where you can secure your 2TB of storage for $250. That works out to about 2.5 years of pCloud payments on an annual plan. Whether that’s a great deal or not, we’ll leave up to you to decide, although our full pCloud review can help you make that determination.


Sync.com

Like pCloud, Sync.com has a 2TB plan that will cost you about $8 per month. However, unlike pCloud, zero-knowledge encryption won’t cost you extra: its included in the price and is always on.

Photo enthusiasts who insist on strong security for all files what will likely prefer Sync.com over pCloud because of that. Sync.com even extends zero-knowledge encryption to photos that are shared, which pCloud isn’t capable of.

Sync.com Dropbox Alternative

On the other hand, the fact that files stored in the Sync.com cloud are always under the protection of zero-knowledge encryption means that there are certain things Sync.com can’t do, including letting you preview photos through your browser.

In addition to zero-knowledge file sharing, Sync.com takes several other steps that make it perhaps the best cloud storage for file sharing overall. These include password protection and expiry dates for link sharing, plus the ability to set download limits. Such protections help ensure your photos stay private.

Sync.com also secures you against file corruptions with the best versioning system we’ve seen. While versioning defaults to 30 days, you can increase that as much as much as you want and, unlike pCloud, it won’t cost you extra to do so.  

Other Reasons We Like Sync.com

Sync.com has a 5GB free storage plan, which in itself doesn’t impress. However, you can earn 1GB of addition free storage for each friend you refer, with no cap on how many referrals you can make. That makes it one of most generous referral programs we’ve seen.

Share a file with Sync.com

If you’re having trouble picking between Sync.com and pCloud, a look at our comparison piece on the two services will help you make a decision, along with reading our complete Sync.com review.


Google Photos / Google Drive

Many users never look beyond Google Photos for storing photos, and with good reason: it’s really convenient. Google Photos is technically a separate service from Google Drive, but both services, and Gmail, share space in the cloud.

From within the Google Photos GUI, you can preview and edit photos. Google Assistant will even automatically stylize photos for you, which you can then share to Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. You can also create shared albums.

Google Photos is especially convenient for Android users thanks to the fact that the mobile app can automatically uploads photos taken with your smartphone camera. Many cloud storage services do the same, however.

The real value of Google Photos is in its search capabilities, which shouldn’t be a surprise given that Google is, afterall, the King of Search. Using machine learning algorithms, Google Photos will categorize objects in photos and use location data to sort them.

All of that saves you from having to sort photos yourself. Google Photos can even recognize specific people in your photos using facial recognition, prompting you to share your photos with them.

On the other hand, for privacy conscious, Google’s ability to filter content might go too far. The fact that Google can analyze your photos raises privacy concerns, and privacy has never been Google’s strong suit. The company is strongly connected to PRISM and, according its own terms and conditions, reserves the right to use data it collects for targeted marketing.

You can read more about the potential for privacy issues in our Google Drive review.

When making a choice to store photos with Google, you’re making a choice of convenience over privacy. In this sense, the service is the antithesis of Sync.com. For a convenient middle ground, we suggest sticking just with pCloud.

Other Reasons We Like Google Photos

Create a Google account, and you’re automatically given 15GB of free storage. Beyond that, Google Drive has multiple storage tiers available. While you won’t find near the value here you will with our top two picks when it comes to higher-tiered storage plans, the Google Drive 100GB plan for $2 a month is perfect for those who only need limited cloud space for their photos.

Google Drive also integrates with a number of handy third-party tools, which include image editors like Pixlr.


Egnyte Connect

Okay, so home users won’t find much value with Egnyte Connect given that the company doesn’t offer personal plans. We’ve included it on this list as a recommendation for SMB owners who require a way to share photos with others. In addition to being the best EFSS solution overall, Egnyte also has some handy features for working with photos.

Ian McEwan
Egnyte

These features include a gallery view to quickly sort through images and previewing them. You can also share photos with others by generating links that can be password protected and given an expiry date or download limit cap.

While Egnyte doesn’t have any native photo analytics features, it now partners with Smartvid.io, which does. Smartvid.io uses the same machine-learning algorithms behind Google Photos’ image search and recognition features, making it great for organizations wrestling with large amounts of unstructured photo data.

Another benefit for photo use is that Egnyte Connect can open, edit and save files directly from Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign. In other words, it has sophisticated photo wizardry written all over it.

Other Reasons We Like Egnyte

When it comes file synchronization, few cloud storage solutions can match speeds with Egnyte. That’s because it uses block-level file copying, which means only the parts of the file that changed are synced, rather than re-copying the entire file.

The approach makes it perfect for collaborative photo editing. Get the full speed report in our comprehensive Egnyte review.


Amazon Prime Photos / Amazon Drive

Amazon Prime Photos provides unlimited photo storage, making it perfect for those constantly snapping shots. Subscribers of Amazon Prime get it for free, too, making it perhaps the best value of any cloud storage service on this list. You’ll also get 5GB of basic Amazon Drive storage (read our Amazon Drive review), which an be used for other file types.

Amazon Cloud Drive

In addition to unlimited photo storage, Amazon provides some handy features for sharing your collection, including a shared folder called “family vault” that lets you build photo archives with others.

Amazon has come a long way recently in establishing Amazon Drive as a genuine cloud storage option. Still, the remaining knock on it is a big one: files aren’t encrypted server-side. However, the service now integrates with Boxcryptor, which you can use to encrypt your files before uploading them.

Doing so gives you the same zero-knowledge protection as pCloud and Sync.com, and a basic Boxcryptor account is free. The disadvantage is that if you encrypt image files, they get saved to Amazon Drive rather than Amazon Photos, meaning those you choose encrypt won’t make use of your unlimited photo storage.

Other Reasons We Like Amazon Photos

Photos stored with Amazon can be turned into cards, wall decor and other personalized products directly through the cloud platform. That makes it great for creating gifts for loved ones.

Amazon Cloud Drive

If you sign up for an Amazon Prime account to get unlimited photo storage, you also gain access to Amazon Prime Videos, which includes a large library of television shows and movies.


Honorable Mentions

There were several services we left out of the top five that might appeal to some people.

With Flickr, for example, you get a dedicated 1TB of photo storage for free. Privacy is a big concern with Flickr, though, to the point where your personal photos will end up showing up in Google search results if you don’t have the appropriate privacy settings on.

Box is another option, and a good alternative to Egnyte for businesses. Like Egnyte, Box can be enhanced with third-party tools for things like image recognition and editing. We went with Egnyte because it offers slightly more value in terms of cost per user and because its syncs files faster than Box. Read our Box review for more details.

Some users will also be happy enough with MEGA, which gives you 50GB of storage for free. The product is otherwise weak, however, and plans get expensive if you need to increase your space, as you can read about in our MEGA review.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to storing photos, no single provider from among our cloud storage reviews is picture perfect. For example, with Sync.com, you get unmatched security, but you won’t be able to preview your or edit your photos online.

Google Photos, meanwhile, is packed with advanced features like machine learning and comes with a library of free third-party apps, including editors. However, privacy is a big concern.

Amazon Prime, another pick on our list, gives you unlimited photo storage, but actually has even more security problems than Google Drive. In both cases, we’d recommend using Boxcryptor to encrypt your most personal photos.

Ultimately, we feel that pCloud presents the best mix of security and features, which is why we focused on it as our top recommendation. That said, we’re always welcome to different opinions. Tell us what we got wrong in the comments below.

5 thoughts on “5 Best Online Storage for Photos”

  1. Please note that OneDrive’s 20,000 file limitation was only on the Business accounts and I believe that it was been removed. I have a personal account with 70,000 files (50K worth of photos).

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