- What Makes Unlimited Cloud Storage the Best?
- 1. Best Unlimited Cloud Storage: Dropbox Business
- Other Reasons Why We Like Dropbox Business
Nobody likes restrictions, “unlimited” just sounds better, doesn’t it? That goes for storage space, too: better to have an unlimited than a fixed amount. Hard drives are getting bigger, but so is demand for space as everything, from photos to games, needs more gigabytes. This is where our picks for the best unlimited cloud storage come in.
Any of the below best cloud storage providers place no cap on the raw amount of data you can store with them; some, however, do charge by the gig, while others let you pay a flat monthly fee. No matter the cost, though, you’ll never have to worry about running out of space (you can use our chart to compare online storage services).
If it’s backup rather than storage you’re after (the difference explained), check out our piece on the best unlimited online backup.
Best Unlimited Cloud Storage Solutions 2020
What Makes Unlimited Cloud Storage the Best?
When we say “unlimited” we mean it in the fullest sense of the word. The main difference is that some of the providers below are regular storage, while others are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). These offer unlimited storage but they charge per gigabyte per month. Also, they don’t offer an easy way to get your files into the cloud. We’ll talk about software to help with that.
Of course, if they all offer unlimited space and we take only that into consideration there’d be no way to rate them. Price is an important factor; nobody would like to pay an unlimited amount of money, even if it’s for unlimited storage. Not all offer trial periods, but those that do, get the nod from us.
With unlimited storage, there will be a lot of uploading, so good transfer speeds are a must. You don’t want more gray hair when uploading finishes than when it started. The better infrastructure the service has, the better your chances of uploading quickly without fail. Also, a great feature to have is block-level transfer, which makes uploading faster by transferring only the parts of the file that are changed.
When uploading a lot of files for storage you don’t want it to be a complicated chore. User experience needs to be pretty straightforward. We’ll take a look at how desktop and web clients work and on which operating systems.
There’d be no point to use cloud storage services if they don’t keep your files secure. Some do it better than others. That’s most obvious when it comes to which encryption they use and whether they use it at rest as well as in transit. Also important is whether they use zero-knowledge encryption and two-factor authentication.
With all of this in mind, read on to find out which cloud storage service is our top pick for unlimited storage space.
1. Best Unlimited Cloud Storage: Dropbox Business
Dropbox was created in 2007 and today it’s one the most recognizable names in technology. After a breach back in 2012, security has been upgraded, especially for the Business version of Dropbox. It has also set many trends in both syncing and file sharing, which are still being perfected today.
There are two plans that offer unlimited storage: Advanced and Enterprise. Advanced costs $20 per month per user, but there’s a discount if you pay per year. For Enterprise you’ll need to contact Dropbox for the price. The two plans offer a variety of features, including smart sync, but only with Enterprise do you control the entire user domain.
Initial upload speed is not faster than other similar services, but when uploading changed files speed is much greater thanks to block-level transfer. Despite this advantage, only some competitors offer it. Another useful feature is Smart Sync, the option to unsync files and still see them in your sync folder.
Dropbox was the first service to implement the sync-folder model, and its take on it is among the best. Today, it is the key to the whole user experience. Besides that, you can also use the web app to access your files; the navigation and layout are intuitive and menus are well organized (read our Dropbox file size limit guide).
Other Reasons Why We Like Dropbox Business
Dropbox offers 256-bit AES encryption at rest, 128-bit in-transit encryption, two-factor authentication and even a remote wipe if someone steals your device.
With Dropbox Business (read our in-depth Dropbox Business review) you can choose servers in Europe to host your data, which allows you to stay ahead of the NSA. Note that Dropbox Business is not a zero-knowledge service, but you can integrate with Boxcryptor and reinforce your privacy (read our Boxcryptor review).
- Fast block-level sync
- Good security options
- User-friendly experience
- Limited reporting features
- No 24/7 live support
Box is aimed at business clients, so it’s not surprising to see many big-league companies using it: it claims to have 59 percent of Fortune 500, as well as 59,000 smaller businesses, as customers. It’s also one of the best EFSS platforms available today.
There are several business plans that offer unlimited storage: Business, Business Plus and Enterprise. You get a free, two-week trial period for both Business plans. In order to know more about the Enterprise plan, you’ll need to request a quote from Box.
Both Business plans have a maximum file upload limit of 5GB. There’s also a minimum of three users, but there’s no maximum. Business charges $15 per month per user, while Business Plus charges $25. Both have single sign-on (SSO) and data loss prevention (DLP). Plus offers additional features like unlimited external collaborators and access to Box KeySafe.
To upload files with Box, you use a sync folder, any file or folder that you place in it is synced to the cloud. To actually store your folders only in the cloud and save space on your hard drive, you use a feature called selective sync. Selective sync allows you to “unsync” certain folders, after that, they will not be available offline.
Sync speed compares well with other services when uploading for the first time, but not when you have to sync already uploaded files. That’s because Box doesn’t have block-level file transfers.
When you install the desktop client, it creates a sync folder on your hard drive. Any data that you keep in it will be synced to the cloud. While the sync folder is key to your work, you can also use the web client to access your files.
The experience of the web client is pretty straightforward. The layout is intuitive and its color scheme is easy to look at. You can even customize the URL of your workspace and add your own logo. The mobile app is also user-friendly.
Other Reasons Why We Like Box
Since Box targets businesses it’s no surprise it offers good security. Since you’ll be uploading a lot, it’s in-transit encryption will protect your files against man-in-the-middle attacks. AES 256-bit encryption will protect your data on the server. Box also wraps your key with the same level of AES encryption.
There’s a lot we like about Box. It’s very close to Dropbox Business, but it lacks block-level transfer and there’s no option to view online-only files. Read our Box review for more details.
- Strong security
- Unlimited storage plan
- 24/7 support
- No block-level sync
- No annual discount
OpenDrive offers some interesting features, pricing plans and the option to use a shared user account, which is practically unheard of. While that’s great on paper, OpenDrive doesn’t do as well when it comes to execution.
It’s interesting to see a personal plan with unlimited cloud storage, which is what the suitably named Personal plan is. You can even share it among four account users, while the owner manages who has access. The cost is $9.95 a month or $99 a year.
Business plan offers branding and account management in addition to what the Personal plan provides. In addition to previous features, the Reseller plan gives you the ability to customize OpenDrive as your own service and sell it. Business costs $29.95 and Reseller $59.95, with the price increasing for every additional user.
Since sync is not complicated by itself, services differ in how well they can implement it. Compared to others, OpenDrive’s upload speed leaves a lot to be desired; it’s several times slower than, say, Dropbox.
OpenDrive’s web app isn’t as intuitive as other services and it also feels somewhat dated. However, not all of the experience is on the web, and OpenDrive uses the standard sync-folder model, which is easy to use. The mobile app is not so great, as it tends to crash more than a test car.
Other Reasons Why We Like OpenDrive
OpenDrives gives you the option to choose between managed and private encryption. With managed, OpenDrive controls your encryption key, and with private you have control over it. File transfers use TLS/SSL protocol protected by 128-bit AES, on the server side they are encrypted with AES-256.
Unfortunately, there’s no two-factor authentication. OpenDrive offers some interesting options, but slow upload speeds and outdated user experience places it in third place. Read more about it in our OpenDrive review.
- Good pricing
- Backup option
- Private encryption
- Slow sync speeds
- Occasional sync failures
4. Rackspace Cloud Files
As mentioned, Rackspace Cloud Files is a cloud infrastructure service, one of the best actually. An interesting perk of such services is that they can store unlimited files. However, you need to integrate them with other software in order to be able to get your files easily in the cloud. With that, IaaS can be considered unlimited cloud storage.
There aren’t many platforms designed to work with Cloud Files or IaaS in general. However, there’s a very good one — Storage Made Easy (SME; read our Storage Made Easy review). It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux. The mobile app is available for Android, iOS and Blackberry.
Once you create an SME account, connecting it with Rackspace is simple with the GUI. After that, you will use Rackspace cloud manager to upload your files. It has a good, clean layout and you can use drag-and-drop to upload your files. Rackspace has more than 200 data centers around the world, so you’ll be able to upload your files quickly.
Until you reach 1TB, the price per gigabyte is $0.10. After that, the more you store, the less you have to pay. For the next 49TB it’s $0.09, and so on. Bandwidth usage starts at $0.12 for the first terabyte and then drops to $0.10 for the next 40TB, etc.
Other Reasons Why We Like Rackspace Cloud Files
In order to even reach Cloud Files, users need an API key. That key is available only to authorized users so that makes for another layer of security. Then, SSL protocol protects your data while in-transit. However, Cloud Files doesn’t store data in an encrypted form so it is vulnerable if a breach does happen.
Rackspace offers a lot to users who want to build their own cloud, but for customers who just want unlimited storage space, a proper cloud storage platform is the way to go. If you still want to use Cloud Files as cloud storage, read our guide on how to get started with Rackspace Cloud Files.
- Price goes down the more you upload
- Scalable storage
- Not actual cloud storage
5. Backblaze B2
Our last pick is also an IaaS provider, but it’s different than the regular Backblaze, which provides unlimited backup. It’s also the cheapest one.
Backblaze’s storage costs just $0.005 cents per gigabyte per month. That’s after you go through the first 10GB, which is free. Backblaze B2 charges $0.004 per 10,000 downloads and $0.005 per gigabyte, which is still dirt cheap. The first 1GB of downloaded data every day is free.
When it comes to transfer speed, Backblaze B2 performs great, especially if compared to other cloud services. However, users outside the U.S. should note that they store everything in one data center in Sacramento, California. That, of course, means slower transfer speeds for those who aren’t close to it. Again, it comes down to using additional software, like SME to achieve convenient user experience.
Other Reasons Why We Like Backblaze B2
Not much, really. Like with Cloud Files, Backblaze B2 doesn’t encrypt your data. It also doesn’t offer the same kind of infrastructure like Cloud Files so your transfer speed isn’t guaranteed. It is very cheap though, and that will be the deciding factor for some users.
- Scalable storage
- Not actual cloud storage
- No distributed infrastructure
Well, that’s it, you’ve reached the end of the list. With these services, you don’t have to worry about the limit or failure of your hard drive(s). We would like to offer only proper cloud storage, but we’re forced to fill the rear ranks with cloud infrastructure services.
Dropbox Business takes the lead with its blazing speed, great security and user experience, but if you care only about the price and nothing else, look to OpenDrive. If cloud infrastructure is your deal, you have the two runner-ups.
Did we miss something? Do you have any questions or thoughts? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.