When it comes to cloud storage and online backup, free is one of my favorite words. When I first started backing stuff up online, it would never have occurred to me to pay for storage. Things have changed and there are a couple of services I pay for (like Dropbox (2 GB for 0 $/year) for cloud storage and SugarSync (5 GB for 0 $/year) for online backup), just for the security of knowing they will stick around. Issues to think about with free storage include limitations on transfer bandwidth, document revision storage and support – and you may also have to deal with intrusive ads. Having said that, no-one likes to spend more money than they need to, so I got to wondering how much cloud storage you could get if you took advantage of all the free storage around.
Let me say upfront that there are new providers all the time, so I know it would be impossible for me to identify every single cloud storage service available. If I miss any of your favorites, just let me know. I also haven’t bothered with any of the providers offering less than 5GB of free storage.
There has to be a cut-off point somewhere – and that is mine. And I’ve also tried to avoid listing one-off mega storage deals or storage available to those with multiple accounts. Instead, I’ve listed the usual amount of storage space available on a single free account with each provider. Despite those restrictions, I still ended up with a huge amount of free storage – scroll to the end if you can’t wait to find out how much.
The 50GB Cloud Storage Powerhouses
Let’s start with the providers who offer massive amounts of free storage. At last count, three cloud storage providers offer 50GB of storage each on a free account, which means 150GB of space if you use them all.
Mega (200 GB for 49.99 $/year) made headlines when it launched with its offer of 50GB of online storage, though you will have to upgrade if you need storage in the terabytes and high upload bandwidth. But it wasn’t the first to offer that amount of space. A few years ago, I tried out Adrive (50 GB for 0 $/year), whose personal basic account has the same amount. At the time, I found the need to use its cumbersome web interface very restrictive, but that’s now improved. Adrive has ad-supported mobile apps and provides inline document editing via Zoho, making it very useful indeed. The third of the 50GB powerhouses is Mediafire, which offers 50GB if you use its Android app.
Google and More
Many of us have Google accounts. In fact, it’s getting harder to operate online without one. Google recently unified its storage to offer users 15GB across Gmail, Google+ Photos and Google Drive (100 GB for 23.88 $/year) accounts linked to the same address. If you’re using Picasa for photos and work regularly with Google Docs, this is useful. (And if you have both a business and a personal Gmail account, then you will end up with double the amount of storage.)
10GB Cloud Storage and Less
Two more providers offer 10GB of online storage. They are Symform and Bitcasa (5 GB for 0 $/year). Cyphertite offers a respectable 8GB of storage, though that comes with minimal support. MiMedia offers 7GB of storage, as does Microsoft SkyDrive (5 GB for 0 $/year) (though some older users of this services managed to score 25GB).
At the bottom of this list are providers offering 5GB of online storage with a free account. While Box () occasionally offers 50GB as a signup bonus, the stated amount of free storage is 5GB. Other providers offering this amount include Comodo Backup, AVG LiveKive, iDrive (5 GB for 0 $/year), Flipdrive (), OpenDrive (5 GB for 0 $/year) and SugarSync (5 GB for 0 $/year).
What’s the Total?
How much does that add up to? If my maths is right, using the free storage available on all the providers in this list should score you a whopping 277GB of free storage – more than enough to store photos, files and a lot of music. If you’re a videophile, you may have to pay for more, depending on the size of your collection. And don’t forget that with all the providers offering 2GB for free you could bump up your overall storage total to nearly 300GB, which is nothing to sniff at! If you do manage to get all that storage, the next issue you face is how to manage it effectively. I hope to look at that in a future article.
How much free cloud storage have you managed to get?