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Fastest Cloud Storage Services 2022: The Best Cloud Storage Providers For Speed Freaks

If you’re backing up a lot of data — for example large media files — then upload speed is crucial when picking a cloud storage service. Similarly, being able to download your files quickly can save a lot of time. Keep reading to find out the fastest cloud storage services and the slowest.

Aleksander Hougen
By Aleksander Hougen (Managing Editor)
— Last Updated: 2022-01-20T18:38:52+00:00 Facts checked by Eugenie Tiu

Out of the criteria used to judge cloud services, speed is one of the most nebulous. Without extensive testing, it’s difficult to tell whether one service is faster than another. That’s why we’ve tested 17 cloud services to determine which you should go with if you’re looking for the fastest cloud storage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most major cloud storage providers are fast, with Icedrive, Google Drive and pCloud taking the top three spots in overall performance.
  • There is a roughly 15% difference in the performance between the fastest service (Icedrive) and the 10th fastest (OneDrive).
  • Box, SugarSync, Sync.com, Filen.io and iCloud have disappointing, but not catastrophic, results.
  • Internxt and Woelkli were the slowest services we tested, with the latter performing particularly badly on upload speeds.

Although most of the services we tested qualify as personal cloud storage, business solutions like Tresorit, Egnyte and Box also made the list. For these services, download speeds are much more important than usual, as businesses are more likely to need to recover data as quickly as possible in case disaster strikes.

If you’re looking for more than just speed, make sure to check out our list of the best cloud storage providers for a more complete view of each service’s capabilities. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the data and see which is the fastest cloud storage service.

  • Although it doesn’t come out great in this comparison, our favorite cloud storage provider is Sync.com, closely followed by pCloud and Icedrive.

  • Icedrive is the overall fastest online storage solution, but services like pCloud and Google Drive aren’t far behind.

  • Except for Egnyte, the top 10 fastest cloud storage providers offer a free plan, but they vary in how generous they are. This includes Icedrive, pCloud and Google Drive.

What Are the Fastest Cloud Storage Services?

Out of the 17 services we tested, 10 can be reasonably described as fast. These services each managed a combined upload and download speed of less than 16 and a half minutes, which is roughly within three minutes of the best possible result.

  1. Icedrive — The fastest cloud storage, as well as excellent prices and security
  2. Google Drive — Easy-to-use cloud storage with lightning-fast uploads
  3. pCloud — Versatile service with the fastest download speeds and online backup features
  4. Dropbox — Fast cloud storage that suffers from high CPU load during uploads
  5. Koofr — Fast speeds but not much else going for it
  6. Tresorit — Business cloud storage with a focus on security
  7. Amazon Drive — Fast cloud storage that’s limited to video and audio files
  8. MEGA — Fast and secure cloud storage with the most generous free storage plan on the market
  9. Egnyte — Feature-rich business cloud storage with great speeds
  10. OneDrive — Fast cloud storage that struggles with large files

Average Minutes of Upload Time, 5GB Folder

The median upload time based on our test results was 9 minutes and 12 seconds. Of the 10 services listed above, only Amazon Drive was slower, but just by eight seconds. 

The mean upload time was increased significantly by some of the slower services we tested, resulting in an average of 32 minutes and 35 seconds, way longer than any of the fastest services.

Average Minutes of Download Time, 5GB Folder

Our results for downloads were a lot more consistent. Nevertheless, eight of the 10 fastest services managed better results than the median download time, which was eight minutes. Egnyte and Koofr were slightly slower.

Since there were no extreme outliers for downloads, the mean download result was a lot lower than it was for uploads, coming in at 9 minutes and 2 seconds, which is a bar all the top 10 manage to clear.

Comparing the Data: Fastest Cloud Storage Services

Now that we’ve briefly covered the top 10 performers, let’s look at the data as a whole to see how they compare to a wider segment of the cloud storage market.

Upload

Of the two speed criteria, there is much more variance among uploads than downloads, so we’ll start there.

Service:First attemptSecond attemptAverage
1. Icedrive0:06:500:07:410:07:15
2. Google Drive0:07:230:07:200:07:21
3. Koofr0:07:550:07:300:07:42
4. Dropbox0:08:100:07:510:08:00
5. pCloud0:08:550:07:300:08:12
6. Tresorit*0:08:400:08:000:08:20
7. Egnyte0:08:220:08:200:08:21
8. MEGA*0:08:380:08:500:08:44
9. OneDrive0:09:250:09:000:09:12
10. Amazon Drive0:09:500:08:500:09:20
11. Box0:10:150:15:450:13:00
12. SugarSync0:11:400:15:350:13:37
13. Sync.com*0:09:480:18:300:14:09
14. iCloud0:13:450:17:000:15:22
15. Filen.io0:19:300:22:200:20:55
16. Internxt*1:27:461:21:491:24:47
17. Woelkli4:37:305:41:405:09:35

* = Zero-knowledge encryption enabled

As you can tell, there’s a clear cutoff point between Amazon Drive at 9 minutes and 20 seconds and the next entry, Box, which averaged 13 minutes. After our top 10, we see mediocre results from Box, SugarSync, Sync.com, iCloud and Filen.io. Finally, Internxt and Woelkli are orders of magnitude slower than the other services.

We expect services with zero-knowledge encryption enabled to take slightly longer to upload files. Ideally this shouldn’t add more than a couple of minutes to the overall upload time. Out of the services tested here, Sync.com, MEGA, Tresorit and Internxt had zero-knowledge encryption enabled.

Download

Download speeds are much more consistent, with even the extreme outliers in the upload test getting results much closer to the top 10.

Service:First attemptSecond attemptAverage
1. pCloud0:06:410:06:430:06:42
2. Amazon Drive0:07:000:07:100:07:05
3. Icedrive0:07:060:07:070:07:06
4. Google Drive0:07:150:07:190:07:17
5. OneDrive0:07:200:07:180:07:19
6. Tresorit0:08:020:07:200:07:41
7. Dropbox0:07:450:07:400:07:42
8. MEGA0:08:100:07:140:07:42
9. Woelkli0:07:400:08:200:08:00
10. Egnyte0:09:100:07:100:08:10
11. Koofr0:09:200:07:150:08:18
12. Box0:08:100:08:400:08:25
13. Filen.io0:10:050:09:300:09:47
14. SugarSync0:06:560:13:000:09:58
15. Internxt0:10:020:11:540:10:58
16. Sync.com0:15:110:15:030:15:07
17. iCloud0:22:000:10:300:16:15

Unlike in the upload results, there are no extreme outliers for download speed. Only pCloud manages to get under seven minutes, with most of the services sitting somewhere between seven and nine minutes on average. Filen.io, SugarSync and Internxt returned mediocre results, running between nine and 11 minutes.

Bringing up the rear this time is Sync.com and iCloud, which were particularly disappointing. For Sync.com, that’s because it’s an otherwise phenomenal cloud storage service (read our Sync.com review). In iCloud’s case, a company the size of Apple should provide better performance.

Online Storage Service Speed Testing Process

Now that we’ve looked at the overall data, it’s worth explaining how we came to these results. To get the most accurate results possible, we used a remote Windows computer with a connection speed of around 1 Gbps. We throttled this down to 100 Mbps, which ensured stability for each test.

For our data, we used a 5GB folder filled with files of various types, including texts, documents, images, 4K video and audio. We uploaded and downloaded this folder to each service twice, averaging the results.

Finally, our testing setup is hosted in Dublin, Ireland. This means services with European data centers have a slight advantage over those with more geographically remote servers.

The 3 Fastest Cloud Storage Options: Upload

Of the services we tested, three managed to upload the files in less than eight minutes, well under the median and mean results.

1. Icedrive

Mac cloud storage Icedrive CTA
Icedrive manages excellent upload and download speeds.

Icedrive managed the fastest upload speeds out of any service we tested, though Google Drive came close, as we’ll see in a second. Coming in at just 7 minutes and 15 seconds, Icedrive’s upload speeds are lightning fast, but the service consumes many times more RAM than others in the process. Check out our Icedrive review for all the details.

First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
0:06:500:07:410:07:15

2. Google Drive

gdrive cta
Google Drive sports great speeds in both directions, probably owing to its vast network of data centers across the globe.

Considering Google’s size and countless data centers, it’s not surprising to see its service performing well in raw speed. Although it’s slower than Icedrive, it’s not by much, with a final result of 7 minutes and 21 seconds.

Google Drive’s RAM consumption is more reasonable than Icedrive’s, but its disk usage is high during indexing. For more information on the service, read our full Google Drive review.

First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
0:07:230:07:200:07:21

3. Koofr

Koofr-homepage-2018
Although Koofr is fast, it has plenty of weaknesses.

Koofr is the last of our top three uploaders, clocking in at just 7 minutes and 42 seconds, slightly more than a minute slower than the best possible result. Unfortunately, Koofr can’t quite reach the fastest speeds for its uploads. However, if your priority is rapid disaster recovery, it’s worth considering, so long as you don’t mind the exorbitant prices (read more in our Koofr review).

First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
0:07:550:07:300:07:42

The 3 Fastest Cloud Storage Services: Download

Things are much closer when it comes to download speeds. There’s only 24 seconds of difference between our top three fastest services.

1. pCloud

Best offline storage pCloud CTA
pCloud is one of our favorite cloud services, only slightly behind Sync.com

pCloud outclassed every other service in download speed. It’s the only one that downloaded our folder in less than seven minutes, getting close to the limit at 6 minutes and 42 seconds. It did so while drawing little system resources, averaging around 10% to 15% CPU load. Read our pCloud review for more information about the cloud service.

First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
0:06:410:06:430:06:42

2. Amazon Drive

amazon cta
Amazon Drive is a great solution if your storage needs are limited to media files, and you value fast downloads.

Although its upload speeds are mediocre, Amazon’s video and image storage manages impressive download speeds, finishing the transfer just 25 seconds over the limit at 7 minutes and 5 seconds. 

It also didn’t use much system resources to achieve this, which is great. If your cloud storage needs are limited to video and images, check out our Amazon Drive review for more information.

First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
0:07:000:07:100:07:05

3. Icedrive

icedrive cta 2
Icedrive is the only service that made it into the top three for both uploads and downloads.

On top of having the fastest upload speed, Icedrive manages third place for downloads. It’s just a second slower than Amazon Drive, meaning the two are essentially tied.

First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
0:07:060:07:070:07:06

Slowest Cloud Storage Services

Before we wrap things up, we’d be remiss to not talk about the services that performed poorly, whether that’s the mediocre results of Box, SugarSync and Sync.com — or the terrible ones of iCloud, Woelkli and Internxt.

Average Minutes of Upload Time, 5GB

Although Woelkli and Internxt make the rest of these services look good, they’re mediocre at best.

Average Minutes of Download Time, 5GB

iCloud: The Slowest Download

best cloud storage icloud cta
Although its upload speeds weren’t nearly as bad as Woelkli or Internxt, iCloud has the slowest download speeds of any service we tested.

Out of our three dishonorable mentions, iCloud is by far the best performer. That doesn’t mean its results are good, just that they’re not quite as slow as Internxt and Woelkli. Still, iCloud’s speeds are disappointing for a company the size of Apple and fall well short of other tech giants like Google or Microsoft.

First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
Upload0:13:450:17:000:15:22
Download0:22:000:10:300:16:15

While iCloud’s upload speeds aren’t that bad, especially compared to the next two services, it was the worst performer in terms of download speeds. Check out our iCloud review to see if the service can make up for its poor results and our list of iCloud alternatives if you’re looking for a way out of Apple’s ecosystem.

Woelkli: The Slowest Upload

woelkli cta
Woelkli has many flaws, and its shockingly bad upload speeds are but one of them.

Finally, there’s Woelkli. Its download speeds weren’t that bad — in fact, it ranked ninth on that score. However, its upload speeds are so much worse than any other provider that there’s no question it’s the slowest service we tested.

First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
Upload4:37:305:41:405:09:35
Download0:07:400:08:200:08:00

It took more than five hours to upload our test folder, which is more than 50 times slower than what we’d expect. It’s hard to tell whether it’s the third-party NextCloud client (check out our Woelkli review for more on that) or Woelkli that’s at fault. Either way, we observed the service stopping the upload for long periods between files, which was the main contributor to its terrible results.

Internxt: Slow for Both Upload and Download

internxt unlimited storage cloud
Although it’s an interesting new concept, Internxt fails to impress with its terrible upload speeds and overall lack of functionality.

While Internxt’s download speed is mediocre, its upload speed was well over an hour slower than the next fastest service. This is partly to be expected, as Internxt works by breaking files into multiple pieces before encrypting them and sending them to a decentralized network of servers.

First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
Upload1:27:461:21:491:24:47
Download0:10:020:11:540:10:58

This approach slows down the upload process, and it will remain an Achilles’ heel for the service if it can’t figure out how to optimize the network or the encryption process. Unfortunately, Internxt doesn’t do much to make up for its terrible speeds, as you can see in our Internxt review.

Final Thoughts

That brings us to the end of our cloud storage speed comparison. Although it’s usually not the most important factor when considering a cloud storage or cloud backup service, fast upload and download speeds can be crucial depending on your storage needs.

While we stuck to cloud storage in this ranking, you can head to our list of the fastest online backup services to see how the two categories compare.

What did you think of our results? Did any surprise you? Is there a service we didn’t test that you think we should have? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you for reading.