Are you looking for file backup in the cloud? Congratulations! That is the first important step. We know that backup can be complicated, especially when you’re just about to start. The first pressing question many people have is how to know how much space you need to backup your files in the cloud.

Fortunately, this is very easy to determine and you do not need any fancy tools or expensive software to do so. Before you start investigating on the amount of data you have to backup, it is wise to think about what kind of data you use the most and how important those files are to you.

Are you working a lot with documents or presentations? Or are you a photographer or video producer? We have a great article that gets you started on how to evaluate what kind of data you want to backup. After knowing the kind of files you need to backup, you have to know how much those files will eventually amount to.

Storage has become quite cheap, nevertheless, you want to choose the best online backup provider for your needs. Before diving into investigating how much storage you actually need, let’s have a look at the different types of online backup providers. There are two categories online backup providers with limited storage (100GB for example) and online backup services with infinite storage, also called unlimited online backup.

While the last one sounds very intriguing, it is not always the best solution for your needs. The good news is that you can get unlimited online backup for as low as five dollars per month. The bad news: you may need some features that are not available: unlimited online backup is not always the right choice for your needs

Before you decide which option you are going to go for, it is now time to determine your storage needs.

Checking on Windows

Many people store their files in the Microsoft Windows My Documents Folder. This will make it easy for you to add the file sizes and come up with the final storage capacity you need in the cloud. It really doesn’t matter where your files are stored, you just have to know the mechanics to find out how much storage those folders occupy on your hard drive.

Windows 7 Determining File and Folder Size

When you find the folder that you want to analyze, just right-click on that folder and select “Properties.” In the new window that appeared, you can now see the amount of megabyte or gigabyte that this folder takes up on your hard drive.

You can write this number down in an Excel chart for later use. Depending on the size of the folder, it may take a while until Windows has gathered all the storage information, so be a little patient. If you want to backup your whole hard drive, you can obviously do the whole procedure with Drives as well. Just right-click on your C:/ Drive and you’ll get all the information you need.

Checking on MacOS

Getting storage information for Mac is as easy as with a Windows operating system. It does not matter where your files are stored, just right-click and select “Information.” The information window will show you all the important information on a folder or file.

Again, we recommend that you add the information you gathered into an Excel chart to later sum up all the folders that you want to backup.

Get More Than Enough Space

After measuring how much storage you need with the methods described above, you should now have a good idea of your storage needs. Go into your Excel spreadsheet and sum the fields you entered. If your result is 103.56GB, then, you should get at least double that amount in cloud storage. 

That way, you ensure that you never run out of space even if your storage demands increase, e.g. more photos, more video or music files that need a backup. Don’t get “just enough” storage to fit your files, because we can guarantee you, you will need more soon enough. Make sure to multiply your final storage by two to know how much cloud storage you need


Knowing how much storage you need is the first step to a successful backup strategy. Now, it comes to comparing features and extras of individual providers. With our comparison chart, this is quite easy, as we have researched all the important features that you may need.

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If you don’t know what’s right for you, we recommend either SOS Online Backup or Backblaze for unlimited backup in the cloud. 

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