Are you a OneDrive user who can no longer ignore Microsoft’s decision to cut back its free storage allotment from 15GB to 5GB?
Or perhaps, you’re somebody who woke up and decided that reputation and usability no longer outweigh Dropbox’s stingy 2GB offer.
In both cases, your first instinct may be to turn to a third member of the trifecta — Google Drive.
And why not? Google Drive offers a generous 15GB free storage limit.
Well, if free and generous is what you’re looking for in a cloud storage provider, welcome to the right place.
Selected Due to their generous free storage allotments, coupled with an active approach towards user experience and security, here are five free cloud storage companies that have caught our eye.
The Top Five Providers with Large Free Service Plans
The 10GB of storage that www.pcloud.com offers users for free probably doesn’t seem that impressive.
And it isn’t, until you take into account the fact that it can increase to 20GB, by signing up friends, or by completing other steps in their relatively easy-to-game bonus program.
However, what sets pCloud apart from other cloud storage contenders, vying for your affection, is the fact that it’s well designed.
Pcloud also offers a bevy of excellent options to compliment and evolve your data’s lifestyle.
pCloud has apps for:
Windows Phone and Blackberry apps are in development, but no word on when they’ll hit the market.
pCloud also sports a simple, intuitive web interface called My pCloud, where you can access files from any computer without having to install a client.
pCloud facilitates file sharing through multiple options via its web interface and stand-alone applications.
Invite friends, family, and colleagues (or even people you hate) to pCloud folders with Viewing or Editing privileges.
Once shared, you can easily manage permissions (or revoke them) later on.
You can even send upload or download links attached to folders.
Which allows users with the link to retrieve files from the linked folder, or send data to it.
By selecting folders to be synchronized with a local drive, you can enable offline access, so even when the Internet isn’t available, your data is still accessible.
One of my favorite features about pCloud is that you don’t have to move local files into the pCloud folder, to back them up online.
You can backup any folder by right-clicking it and selecting Sync to pCloud.
Another handy option, and a cloud storage “must have” in my opinion, is the ability to enable automatic synchronization on a mobile app for media.
When sync is active, photos and videos you capture get saved automatically to the cloud.
You don’t have to worry about losing them should your phone land in a puddle or toilet bowl (happened to me once), or take an unexpected trip off the Eiffel Tower’s top.
Regarding security, pCloud uses TLS/SSL encryption to keep information safe when it’s transferring from your device to their servers.
All files are maintained in (at least) three different locations for redundancy.
And for those looking for added security measures, there’s also the option to use pCloud Crypto, which encrypts and password protects files.You can check it out with a 14-day free trial.
Like pCloud, www.sync.com is putting the big cloud-storage companies directly in its crosshairs, and it’s doing so with a streamlined experience that nonetheless packs a ton of features.
Including a superior security model.
New users who opt for a free account start off with 5GB of storage and can earn an extra 1GB for every referral.
To help incentivize your friends to sign up, they’ll get an extra 1GB too, if they sign up via your referral code.
All you have to do is generate a referral link, and share it.
Sync even helps you do that part, by sharing links via:
Sync apps are available for:
There’s also a web app, which is so simple a toddler could use it.
In addition to adding a Sync folder to your file management system, Sync’s desktop client can quickly select any folder and copy it to Sync’s Vault.
The Sync Vault functions as a secure computer archive, which is perfect for disaster recovery and protecting yourself from accidental deletions.
Sync’s Vault is also unique, because the files stored in it, do not need to reside on a local hard drive.
So you can free up space on a small laptop, once the SSD runs out of space. Sync also keeps a copy of every single change made to files.
This means unlimited versioning, which can protect you from collaborations gone awry (or in my case, bad judgment).
Sync even lets you preview past versions before restoring them.
But among my favorite aspects are features tied to sharing, which aren’t found in a cloud storage service.
For example, Sync allows you to create two types of shareable links:
A standard link
The latter one forces local decryption via a web browser.
The downside is, that it limits file size, and Safari and some mobile browsers are unable to perform decryption via an enhanced privacy link.
Even better, Sync let’s you attach personal password protection to links.
For those who subscribe to Sync’s premium service, the ability to add expiration dates and download limits to links, and audit link activity, are also included.
Sync also maintains SOC-1 certified data centers, audited by KPMG, one of the most respected enterprise auditing firms in the world.
Proving they’re committed to playing with the big boys, while helping out the little feller.
Launched in 2013, MEGA has quickly grown to become one of the most touted alternative cloud-services on the market today, and it’s mostly due to one very big reason — 50GB of free storage.
Fair warning: There are bandwidth limitations on how much data you can upload and download in a given period.
For the record, on free accounts, it’s 10GB, which gets refreshed every 30 minutes.
Outside of its generous free storage allotment, one of MEGA’s most attractive value propositions is the use of User Controlled Encryption (UCE).
While all mainstream cloud storage services encrypt data, most don’t put the decryption key solely in the user’s hands.
A method that provides end-to-end encryption and eliminates the possibility of malicious data intercepts and storage infiltrations.
Both files and folders are shareable via a link.
In line with their encryption model, when sharing a link, you’ll also need to provide a decryption key.
There are two ways to do this; you can either send both the link and the key separately or generate a link that includes the key built into it.
Regarding apps, MEGA offers them for:
All these apps make MEGA one of the more comprehensive cross-platform cloud storage services out there.
Its web interface is something to get particularly excited about, and not just because it’s pleasing on the eyes.
In addition to all of the other essential features you’d want in a cloud storage provider, MEGA offers a chat function, via MegaChat.
Still in beta (since early 2015), MegaChat is an encrypted video and voice utility designed to compete with Skype.
The expectation is that users leery of Skype’s somewhat questionable security practices, and their cooperation with the NSA, will prefer MegaChat instead.
MEGA also has browser extensions for both Chrome and Safari, designed to improve upload and download times, and bolster security.
Within your desktop environment, as with most cloud solutions, a synchronizing folder is set up to facilitate access to cloud data.
Alternatively, you can upload a folder or file to MEGA, on your computer, just by right-clicking it and selecting “Upload to MEGA.”
Both full and selective cloud drive syncs are available, so you can pick and choose what you want to store locally for offline use.
The fact that Swedish startup Degoo is still very much in its nascent phase is apparent.
As of yet, it doesn’t offer file sync or share options, and it’s limited to:
That means no iOS app.
There isn’t even a web interface to access files from, it’s all done via the app.
So why does Degoo warrant mention on this list? Simply put, 100GB of free cloud storage.
Not only is this twice the capacity of MEGA (or 50 times what you get with Dropbox), you can increase the free allotment to 500GB, by convincing friends to join, at three additional gigabytes per accepted invitation.
The reason Degoo can offer so much free storage space and remain profitable is by giving registered users the choice of letting others use their computer processing power — when it’s not being used by you, of course.
Shared processors help out with generally intensive computation tasks, such as:
Mining digital currency
Making weather predictions
Processing scientific data
In return for sharing their processor, users receive additional backup space.
Android users will love Degoo’s mobile app, which is easy to use and offers automatic backup of photos and videos.
Since storing photos and videos is probably what most users will need so much storage space for, that’s good to hear.
hubiC is a new cloud storage solution.
And while it doesn’t offer nearly as much free storage as Degoo, at a “mere” 25GB, it does present users with a much better productivity driven experience.
In addition to a web application, hubiC offers apps for:
With device limits on their free account.
In addition to a desktop folder synced to your hubiC account, the desktop client gives you the option of right-clicking any folder.
You can decide to keep files after they get deleted on your computer, and even set how many versions you’d like to retain (none, 1-10, or all of them).
Sharing, which hubiC calls publishing, can be done via the desktop, mobile, and web clients.
When generating links for publishing, you set a publication expiration date of five, ten, or thirty days — after which the link expires.
It’s handy for ensuring you don’t forget whom you’ve granted access.
Those with the link will be able to download your file, of course; you can also cancel publications at any time to revoke access.
hubiC also offers integration with several 3rd-party applications designed to boost your cloud experience.
Included options are:
Synology Disk Station Manager 5.1
It warrants mentioning that hubiC offers 10TB of cloud storage for $13.62 per month.
Okay, that’s not free, and this article is supposed to be about free.
But given that Google Drive offers an 8TB plan for $400 a month, it does seem like they’re practically giving it away, right?
Saving the best for last, hubiC offers a referral program, that provides extra storage space for getting friends to sign up.
Users with free accounts receive 5GB per friend, up to five times.
That means you could up the amount of free storage with hubiC to a generous 50GB.
Free is good; free makes the world wide web go around, free makes the Internet a better place.
It makes taking copious amounts of photos and videos a carefree venture.
Free is great.
But it’s not everything, execution matters, too.
The five cloud storage service presented above are options that I’ve tested and vetted extensively, and in the case of Sync.com, I love their commitment to security, and now use personally.
Ultimately, it depends on trying out the options until you find a solution that fits your lifestyle.
And sometimes that’s not always the cloud storage service that grabs the most headlines or comes prepackaged with an OS.
I’ve given you a few options to get started, now it’s up to you, to spend some time trying them out.
But don’t worry.
It won’t cost you anything.
Thanks for sticking around till the end, and don’t forget to leave a comment below!