obrBy Joseph Gildred — Last Updated: 06 Sep'18 2018-06-21T21:30:00+00:00

Free Cloud Storage in 2018: Top Five Providers with Large Free Service Plans

Free cloud storage. It has a nice ring to it, kinda like free money. The good news for bargain hunters is that these days just about every respectable member of the best cloud storage club has a free plan of some kind. It probably surprises nobody, however, to point out that some of these freebies are free for a reason.

To help you find your way, we decided to assemble a list of the best free cloud storage plans now available. Ranging from versatile pCloud to popular Google Drive to secure Sync.com and its bottomless referral program, these capable services will give you all the free space you’ll ever need.

For the more demanding among us, you might be a bit disappointed as many free options are stripped of some of the features that make their paid versions great. If you want a more feature-packed cloud storage solution, check out our best deals in cloud storage. While not free, these deals will still make you feel like you’re robbing a bank.

If there’s a free cloud storage plan you’re eyeing that isn’t mentioned in this article, you can check to see if we’ve included the service offering it in our cloud storage reviews library. Now, before we get to our rankings, let’s talk about some of the things we took into consideration when putting them together.

Best Free Cloud Storage 2018

1
  • Sync Folder
  • File Link Sharing
  • Folder Sharing
  • Versioning
PlanFreePremiumPremium Plus
Price Plan
Freemonthly
$ 4 99monthly
$ 47 88yearly
$ 175 00Lifetime
$ 9 99monthly
$ 95 88yearly
$ 350 00Lifetime
Storage 10 GB 500 GB 2000 GB
Details
ReviewVisit pCloud
2
★★★ Best Cloud Storage ★★★
  • Sync Folder
  • File Link Sharing
  • Folder Sharing
  • Versioning
PlanStarterPro Personal (Option One)Pro Personal (Option Two)Business SoloBusiness ProBusiness Pro Advanced
Price Plan
Freemonthly
$ 4 08monthly
$ 48 96yearly
$ 8 00monthly
$ 96 00yearly
$ 8 00monthly
$ 96 00yearly
$ 5 00monthly
$ 60 00yearly
$ 15 00monthly
$ 144 00yearly
Storage 5 GB 500 GB 2000 GB 2000 GB 1000 GB 10000 GB
Details

Individual business plan

2-user minimum.

2-user minimum

ReviewVisit Sync.com
3
  • Sync Folder
  • File Link Sharing
  • Folder Sharing
  • Versioning
Plan15GB100GB1TB2TB10TB20TB30TB
Price Plan
Freemonthly
$ 1 99monthly
$ 9 99monthly
$ 19 99monthly
$ 99 99monthly
$ 199 99monthly
$ 299 99monthly
Storage 15 GB 100 GB 1000 GB 2000 GB 10000 GB 20000 GB 30000 GB
Details

Free plan.

Annual Discount: 16%

Annual Discount: 17%

Annual Discount: n/a

Annual Discount: n/a

Annual Discount: n/a

Annual Discount: n/a

ReviewVisit Google Drive
4
  • Sync Folder
  • File Link Sharing
  • Folder Sharing
  • Versioning
PlanFreePro LitePro IPro IIPro III
Price Plan
Freeyearly
$ 5 79monthly
$ 11 59monthly
$ 23 19monthly
$ 34 80monthly
Storage 15 GB 200 GB 1000 GB 4000 GB 8000 GB
Details

Earn more free storage with an incentive program, although rewards expire after a certain period.

1TB transfer

2TB transfer

8TB transfer

16tB transfer

ReviewVisit MEGA
5
  • Sync Folder
  • File Link Sharing
  • Folder Sharing
  • Versioning
PlanFreeProBusiness
Price Plan
Freeyearly
$ 5 00monthly
$ 45 00yearly
$ 50 00monthly
$ 480 00yearly
Storage 10 GB 1000 GB 1000 GB
Details

Can be increased to up to 50GB with referrals.

Storage up to 100TB. Includes 100 user accounts.

ReviewVisit MediaFire

What Makes the Best Free Cloud Storage?

For some, the word “free” is all they need to hear. So, here is some free advice: not all free cloud storage plans are created equal. The most obvious difference, of course, is that some providers just don’t give you much storage to work with. Dropbox, one of the most well-known cloud storage services, is also one of the stingiest when it comes to free storage.

You only get 2GB with the Dropbox free plan, appropriately called Dropbox Basic. Our top overall pick, pCloud, give you five times that amount. Dropbox does have a program to earn up to 16GB free by getting friends to sign up, but there are more generous referral programs out there, too, like that of our second overall pick, Sync.com.

In addition to limiting gigabytes, many free cloud storage plans also limit the features you get. Picking on Dropbox, again, Dropbox Basic is stripped of key capabilities like passwords for shared links and mobile offline access. There’s a reason we put together an entire Dropbox alternatives article.

When evaluating services for this article, we listed total free storage space as our top concern, but gave features offered for free nearly as much weight. Along with features, we also considered user experience, which plays a huge role recommending pCloud as not only the best free service, but also one worthy of a lifetime subscription if you do decide to sign up.   

All of that is to say that this list isn’t a free-for-all. We considered several things in putting our rankings together, which we’ll elaborate on service-by-service as we work through them.

Best Free Cloud Storage: pCloud

pCloud gives you 10GB of free cloud storage for creating an account. That’s not bad by itself. In fact, it’s twice as much as you’ll get for free with OneDrive. However, you can double that with some effort.

As a pCloud user, you have access to a referral link that can be shared with others. If they use that link to sign up, both you and they get 1GB of added cloud storage space. To access this link, you’ll need to go to settings and click “invite friends” under the “current plans” subheader.

You can copy the link and share it manually, or post it to Facebook or Twitter to speed up your march to 20GB.

We should point out that the pCloud referral program has a separate link that gives you money instead of a free gigabyte. If you get someone to sign up with that link, you get $5 after they’ve spent a month with pCloud.

That means you might be waiting two months for five bucks. We like the free storage offer better. That referral gigabyte is immediate and for life.  

Any free pCloud account doesn’t include two key features, which are passwords and expiry dates for shared links. For more on those features, see our pCloud review. To get them, you’ll need to upgrade to a 500GB or 2TB account, although both are reasonably priced and included in our list of best deals in cloud storage.

Besides those missing features, the pCloud experience for free users is quite good. We’re especially impressed with the built-in video player and the fact that pCloud can handle HD streaming. It’s also got a nice music player that lets you create playlists using the mp3s kept in your free storage space.

While one of our favorite zero-knowledge services, you don’t get zero-knowledge included even with a pCloud Premium subscription. You have to pay extra for pCloud Crypto. However, as a free user you can sign up for Crypto without also having to pay for Premium.

Sync.com

You only get 5GB for free with a Sync.com account, ranking it second in this list. Our full Sync.com review is full of praises, but what makes it stand out as a free service is that the Sync.com referral program has no limits. Like pCloud, you get 1GB per signup, but you can extend that invitation as often as you like — sort of.

The provider does, in fact, have a 20GB cap on referrals, but once you hit it, we’ve been told by the company directly that you can email them to have the cap removed. Support staff at Sync.com will take a look at the referrals you’ve made to make sure they look like actual people first, though, so don’t try and game the system.

Technically an unlimited referral program, in theory, you can get more free cloud storage with Sync.com than you can with any other provider on this list (though you’d probably need a Kardashian-sized social media following to get there).

Sync.com also doesn’t trim many features available with paid plans from its free version. Most importantly, you get zero-knowledge encryption included for free, which extends to file shares. Sync.com is the best zero-knowledge cloud service solution by far, and that’s as true for non-paying subscribers as it is for paying ones.

You can even password-protect file shares on a free account. However, if you want to add expiry dates or download limits to them, you will need to upgrade to a Sync.com Pro account. At about Sync.com for 2TB of storage, though, paying for storage with Sync.com still feels free.

If you’re having some trouble picking between pCloud and Sync.com, we don’t blame you. In fact, we based an article on particular head-to-head matchup to help out: Sync.com vs pCloud.

★★★ Best Cloud Storage ★★★

Google Drive

Google Drive starts you off with 15GB for free just for signing up for a Google account, which you have to do anyway if you’re an Android or Gmail user. While that space is shared with Google Photos and your email inbox, it’s enough that many will never have reason to upgrade to a paid account.

Google Drive removes nothing from the free experience that paying subscribers get, either. That means you can use Google Docs, one of the best cloud collaboration tools, for free. You’ll also have access to Google Drive’s large software integration library, which includes many excellent third-party tools which are also free.

The downside of storing files on Google Drive is that the company is dogged by revelations about the fact that it scans your files. One of the most recent was the discovery that Google uses algorithms to scan documents for viruses, spam and “inappropriate” content.

Google also notes in its terms and conditions that it analyzes content to recommend relevant products, which we discuss in our Google Drive review.

The company has to make money somehow, since free storage doesn’t keep the lights on. Still, if targeted marketing and Google collecting personal information about you bothers you, we’ll refer you back to our second overall pick. Zero-knowledge means Sync.com employees couldn’t read your files if they wanted to.

In a similar vein, Google Drive doesn’t have a referral program. That means you’re stuck with 15GB if you don’t want to pay up. If you need more storage, in fact, the best approach is keeping Google Drive free and supplementing that 15GB with a better deal, as we recommend in our Google Drive and Sync.com article.  

MEGA

Once upon a time, signing up for MEGA got you 50GB of free cloud storage. You didn’t have to make referrals or jump through any other hoops. Better yet, that 50GB was for life, unless the MEGA servers get seized by the FBI like those of its predecessor, MegaUpload.

In a move that would make a ninja proud, MEGA surreptitiously sliced up the 50GB program in 2017. You still get 50GB for signing up, but only 15 of those gigabytes are yours forever. The other 35GB expires after 30 days.

You can earn your way back up to 50GB by completing certain tasks, and the tasks themselves are quite simple. Download the MEGAsync client for your computer, and you get 20GB. Install the MEGA app for your smartphone, and you get another 15GB. That brings you back up to 50GB.

However, there’s another catch: the rewards for completing these two tasks also expire, and you can’t complete them again. The countdown for that expiration is just 180 days.

You can also now earn free space for each friend you invite. That friend needs to install MEGAsync client or mobile app, but after that you get  an impressive 10GB. There’s no limit on how many friends you can invite. Unfortunately, there is a final plot twist: your 10GB referral bonus also expires, this time after 365 days.

The problem with taking advantage of free cloud storage through MEGA’s achievement program is that peace of mind is hard to come by, and peace of mind is exactly what any cloud service should be helping to provide.

You can load tens of gigabytes of photos and other files to MEGA, but if you fail to keep up with your referrals, you can also lose it all. That means somewhere down the road, you might feel compelled to signup for a MEGA Pro account.

Don’t. The service just isn’t worth paying for when there are much better options out there, providing better value and more features. Check out our Sync.com vs MEGA or pCloud vs MEGA articles for examples.

Shenanigans, aside, the options for really good free cloud storage are pretty meager, so MEGA still makes our list. It’s just not in the conversation for number one anymore, if indeed it ever really was. Read our full MEGA review to learn about some other issues we have with this service.

MediaFire

MediaFire gives you 10GB of gratis storage to begin with. Not bad, but you can increase that all the way up to 50GB.

You get 1GB of space for each friend you refer, with a cap of 32GB. If suggesting MediaFire to others doesn’t float your boat, no worries. You can get 2GB of extra storage just for installing the MediaFire mobile app. There’s also an option to earn extra gigabytes for connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts to MediaFire.

MediaFire has really cheap price plans, too, offering a whole terabyte for just $5 per month. See our MediaFire review for more pricing detail. However, beyond its free service, MediaFire is tough to recommend. We didn’t even include it in our best cloud storage for Linux guide, despite being one of the few services with a Linux client.

The main complaint is that MediaFire doesn’t do file synchronization between devices. You’re left having to upload and download files manually to and from the cloud. You can read about the company’s decision to ditch its desktop client and sync feature in 2016 in the blog post that made the announcement. Find alternatives, free and paid, in our best cloud storage with sync review.

Honorable Mentions

There are a few more free storage offers that, although unable to crack our top five, still deserve mention.

Amazon Drive is one. Signing up for the service only gets you 5GB of free storage, but if you’re also an Amazon Prime customer, you get unlimited photo storage. The downside is that Amazon Drive doesn’t encrypt files, which you can read about in our Amazon Drive review.

Degoo is another option, especially since we’ll get yelled at in the comments if we don’t mention it here. Signing up for Degoo gets you 100GB of free space. While that’s way more than any other service, Degoo is meant for online backup rather than cloud storage. Also, it isn’t a very good online backup service: our Degoo review will tell you what’s wrong. Our best online backup guide will point you to better backup tools.  

Finally, if you’re a student, you get the best free cloud storage offer of all: 1TB of OneDrive with a valid school email address. You also get Office 365, which includes desktop versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, for free. We have a complete OneDrive review if you want to learn more about the service.

Dishonorable Mention: hUBIC

We should probably bring up hUBIC, because like Degoo, it has an ostensibly generous free cloud storage offer that tends to overpower good judgement.

You get 25GB of free with hUBIC, which is more than pCloud and Sync.com combined. Additionally, if you want to sign up for service, you can get a 10TB plan for just over $5 per month. That’s a pretty incredible offer.

The problem we have recommending hUBIC to our readers is that we don’t trust the service. The hUBIC customer support network is unresponsive, a worrisome trend that we detail in our hUBIC review. On top of that, files stored on hUBIC servers aren’t encrypted.

That leads us to worry about misuse of files for marketing or other purposes, along with the potential for cybercrime. We also can’t quite shake the notion that hUBIC is a prime candidate to disappear into the night, user files along with it.

The point here is that free isn’t always a good thing, especially where technology and trust are concerned. Check out our worst free VPN article for some more examples.

Final Thoughts

Finding free cloud storage is easy. Finding good free cloud storage is less so. Ranking good free cloud storage is downright hard. We like pCloud for the top spot thanks to 10GB of storage, a great referral program and excellent media capabilities, but we can understand opting for Google Drive for its convenience or MEGA or even MediaFire for their generosity.

Those who like privacy as much as saving money, meanwhile, probably lean toward Sync.com, which gets you 5GB of free storage plus an unlimited referral program and free zero-knowledge encryption.

The good news is that you can try them all out and decide for yourself, and it won’t cost you a thing. Let us know how that goes in the comments, below, and thanks for reading. 

52 thoughts on “Free Cloud Storage in 2018: Top Five Providers with Large Free Service Plans”

    1. weiyun storage is only available for Chinese or those with a Mainland Chinese number. So yea they wouldn’t be listed here.

      1. Nope, you can actually click on a tiny link under the mobile number field and change your country 😉

      2. Actually, you can sign up with phone number from anywhere. Example: for a number in the US do +1##########.
        If you need to you can sign up from their phone app which was super painless.

        And it’s not 11TB, it’s 1TB.

        If you need 4TB you can get a 360microcloud account at yunpan.360.cn.
        then all you do is log in from your phone and the desktop app and boom, 4tb.
        The only big hoop is that you need to go to your account info on 360.com and add your email so you can log in from the PC client.

        Just thought it’d be worth the mention.

      3. Not true, you can sign from any country, you just have to click in the link just below the edit box to select another country.

      4. I searched Google for them & there is an English version, site & app:-) 11tb for free gonna test it right away

    2. Now, as of 1/16/2017 weiyun cut its free storage to 10GB per user, and you have to translate from Mandarin to sign up

    3. I’m not going to trust any of my files to the Red Chinese. Ever. They are not our friends.

  1. How can we be sure that our files will never be lost, e.g., when the company goes out of business or decides to end its online storage service? I need to learn more about the history and future direction of each company before I entrust my precious files to them.

    1. This is the thing which happened to me . I was signed in a small cloud storage which after decided to end their service after 5 years. They sent me a email regarding that and i was sent a link for downloading all files or another was quite interesting. They were giving me WD disk with all my cloud files loaded in that at a discounted price. The service is big , so something solution may be figured out

    2. You can always use more than one as a backup, and have n copies of each file stored on n storage sites.

  2. “ADrive is a company that believes in free storage.”

    not anymore 🙁 they’re cutting off their free plan and turning adrive into premium only…

  3. Thanks for the heads up about Adrive. Never received an email saying it was closing the free account (nor did 2 friends I checked with). Signed on today and see I need to move 45GB of data – grrrr!

  4. What happens to my data if company fails and is extinct?
    I’d go for MEGA top of the list but who knows how secure files are in it.

  5. Hi,
    Thanks for the list, before I always stick with the 3 well known cloud service company and now I have others to use. I will create account on each service on your list.

    1. MEGA is well known, and it also offers even better encryption than GDrive or any of the others, and it doesn’t send your data to the NSA whenever they ask for it (I think they will delete stuff to comply with DMCA takedown requests, you know, so they don’t get sued and shut down again)

  6. Hi everyone,
    I’m using one-drive, google-drive, drop box, and also I started to use Mega.
    I don’t know which one is secure and I will not lose my files, and which of these cloud drives are safe and trust-able.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Sayed, that is a smart question, with lot’s of opinions, I’m sure. It also happens to be something I’ve been learning a lot about myself lately :). Personally, I like to use two options: I use Google Drive for work because I like the tools, while I use a Sync for personal files, because of it’s zero knowledge architecture, which is best for security. But I do like Mega, too, which is also zero knowledge. We have many articles on good cloud storage solutions that will help you learn more about this. Such as: https://www.cloudwards.net/which-cloud-storage-has-the-best-security/

  7. Mega sounds attractive, but isn’t this started by Kim Dotcom of Megaupload fame? He is currently being hounded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

  8. I use a simple copies rule:
    “If you have a one copy (of your files), it’s like you don’t have any copy. If you have two copies, consider you have one. If you have three copies, consider you have two.”

    So I try to have at least two or three copies of my important files in different places – external HDD or cloud. I don’t trust in any cloud service 100%. You never know when the day X will come and they’ll quit their service.

  9. Unfortunatelly we are more and more forced into paid subscriptions. Some months ago, there was a myriad of free storage services like Copy, Surdoc, MEOCloud, LG Storage, and so on… Then, one by one, these services started to stop its activities (MEOCloud didn’t stop, but limited the use for Portuguese users). I Still use Mega, Dropbox, pCloud, Yandex, Degoo (to backup a folder of my PC), Hubic, BOX, MediaFire, Amazon Cloud Drive and Asus Webstorage for free. But as I can’t neither complain nor get surprised if the above mentioned companies shut down their free storage services, I had to sign up for a 100 GB Google Drive account for USD 1.99/mo and I got a 1-year-free 1 TB account at MS Onedrive because I bought an Office 360 subscription. P.S.: I felt particularly upset about LG Cloud Drive because it was the one cloud software available in my smart tv. But, life goes on. Now, I must focus on my Google Drive and OneDrive. I still use the other existing services, but only in rare cases.

  10. Awesome suggestion. I personally use Dropbox and Google drive to store my website backup and other personal files. But my storage size is almost exhausted and currently looking for best alternatives.

  11. It is said that Degoo doesn’t save other user’s data to your hard disk any more(p2p), they use the mainstream servers now but reading the terms and conditions you agree to just that. So do they or don’t they?

  12. Hi,everyone!
    A few thoughts on the storage business.
    1.I completely agree with Dave’s comment (Unfortunately,
    we are more and more forced into paid subscriptions. )
    2.DEGOO- it might be lovely but it’s a problem to switch
    (log in-log out) to another account—their help says you
    have to rename an account to log in to a different on) —
    cumbersome,time consuming and boring.What happens
    if I have to use up to 20 accounts per day?
    3.YUNPAN 360 CN (WANGPAN) — Although they claim 36
    TB the upload is extremely slow on my PC with 100
    mbps !!! Yakkk!!!
    4.WEIYUN (TENCENT) – Uploading is limited and a propos,
    do you you all have a good command at Chinese? Only
    the simplified version of it? LUCKY YOU !!!

    In a nutshell — back to square one?

  13. I’ve tried many, but Mega, Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive are the best…pCloud is greatoo…II use it to stream music

  14. I personally use the iCloud for my photos and documents and have a another backup on Mega. $1/month for 50GB is pretty decnt and Mega is free which is even better. But I need more storage and don’t wanna pay $10/ month for a TB storage so how bout open source services?
    Has anyone used any of them? I would love to get some feedback on some of these services such OwnCloud, NextCloud, SeaFile, Tonido, Pydio and many more!

    1. I can highly recommend nextcloud if you have a bit of the knowledge and/or patience required to get it up and running!

  15. Thanks for this list of cloud service providers. From what i can observe, it seems like you take your time to research the information. Good job and Kundos to you. I hope in the future when you revisit the list you may also want to include a service provider called zoolz.com. They are running a sign-up promotion of 100GB. I just signed up with them so my take of their service is good thus far.

  16. I’m just curious, why did no one mention Box, which seems to have a favourable choice of applications and is strong on the sharing?
    Could some one express his/her experience with Box?

    1. Hi Robert,

      We’re actually working on an in-depth Box review right now, which will be published within a week or two. However, as free storage space goes, Box would still not end up in our top five, here.

      Thanks,
      Fergus (chief editor)

  17. Ha! All of them are pretty poor for my needs (at least 1 TB) and I have a very poor Internet connection, so it’s profitable to just buy external HDDs which are now very cheap. Or even a NAS.

    1. Same here dude. my 1TB External HD already been full, and none of these free cloud sites could provide 100GB free storage.

    2. An external HDD is *NOT* the same as a cloud backup for several reasons, if you are concerned with your data still being there tomorrow (or some time after that even).

      Cloud services are not located in your living room or basement (or wherever your PC is located). If your house burns down, floods, or gets blown up by a tornado, all of your data is gone… and that’s no matter HOW many copies of it you keep on various devices all over your… eh, neighborhood?

      Also, at least some cloud services probably backup data, or at least tend to their servers to ensure data integrity. A house burglar does not have such concerns.

  18. 5 gb, 10 gb 15 gb or even 50gb is just not enough for me. Why not use my own cloud server ? Every cloud storage sneaks on your files (encryption is more or less secure), google drive ? LOL !!! I am using a WD My Cloud with 3TB WD Red NAS drive (cost 150€) and 2 WD Green drives of 3TB each in RAID1 (250€) as backup of the NAS. For sharing files with friends just upload to Mega or Mediafire and send them the link by email, whatsapp, sms. As for file security, I don’t give a damn about the online encryption, as I always share my files encrypted by default (.7z, aes 256, strong pass). This is my case, everybody is free to spend their money as they wish, I just don’t feel that my files are safe in any cloud, other than MY OWN !

  19. Wow you guys really need to study up on the meaning of the word “free”

    1. Every cloud storage service listed in this article has a free plan and we discuss those free plans. Not sure what you’re missing.

    2. Wow, you really need to study up on your reading and writing skills. If they were up to snuff, you’d have seen that these are all providers that offer free plans, but you’ll have to pay to get the full features.

  20. hey if I use google drive as I do now. When I delete the files on my computer, will they all so disappear from Google Drive?
    Just curious, I don’t really want any files on my computer if I can leave them in the cloud somewhere.
    ty for any answers.

    1. Normally, yes, they’ll disappear in Google Drive if you delete them on your computer. However, cloud storage wouldn’t be nearly as useful if it didn’t help you save hard drive space … You can do that by using Google Drive’s selective sync feature, which lets you turn file sync off for folders. Do that, and any files in that folder will be removed from our computer but still in the cloud. You’ll find instructions in your guide on using Google Drive: https://www.cloudwards.net/how-does-google-drive-work/

    2. its called sync (connect in 2 way.. from gadget to server also server to gadget).. so everything changes in any gadgets will affect the server too.. best way to manage this by log it out.. or uninstall the sync client

  21. Just a quick observation to those commenting on using a Chinese cloud rather than a US one. To be honest with you I’d trust the Chinese with my data a whole lot more that the USA at the moment

  22. hubic is a product of a huge French webhosting company, OVH. So however valid your other concerns may be (have not checked), it’s not likely to disappear overnight.

  23. To all the people saying “why not build your own cloud server?”, sure that would be great if we all had the cash and know-how to do it, but this is an article on free cloud storage sites that require little to no technical knowledge or financial investment to store and access files remotely, so your not really being that helpful.

  24. You’re hating on hUBIC for not encrypting the files stored on the drive. But I promise not a single cloud storage provider encrypts your files. How the hell do you think they can display convenient previews for your files, like with pictures? Google even does that for RAW camera files, so no way the browser is doing it.

    If you want encryption on your cloud storage, you gotta use a archiver tool like 7-Zip, and compress your stuff with a password before uploading it.

    Even IF they use encryption. Who has the key? There’s no way of knowing wether the provider has the key or not. So even if they perform encryption on your files, they can decrypt whenever the hell they please.

    1. Most cloud storage services encrypt files at rest on their servers. You can verify that with the cloud service, itself. They might be lying, of course, but that would just put them in serious legal trouble (especially those that claim to be HIPAA compliant). Hubic, Amazon Drive and OneDrive Personal are among those that do not encrypt files at rest. Yes, most services that do encrypt also keep the encryption keys, which is what lets them allow file previews, streaming, etc. Metadata is often left in plain text, too, for indexing. However, the actual files on the server are usually scrambled, which helps to prevent unauthorized access. It isn’t perfect security, but its better than not encrypting them. There are a handful of cloud storage services that don’t keep encryption keys, such as Sync.com (which is why Sync.com doesn’t provide file previews, btw). That’s why we tend to recommend Sync.com and other so-called zero-knowledge services above Dropbox, Google Drive and other big name services. We do suggest in other cases using Boxcryptor or another encryption service to protect files, whether they’re encrypted by the cloud storage service at rest or not. Thanks for your comment. Take a cold shower.

  25. Thank you ( everyone) for such a great article and discussion. I am just beginning the shift from USB storage devices to cloud storage. I downloaded DropBox and 2GB was just not enough for me to get started. I need 10GB. I will definitely try some of the excellent suggestions mentioned.

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