Top 10 Best Dropbox Alternatives in 2021: Which Is The Most Secure?

Dropbox has been around for a long time, and although it’s a competent cloud storage service, certain aspects of it — such as its free version, pricing and privacy — leave a lot to be desired. For that reason, we’ve compiled this list of the best Dropbox alternatives to help you find a better way to sync files with the cloud and share them with others.

Branko VlajinAleksander Hougen
By Branko Vlajin (Writer) & Aleksander Hougen (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-07-28T16:25:11+00:00

Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage services, with 500 million registered users, including 11.9 million paying users. Thanks to that, it’s one of the services almost everyone can name off the top of their head, but it’s far from the best cloud storage provider out there. If Dropbox isn’t for you, these 10 Dropbox alternatives might be.

Dropbox is the grandfather of cloud storage solutions, but in case you’ve never heard of it, you can check out our What is Dropbox guide once you crawl out from under the rock you’ve been living under. Although Dropbox is a good enough cloud storage service, especially when it comes to syncing files, secure file sharing and document collaboration, its lack of advanced features, and limited free storage space leave a lot to be desired.

Like the other big cloud storage providers — namely Google Drive and OneDrive — Dropbox also performs poorly when it comes to user privacy, due to its lack of end-to-end encryption (also known as zero-knowledge). The Dropbox pricing plans also aren’t the most competitive, especially when compared to the best deals in cloud storage, and the free version comes with very little cloud storage space.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sync.com, pCloud, Icedrive and MEGA are the best all-around alternatives to Dropbox, due to great prices, ease of use and security.
  • If you’re looking to store data related to business rather than personal files, Box is one of the best alternatives to Dropbox.
  • OneDrive and Google Drive are excellent alternatives if you need strong collaboration and document support.
  • Hybrid solutions like IDrive and SpiderOak have the benefit of offering both online backup and cloud storage.

So without further ado, we’ll dive right into our list of the 10 best Dropbox alternatives, covering pros and cons for each and explaining how they stack up against the elder statesman of cloud storage. If you’re interested in what exactly Dropbox excels at and where it falls short, scroll down to the bottom of the article for our thoughts on that as well.

  • 07/07/2021

    Cloudwards updated the list by removing Amazon Drive and Koofr, and adding iCloud. Updated list format and brought each provider’s features up to date.

  • That depends on what you’re looking for exactly, but overall we recommend Sync.com, pCloud and Icedrive as the best Dropbox alternatives.

  • Yes, there are several cheaper alternatives to Dropbox. Icedrive and MEGA are probably the best free Dropbox alternatives, but most of the entries on this list will cost you significantly less than Dropbox.

  • There are many competitors to Dropbox. Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are probably the two most famous ones, but less mainstream services like Sync.com and pCloud are arguably even better options.

  • When comparing Dropbox vs Google Drive, you’ll definitely notice a lot of similarities. That said, Drive offers more free storage and more affordable pricing, while Dropbox has faster sync and probably better privacy.

Best Dropbox Alternatives Comparison

  1. 1
    • Sync Folder
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    5-Unlimited GB
    $ 500
  2. 2
    • Sync Folder
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    10-2000 GB
    $ 399
    Save 20 %
  3. 3
    • Sync Folder: No
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    10 GB - 5 TB
    $ 164
  4. 4
    • Sync Folder
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    20 GB - 16 TB
    $ 494
    Save 16 %
  5. 5
    • Sync Folder
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    10-Unlimited GB
    $ 500
    Save 29 %
  6. 6
    • Sync Folder
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    5-Unlimited GB
    $ 199
  7. 7
    • Sync Folder
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    15 GB - 30 TB
    $ 167
    Save 16 %
  8. 8
      5 GB - 12.5 TB
      $ 579
    • 9
        150 GB - 5 TB
        $ 575

      The 10 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Cloud Storage

      In order to qualify as one of the best Dropbox alternatives, the criteria are pretty much the same as what we use to judge the best cloud storage providers in general — that is to say, features, pricing, ease of use, speed, security, privacy and customer support. 

      In terms of features, we like to see a robust file sync system with plenty of options for secure file sharing. We also look for more advanced features — like block-level sync, solid versioning and file recovery — as well as collaboration features that allow for online document editing and integration with software suites, such as MS Office and Google Workspace.

      However, it doesn’t matter how many features a service offers if it can’t provide them at an affordable price. That means that we like to see a good amount of storage space (or at least more storage space than Dropbox offers) at a reasonable cost. Since most people aren’t cloud storage experts, a good alternative to Dropbox also needs to be easy to use and set up.

      Finally, a good Dropbox alternative is a secure Dropbox alternative. This means both good security and privacy, and the latter is where Dropbox really drops the ball compared to some other file storage platforms. The main thing to consider here is encryption and whether it’s zero knowledge (meaning you manage your own encryption key), but each company’s privacy policy is also crucial (looking at you, Google).

      1. Sync.com — Best Dropbox alternative if security is your main concern
      2. pCloud — Best alternative with a generous 10GB free plan
      3. Icedrive — Gorgeously designed with excellent security and lifetime plans
      4. MEGA — The best free Dropbox alternative
      5. Box — An excellent Dropbox alternative for businesses
      6. OneDrive — The best Dropbox alternative for Microsoft Office users
      7. Google Drive — Easy-to-use file storage platform with lots of free space
      8. iCloud — Solid cloud service provider for Apple mobile devices and Macs
      9. IDrive — The best online backup provider that also comes with cloud storage features
      10. SpiderOak One Backup — Hybrid storage solution with excellent security and privacy

      Our number one alternative to Dropbox also happens to be our favorite cloud storage provider in general: Sync.com. Although its user interface could use some work, it still secures the top spot due to its wealth of features, excellent security and privacy as well as very affordable prices for a lot of storage space.

      Next up are pCloud and Icedrive, both of which also feature excellent security, though a lack of some features hold them back from the top spot. MEGA takes the fourth spot, and is the best free alternative to Dropbox due to its incredibly generous free plan. Next up is Box, which is a particularly good option for businesses. 

      The remaining five entries on our list are largely situational. For example, those who use Microsoft Office will get a lot of value out of OneDrive, whereas Google Workspace users might find Google Drive to be the best option. iCloud, while flawed, can be a great option for those using Apple devices. Finally, SpiderOak One Backup and IDrive are great hybrid solutions for people looking for backup with some cloud storage features thrown in.

      1. Sync.com

      sync-versioning
      Sync.com is our favorite cloud storage service, due to its great security, excellent versioning and reasonable prices.

      More details about Sync.com:

      • Pricing: 5GB free; 2TB for $8 per month
      • Provider website: www.sync.com

      Pros:

      • Solid security & privacy
      • Competitive prices
      • Long-term versioning & file retention

      Cons:

      • No monthly billing
      • User interface is a bit clunky
      • Slower sync than other services

      Toronto-based Sync.com has been on top of our best cloud storage comparison list for some time. To see why, read our Sync.com review. It also ranks high in our best free service plans and holds the top spot in our best zero-knowledge cloud services list. Those are the key categories needed to beat Dropbox.

      Besides its excellent security and privacy, Sync.com comes with all the features you’d expect. You can upload files by placing them in the dedicated sync folder — exactly like Dropbox — and file sharing comes with several options such as link expiration dates, granular permissions and download limits.

      Sync.com: a Highly Secure Cloud Storage Service

      Sync.com has strong security, including free zero-knowledge encryption, which means only you can read your data, unlike Dropbox (Sync.com is also our best encrypted cloud storage provider). Sync.com also uses the TLS protocol to protect files in transit from threats, such as man-in-the-middle attacks, and AES 256-bit encryption to protect files at rest.

      Plus, Sync.com’s location in Canada lets it enjoy more consumer-friendly privacy laws than Dropbox does in the U.S. That keeps your files away from the NSA and other American alphabet agencies.

      Best offline storage Sync CTA
      Sync.com’s security makes it an excellent storage location for sensitive data.

      Sync.com only gives you 5GB of free storage for signing up, which isn’t much better than Dropbox’s 2GB. That said, you can use the referral program to invite your friends to join. For each one that does, you get a gigabyte of additional storage up to 25GB. As a bonus, your friend gets an extra gigabyte, too.

      Sync.com also has plans with better value. Its Solo Basic 2TB plan comes down to $8 per month on an annual subscription, which is cheaper than Dropbox’s Plus plan. Unlike Dropbox, Sync.com offers a larger plan with 6TB of storage, while Dropbox caps out at 2TB.

      Free
      • Storage: 5 GB
      Solo Professional
      • Storage: 6000 GB
      Teams Standard
      • Price per user
      • Storage: 1000 GB
      Teams Unlimited
      • Price per user
      • Storage: Unlimited GB

      2. pCloud

      pcloud-webinterface
      pCloud’s excellent design makes it easy to learn and a pleasure to use.

      More details about pCloud:

      • Pricing: Up to 10GB free; 2TB for $7.99 per month (billed annually)
      • Provider website: www.pcloud.com

      Pros:

      • Great value
      • Integrated media player
      • Fast
      • Can sync any folder & sets up a virtual drive

      Cons:

      • Zero-knowledge encryption costs extra
      • No document integrations

      Like Sync.com, pCloud also ranks high on our best cloud storage list. This is because of its cloud security, as well as plenty of other features it brings to the table. In particular, the integrated media player is a great addition that lets you stream media files directly from your cloud storage. It’s also one of the most well-designed cloud storage apps out there, rivaled only by Icedrive.

      pCloud uses AES 256-bit to encrypt your files at rest and the TLS protocol to protect them in transit. However, unlike with Sync.com, zero-knowledge encryption isn’t free, but you can add it to any plan for $3.99 per month by subscribing to pCloud Crypto.

      pCloud Sync & Virtual Drive

      pCloud implements the common model of sync, but also provides a feature called pCloud Drive. It lets you access content stored with pCloud without having to download it to your computer (read our how to set up pCloud Drive guide). This means that you can access files even without an active internet connection, so long as they’re located in your virtual drive.

      pCloud uses block-level file transfers to speed up subsequent uploads, and it’s our top pick for best cloud storage for music and best cloud storage for photos and videos.

      To share files, you need to generate links, send them via email or post them directly to social networks. pCloud lets you secure shares using passwords and expiry dates. As with Dropbox, though, you need to subscribe to a premium plan to use those features. Read our full pCloud vs Dropbox comparison and pCloud review for more details about the service.

      Best offline storage pCloud CTA
      The free plan requires a bit of legwork to max out, but pCloud’s paid plans are pretty affordable anyway.

      pCloud’s free plan gives you 10GB of storage, which is five times more than Dropbox does. That said, to get all that, you’ll have to complete certain tasks. Although these tasks are easily completed by downloading the apps and turning on automatic uploads, they cap out at 7GB of free storage. After that, you’ll need to refer three friends to the service to get the full 10GB.

      If you need more storage than that, pCloud has good value plans you can choose from. The Premium 500GB plan for $4.99 per month is a great offer, but one that’s overshadowed by the Premium 2TB plan which is just $8 per month on an annual subscription. pCloud is also one of the few providers to offer lifetime plans for its data storage, and it took the top spot in our best lifetime cloud storage ranking.

      3. Icedrive

      Icedrive desktop app
      Icedrive beats the competition with its sleek design, low prices and excellent security.

      More details about Icedrive:

      • Pricing: 10GB free; 2TB for $4.17 per month (billed annually)
      • Provider website: www.icedrive.net

      Pros:

      • Gorgeous design
      • Great privacy & zero-knowledge security
      • File previews
      • Virtual drive

      Cons:

      • No block-level sync
      • No collaboration options
      • No document integrations

      Icedrive is relatively fresh on the cloud storage scene, but it’s made a good first impression. With great file synchronization options, gorgeous interface design, solid security and affordable prices, there’s very little not to like about the new kid on the block.

      Starting with its features, Icedrive lets you sync any existing folder on your computer through the “context” menu. If you’d rather clear up some local storage space on your device, you can use the virtual drive instead, but be aware that you won’t have offline access to your files.

      A lot of features can often mean that design and ease of use takes a hit, but that’s certainly not the case for Icedrive. The desktop client, web interface and mobile apps are all some of the most gorgeous cloud storage applications we’ve come across, which makes them a pleasure to use.

      Icedrive Security

      Another area where Icedrive really shines is its security and privacy. As long as you’re on one of the paid plans, you can place your files in the “vault,” which means that they’ll be protected with zero-knowledge (also known as end-to-end or private) encryption, meaning no one but you can decrypt your files.

      This is an obvious boon to privacy, and means that even though Icedrive’s servers are located in the UK — a country with somewhat iffy digital privacy laws — you can be secure in the knowledge that no one, not even the authorities, will be able to gain access to your data.

      Icedrive is also a very fast service, with both upload speeds and download speeds approaching the theoretical limit for the connection we used to test it. If you’d like to learn more about this exciting new cloud storage alternative, be sure to check out our full Icedrive review for all the details.

      icedrive home page
      Icedrive is one of the most affordable cloud storage services out there, especially when you take into account the lifetime plans.

      As you can see in the table below, Icedrive is also very affordable, much more so than Dropbox. All the plans deliver lots of storage for the price, and there’s even an option to sign up for a lifetime deal — something very few other cloud storage services offer.  While there’s always an inherent risk with this sort of deal, you only need to use the service for three years before the lifetime plan starts to pay off.

      4. MEGA

      06_mega_review_ease_interface_browser
      MEGA offers excellent security and privacy, a fantastic free plan and lots of file sync features.

      More details about MEGA:

      • Pricing: 20GB free (forever); 2TB for around $12 per month.
      • Provider website: www.mega.io

      Pros:

      • Lots of free storage
      • Great security & privacy
      • Sync any folder

      Cons:

      • More expensive than Dropbox
      • User interface could be better
      • No collaboration features

      MEGA is a service that has security and privacy as its reason for being. Although it’s not as polished — or cheap — as other paid entries on this list, it’s still a solid alternative to Dropbox due to this focus on privacy, which is something that Dropbox lacks. MEGA’s sync isn’t as elegant as Dropbox’s, but it gets the job done if you don’t mind complexity. The flip side of that is, unlike with Dropbox, you can sync any folder.

      You can share files by generating a link or sending them via email. As with Dropbox, setting a password or expiry date requires a premium subscription, but in this case, you get it with the cheapest plan. You can also invite others to share with you, and there’s a page that shows those shares at a glance. Read our Dropbox vs MEGA comparison and MEGA review for more.

      Zero-knowledge encryption applies to all your data with MEGA and it’s used for file sharing as well. It works like password protection, except that it’s more secure. The level of at-rest encryption is AES 128-bit, and the TLS protocol protects your files in transit.

      Tons of Free Storage With MEGA

      The free plan provides a massive 20GB of storage. That’s not where the free storage ends though, as by fulfilling certain “achievements,” you can greatly up the capacity of your free account for one year. 

      Installing the desktop and mobile apps gets you an additional 5GB of free storage each. These bonuses last for 365 days, and if you need even more, you can refer friends for an additional 5GB of storage per referral that also lasts for a full year.

      The base 20GB of free storage is much more than Dropbox offers — in fact, very few cloud storage providers exceed 10GB (or 15GB in the case of Google Drive and Icedrive), which puts MEGA in a category all its own for people who don’t want to pay for their cloud storage. 

      mega cta
      The amount of free storage you can get with MEGA is unparalleled.

      If you need more than the generous amount of free storage, MEGA has four personal plans to choose from. Of those, the Pro I plan is the best value because it offers 2TB of storage for around $12 per month (the actual price is in euros and fluctuates with currency conversions). 

      Although that’s more expensive than Dropbox and the previous entries on our list, the zero-knowledge encryption makes the service more appealing than Dropbox to privacy-minded users.

      5. Box

      best cloud storage for teams box
      Box is an excellent business alternative to Dropbox, but private users will want to look elsewhere.

      More details about Box:

      • Pricing: 10GB free; unlimited storage for $20 per month (per user)
      • Provider website: www.box.com

      Pros:

      • Lots of app integrations
      • Built-in support for Microsoft Office & Google Workspace
      • Great security
      • Tons of great features for business users

      Cons:

      • Expensive
      • Zero-knowledge encryption costs extra

      Box is a cloud storage service for businesses and a good alternative for people looking for better data and user role management options. It offers a lot of the bells and whistles we see in Dropbox, though it’s even more expensive — which says something, considering Dropbox is already on the pricier side of things.

      That being said, encryption is top notch with 256-AES, so your files are safe from prying eyes or competitors. Unfortunately, zero-knowledge encryption is not included by default, as you have to purchase the Box KeySafe add-on to unlock this functionality. Read our full Box vs Dropbox comparison as well as our Box Review for more information.

      Box: One of The Best Dropbox Alternatives for Business

      Unlike the other entries on this list, Box focuses primarily on business users. Although it works fine as a personal cloud service provider, its advanced business features are what make Box really stand out. This includes a built-in task manager and note-taking app. While the former can’t compete with dedicated project management software like monday.com, it’s still a welcome addition.

      The note-taking app is also solid (read our Box Notes review for more), although it too isn’t quite the best option out there. Still, you get these for free with your Box subscription, which gives them a leg up if you’re gonna pay for cloud storage anyway. 

      Finally, the staggering number of app integrations that Box offers makes it a perfect cloud storage solution for businesses that use a lot of different types of software. If your company collaborates on documents, then the native integration with Office 365 and Google Workspace is also sure to be useful.

      best cloud storage box cta
      Box is expensive, but if you need a lot of storage space, collaboration options and app integrations for your business, there are few better options.

      Unfortunately, this focus on business is also reflected in the price. There’s no two ways about it: Box is expensive. That said, on anything other than the Starter plan, you get unlimited file storage for $20 per user per month (or $15 if you pay annually), which is a pretty good deal. 

      That said, if the reason you want to get away from Dropbox is its price, then Box probably isn’t what you’re looking for. Outside of the business plans, there’s only one paid personal plan that only offers a measly 100GB of storage, which is not worth the price tag of $10 per month.

      6. OneDrive

      onedrive-web-app

      More details about Microsoft OneDrive:

      Pros:

      • Native integration with Office 365
      • Cheap
      • Block-level sync

      Cons:

      • No zero-knowledge encryption

      Microsoft OneDrive uses the standard sync model developed by Dropbox, which means it doesn’t let you sync specific folders, either. You can only choose from a list of common folders, which isn’t as useful. Selective sync is available, but it’s not as handy as Dropbox’s smart sync. OneDrive also has block-level sync, meaning its transfers are fast.

      OneDrive’s file-sharing features are also solid, as it comes with expiry dates and password protection, as well as the ability to share via link, email or social network. Like Dropbox, though, there’s no zero-knowledge encryption. That said, OneDrive encrypts every file using AES 256-bit encryption and uses the TLS protocol to prevent attacks during transfer.

      Best Cloud Storage Provider for MS Office

      OneDrive has a note-taking app and integrates with Office Online and many other Microsoft apps, which you can read all about in our OneNote review. That makes it easy to transition from Dropbox’s productivity features, and if you use Office 365 anyway, there are few better deals on cloud storage out there.

      onedrive cta
      OneDrive’s family plan gives you 6TB of storage as well as access to Microsoft Office, which is a fantastic deal for just $9.99 per month.

      Microsoft OneDrive is an obvious choice for this list, and it blows Dropbox out of the water when it comes to pricing. Its Basic plan only offers 5GB of free storage, but that still beats Dropbox. For more, you need to sign up for one of the three premium plans.

      The 100GB plan is a nice option for only $1.99 per month, but the other two personal plans offer the most value. Microsoft 365 Personal gets you 1TB of storage for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. Better yet, Office 365 Home offers 6TB of storage for six users for only $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year.

      OneDrive Basic 5GB
      • Storage: 5 GB
      OneDrive 100GB
      • Storage: 100 GB
      Microsoft 365 Personal
      • Comes with Office 365 Personal
      • Storage: 1000 GB
      Microsoft 365 Family
      • Comes with Office 365 Home
      • Storage: 5000 GB
      OneDrive for Business Plan 1
      • Price per user
      • Storage: 1000 GB
      OneDrive for Business Plan 2
      • Price per user
      • Storage: Unlimited GB
      Microsoft 365 Business Standard
      • Price per user
      • Storage: 1000 GB

      7. Google Drive

      07_Google_Drive_Review_ease_interface_browser_list
      Google Drive is an easy-to-use cloud solution that works especially well for photos and collaborative documents.

      More details about Google Drive:

      Pros:

      • Easy to use
      • Generous free plan
      • Excellent for photos & documents

      Cons:

      • Poor privacy
      • No cheaper than Dropbox

      We’ve talked about Dropbox’s popularity, but with close to a billion users, Google Drive is even more popular. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that if you sign up for any of Google’s products, such as Gmail or Google Docs, you automatically get a free Google Drive account.

      While your files are in storage, Google Drive encrypts them using AES 128-bit encryption. It started doing so after it was connected to the PRISM project. Google admits that it scans your content. Its privacy policy says that it does so to provide customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. The TLS protocol protects files in transit.

      Google Drive Productivity

      Google Drive’s productivity features include Google’s office suite, Calendar, Keep and more. On top of proprietary apps, Google integrates with many third-party apps. The number of features is more extensive than Dropbox’s set.

      Unfortunately, the file-sharing features are a little lacking, as all you can adjust is expiration dates and permissions (whether the person you’re sharing with can view, comment or edit the file). Read our guide on how to share files on Google Drive as well as our list of Google Drive alternatives if you need more extensive file-sharing functionality.

      gdrive cta
      Google’s cloud storage is probably the most popular of its kind.

      Drive provides 15GB of free storage, which is a generous amount. Up until June of 2021, it also offered unlimited photo storage, but that has now been discontinued (though existing photos still don’t take up any space). Besides the free plan, Google has a flexible lineup of six paid plans.

      The first two plans get you 100GB and 200GB for $1.99 and $2.99 per month, respectively. They’re good options if you don’t need a lot of storage, and Dropbox doesn’t offer comparable plans. For more than that, the best option is the 2TB plan, which costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. The Dropbox Plus price is the same, but Google’s plan also comes with an Android VPN and the ability to add family members.

      8. iCloud

      iCloud review desktop settings
      iCloud is a great cloud storage service for Apple users, but it’s not really worth it for anyone else.

      More details about iCloud:

      • Pricing: 5GB free; 2TB for $9.99 per month
      • Provider website: www.icloud.com

      Pros:

      • Native integration with Apple devices
      • Easy to use

      Cons:

      • Difficult to use on non-Apple devices
      • Security problems in the past
      • Major privacy concerns

      Although iCloud is far from our favorite cloud storage provider — we rarely include it in our best cloud storage lists — it’s still a pretty good Dropbox alternative, provided you use Apple devices. It’s pricing is similar to Dropbox, though with a bit more flexibility if you need less than 2TB of storage, and its privacy is probably no better either.

      Built-in Cloud Storage for Apple Devices

      The main selling point of iCloud is how well it integrates with Apple devices. If you already use a Mac, iPhone and iPad, then there’s no easier way to store files and access them across multiple devices. That said, if you’re not already fully invested in Apple’s ecosystem, every other entry on this list is a better choice.

      best cloud storage icloud cta
      iCloud’s pricing plans are a bit more flexible than Dropbox, though no cheaper.

      iCloud’s pricing is nothing to write home about. You get 5GB for free and there are three paid plans, the largest of which offers the same storage as Dropbox for the same price (2TB for $9.99 per month). Still, the fact that iCloud’s 200GB and 1TB plans cost less gives you a bit more flexibility than Dropbox does.

      5GB Plan
      • Storage: 5 GB
      50GB Plan
      • Storage: 50 GB
      200GB Plan
      • Storage: 200 GB
      2TB Plan
      • Storage: 2000 GB

      9. IDrive

      IDrive desktop app backup tab
      IDrive has some of the most competitive prices on the market, which earns it a spot here despite not being a dedicated cloud storage service.

      More details about IDrive:

      • Pricing: 5GB free; 5TB for $5.79 per month
      • Provider website: www.idrive.com

      Pros:

      • Cheap storage
      • Hybrid cloud solution
      • Lots of features

      Cons:

      • Slow

      Like SpiderOak One Backup (which is the next entry), IDrive is a service that offers backup and sync space. It also sits at the top of our best online backup comparison. If you’re looking for a hybrid cloud solution, it’s a contender, and it’s cheaper than SpiderOak One Backup and Dropbox, too.

      When you turn sync on, IDrive creates a folder on your computer for syncing — it works like a standard sync folder. You can use selective sync, but there’s no way to sync additional folders. The big downside is its speed, so if you’re looking to sync your files quickly, then IDrive might not be for you.

      You can invite people to share using the web client. It also lets you specify the level of permission for each share, but there’s no way to set a password or expiry date. You can check what you’ve shared with others and what others have shared with you, though.

      IDrive Backup

      Like SpiderOak, IDrive is primarily a backup service rather than cloud storage. That means that if you’re looking for a service to backup all your files online, without having to manually move them over to a sync folder, IDrive is an excellent option.

      IDrive uses AES 256-bit and you can enable private encryption when you sign up. You can learn more about IDrive’s security in our IDrive review, and we also have a list of the best IDrive alternatives.

      zero knowledge storage idrive cta
      IDrive offers significant discounts for first-time users, up to 90 percent off for your first year.

      Surprisingly, IDrive has a free 5GB plan, which is unusual for backup services. The premium plans provide 5TB or 10TB of backup space and the same amount of sync space. You have to pay for the year in advance, but the prices are competitive. The 5TB plan comes down to $5.79 per month, while the 10TB plan is $8.29 per month.

      Free
      • Storage: 5 GB
      Personal 10TB
      • Large discount for first-time signup.
      • Storage: 10000 GB

      10. SpiderOak One Backup

      spideroak interface
      If you value security and privacy over affordability, you might want to consider SpiderOak One Backup.

      More details about SpiderOak One Backup:

      Pros:

      • Top-notch security & privacy
      • Hybrid storage solution
      • Unlimited versioning

      Cons:

      • Expensive
      • No disk imaging or mobile backup

      SpiderOak One Backup qualifies as a Dropbox alternative because it offers secure cloud storage and file management in addition to cloud backup. If you’re not sure what the difference between the two is, read our explanation article.

      SpiderOak One installs a sync folder that it calls “hive,” which works like any other sync folder. You can’t use selective sync to choose files to sync and you can’t sync any other folder. For more details, check out our SpiderOak One Backup guide. It’ll help you navigate the interface.

      You can create a sharing link to any file, but it expires automatically after three days. You can’t specify a password either. The “ShareRoom” feature lets you share folders and protect shares with a password, though. Note that files placed in ShareRooms don’t benefit from private encryption.

      SpiderOak One Backup Security

      SpiderOak uses private encryption with AES 256-bit to encrypt your files before they leave your computer. The SSL protocol secures files in transit. On top of private encryption, SpiderOak One Backup doesn’t even keep a central database of your file metadata. For more information about its security, read our SpiderOak One Backup review.

      best backup spideroak cta
      SpiderOak One Backup is expensive, but you get a highly secure hybrid cloud storage solution for your money.

      SpiderOak One Backup doesn’t offer a free plan, so it’s not better than Dropbox in that regard. That said, free plans are rare with online backup services. A bigger problem is that SpiderOak One’s plans are very expensive. For $11 per month, you get just 400GB of storage, which is frankly a terrible deal.

      Things are a bit better with the larger plans, as 2TB of storage will run you $14 per monthwith 20GB of free storage, but that’s still almost 50 percent more expensive than Dropbox, which already isn’t cheap.

      What Makes Dropbox Good

      Dropbox is popular because of its strong syncing and sharing capabilities, feature set and good user experience. It’s also the place where the sync model commonly used by cloud services was invented. We talk at length about those categories in our Dropbox review.

      The central point of this common model of sync is the sync folder. The sync folder works like any other folder, but anything you put in it will be synced to the cloud and anything you have in the cloud will be accessible from the folder. Dropbox improves on that concept with the smart sync feature, and it’s the best cloud storage for sync because of it.

      Smart sync lets you access your cloud files without first syncing them to your computer. The downside of that is that you won’t be able to access your files while you’re offline. One problem with Dropbox’s sync model is the inability to sync folders other than the sync folder.

      Most of the competition uses the same model, but only some execute it as well. You can compare Dropbox’s sync capabilities against its two most direct competitors, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, and it’ll do better than both, at least when it comes to syncing changes to files already copied to cloud storage, thanks to its block-level sync.

      Read our guide to Dropbox’s file size limit, and our guide can help if Dropbox is not syncing.

      Dropbox Sharing

      Dropbox also has strong content-sharing features. You can share links using the web client or send them via email. Dropbox lets you protect links by setting a password or expiry date, disabling downloads or only granting access to specific individuals. You can’t send them directly to social networks, though.

      Note that content control options for sharing are reserved for Dropbox’s Professional plan, which isn’t its cheapest plan. We’ll talk more about that in the next section.

      You can see what you’ve shared with others on a dedicated page. If you want to ask others to share files with you, you can use the “file request” feature.

      On top of that, Dropbox integrates with Microsoft Office Online, which lets you edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents from the Dropbox web interface. Plus, Dropbox has a useful note-taking app called Dropbox Paper that lets you make notes and more, which we explore in our Dropbox Paper review.

      If you have a lot of files in Dropbox and need to search through them, you can do that with a full-text search. The search includes documents scanned with the mobile app, which is an unusual feature among cloud storage services. Dropbox lets you use it to scan a document and upload it as a .pdf or .jpeg file to the cloud.

      What’s Not Good About Dropbox

      Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage services, but there are many others. A lot of them aren’t better than Dropbox in every category, but they may beat it in one or two important areas. If you have specific cloud storage needs, that might be enough for you to abandon ship.

      Dropbox Security

      Dropbox has had a turbulent history with security since it started (read our piece on Dropbox’s security issues). The largest and most talked about breach is the 2012 theft of emails and passwords from over 68 million Dropbox users.

      About half of the stolen passwords were hashed using bcrypt, which should render them unreadable. The other half were hashed using a much weaker algorithm called SHA-1. What’s worse is that Dropbox didn’t reveal the extent of the hack until 2016, when some of those stolen credentials showed up for sale online.

      Dropbox has reportedly tightened control and changed its password hashing algorithms multiple times since 2012 to prevent a repeat. It uses AES 256-bit to protect your files at rest and the TLS protocol with AES 128-bit to protect your files in transit. Still, it decrypts your data once it’s in the cloud to extract metadata for indexing and then re-encrypts it.

      Dropbox Privacy

      On top of problematic security, Dropbox’s privacy is a concern. Dropbox has been involved with the U.S. National Security Agency’s PRISM project, a surveillance program designed to locate terrorists. To that end, though, the NSA collects data from everyone, thanks to the effects of the USA PATRIOT Act.

      Dropbox can and will block certain files from being shared under the guidance of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Dropbox doesn’t scan your cloud storage files to do that, but it looks at your content when you share it, which isn’t quite as bad. That said, a few cloud storage services provide zero-knowledge file sharing, which prevents that.

      Some services we recommend are in more privacy-friendly locations than the U.S. That’s relevant because internet service providers are legally allowed to spy on user data and sell it to third parties without giving consumers the opportunity to opt out.

      As a side note, if you value your privacy, check out our selection of free tools to protect your privacy and our best VPN services roundup.

      Dropbox Free Plan and Pricing

      Unlike some services, you only get 2GB to work with on Dropbox’s free plan, which won’t be enough if you need to store high-definition photos and videos.

      Premium plans aren’t much better because they’re pricey and inflexible. Dropbox’s cheapest plan is Plus, which costs $9.99 per month or $99 per year and provides 2TB of storage. The next plan is Professional, which gets you the same amount of storage for $19.99 per month (or $16.58 per month if you pay for the year), but with some additional features.

      Free Dropbox Alternatives

      If you’re looking for Dropbox alternatives that offer a good amount of storage without spending a penny, there are a few different options. MEGA takes the cake here, with 20GB of free storage, which you can expand for a year if you fulfill certain “achievements.” Icedrive and Google Drive are also top-notch free alternatives, as they both give you 15GB of free storage.

      Final Thoughts: Best Dropbox Alternatives

      Sync.com stands at the top of the list, thanks to its competitive plans, strong security — including zero-knowledge encryption — capable sharing features and adherence to Canadian privacy laws. pCloud and Icedrive come next and are also excellent options with affordable plans and great security. MEGA is excellent if you’re looking for a lot of free storage, and Box is great for those looking for a business-focused alternative.

      The trailing services are good alternatives in specific cases. For example, iCloud is good for Apple users, OneDrive for those who work with Office 365 and Google Drive is the perfect option if you need to collaborate through Google Docs or store photos. Meanwhile, SpiderOak One Backup and IDrive are best for those looking for a hybrid solution.

      Still, we might have missed a service or two, so let us know about it in the comments below. Which service intrigues you the most? Be sure to check out our best DIY cloud storage tools roundup, too. Thank you for reading.