With so many people using mobile devices and laptops with limited storage capacity, cloud storage is more important than ever. But at the same time, paying for these services can add up, and not everyone needs multiple terabytes. In this article, we’ll cover the best cloud storage services with free plans. And we’ll even mention their premium options when they’re worth the money!
Google Drive offers 15 GB of free cloud storage with your Gmail account. This is pretty competitive compared to other free options. The nice thing about this storage option is that text documents, presentations, and spreadsheets are built into the software – and if you use them, these items don’t count toward your storage. If you want more storage for your photos and other files, Google’s monthly plans aren’t bad. If you only need 100 GB or 200 GB of storage you can subscribe for $1.99 or $2.99 per month respectively, with 2 TB coming in at $9.99 per month. There are larger plans available as well for businesses and teams.
At only 2GB of free storage, Dropbox doesn’t have a ton of storage available with their free plan. So they’re not great for backup and file storage. However, even free accounts get access to Dropbox Transfer. On the free plan, users can transfer files up to 100 MB to each other without using any of their allotted storage space. Plans start at 2 TB for one user at $9.99 and 2 TB for 5 users at $16.99, with larger plans available for businesses and teams.
Apple iCloud gives 5 GB of storage for free so you can back up photos and other data on your Apple devices. You can increase that to 50 GB for $0.99, 200 GB for $2.99, and 2 TB for $9.99. The free iCloud plan is missing a lot of the additional features you unlock with a paid tier.
Microsoft OneDrive offers 5GB of free storage space. This free plan is purely for storage and doesn’t include any additional services. For $1.99 per month, you can upgrade to a 100 GB storage-only plan. For $69.99 per year or $6.99 per month, you shoot up to 1 TB of storage along with Skype and all of the standard Microsoft Office applications.
Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon Cloud Drive gives 5 GB of free storage with your Amazon account. Things get a little interesting if you’re already an Amazon Prime subscriber. If you’re paying for that already, you get unlimited photo storage. While this isn’t unlimited storage for every kind of file, it’s a pretty nice bonus for having Prime. You can upgrade your storage to 100 GB for $1.99 per month, 1 TB for $6.99 per month, and 2 TB for $11.99 per month. They also offer yearly plans up to 30 TB.
MediaFire comes with 10 GB of free cloud storage with a 4 GB limit per file. However, unlike the other options on this list, it’s not really free. Whenever you download a stored file, you’ll be delivered an advertisement to help support the website. That being said, you can get all the way up to 50 GB by completing tasks like referring friends and installing the mobile app. You can upgrade to 1 TB for $7.50 per month or 100 TB for $80 per month. Paying for a plan gets rid of the ads.
Sync.com offers 5 GB of storage for free with the ability to share up to 5 GB files. For $8 per month you can unlock 2 TB of storage, and for $20 per month you can get 6 TB of storage. The paid plans come with a ton of security and sharing features, but the basic plan is a bit more limited when it comes to administrative, support, and productivity features.
Box’s free plan includes 10 GB of storage with a 250 GB file upload limit. Notably, you also only get 1 file version. For $14 per month, you can upgrade to 100 GB of storage with 10 file versions. There are also plenty of business plans that offer more storage and file versions.
Which Cloud Storage Option is Best?
If your goal is to get free cloud storage, then clearly Google Drive offers the most storage. When it comes to paying for plans, all of the services are pretty similar. With several services, you can get 100 GB for as low as $1.99 per month. Several plans also offer 1 TB of storage for $9.99 per month. These days, you can get cloud storage for relatively cheap. However, for backing up a few important files or sharing files with friends and family, having between 5 GB to 15 GB for free should be plenty. Besides, you can always use multiple services to keep using cloud storage!
If large-capacity file storage is your goal, then be sure to read our article on managing large video projects.