File storage shouldn't be something we think about much, but with the number of photos and videos we all take of our friends and family (and, of course, those hilarious memes we save), our devices' storage capacity can shrink quite quickly. That's why cloud storage is so important: it can make your life easier by keeping your most precious files safe while saving storage space on your, or . The best part is that even if you lose your device in an accident or forget to back it up before upgrading, all your files are still in the cloud and easily obtainable.
Cloud storage is also important forwho have to share files with colleagues. Many cloud storage services have a free tier and different pricing options, which means you can meet your needs to keep your data stored safely. The best cloud storage options usually feature individual and business plans.
For that reason, we've compiled a guide to the most popular cloud storage services: how they work, their strengths and weaknesses and some lesser-known services if you want to get away from the mainstream. (To be clear, we have not tested these -- rather, we are just providing an overview of some of the top options in the market.)
Cloud storage comparison
||OneDrive||Dropbox||Google Drive||Box||Amazon Cloud Drive|
|Paid Plans||$2/month for 100GB of storage; $70/year ($7/month)for 1TB of storage. Microsoft 365 Family offers a one-month free trial, then it's $100/year ($10/month). Family package offers 6TB of storage.||$20/month for one user with 3TB of storage; $15/month for 5TB of space for Teams. $25/month for customizable team storage.||(With a Google One membership) 100GB: $2/month or $20/year; 200GB: $3/month or $30/year; 2TB: $10/month or $100/year; 10TB: $100/month; 20TB: $200/month; 30TB: $300/month.||$10/month for up to 100GB of storage. Several business plans available.||Unlimited photo storage with Amazon Prime account; $2/month for 100 GB; $7/month for 1TB; $12/month for 2TB (with Amazon Prime membership).||
|Supported OS||Android, iOS, Mac, Linux, Windows||Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android||Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, MacOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire|
Google Drive storage
If you already have a Google account, you can already access Google Drive. You just have to head to drive.google.com and enable the service. You get 15GB of storage for anything you upload to Drive -- including photos, videos, documents, Photoshop files and more. However, you have to share that 15GB with your Gmail account, photos you upload to Google Plus, and any documents you create in Google Drive unless you upgrade your plan with .
Signing up for agets you . You'll also get access to a number of other features, like automatic .
Google Drive pricing
Since Google One replaced Paid Google Drive Storage, if you need to expand on your Drive storage beyond the free 15GB, here's how the price breaks down with Google One:
- 100GB: $2 a month or $20 annually
- 200GB: $3 a month or $30 annually
- 2TB: $10 a month or $100 annually
- 10TB: $100 a month
- 20TB: $200 a month
- 30TB: $300 a month
You can store any kind of file in the service, including photos, video and documents, and then access them from any of your computer or mobile devices. The service organizes your files as well, and you can change how OneDrive sorts your items or the layout. Photos can be uploaded automatically when you turn on Camera Upload, organize with automatic tagging and search by the photo contents.
By adding on Microsoft Office apps, you can streamline group work by sharing documents or photos with others to collaborate. OneDrive gives you notifications when something has been edited, lets you set passwords for shared links for extra security and the ability to set a file to be accessible offline. The OneDrive app also supports scanning documents with your phone's camera, signing and sending them.
In addition, OneDrive backs up your content so even if your device is lost or damaged, your files are protected. There's also a feature calledfor your files with identity verification.
Microsoft OneDrive pricing
OneDrive has a basic free tier, with 5GB of free cloud storage, that's. Other options include:
- OneDrive Standalone: $2 a month for 100GB of storage
- Microsoft 365 personal: $70 a year ($7 a month); offers OneDrive premium features, as well as 1TB of storage. You'll also get access to Skype and Office apps like Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
- Microsoft 365 Family: One-month free trial and then $100 a year ($10 a month). The Family package offers 6TB of storage as well as OneDrive, Skype and Office apps.
You can also have peace of mind when it comes to keeping your file safe with features -- even in the free tier -- like file sync from your, camera or SD card, file recovery for anything you've deleted in the past 30 days, and version history which lets you revert edited files back to the original within 30 days.
Dropbox also offers easy ways to share and collaborate with others on projects -- no more annoying notifications that your attachment is too big. You can create links to share files with others to edit or view, and they don't need to be Dropbox users either.
With paid tiers users can also take advantage of features like mobile offline folders, remote account wiping, document watermarking and priority live chat support.
While Dropbox offers a free basic tier, you can upgrade to one of several paid plans with more features. Dropbox's free version offers 2GB of storage along with file sharing, storage collaboration, backup and more.
- Individual professional plan: $20 a month, 3TB storage, productivity features, file sharing and more
- Standard team plan: $15 a month, 5TB of storage
- Advanced team plan: $25 a month, unlimited storage
Not to be confused with Dropbox,is a separate cloud storage option for files, photos and documents. When compared to Dropbox, Box is similar with features like assigning tasks, leaving comments on someone's work, change notifications and privacy controls.
For example, you can decide who in your business can view and open specific folders and files, as well as who can edit and upload documents. You can even password-protect individual files and set expiration dates for shared folders.
Overall, while it's available for individual use, Box has more of an enterprise focus with built-in features that are particularly useful for businesses. In addition to collaboration with Box Notes and storage accessible across different platforms, the service offers Box Relay which helps with workflow efficiency, and Box Sign for easy and secure e-signatures.
Business users can also connect other apps, such as Salesforce, so that you can easily save documents to Box. There are also plug-ins for Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, Outlook and Adobe that let you open and edit files saved to Box from those applications.
Box offers three different account types -- Business, Enterprise and Personal -- that work with Windows, Mac and mobile apps.
Box has a basic free tier with 10GB of storage and a 250MB file upload limit for both desktop and mobile. With the free version, you also can take advantage of file and folder sharing, as well as Office 365 and G Suite integration. You can also upgrade:
- Personal Pro: $10 a month, 100GB storage, 5GB file uploads
- Several paid business plans
Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon Cloud Drive storage
Amazon already sells you nearly everything under the sun, and cloud storage is no exception. With Amazon Cloud Drive, the e-commerce giant wants to be the place you store all of your music, photos, videos and other files too.
When you sign up for Amazon, you get 5GB of free storage to share with Amazon Photos. While Amazon Photos and Drive are both cloud storage, Amazon Photos is specifically for photos and videos with its own app for iOS and Android. In addition, you can upload, download, view, edit, make photo albums and display media on compatible devices. Amazon Drive is strictly file storage, sharing and preview, but it's compatible with file formats like PDF, DocX, Zip, JPEG, PNG, MP4 and more.
You can use them to save, organize and share your files across desktop, mobile and tablet devices.
Amazon Cloud Drive pricing
With a basic Amazon account, you'll get 5GB of free storage to share with Amazon Photos. With an Amazon Prime account ($13 per month or $119 annually), you get unlimited photo storage, in addition to the 5GB of video and file storage. You can also upgrade from the boost you get with Amazon Prime -- for $2 a month, you'll get 100GB of storage, for $7 a month you get 1TB, and 2TB for $12 a month.
What about Apple iCloud Drive?
Apple'sisn't included in our list because the service isn't available for Android, and it's really meant to be used within the Apple ecosystem. But if you use iOS and Mac devices, it's a solid choice for cloud storage. For a full run-down of its features, pricing and availability, check out .
Other cloud options
Of course, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box and Amazon aren't your only cloud storage options.
Another is SugarSync, a Dropbox-like alternative with apps for every mobile platform. The service offers personal and business plans with a 30-day free trial to start. With a personal SugarSync account, you get 250GB for $10 a month. The service offers secure file-sharing (even if they don't have an account), collaboration, file syncing, as well as remote data wipe in the event of loss, theft or damage.
A business account is $55 a month ($550 annually) and offers 1TB of storage, admin control, remote wipe for synced devices, and more.
Another option for cloud storage is. The service offers unlimited backup on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android, with the option to connect external hard drives. Files and folders can be synced across all the connected devices. You can sign up and get a free 5GB plan and upgrade later.
There are personal and business packages as well. iDrive Personal supports one user -- 5TB for about $80 per year, or 10TB for about $100 per year. iDrive also offers paid Team, Business and Enterprise plans.
For more, check outand .