It’s no secret that everyone loves the word “free.” Although, by now, most of us are trained to understand that free doesn’t always truly mean free. We assume there are strings attached or that there is some trickery involved. So what happens when it comes to free cloud storage?
Everyone has a different reason for utilizing a cloud storage service. Businesses need them; students should have them; photographers should also have them. Maybe you need cloud storage as well, but you’re running a real tight budget and don’t need a ton of space.
This is where free cloud storage services come into play. And what’s great is that many of the best cloud storage companies out there do, in fact, offer a free storage solution for those who are in your shoes. Although the free options won’t necessarily include all of the features involved in paid versions, you can make the most out of free services if you identify the best ones.
Finding the Best Cloud Storage for Free
Just like searching for the best cloud storage service for any given need or field, trying to find the best cloud storage for free isn’t quite as easy as doing a quick Google search. In fact, in some ways, it can be even harder to locate the best free services because you have to dig a little deeper. Don’t worry; we’re here with our collective shovel to do the tough part for you!
So let’s say you’re on a limited budget but want to utilize a cloud storage solution. These are probably a few of the features you’d be looking for:
- Storage space – This is an obvious one, no? You’d probably want as much free space as you could find
- Security – Free or not, everyone should care about privacy and keeping their files safe
- File syncing – Does the free service provide adequate features such as file syncing or file sharing?
Obviously, we can’t tell you exactly why you’re searching for a free cloud storage service, though we have a pretty good idea. So if there are additional things you’re looking for, your best bet is to make a nice, organized list as a reference point. Then, when you go through our recommendations, you’ll be able to find the best possible fit for your cloud storage needs.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what we have deemed the best free cloud storage options out there!
Winner: pCloud Cloud Storage
pCloud is a cloud storage company that has accumulated over 6-million users since their inception in 2013. The company is based out of Switzerland and aims to make a significant impact on the growing IT market. pCloud built their service with the user in mind, making an easy to use product that discards all of the unnecessary over complication.
Yes, you may see that pCloud only offers 10GB of free storage. This 10GB can double by referring a few friends or by following some easy to follow steps. You’ll likely find a few services that offer slightly more in the way of storage, but likely won’t match pClouds rock-solid service.
- Provides multiple ways to share files including web interface and standalone apps
- Share upload and download links attached to folders
- Automatic mobile syncing for all of your photos and videos
- Information traveling from your devices to the pCloud servers are TLS/SSL encrypted
- Files maintained in multiple locations for redundancy
- There are limitations on the file-editing which allow only one user to edit at a time
- Free plan is missing local encryption
- Free plan is also missing certain team features
Second Place: Sync.com Cloud Storage
Sync’s cloud storage solution has been around since 2011 and has made a nice name for itself in the interim. If you’re concerned with privacy, Sync provides a service that is guaranteed to satisfy. Using Sync ensures that your data is accessible by no one besides you.
Sync gives you 5GB of space to start but incentivizes you by offering an additional 1GB for both you and each person you refer to their service. Not a bad deal. The process couldn’t be any easier, either. All you need to do is generate a referral link and share via e-mail or other social platforms. The service is feature-rich and incredibly easy to use. A winning combination.
- Create shared folders and invite anyone you choose to access them
- Sync or restore your files to any computer
- Choose which folders you want to sync and which ones you don’t
- End to end zero-knowledge encryption; ensuring your privacy
- Create links for files and folders and share with anyone; even if they don’t have an account
- Trading speed for security – Encryption can bog things down a bit
- Restricted file sharing on mobile client
- Free version is missing a handful of features included in paid versions
Third Place: OneDrive Cloud Storage
If you’re not familiar with OneDrive, you may remember them as SkyDrive which was their original name when they launched back in 2007. The Microsoft service, which changed names in 2014 offers a convenient, easy to use cloud storage solution.
There was a time when OneDrive offered 15GB of free space, but they have since cut that number down to 5GB. However, much like other companies, OneDrive gives you ways to increase your free storage number to 10GB. Each referral gets you 500MB, so you’re going to have to work to get that extra 5GB, but the opportunity is there, and the service is worth it.
- Sharing and collaboration options that allow you to work on team projects
- Above average photo presentation – Great for those using their cloud storage predominantly for pictures
- Clear, easy to use interface
- Clients for iOS, Mac, and Android in addition to Windows and Windows Phone
- Access files anywhere at any time
- Some privacy concerns – the OneDrive service doesn’t measure up to some of its competitors when it comes to security
- Limitations when it comes to file sharing with colleagues
- Some users have reported file alterations during the syncing process
Free to Wrap Things Up
Free cloud storage is nice, but if the service that is attached to the non-existent price tag is subpar, is there really much of a point? Probably not. That’s why we’ve done a lot of the dirty work for you. If you ask us, you’re probably not going to find a better free cloud storage service than pCloud although we do like our other recommendations quite a bit as well.
Can’t hurt to try, right? After all, it is free!