Online, or “cloud” storage has replaced the floppy disk as a way to share files, and it’s also a handy way to back up files and sync them with your various computers and mobile devices. Here’s a look at the various cloud storage services and what they have to offer. Read on to compare services and find the best storage solution for your needs.
One of the biggest names in online storage is Dropbox. Offering free, Pro, and Team accounts, Dropbox starts at 2GB (free) and goes up to 1TB (Team). Pro accounts offer 100GB of storage for just under $10 per month. But few people have to settle for the minimum storage; you can easily earn free storage by completing tasks such as going through the getting started guide, connecting your Twitter or Facebook account to Dropbox, inviting friends, and using Dropbox’s camera upload feature on your phone.
Box (formerly Box.net) offers free and paid accounts. Free accounts come with 5GB of storage. Sign into Box through one of the current promotional devices to receive a free upgrade of storage space — up to 50GB. File uploads for the free account are limited to just 250MB, which increases to 1GB if you switch to a paid account. For $10 a month you get 25MB of storage, and $20 a month gets you 50GB of storage. Business and Enterprise accounts are available as well.
Cubby is a storage service offered by LogMeIn. Free accounts start with 5GB of space, and you can earn up to 25GB of free storage. With each successful referral, 1GB of space will be added to the user’s account. Paid accounts start at just $7 a month for 100GB of free storage. There are no file upload limitations.
SkyDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service. It originally launched with 25GB of free storage, but new users get a more modest 7GB. There’s no way to earn free storage. To increase your limit, you can subscribe for as little as $10 per year, upping your account by 20GB. Twenty-five dollars a year will get you 50GB, while $50/year gets you another 100GB. SkyDrive has Windows, Mac, iOS, Windows Phone, and Android apps available to keep your files in sync.
SugarSync offers both free and paid accounts; the free account comes with 5GB of storage. You can earn up to 32GB of free space by referring friends and coworkers to the service. Standard paid accounts start at $7.49 per month for 60GB of storage, $10/month for 100GB and 250GB for $25/month. There are also larger storage allotment plans, as well as business plans available.
Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon offers its own storage service called Cloud Drive. Cloud Drive allows you to store any file type — except for music. A free account earns you 5GB of storage, with no way to increase the free file storage allotment. Paid accounts range from $10 per year for an additional 20GB, to $500/year for 1000GB.
Google Docs was rebranded as Google Drive some time back, and offers users 5GB of free file storage. In order to upgrade from the 5GB free plan, you’re looking at $2.49/month for 25GB or $4.99/month for 100GB. There’s no file size limit for uploading content, as long as your account has the room. You can access your Drive account, and even edit some types of documents, directly from Android and iOS mobile apps. Of course, there are Mac and Windows apps as well.
Apple’s cloud storage service is called iCloud. iOS and OS X users get 5GB of free storage, with no options to expand on it unless you pay. An additional 20GB will cost $40 a year, and an extra 50GB is $100/year. iCloud will back up your iOS device(s) automatically, store documents and settings for apps, and keep items in sync between iOS and OS X. There aren’t standalone apps for iCloud, unless you’re a Windows user, as this is an integrated service in recent Apple products.