It’s funny to think that less than half a century ago, we needed a device as large as a refrigerator in order to store a gigabyte of information. By contrast, today, you can store more than 128 gigabytes on a device no larger than your pinky finger. What’s more, we aren’t confined to physical devices; we have the option to store the information we care about online using cloud storage, a safe option that can provide us with theoretically limitless storage that is accessible anywhere on the planet so long as you have an internet connection. That said, cloud storage has become such a popular option for people looking to store and share their files that the market has been flooded with numerous companies vying for their business. So, our job as discerning consumers is to find the best providers out there and choose the one that suits our needs best.
Offering a comprehensive, user-friendly service, pCloud is ideal for newbies looking for a place to store their media files; you can back up your images and files from other big name platforms, including Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram, Google Drive, and Onedrive. pCloud is also perfect for people who would prefer a long-term solution as it offers its users a lifetime plan. Originally, pCloud offers users 10 GB of cloud storage for free, and this number can be increased to 20 GB should the user decide to make use of the company’s many incentive programs, including giving away one GB of storage forever friend referred and gifting three GB for those who watch the tutorial. However, more serious users may opt to subscribe for a pCloud Premium account which will give the 500 GB or for a pCloud Premium Plus which will give them a whopping two terabyte storage plan (a terabyte is equal to 1000 GBs). To top it all off, if you don’t feel like paying a monthly or annual fee for your two TBs, you can purchase a lifetime plan for $350, a relatively cheap price for what you’re getting in return. As for security, pCloud is as good as it gets. To start with, the company is located in Switzerland, where privacy laws are taken seriously. And, aside from the fact that pCloud uses the latest encryption technology, this cloud storage provider backs up your data on five different servers, and this redundancy protects your information from getting lost. Over and above, you can request an extra layer of encryption should you be storing particularly sensitive information.
2. Google Drive
Given that it’s Google, you know that this service will be good. What’s more, you can set it up instantly because all you need is a Google account, and you probably already have one. This is not to mention how easy the storage service is to use; Google even has a live support team to aid you in the event of a problem arising. So, if you’re looking for a place to park your files or are into gaming and need to maintain your saved progress, this might be the service for you. Google Drive starts its users with 15 GB for free, and this number can be increased to 100 GB for users willing to pay $1.99 a month. Not to be outdone by pCloud, Google Drive also offers 2 TBs worth of storage to users happy to pay a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. In addition to all of this, users can share their plan with five family members. What makes this service so appealing is how interconnected all of Google’s other products are. For instance, with the same Google account, you used to set up your Google Drive, you can use Google’s office suite to create files, documents, slides, and spreadsheets, all of which can then be stored on your Google Drive. Another example is how you can make use of Google Photos, a service that helps you store and share your photos.
3. Microsoft OneDrive
Speaking of large, well-known tech companies that provide cloud storage services, Microsoft offers OneDrive, which tends to be built-in into the latest Windows operating systems. Similar to other cloud storage services, OneDrive lets its users store any type of file they’d like, such as photos, videos, and other documents. With regards to storage, OneDrive starts its users with 5 GB of free storage. After that, you, as a user, can either up your storage space to 50 GB in return for a monthly subscription fee of $1.99 or up it to 1 TB in return for an annual subscription fee of $69.99 – the annual subscription fee includes full access to Office 365, which grants you access to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and Notes. It goes without saying that seeing as OneDrive is a Microsoft product, all Office 365 products work without a hitch with it.
Despite not being created by a major tech company, Dropbox is one of the most famous cloud storage service providers, a big part of which is attributable to its ease of use and clean interface. In fact, the company first started out as a start-up that was founded by two MIT students and initially funded by a well-known seed accelerator named Y Combinator. Today, Dropbox is used both by everyday individuals looking to store their personal files and by businesses looking to back up their sensitive information. If you choose to go with Dropbox, you will start off with 2 GB of free storage. Assuming that 2 GB is not enough for you, you can increase the storage capacity to 1 TB by upgrading your membership. What’s more, Dropbox gives you the option of backing up your sensitive files automatically through synchronizing your devices with the Dropbox servers.
5. Amazon Drive
As all things Amazon, Amazon Drive is a very reliable solution for anybody who has an Amazon Prime membership and is trying to find a good cloud storage provider. As a matter of fact, Amazon offers its Prime members unlimited photo storage for free, something that is also offered to anyone who owns a Kindle Fire device. When it comes to pricing, Amazon Drive starts its users with a 3-month free trial as a taster. Afterward, if a user would like to continue using Amazon’s services, they can pay $59.99 annually to keep using it. It’s as simple as that; there are no monthly plans, no over-abundance of options to overwhelm you. All that being said, you may have a bit of problem with regards to functionality. For starters, even though uploading media files and documents is easy, you can’t edit these files once they’re in your drive because the drive app doesn’t let you view the files you’ve stored: You can only upload or download them. Bearing that in mind, Amazon Drive is more appropriate for people who want to store large files.
With plenty of companies offering cloud storage services, you would do well to do your research before committing to one company or another. Ergo, we tried to highlight some of the best that are out there, but this does not absolve you of having to do your own research. You should also bear in mind that cloud storage is a different service than automatic cloud backup, which means that you need to know what you need exactly before you go out fishing.
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