Cloud storage helps slash data on hardware in a remote physical location, which can be accessed from any device with the help of the internet. Below are some of the best free cloud storage in 2023:
Best Free Cloud Storages
1. Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft One Drive provides a cloud storage service and offers users 5 GB of free storage. OneDrive, earlier called Skydrive, can be used to store important files securely at one location and these can be accessed from anywhere and from any compatible system. Cloud storage works like a traditional hard drive, the difference being that it is available online and can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Also, companies offer to extend the storage capacity if required. Files of any format can be stored in Microsoft OneDrive, though it is better for Office documents.
It offers cross-device and cross-platform design, which implies that you can resume your work from where you left off without the need for saving it or making a copy of it. Due to its Office365 integration, it is easy to share your content and files with other users and hence facilitates collaboration among a team. One prominent feature of Microsoft OneDrive is Files on demand. This means you can access your files stored in the cloud from anywhere, without downloading them to your local device which saves a lot of local storage. Since the files are stored and changes are saved in the cloud, the recovery is very convenient in case the system you are working on gets crashed, damaged, or stolen. You can easily upgrade your account by buying extra storage in case you are running low on memory.
The Important Features of Microsoft OneDrive
- Create and share folders
- Save notebooks to OneDrive
- View Office documents online
- Upload multimedia files from your personal mobile phone.
- Real-time co-authoring
- File type support
- Desktop synchronization
- Search and discovery tools
- Device reports
- Documents storage and tracking
- Permission management
- Photo management
- Microsoft Office integration
- Device-specific selective sync
Dropbox is operated by the American company Dropbox, Inc., and provides cloud storage and is used for file sharing and collaboration. Dropbox is available as an application for desktop for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems. It is also available as an app for Android, iPad, iPhone, and Blackberry. It provides a limited storage capacity of 2GB, which can be upgraded up to 100 GB by purchasing from several plans offered. The upgraded version of Dropbox is called Dropbox Plus. Upgrading to this version offers many benefits like automatic camera roll back up, which implies that all the photos that you click from your personal mobile phone get backed in Dropbox.
Dropbox provides a robust API that allows other apps to collaborate with it and use it for file storage and sync. Dropbox does not require a complicated upgrade or timely installation. It is mainly focused on file exchange. It does not limit the number of files you can share or the number of users you can share with. You can even share your files with users who do not have a Dropbox account. It supports the exchange of files among any operating system and any device.
Dropbox facilitates easy collaboration among team members. If you edit or make changes to any file that is shared with your team, they will receive a notification about the changes made. Teams can communicate and edit files at a minimal cost. You can easily get started with Dropbox by just downloading the app on your phone. After you create an account, you can start sharing your content. You can even use it offline if you sync your local storage or additional account data with it. To ensure the security of your stored files, Dropbox is designed with multiple layers of protection.
Layers of protection include the following
- Dropbox files are encrypted using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
- It uses the Secure Socket layer or transport layer security to secure data being exchanged with Dropbox apps and servers.
- Dropbox applications are regularly tested for security threats and if such vulnerabilities exist, it is fixed immediately.
- During login, two-step verification is available to provide additional privacy.
The important features of Dropbox are as follows
- Automatic updates
- File storage and file sync
- Offline access
- Manually set bandwidth
- Automatic organization and backup
- Preview and download
- Any device accessibility
- Large files sharing
- Easy link sharing
3. Google Drive
Google Drive is a file storage and sharing service offered by Google. The first 15 GB is free. You can store any kind of files like photos, videos, designs, drawings, recordings, and stories. Just like most other cloud services, you can upload your files online, and can access it from anywhere and on any device. You can even invite people to view, download or contribute to your project.
Google drive provides storage options for any kind of files such as images, sheets, pdf, videos, word documents, etc. one can even save their email attachment in google drive directly through Gmail without going through the hassle of moving files. One of the greatest features of Google Drive is that it allows the user to view the file in the browser without having to download it. The files that can be previewed are Adobe, Microsoft Office, images, audio, texts, and video files, such an option is not provided by most of the zero-knowledge services as those services are unable to decrypt the files. Google Drive's versatility makes it more user-friendly than any other storage platforms.
Significant features of Google Drive are
- Google drive provides 15 GB of free storage upon signing up.
- With the assistance of Google's homegrown office suite, Google docs, and other third-party applications it is more productive and efficient than most other storage options.
- It is very versatile as one can store almost any kind of file and preview the same without downloading it.
- Google Drive can be accessed by logging in with your Google account.
- Many different types of programs can be integrated with Google drive.
- Google drive's browser interface is fairly intuitive and user-friendly.
- With the help of Google clients, one can make optimum use of its sync capabilities.
- File replication.
- It provides a third-party applications library.
The only drawback Google Drive has is that it does not provide any specific way to share files, however, it is one of the best storage options as its strength surpasses its weaknesses.
Though pCloud is new in the market compared to its counterparts, it has emerged as a versatile cloud solution for both business and personal use. The features of pCloud which make it stand out among other cloud services are as follows:
- pCloud crypto: It provides you with an option to secure your files and data with encryption on your device before uploading to the cloud to protect them from any unwanted and insecure access.
- Lifetime subscription: Unlike other cloud services available in the market, pCloud offers a lifetime subscription, which means you can use its services permanently without going through limited and expensive subscriptions.
The advantages of using pCloud are as follows
- pCloud rewind: The main reason why people go for cloud storage is data recovery in case of any issue occurring in the local device. It should be easy to recover files in case it is lost due to corruption, virus, or hardware problems. To ensure this, pCloud stores five separate copies of every file you upload at three different locations at a centralized data center facility in Dallas, Texas, so you always have a copy of your file available for download. pCloud has a feature called pCloud rewind which tracks and saves your file history from the last 30 days in case you make any mistakes or accidentally deleted your original file. You can also go for long periods of history by including the extended file history add-on (EFH) that keeps previous file versions for up to 360 days.
- High-level security: The sensitive files and data are highly vulnerable in the current date of technologies for hacking and stealing data. Organizations dealing with sensitive data can opt for pCloud since it provides a client-side encryption service called pCloud crypto. Other cloud service providers use AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) TLS/SSL 256-bit encryption which helps secure your files in transit from device to server. But after these files are uploaded to the cloud storage server, it gets back to their original format. This means that anyone who has access to the server can access the data as well. pCloud offers an additional level of data security where the responsibility of encryption is in the hands of the client. You can encrypt your files or data on your personal system before you upload it to the storage server. You can unlock these files by using the generated key called CryptoPass.
- Convenient file management: pCloud is available on all digital platforms including Mac, Windows, Linux, and also mobile systems like iOS, Android, and Windows. This lets you access your file on the go from any system even while you are traveling. All the changes are saved to the files irrespective of the device it is on. You can access your files from any device without extra charges.
- Store your files from other online platforms: If your files or work is saved on Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other third-party cloud storage platforms, pCloud offers to easily exchange information with these services conveniently and also upload them. You can even sync your information with social media platforms like Meta and Instagram.
Mega is secure cloud storage offered by Mega Limited, an Auckland-based company. Mega offers 20 GB of free storage space.
Mega is also available for Windows phones, iOS, and Android in the form of mobile apps. It provides services basically through a web-based app. For Windows, Linux, and Mac desktop programs, one can download MEGAsync. A folder is created in which one can drag and drop the files that one needs to upload to the MEGA account. Mozilla Thunderbird users have the option of the MEGAbird add-on to share large files over email.
It was founded by Kim Dotcom in 2013 and was launched on January 19, 2013. Kim Dotcom left the company in 2015 when the company was taken over by a Chinese investor who was wanted for fraud in China and the consequent seizure of the investor's shares by the New Zealand government. The site is now controlled by the New Zealand government. Mega was created for privacy and security reasons and all files are end-to-end encrypted locally before they are uploaded. It has bandwidth limits that have to be set in account settings while uploading through a browser and through a desktop client while working in the application. Through various achievements, one can activate additional storage but the maximum limit is 50 GB.
On the other hand, paid account users have four levels of options
- 200 GB (1 TB bandwidth per month)
- 1 TB storage (2 TB of bandwidth per month )
- 4 TB storage ( 8TB bandwidth per month )
- 8 TB storage (16 TB bandwidth per month)
Significant features of Mega
- MEGAchat - It was launched in 2015 as an encrypted alternative to applications such as Skype and others. It is a browser-based chat service that covers email, video, chat, voice, and mobile.
- Browser extension- They launched a plugin extension MEGA chrome extension in 2015, marketed for its improved downloading and loading and improved security. Later in 2018, it was found that the chrome web store extension was compromised due to the addition of code that was designed to steal credentials of cryptocurrency however the original code on GitHub was secure.
- Desktop sync client- It assists in removing file uploads that have keywords in common that reduce the uploading of unnecessary content.
- API - Mega has recently released a feature of documentation of its API enabling the developers to write their own applications.
- The whole folder can be uploaded through the browser.
Limitations of Mega
- There is no option to share files among a group of users.
- One can experience inconvenience while working with browsers other than Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
- There are no advanced sharing features, one can send Mega files only by creating a public link.
- There is a 10 GB bandwidth limit which is refilled every 30 minutes.
Hope this article helped you get an understanding of all the best cloud storage available for free. If you want to learn about AWS, you should try the AWS Certification course or explore other cloud computing courses.