If you’re an active internet user, it’s more likely that you’re using a cloud storage service (or an online backup service). If you’re not using it already, then sooner or later you’re going to need it. A cloud storage service can be useful to you in several ways. For instance, it can save the disk space on your PC if you store your photos and videos online. Also, it can be used as a backup service so that your files are all safe in the cloud even if your computer hard drive crashes. And yeah, today cloud storage service has become increasingly popular because of their cross-platform support. It means that you can upload your documents from your PC to the cloud and can instantly access it via your mobile.
Comparison: Microsoft OneDrive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon Cloud Drive vs. Box vs. Mega vs. iCloud Drive
I have already compared the best cloud storage services back in 2012 but things changed a lot ever since. So I’m going to compare the top cloud storage services once again to reflect the updates (for instance, Microsoft SkyDrive was rebranded as OneDrive) and new services (like Box.net, Mega, and iCloud Drive).
1. Microsoft OneDrive (formerly Microsoft SkyDrive)
I really love OneDrive apps (yes, it’s my preferred cloud storage service) and its interface. But what I really don’t like about OneDrive is their URL structure. It’s simply not user friendly and not uniform at all. Also, sharing files with friends is not as simple as in Dropbox or Google Drive. OneDrive supports remote access to your PC. You can access all the files on your PC from another computer using OneDrive website.
In other words, if you have installed OneDrive desktop on your PC then you can use fetch files feature to access all your files on that PC from another computer even if it’s not there in your OneDrive folder. Also, you can access the network locations as well if they’re included in your PC’s libraries or if they’re mapped as drives. Since OneDrive is integrated to Microsoft Office Online (and now with Windows 8 as well), you can view your documents (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.) online without downloading them to your PC.
Free Storage: 15 GB (+ 3 GB extra storage when you activate camera roll backup)
- On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Windows Phone, Mobile Web
- On Desktop: Web, Windows (Vista, 7, 8, or 8.1), Mac OS X
Pricing For Additional Storage:
$25/year for 50 GB, $50/year for 100 GB, $100/year for 200 GB $1.99/month for 100 GB, $3.99/month for 200 GB (if you own an Office 365 subscription then you get additional 20 GB 1 TB OneDrive storage for free — like this).
File Size Limit: 10 GB (on all devices including OneDrive website)
You can refer your friends to OneDrive and you will get additional 500 MB/referral (refer up to 10 friends for a maximum of 5 GB additional free storage).
» Visit Microsoft OneDrive
Dropbox is perhaps web’s favorite cloud storage service with over 200 million users. I’m not actually a fan of Dropbox but it’s really a cool service as it’s intuitive and very powerful. Dropbox offers a clean interface and unlike OneDrive it’s super easy to share files and you can view all your shared files in one-click. Dropbox is secure too as it supports two-step verification and you can even lock your Dropbox mobile app using a passcode.
Free Storage: 2 GB (+ up to 1.5 GB extra storage as bonus)
- On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire, Mobile Web
- On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux
Pricing For Additional Storage: $9.99/mo. or $99/year for 100 GB; $19.99/mo. or $199/year for 200 GB; $49.99/mo. or $499/year for 500 GB
File Size Limit: No File Size Limit (via Dropbox desktop or mobile apps); 10 GB (via Dropbox website)
You can easily get bonus storage by connecting your Facebook account (+125 MB), Twitter account (+125 MB), following Dropbox on Twitter (+125 GB), giving feedback about Dropbox (+ 125 MB), and also by connecting your Mailbox for iOS app to Dropbox (+ 1 GB). Or you can refer your friends to Dropbox and get up to 16 GB as bonus space. Dropbox offers 500 MB/referral so you can refer up to 32 friends for a maximum of 16 GB additional storage space).
» Visit Dropbox
3. Google Drive
If I like Google Drive then it’s probably because of the following reasons: First, it’s deeply integrated to Gmail so you can save all your Google Mail attachments directly to your Google Drive account (Tip: Use the “Save to Drive” option in Gmail). Second, it’s integrated to Google Docs so you can create a doc and share with your friends instantly (and can even collaborate with each other in real-time). Third, it’s very easy to share files and set its permissions.
Free Storage: 15 GB
- On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Mobile Web
- On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS
Pricing For Additional Storage: $1.99/mo. for 100 GB, $9.99/mo. for 1 TB, $99.99/mo. for 10 TB, $199.99/mo. for 20 TB, $299.99/mo. for 30 TB
File Size Limit: Up to 1 TB (depends upon the file type)
Unlike other services the storage space offered by Google Drive is shared between Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. So if your Gmail is using over 10 GB space then you’ve got less than 5 GB free storage in Google Drive. If the storage is not enough then the only option is to buy one of their paid plan since there is no referral program.
» Visit Google Drive
The Next 3 Lesser Known Cloud Storage Services
Since I don’t personally use any of the following cloud services I’m highlighting only their basic features. You can select one based on your personal preference.
4. Amazon Cloud Drive
Free Storage: 5 GB
- On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Kindle
- On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac
Pricing For Additional Storage: $10/year for 20 GB, $25/year for 50 GB, $50/year for 100 GB, $100/year for 200 GB, $250/year for 500 GB, $500/year for 1 TB
File Size Limit: 2 GB
» Visit Amazon Cloud Drive
Free Storage: 10 GB
- On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Mobile Web
- On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac
Pricing For Additional Storage: $10/mo. for 100 GB
File Size Limit: 250 MB (5 GB for $10/mo. plan)
» Visit Box
Free Storage: 50 GB
- On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPod touch, compatible with iPad), Android, BlackBerry
- On Desktop: Web, Windows
Pricing For Additional Storage: $9.99/mo. or $99.99/year for 500 GB, $19.99/mo. or $199.99/year for 2 TB, $29.99/mo. or $299.99/year for 4 TB
File Size Limit: No File Size Limit
» Visit Mega
7. iCloud Drive
As you probably know, iCloud Drive is the latest addition to cloud storage service providers (but it’s not exactly a Dropbox alternative). Like any other cloud storage services, iCloud Drive allows you to store your files in the cloud so that they’re available on all your — iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Windows PC (but no app for Android yet).
You’re going to love iCloud Drive only if you’re an iOS user. In fact on iOS you don’t have an app for iCloud Drive as it’s integrated with the operating system. Earlier, it was not possible to save files directly in the iCloud but now iOS apps can save files in the cloud so that it can be accessed from iOS or Mac (of course if the app supports it).
Free Storage: 5 GB
- On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)
- On Desktop: Mac, Windows, Web
Pricing For Additional Storage: $0.99/mo. for 20 GB; $3.99/mo. for 200 GB; $9.99/mo. for 500 GB; $19.99/mo. for 1 TB
File Size Limit: 15 GB
» Visit iCloud Drive
So tell me, which is your favorite cloud storage service and why?
First Published: March 2014; Last Updated: November, 2014