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Nowadays, file storage and syncing in the cloud have made users’ professional and personal lives more convenient. However, there are multiple cloud storage services available in the market, each with unique offerings, advantages, and disadvantages. But some are better than others, and it can be challenging to choose the best. This guide will show you everything you need to know about cloud storage. So if you want to find the best cloud storage service for your needs, keep reading.
To find out which cloud storage is the best, I have interviewed over 30 professionals worldwide. Here is a summary of what I found out.
- Google Drive was the most mentioned cloud storage
- Storage capacity is a significant reason why most people (53%) chose Google Drive
- Over 80% of the interviewed professionals chose Dropbox because of its file-sharing capability
- The lifetime payment for pCloud is a significant incentive for users
- 8% of the people interviewed chose iCloud because of its compatibility with Apple devices
- 29% chose IDrive as their cloud storage of choice because of the free 5GB storage and multiple device compatibility
Before we discuss the best cloud storage services mentioned by the interviewees, I’ll explain what cloud storage is.
Cloud storage technology allows businesses and individuals to save their files in storage and have access to them from any location via the cloud. It is a service model that stores and transmits all types of files on remote storage systems over the internet. This service is typically offered by a cloud storage service provider that manages and operates data storage as a service. Besides, cloud storage providers eliminate buying and managing your personal data storage infrastructure.
The Best Cloud Storage Provider
Google Drive is a fully-featured cloud storage and syncing service provider that enables users to collaborate with others easily. It also offers more than just cloud storage as other Google Workspace applications accompany it, like Google Docs, Photos, Sheets, and Slides – allowing users to create, store, edit, synchronize, and view their files on the go.
When you open a new Google account, you automatically have free 15GB storage on your Google Drive, and you can store everything from photos to videos, music, and documents.
“Google Drive is popular among individuals for its free storage capacity. You can easily store photos, documents, stories, designs, recordings, videos, etc. as long as you have a Google account.”
Other features that endeared users to this storage provider include:
- Upgradable storage
- Multiple devices compatibility
- Gmail integration
- Android device pre-installation
- Malware protection
- Microsoft Office compatibility
- Google Workspace Integration
“Google Drive is my preferred cloud storage solution for personal use. I love the way that it easily integrates with Gmail, which I also use a lot, along with Google’s productivity apps like docs and sheets. While you can pay for extra storage if you need it, you also get a ton of storage for free.”
“My only go to cloud storage is Google Cloud/Drive. Reason being, it can be used with unlimited devices and the cloud storage is up to 15GB which is enough for me as an individual. I can definitely store and share my files and folders from my phone, tablet and pc. Google Drive is also protected from malware and ransom ware. You can also share your documents with other people and make it a convenient collaboration app. If you need a bigger storage, you can opt for the business option with 12USD/user/month and you can get storage up to 2TB. ”
Also Roger Huang, Head of Operations at Springboard, agrees:
“I think Google Drive is a really good deal for most people. You get 15GB to start out and for only an extra couple of dollars per month you can upgrade to 100GB. This is more than enough for most people for storing things like photos, videos and documents. And if you use Google Docs, Sheets or Slides, those files don’t even count against your storage quota.”
IDrive is ranked second for a good reason, as it offers users a secure cloud storage service with free 5GB storage. It also provides file syncing, storage, and backup, and it is best for both business and personal use. This cloud storage is cost-effective, and different plans are tailored to fit every user. Despite the minimal free storage capacity offered, 29% of the interviewees picked IDrive for this feature and more.
Daniel Leone, Personal Injury Lawyer at NJ Law Results, described it well:
“First of all, the initial paying plan has a 90% sale for first-time customers, which is an absolutely huge saving for individual cloud storage solutions. This payment allows for 5TB on its personal plan, which includes automatic online backup, multiple device backup (across mobile devices and computers), and Snapshots which can keep up to 30 previous versions of the documents you save on the cloud. This is wonderful for keeping track of how your personal projects develop over time!”
Other major IDrive features include
- Mobile App
- 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard
- Facial recognition
- File versioning
- Multiple device compatibility
- Unlimited device backup
- Email verification
- Microsoft 365 suite integration
“IDrive arguably has the most intuitive user experience and solid mobile apps. It’s probably not as famous as Google Drive, but it’s equally satisfying to use.”
“As a business person, I have utilized cloud storage solutions to keep all the necessary documents in my company. However, I have to separate the personal ones from myself and not include them with the business files. Hence, I use IDrive. It offers tons of online storage and has good security to keep your files protected. It is also easy to use and can work on any device. You do not have to worry about utilizing it from different devices as it can function perfectly without encountering any issues”
Dropbox is a primary cloud storage provider that has been in the business for over a decade. Users choose this service because of the collaborative features, like file sharing. This file-sharing feature enables users to share their files with others, even when not signed in to a Dropbox account.
Susan Carin, the marketing manager of Drsono.com, chose Dropbox as the best cloud storage for multiple reasons.
“Dropbox is a good option for individuals, as it offers a lot of features for free (2 GB). You can also upgrade to more storage if you need it. Dropbox also has a very user-friendly interface, making it easy to use even if you’re not tech-savvy.”
Radhika Gupta, Founder of 365Solutions, had something related to say.
“Dropbox is hands-down the best cloud storage solution, in my opinion. It’s convenient to use and has an excellent free plan. Furthermore, it has integrations with top apps from other domains. With Dropbox, you can send files up to 100GB to anyone you want and 250GB with creative tools add-on. It is compatible with all OS like Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Dropbox allows you to share 175 types of files without installing any software. Furthermore, you can recover your files for up to 180 days if there ever be a need. Finally, it provides you with content suggestions based on the recent Dropbox activity, enabling you to jump to the files you need directly.”
Other Dropbox features that users like include:
- 2GB free storage
- Automatic syncing
- 24×7 access
- Multiple device compatibility
- Password protection
- Link expiration feature
- File versioning
OneDrive is the default cloud storage and syncing service for Microsoft Office 365 and Windows 10 users, and it is also available for other Android, iOS, and macOS users. Its compatibility with Microsoft 365 applications is a major reason why users opt for this cloud storage. Besides, it is pre-installed on Windows devices, and there are mobile apps available, enabling you to sync your files in real-time.
Kate Zhang, the co-founder of KateBackDrop, selected OneDrive as the best cloud storage for many reasons.
“Whatever you want to share with someone, OneDrive and SharePoint make it simple, quick, and painless. All users of OneDrive and SharePoint have access to an entire Terabyte of data storage. To access and edit your Microsoft 365 Apps documents, all you need is a web browser and OneDrive, SharePoint, or Office Online. Also, all your work is saved as you work in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Office Online.”
For Michelle Devani, founder of lovedevani, her reasons for choosing OneDrive are somewhat different.
“One Drive allows you to merge your Windows desktop with the cloud. It integrates well into Microsoft Office Programs, making it the best choice for Windows Users.”
Other major OneDrive features include:
- Free 5GB storage
- Password-protected vault
- File sharing capabilities
- Automatic saving
- Xbox One console compatibility
- Two-factor authentication
The iCloud Drive is a cloud storage and syncing service worth using, especially if you have multiple Apple devices. This cloud storage offers users various features like free 5GB storage, backup functionality, file syncing, and 2-factor authentication.
Dan Belcher, Founder of Mortgage Relief, selected iCloud as one of the best cloud storage services:
“iCloud is the best cloud storage solution for Apple users since it has a large file storage capacity and notifies its users about their device activities. Also, there is two-factor authentication for security purposes and a backup feature for users to check and move their data to another device.”
“iCloud is a good choice for individuals who use Apple products, as it integrates well with them. iCloud also offers a decent amount of storage for free (5 GB), and you can upgrade to more storage if you need it.”
“For general & personal use, I’d say iCloud is decent if you have an iPhone or an Apple device”
Interviewees mentioned this cloud storage provider a few times because of its one-time payment functionality. This lifetime payment feature is also unique to pCloud.
Lauri Kinkar, CEO of Messente, had a similar assertion of pCloud.
“It [pCloud] is perfect for people who want to store data for a considerable period. The best thing about this cloud storage is that you only need to pay for it once, eliminating monthly or annual dues.”
“What I love most about this specific cloud storage solution is its lifetime subscription. Apart from this one-of-a-kind feature, it also has a permanent virtual cloud drive that can store all folders and files, which shows where everything is stored. It’s also easy to access even by non-tech savvy users, brought about by its intuitive interface. The pCloud cloud storage has a 2TB Storage size, inclusive of a 10 GB tier. You can also extend the storage up to 5 devices. It also has a 30-day trash history so you can recover files, and a feature to lock or unlock individual passwords and files on a premium package.”
“Installing a desktop app, a smartphone app, storing your smartphone’s videos and photos on pCloud, and inviting others to subscribe to pCloud each require 1 GB of additional storage. This is limited to 10 GB of free storage space. For a one-time payment of $175, you can get 500GB of storage forever if you are truly committed to your storage. Or, 350 dollars for 2TB.”
Lauri Kinker, the CEO of Messente, selected Icedrive as one of the best cloud storage for users using this statement:
“The cache-control intelligence of this app makes the running speed super-fast, together with its syncing mechanism. It also works as a USB flash drive, and you can use it both on your phone and PC.
The CEO of Effy.ai, Andrew, also had a few things to add about Icedrive cloud storage.
“This easy-to-use cloud storage comes with 10TB of free space for you to use. One of its main benefits is two-factor encryption which keeps all of your files protected at all times. You can access it in the same way as your hard drive and the storage space is quite intuitive.”
Other Cloud Storage Providers
Apart from the cloud storage service providers mentioned above, others were not mentioned as many times by the professionals interviewed. Highlighted below are some of these providers.
- Amazon Drive