We find the best online storage services. The best, cheapest and secure cloud storage services of 2016. It’s Dropbox vs iCloud vs Amazon Cloud Drive vs Microsoft OneDrive and more.
These days we all have myriad files, photos, music and video cluttering up our inboxes. And multiple devices from which we want to access and edit those files. Here we outline the best 13 cloud storage services of 2016. We’ve listed them alphabetically, so read on: there is something for everyone. (See also: Best FREE VPNs of 2016 UK | Disguise identity, protect privacy | The 5 best FREE VPN services for UK users in 2016.)
Best cloud storage service 2016: Amazon Cloud Drive
Is there anything Amazon doesn’t sell? Certainly not storage, as the Everything Store’s Amazon Drive offers secure online storage, automatic photo backup, with access to your files from phone, computer or tablet.
It is well priced, too. You can start with 5GB of storage for free. And if you are a Prime subscriber, you get unlimited photo storage, for the duration of your Prime account. Another reason to sign up for Prime.
Other plans start at £6 a year for 20GB of storage, and £16 annually for 50GB. The 100GB plan costs £32 a year, and 200GB sets you back £64 a year. Spend £160 a year and you get 500GB, and the 1000GB option costs £320 a year. If, you know, storage is really your thing.
Best cloud storage service 2016: Box
A big name in cloud, Box promises all of your files, anywhere. Sign up for Box and you can store and share files, online or off, from any advice. According to Box you can view files in more than 120 formats, as well as saving them for offline access.
In-document search is a good features, as is the ability to keep your desktop-, web- and mobile content synched. And if you are an iOS user, you can instantly send photos or videos from your iPhone or iPad directly to Box. Pretty useful given the criminal lack of expandable storage on Apple’s pricey devices.
Speaking of price, with Box the free option offers you 10GB of storage, but can upload files of only 250MB. Shell out £7 per month and you get 100GB storage with a 5GB file upload image. Amazon is cheaper and offers more options, but Box offers an excellent service.
Best cloud storage service 2016: Dropbox
The daddy of the cloud storage world, Dropbox offers a great range of cloud storage services at a good price. Get access to- and share all your files from anywhere, on any device. The desktop- and mobile apps offer a truly market-leading experience.
The free Basic account is barely worth the price, coming as it does with just 2GB of storage. You can upgrade to the 1TB plan for £7.99 per month.
Dropbox offers some interesting incentives, however. At the time of writing you can get 500MB of additional free storage for each friend you introduce: up to a decent limit of 16GB. There are other, similar free deals that can make Dropbox considerably more affordable.
Best cloud storage service 2016: Google Drive
With Google Drive you get up to 15GB of free storage, spread across Drive, Gmail and Google Photos. Really, if you are a Gmail user it is a no-brain decision. It lets you save files from Gmail attachment and works beautifully with Google’s Docs, Slides and Sheets. There are desktop- and mobile apps, of course (and being Google the Android app is fully developed).
If 15GB isn’t enough you can upgrade to 100GB for £1.59 a month and 1TB for just £7.99 a month.
Best cloud storage service 2016: iCloud
Apple’s iCloud is limited in that although you can use it on Windows PC, there is no app for Android or Windows Phone. Sign up for free and you get 5GB of storage. You pay 79p per month for 50GB, £2.49 per month for 200GB, and £6.99 per month for 1TB.
It feels like a work in progress, however. iCloud Drive has some of the collaboration and storage features offered by rivals such as Dropbox. But it isn’t as good a user experience as are any of the services we have mentioned thus far.
If you’re an Apple Mac, iPad and iPhone user and are willing to pay at least 79p per month for the privilege then it could be a good tool for you.
Best cloud storage service 2016: KnowHow Cloud
KowHow is the delivery, installation and repay branch of Currys and PC World, and KnowHow Cloud is the cloud storage service run by those high-street stores. So, good news: it is unlikely to take your money and disappear. Bad news: KnowHow is not a known software as a service provider. Just as well KnowHow Cloud is a rebadged service from reputable cloud specialist Livedrive.
Choose between three different levels of storage: 200GB, 2TB and 4TB. Then select the number of devices you want to use and the number of years for which you are prepared to sign up. Confused? Us too. It’s not bad value, though: 2TB of storage accessed from five devices will cost just £30 a year.Verdict
Once you are in KnowHow Cloud is easy to use with useful features. And it is secure. If you have a lot of data it may prove to be good value.
Best cloud storage service 2016: MediaFire
MediaFire claims to store all your media, making it available to any time you want it, anywhere you go, on any device you have. Sound familiar?
You can access MediaFire files from web interface and mobile app, and you get up to 50GB of storage for free. So what is not to like? For a start, MediaFire started life as a file-sharing service, and its interface and feature set reflect these beginnings
Also, in truth you get only 10GB of storage for free, earning the other 40GB through a variety of simple tasks. The main limitation on the free service is that files can be only 200MB or less. And unless you pay you will see adverts when sharing files.
Pony up for a Pro account that costs only $4.99 a month for 1TB of space, up to 20GB file sizes, and no ads. Which is pretty sweet. MediaFire is simple to use if a little basic, but really well priced. Check it out.
Best cloud storage service 2016: Mega
Mega is the cloud storage service from controversial Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. It calls itself ‘the privacy company’, and promises end-to-end encryption of your data and files. Mega can’t access your information, so it can’t give it away to government or worse.
The free package affords a whopping 50GB of space. If this isn’t enough you can upgrade to 500GB for only €99 a year, 2TB (€199), or 4TB (€299). You also get increased bandwidth with each additional package.
If security is important to you, Mega is a good value cloud storage service.
Best cloud storage service 2016: Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft’s OneDrive is our final cloud storage service from the big boys of tech. It offers all the storage, access and sharing features of Google’s Drive or Amazon’s Cloud Drive. Namely – wherever you are, whatever device you are on, you can access your files via the web.
For free Microsoft coughs up a paltry, Amazon-like, 5GB of storage. Shell out £1.99 a month and you can upgrade to 50GB. If you are an Office 365 subscriber you get 1TB of storage as a free add on.
Being an existing user of Microsoft’s cloud tools may be the main reason to opt for OneDrive, because despite its ease of use, feature set and clean design it doesn’t really compete in terms of storage and price.
Best cloud storage service 2016: Mozy
Mozy offers a very limited free service with just 2GB of storage space. You can get more via referrals, as is standard. Starting at £4.99 per month you can increase storage in what is a pretty standard online storage package. You can save to and access files from Windows and OS X, as well as iOS and Android devices.
Mozy comes into its own when it comes to security. The versioning support is good, local encryption is an important feature. Basically if you value security under keeping down costs, Mozy may be a good choice.
Best cloud storage service 2016: pCloud
pCloud describes itself as ‘your personal online storage space for your memorable photos and videos, your favorite music or important work documents’. It would.
In truth it is a fairly standard cloud storage service, offering access to files via smartphone or desktop app, or web browser. Out of the box the free version offers 10GB of storage, and you can upgrade to 20GB by various fairly painless means (recommend a friend, complete a tutorial etc).
500GB will set you back around $3.99 per month, while 1TB is available for around $7.99. This is good pricing. pCloud imposes no file size restrictions, so you can upload anything that your storage space allows. You can get additional security and encrypt your sensitive files with pCloud Crypto, too.
Best cloud storage service 2016: Spideroak
Our final two cloud storage services pride themselves on their security credentials. Spideroak encrypts files on your desktop before you upload them to the cloud, meaning like Mozy it can’t access your data even if it wanted to.
A central online hub takes care of sharing and accessing those encrypted files, and the experience is really rather slick.
Which is good, because you won’t choose Spideroak for reasons of value. The free trial lasts for only 60 days and gives you just 2GB of storage. Really it is a true trial. For $7 a month you can use 30GB of storage, which would be madness when for $12 you can get 1TB. $25 a month gets you 5TB of storage, and that should be enough for anyone.
Best cloud storage service 2016: Tresorit
Tresorit describes itself as a business tool offering end-to-end encryption, and makes great play of its ability to thwart hackers. It sells itself on being able to share files amongst colleagues, and share and send them to clients. Oh, and the fact that it hasn’t been hacked.
Enterprise users need to get a specific quote for their business, but small businesses will pay £15 a month – per user – for 1TB of encrypted storage space. If you are a small business user with a need for security Tresorit is well worth a look.