Free cloud storage is one of the best online storage deals – the price is right.
Free cloud backup provides a convenient way to share content with friends, family and colleagues. Small businesses and individuals can take advantage of free online file storage to access extra space, for backup and recovery purposes or just store files temporarily.
Free cloud storage also tends to have paid options that are priced for individuals, small businesses, and large enterprises – so they will grow with you. The cloud storage pricing can vary considerably for these options.
The following are the best free cloud backup, with the associated advanced cloud storage options:
(Hint: some businesses have discovered that the most free cloud storage results from combining free cloud services:)
Box may not have quite the name recognition in the consumer market as Dropbox, but its offer is still quite attractive.
Box free cloud storage
Box provides users with 10 GB of free, secure storage. It supports any file type, including photos, videos and financial information. The data can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. Like some other services, users can simply send a link to share a document. Using Box, users can turn folders into shared online workspaces and co-edit files in Microsoft Office 365 or Box Notes.
- Starter – available free for a 14-day trial period and $5/month per user after that for 100 GB of storage. It includes the aforementioned features plus user access controls and up to 25,000 API calls. It supports 3 – 10 users.
- Business – available free for a 14-day trial period and $15/month per user after that for an unlimited amount of storage. It includes all of the Starter features, plus core sync and share capabilities, advanced security, customization and reporting.
- Business Plus – available free for a 14-day period and $25/month per user after that for an unlimited amount of storage. It includes all the Business features plus advanced admin controls and capabilities and unlimited external collaboration.
- Enterprise – no free trial or posted pricing. It includes content management with enhanced security, unlimited integrations and workflow automation.
Dropbox is a favorite option for consumers, small businesses and enterprises. It's primarily used for file sharing. Following are the available service levels for Dropbox and Dropbox Business and their associated benefits:
- Basic - a free service that offers 2 GB of space. There are also Dropbox apps users can download for use on a computer, phone or tablet. Dropbox Basic accounts can earn 500 MB per referral, up to 16 GB of free space. Sharing a file with another doesn't count. You have to use Dropbox's invite.
- Plus - costs $9.99/month or $99/year. It includes 1 TB of space, offline folders on mobile, remote device wipe capabilities, and priority email support. Dropbox Plus users can earn 1 GB per referral and can earn up to 32 GB total of free space.
- Professional - costs $19.99/month or $199/year. It includes everything in Dropbox Plus another TB of space (2 TB total), Smart Sync capabilities to save hard disk space, advanced sharing controls, full test search, 120-version history and priority chat support. Dropbox Professional users get 1 GB per referral and can earn up to 32 GB of free space.
- Standard – available as 30-day free trial then $12.50/month per user thereafter. A Standard subscription includes 3 GB of storage and a whole list of enterprise-level features that range from core features such as syncing, easy sharing and anywhere access to cybersecurity, compliance, advanced collaboration and administrative tools.
- Advanced – also available as a 30-day free trial, then $20/month per user. An Advanced subscription includes more security, collaboration and administrative features than the Standard edition, but fewer than the Enterprise edition. Storage space is unlimited.
- Enterprise – users must call for pricing details. This level provides the most comprehensive features such as network control that are no available in other editions.
Free cloud storage offers a great price, but naturally it doesn't offer the feature set of paid options.
Clearly, with its vast resources Google will likely always been a top vendor in online storage.
Free cloud storage
Google Drive is one of the benefits users get when they get when they sign up for a Google service such as Gmail or are invited to edit a Google document. Google Drive and Google productivity applications go hand-in-hand, meaning the option to create G Suite word processing, spreadsheet and presentation files. Users can also upload files created in other tools such as Microsoft Word or Excel. In addition, it includes access to other apps such as for photo editing and forms.
All levels of service are designed to keep data safe and accessible via any device. Google Drive can handle any kind of file including music, movies, documents and more. Not surprisingly, the service utilizes Google search so users can quickly find files from anywhere. File sharing is also easy via a link or email.
Following are Google Drive options and their associated pricing. Notice how the cost is directly tied to the amount of space users require.
- 15 GB - free
- 100 GB - $1.99/month
- 1 TB - $9.99/month
- 10 TB - $99.99/month
- 20 TB - $199.99/month
- 30 TB - $299.99/month
If you're an Apple user, iCloud storage is clearly a choice that will work well for your devices.
Free cloud storage
Apple iCloud is designed for consumers and their families only at this time. No business version iCloud is available yet, despite the obvious business opportunity. iCloud is built into Apple devices so users can store and share files via a link across Apple and non-Apple device types, including Window PCs and Android devices. Apple device users get 5 MB of free storage, which can be upgraded as needed.
iCloud also includes real-time collaborative capabilities that are similar to Google Drive. However, instead of working with Google Docs, users are editing Pages, Numbers, Keynote and Notes files. To prevent data loss, backups are taken care of automatically when an Apple device is plugged in and connected to Wi-Fi.
- 5 MB – free
- 50 MB - $0.99/month
- 200 MG - $2.99/month
- 2 TB - $9.99/month
Microsoft OneDrive offers varying level of service for personal and business use. The free personal service provides file access from any device. Users can also access files when they're offline. OneDrive is SSL encrypted for security. Files can be shared using a link.
The following are OneDrive options (Note: Office 365 use may or may not be reliable based on this author's personal experience; that is, files saved to OneDrive may be invisible and therefore unavailable.) Generally speaking, OneDrive and Office 365 go hand-in-hand.
- OneDrive Basic - Basic 5GB is free for storage only.
- OneDrive 50 GB - $1.99/month for storage only.
- Office 365 Personal - $6.99/month or $69.99/year for 1 TB storage. It includes advanced security and productivity features. Its access is limited to one PC, one table, and one phone.
- Office 365 Home - $9.99/month for 5 users. Each user gets 1TB of storage and the features are identical to Office 365 Personal. Office 365 Home access supports 5 PCs, 5 tablets and 5 phones.
- OneDrive for Business Plan 1 - available as a free trial for an unstated period of time. After that, it's $60/year per user for 1 TB of personal storage and a 15 GB upload file size limit.
- OneDrive for Business Plan 2 – available for $120/year per user for unlimited cloud storage of a 15 GB file upload file size limit. It has more features than OneDrive for Business Plan 1, such as eDiscovery, auditing & reporting and data loss prevention.
- Office 365 Business Premium – available for $150/year per user for 1 TB of data storage. Unlike the other business plans, it includes a Microsoft Office 365 subscription and apps for small business.
Nextcloud is free and open source software that lets individuals and businesses build their own cloud services that can be hosted on an in-house server, an in-house data center or remotely on infrastructure owned and operated by approximately 50 Nextcloud providers. Both desktop and mobile clients are available. Privacy is touted as the main benefit. The download is free.
- NextcloudPi – a free Nextcloud instance that is preinstalled and preconfigured. It includes a management interface with the tools needed to self-host private data. The software can be installed on a Raspberry Pi and other boards or bigger devices including an Intel NUC, an old laptop, a desktop or a full server.
- Syncloud – a family of personal cloud servers that range in price from approximately $100 to $169.
- UBOSbox Nextcloud on NUC – a pre-configured home server that includes Nextcloud and apps and an optional live systems management service that automatically provides upgrades, remote systems diagnosis and trouble shooting. From $399.
- Turris MOX Cloud – a modular router that comes with a private cloud module. Available on a pre-order basis at a discounted price ($115) until the end of fundraising.
Speedbox - A secure video chat and Nextcloud-based file sync and share solution. Approximately $1,945.
- Basic – starting at 50 users. Approximately $2,185/year for 50 users or $3,910/year for 100 users.
- Standard – starting at 50 users. Includes all the basic features plus more responsive support, custom consulting, and remove installation capabilities. Approximately $3,910/year for 50 users or $7,015 for 100 users.
- Premium – includes all the standard features plus upgrade standby support, clustering support and optional SLA on fixes. Approximately $5,365/year for 50 users and $10,235/year for 100 users.
- All tiers – can be expanded up to 10 million users.
Price after free period
$5/user/month for 3 to 10 users
2GB (more available with referrals)
OneDrive for Business Plan 1
Provided by user