Cloud storage and cloud computing are almost everywhere these days. Most of the apps you use are built in the cloud and most of your photos and videos are kept in the cloud — so much so that you don’t even think about it.
Cloud storage services have made it possible to keep access not only photos and videos but all kinds of files on any device, no cables needed and synced instantly. I myself am an early adopter, and started with Dropbox. However, I quickly outgrew their services and had to find better options.
Dropbox is one of the first cloud storage services on the market — it was founded back in 2007. Today it’s still probably the biggest one with over 500,000,000 users. The service was designed to help people and businesses collaborate easily. Users can share files and have access to them on any device, wherever they are. Dropbox offers 2 GB of cloud storage and if you hustle for them and invite your friends, that storage can go up.
Not everyone likes Dropbox tho — as I said, I myself had to move on. In the past few years, they had a couple of hacks with over 50,000,000 accounts compromised, which is very big concern. Fortunately, there are services that provide better security, efficiency and reliability, and here I will cover 5 of them.
Best Cloud Storage of 2019: Free, Paid and Business Options
Top 5 Best Dropbox Alternatives
pCloud is a relatively new but a very fast-growing cloud storage service . They were founded in 2013 in Switzerland and in only 3 and a half years they now have 7 million users across the globe.
What makes pCloud a great alternative to Dropbox is that their desktop app pCloud Drive does not use the storage of your computer by default. By the way, if you want to move your files from Dropbox to pCloud, you can do that in a couple of clicks; it’s 100% automated, and on top of that you get an account of up to 20 GB for free.
Dropbox recently rolled out a similar feature called Smart-Sync but it’s currently only available to Business users. pCloud gives theirs to everyone, and absolutely for free. All you need to do is to drag-and-drop a file in pCloud Drive and when it’s uploaded to the cloud you can delete that file from your computer. After that you don’t need to download it or anything to use it. You can open it at any time and it will be there but without taking any physical space on your machine.
My Macbook has a very small SSD so this is gold for me and any other Mac user. I used to get quite frustrated when I was paying for a Pro Dropbox account and I couldn’t sync my files to my Mac since it’s only 256 GB.
So yeah — pCloud Drive adds storage to your computer and acts like a virtual hard drive.
Of course those files are accessible on any other device you own via pCloud’s mobile apps and via the web (they have a browser version too).
Speaking of the mobile apps, here’s a feature I just love. It’s called “Free up storage”. After you turn on your Automatic upload which uploads all the previous or future photos and videos on your phone, you can delete all the files that are already in the cloud with just 1 tap. So no more low memory on your mobile devices too.
You can share files and folders with people like all other cloud storage services. You can add passwords and expiration dates to your links. And you also have stats how much traffic and how many people have downloaded from those links which is also very cool if you’re sharing a lot and want to keep track.
Another feature I use all the time apart from not taking storage on my Mac, is the Remote Upload. If you have a direct link to a file, you just paste this link in the pCloud upload manager (that’s in the web version) and the file is instantly uploaded to your pCloud account at server speed (pCloud’s servers are downloading the file from it’s source server and data centers have very, very fast internet. I managed to download a 1 GB video in less than a minute.)
Last but not least: security.
pCloud has this paid feature called pCloud Crypto which is a client-side encryption addon. What this means is that whatever you put in your pCloud Crypto folder, gets encrypted on your device and they store only the encrypted files. This means that nobody but you knows what is in that folder. This is great for keeping private information, passwords or any kind of important documents. pCloud challenged hackers from around the world to try and hack it for $100,000 and nobody could do it.
Free quota: 10 GB (goes up to 20 GB with bonus steps)
Plans: 500 GB — $3.99/month
500 GB — $175, one-off payment, lifetime plan
2 TB — $7.99/month
2 TB — $350, one-off payment, lifetime plan
Crypto — $3.99/month
Crypto — $125, one-off payment, lifetime plan
Get access to files anywhere through secure cloud storage and file backup for your photos, videos, files and more with…www.google.com
Google Drive is one of the first thing that people think of when they look for Dropbox alternatives. That’s mostly because of the various features they had before Dropbox. One of them is the collaborating: multiple people can work on the same file simultaneously with Google Docs, Google Sheets etc. These services also allow you to leave comments, which is pretty neat. Another cool functionality, especially for people who write a lot, is that Google Docs has speech-to-text. This means that writing an article becomes much easier.
Google Drive gives you an initial storage of 15 GB, which is shared between all of the services in your Google Account (Gmail, Photos, etc.). Here’s a useful tip that you probably didn’t know about: Google will give you 100 GB of storage absolutely for free if you if you manage to get to level 4 in Google Local Guides (the service where you review review places you have been to and the reviews are added to Google Maps).
Last but not least, Google Drive supports integrations with most of the tools and apps that people use so this is a very big advantage to all other cloud storage services.
The interface is very clean and the apps and the web versions are so easy to use they are almost fool-proof. You have drag-and-drop functionality which helps you organize your account with just a few clicks.
You can of course share files and folders and set different permissions for the different people you collaborate with. It’s worth mentioning, however, that these functionalities could be improved by things like password protection and expiration dates on specific shared links.
Google Drive on your desktop computer has everything you have in the web version but a drawback is that it syncs the files to your local machine so they take of it’s storage.
Free quota: 15 GB (shared between your entire Google Account)
Plans: 100 GB — $1.99/month
1 TB — $9.99/month
Box centralises your files online so that you can securely share, manage and collaborate anytime. Store documents…www.box.com
Box was founded in 2005, 2 years earlier that it’s main competitor Dropbox.
It is primarily a business service but still offers some personal cloud storage options too.
The free package gives you 10 GB. That storage sound very good but Box limits the files upload size to 250 MB for free accounts so that’s a bummer when you try to send a larger file — a video, a bigger design file, etc.
The interface and the design of all the apps on the different platforms is very clean and very slick. The functionality is targeted to the business user making it very simple to work and organiзe files. With the web version, you can create and edit files either in Microsoft Office or Google Docs and work with them online via the free Box Plug-in.
A great thing about Box is that it’s integrated in most of the apps that people use in their business. There are programs that allow you to link Office directly to Box, so all files are saved there, an FTP app so you can migrate older data onto the site, and a whole host of others that are listed on the website.
Another thing I like about box is the speed. The service is feels very fast even when I am not using a very good wifi connection.
Free quota: 10 GB
Plans: 100 GB — €4/month
Unlimited storage — €12/month
Store photos and docs online. Access them from any PC, Mac or phone. Create and work together on Word, Excel or…onedrive.live.com
OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage and it’s a great Dropbox alternative for heavy Microsoft product users.
In fact, OneDrive comes with every new Windows 10 computer you buy — you don’t need to install anything. It is integrated to work very well with all Microsoft Office apps and it’s quite easy to get used to that.
They have apps for all kinds of devices and the web version is super easy to use as well.
This said, I was expecting OneDrive to support expiring links and password-protected ones but sadly, they don’t. Another thing I wasn’t impressed about was the fact that the PDF scanner is for premium users and you can use it only on a couple of devices if you are a free user.
With the Premium plan you get not only more storage but the traffic limit is also slightly higher. I guess Microsoft did this because a lot of users were abusing the service when they were on an “Unlimited storage” plan.
A cool thing is that with the Windows 10 update, OneDrive introduced the selective-sync which means that not all folders in your account have to be synced and be using your storage on your hard disk. To use the files, though, you still have to sync them.
If privacy is a major concern then it should be noted that Microsoft reserve the right to scan your files to look for what it would deem objectionable content. This could be copyrighted material or things of an explicit nature.
But as I said, a very good service if you’re a Microsoft power user.
Free quota: 5 GB
Plans: 50 GB — $1.99/month
1 TB — $6.99/month
MediaFire is a simple to use free service that lets you put all your photos, documents, music, and video in a single…www.mediafire.com
You may remember MediaFire as just a file-sharing service but they pivoted and created they own cloud storage service.
They do not differentiate by much from all other cloud storage services I mentioned. You can share files and folders, which is pretty much the fundament of cloud storage in general.
The thing I like the most about MediaFire is the file manager they have. You can organize files and folders super easy. Also, you can control the access to those files and folders from every device.
Something worth mentioning is that you will not hit any bandwidth limits no matter how popular your links are. That’s an issue other cloud storages treat very carefully.
Last but not least I’m a big fan of the one-time links. You can share a file using a free one-time link and your recipient won’t be able to share the link with anyone else. It’s perfect for sensitive personal or work documents.
Similarly to pCloud, MediaFire also supports the remote upload feature but here it’s only for the Premium users.
The thing I didn’t like is that the links you share when you have a free account are filled with ads.
All in all a great service for sharing if you have a Premium account so your recipients can skip the ads. Speed was also great.
Free quota: 10 GB
Plans: 1 TB — $7.50/month
Cloud storage is a thing today, and there are perhaps hundreds of such service providers. Dropbox is no longer the only option, and I hope that me trying out these 5 alternatives will be helpful for you to choose a cloud if you are looking for a replacement of Dropbox. Give these services a try and let me know if you like them!