Free Cloud Storage Providers: Who is leading the Cloud?

Personalized cloud sharing has made information sharing and online storage pretty convenient. Most of these cloud storage services providers offer free storage too. It’s high time you get out of that pen drive/hard drive mode and make your life easier with cloud storage solutions. In this post, I am listing top 5 free cloud storage providers – based on what I experienced during 2012 to 2013 (May 18). I don’t see any major changes coming to cloud storage in recent future so we can consider the same for entire 2013. Please note that this post talks only about personal and small business usage – leaving out the costly network options.

Cloud Storage Providers

#5: Comodo Cloud or CCloud

The Comodo Online Cloud application provides quite an innovative solution for file sharing. The users can save their files at a particular location and get instant accessibility from any location. Any file updates will be automatically saved and there is an option available for offline file visibility.

Fig 1 - Comodo Free Cloud Storage

Though CCloud is used for sharing, it also offers a software to back up your local files. I place it at the bottom because the backup and restore processes have been quite a bad experience. It allows you what all to back up, just like Mozy or any other SAAS. However, when trying to restore, I found some of the files corrupted. The customer care did respond but they wanted screenshots which I did not save. Still, Ccloud is a good place to store your photographs and music.

Comparing Mozy with CCloud, I would say Comodo Cloud is better compared to Mozy as it keeps your data encrypted. Another reason I put Comodo Cloud over Mozy is that the former provides 5Gb as compared to the 2GB provided by Mozy. Plus accessing files on Mozy without any software could be quite tedious.

Just in case you are interested in knowing about cloud services, here is an article on types of cloud services: SaaS, IaaS & PaaS.

#4: Dropbox

For the general public, it was through Dropbox that the cloud based storage solutions became popular. Thought Amazon and SkyDrive were already there, people were not much into clouds. Reason is the ease of working on any OS – especially mobile Android & iOS. It is the best option if you are looking for an integrated solution and excellent manageability, but as far as the storage capacity is concerned, Dropbox offers a mere 2GB of free data storage and buying more space can prove to be expensive. It has different price options for corporate and business uses.

Dropbox is employed for some pretty tricks too. Check out DropBox Automater for doing more with Dropbox. Also, read about the Windows 8 App For Dropbox.

 #3: Ubuntu One

Ubuntu one offers 5GB of free storage, along with music streaming. This solution is easily accessible on Windows XP or higher Microsoft OS, MAC OS X 10.6 and above, iOS and Android platforms. Additional 20GB of storage space is available at $3.99/month and $29.9/year.

Note that the additional space is available only in chunks of 20GB. That is, if you wish to increase your free storage space by another 5GB, you’ll have to go for entire 20GB. I could not figure out the reason behind this. Maybe, their servers are configured that way! But since the costs are pretty low and you get free access to music, it shouldn’t be much of a problem for even individuals. Reason why I placed Ubuntu One over Dropbox is ease of use and more than double storage space. And you get some music for free.

Here is more on the Features Of Ubuntu One.

#2:  Google Drive

Offers 5GB of free data storage. After the much popular Google Docs, Drive is a much simpler solution to store any kind of data. It is supported by Windows, MAC, Google’s own Chrome OS, iOS and Android. An incredible feature of the Drive is that it allows the user to share files of all formats like music, images, documents and videos.

Recently, Google has announced it will triple the storage amount – to 15 GB. That, of course, includes storage from Gmail and Google Plus too. For people who keep their email tidy and do not upload many videos etc to Google Plus, it means a good amount of extra storage.

Here is a comparison of Google Drive with Microsoft SkyDrive for your reference. You might also want to see how Google Drive Compares With Dropbox.

I’ve had some problems collaborating documents on Google Drive. When you open a document, it opens a copy of it instead of original. And when you share it on the go, you might end up sharing the copy instead of original file. Due to this, I moved to SkyDrive that I consider is the top free cloud storage provider.

#1 SkyDrive

Microsoft’s cloud solution, SkyDrive is the highest rated and most used solution due to its compatibility on maximum platforms like PC, MAC & LINUX. Moreover, SkyDrive is leading the list of cloud solutions for personal usage, due to its simple and user-friendly interface and a free storage of 7GB, that’s more than most of the others.

For enhanced storage, SkyDrive’s offers are quite cost-effective, with yearly charges of $10 for 20GB, $25 for 50GB and only $50 for 100GB! It can be accessed through any browser and works really well with Microsoft Office. SkyDrive is a life saver for Windows phone users, as it’s the only service which works natively on these smart phones.

Before using it, you might want to read about the Privacy Settings On SkyDrive. You may also want to check out how Microsoft SkyDrive Compares With Google Drive And Dropbox.

SkyDrive has been around for long, initially offering 25GB that was later reduced to 7GB on grounds that most of the users do not use more than even 5 GB. And ever since it launched its sync software for different OS, it has been the favorite for many. I hope someday they add SkyDrive to Explorer so that you do not have to sync and thus free up local space.

This post talks of some of the best cloud computing services.

Which one is your favorite cloud service provider?

Assisted By: Supreet Bhatiya.

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Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN