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 400x239 Free Cloud Storage Providers: Who is leading the Cloud?

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.

Posted by on , in Category General with Tags
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. He also offers online training for Business English. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN
  • Thomas Beling

    You’ve forgotten Box, Sugarsync, Cubby, Copy etc. Best cloud, best Apps, best accessible for Documents, best working online Editor and available for all platforms is, of course, Google Drive and not SkyDrive. ;)

  • dumonkey

    I just started using Copy.com (from Barracuda Networks). Features are a bit basic, but you can’t beat it from a space standpoint. You get 15Gb free (20Gb if you sign up from a referral link) plus you get an extra 5GB per person you get to sign up (promo going on for a limited time). That person does have to install the app (phone/tablet/computer) for you to get the extra 5GB, but it is real easy to accumulate a lot of space very quickly. The person signing up also gets an extra 5GB so it is a win-win. Here is my referral link to get 20GB free if you want to check it out:

    https://copy.com?r=wdkp88
    I figure get in now and get a bunch of free space while the gettin’s good :) Hopefully they will add some more advanced features in the near future so I can stop piece-mailing all these other free services together just to get enough space.

  • Scott Elsdon

    Capacity isn’t the only factor here there is ease of use and underlying technology to upload and synch, I battled for months with Google drive where it would upload an entire file, sometimes hundreds of MB in size just because I’d changed a couple of lines, Whereas Dropbox just uploaded the changes, making it infinitely easier to manage large synchronisations and reducing the costs on my internet connection. I had to upload around 120 gig to each service ( google and dropbox) and dropbox wa far superior to use.

  • Dorian

    Txs Aran, your articles are not only well presented, but, also very “spot-on” regarding reals issues of interest. Keep up the excellent work!
    Dorian

  • http://www.powercutmedia.in/ Arun Kumar

    Thank you for mentioning these services. I will check them out and see how they compare with Sky and Google Drive. I agree Google Drive is very good and offers more choices in file types. The only problem is conversion of files that can be edited directly on cloud – documents, spreadsheets and presentations. If it could open the originals without creating copies, I would have placed it at top.

  • http://www.powercutmedia.in/ Arun Kumar

    Great. Thank you for the link. I might use it to sign up with Copy.com and see how it compares with the ones listed here. I’ve mentioned only the popular ones that have been around for long. Some others were in mind too but they required a group of people. Can’t recall the name of that service but it offered 1TB to a group of 10 people – meaning you have to get another 9 people to share that space.

  • http://www.powercutmedia.in/ Arun Kumar

    That is true about Google Drive. Also, if you are using the sync software and you install it again on the computer, you have to give it a new folder. You can’t direct it to the folder already residing on your disk.
    SkyDrive on the other hand, too uploads only the changed portions. The only problem appears when you do a reinstall of the operating system and then set up the SkyDrive. You have to remember the name of your computer else it assumes it a different computer.

  • http://www.powercutmedia.in/ Arun Kumar

    Thank you, Dorian. :)

  • Thomas Beling

    Hey Arun, my last laugh about Office Web Apps was, that a file created with Office 2013, uploaded to SkyDrive could not be opened by Office Web App for Word documents. I downloaded this file from SkyDrive, updoaded it to Drive and succesfully opened it as a .gdoc. I edited the file and exported it as a .docx-file, transferred it to SkyDrive and than it could be opened by the Office Web App. Funny failure, isn’t it.
    So, once again, which service is better?
    Keep in mind, .gdoc-files do not count memory in Drive!

  • Thomas Beling

    More funny, Office Web App for Word docs is unable do do such a silly thing as a manual page break. Docs in Drive support this without any problem.

  • http://www.powercutmedia.in/ Arun Kumar

    As I said earlier, I agree that Google Drive supports a larger file formats. You will need to download .HTML from SkyDrive (last when I checked it in Feb/Mar 2013) but Drive will open it directly in browser.
    The major problems with Google Drive are:
    1. Not being clear on what file is exactly being collaborated as it creates a copy of each edit or something. I got confused so often that I moved to SkyDrive for collaborations.
    2. You have to give it a new folder every time you reinstall the sync software. It will then download all from your Google Drive to the new folder even though you have it already on your local computer. And then, to maintain the sync, you’ll have to delete the older folder (in my case, I don’t want duplicate files to occupy local space).
    I would also have Google Keep link in Google Drive – so far it is absent and I have to manually type drive.google.com/keep to get to it.
    These were the shortcomings obstructing a smooth workflow. Probably, we cannot have a perfect list as my necessities are different from yours and yours different from others. But yes, SkyDrive too needs to be able to support pretty good amount of file types.
    I trust SkyDrive only for document, spreadsheets and presentations. All other file types go to Google Drive.
    I also hate it when I miss a word in naming my computer during install and the SkyDrive creates an additional computer to sync the files with – thereby confusing me which ones are actually active. Tedious task to remove “non-existing” computers on SkyDrive.

  • http://www.cloudreviews.com/ Fahad Ahmed

    @Thomas You are right no review about sugarsync, ZipCloud Mypcbackup it is one of the best cloud storage provider and people should consider their services as a top provider

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