Cloud storage allows you to back up files online, without the need to save them on to a disk, USB stick or separate hard drive. All files are held together in one place (the cloud) so you can access them from anywhere in the world and on any device, such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
There are huge advantages of using cloud storage due to the flexibility it gives you for accessing data, as well as the security around the information itself. It’s a great back up tool for photos, word documents and other data and best of all, many companies offer the service for free. We’ve rounded up the top cloud storage services available so you can see what you’re missing out on if you haven’t already signed up.
has the advantage over other providers that if you already use Google Docs, the files don’t count towards your free storage limits. Therefore it’s a great idea to convert your files into Google Docs first if they’re large so you don’t have to pay for any more space. Unlike some other cloud storage services, Google Drive does have limits in place for the file sizes including 10MB for non-Google doc files and a 20MB limit for spreadsheets.
It’s gained a loyal fan base as Google Doc files can be directly edited within the application so you don’t have to keep downloading and re-uploading, however you won’t be able to do this for other files such as Microsoft Word docs. It also shows the version history, which makes it a great tool if you’re predominantly looking for a storage service to share docs with friends, such as at university or even for business.
Free storage included with Google Drive
has rapidly become one of the most popular cloud storage providers due to it’s simplicity. In just a matter of minutes you can get your account live by providing an email address and can download the desktop application for dragging and dropping files into.
There’s also an online platform where you can directly upload your files to and there are no size restrictions for each file – perfect if you have larger images you need to back up. You’ll get some free storage to start off with and then can increase it for free by inviting friends to also sign up for a free account.
Free storage included with Dropbox
If you’re an avid Microsoft Windows user, the SkyDrive
may be the best cloud storage service to start with. You’ll find it extremely familiar as it has a very similar look and feel to Windows, although it does also support apps for Android, Windows and iOS.
With one of the largest free storage limits it’ll also give you enough space for most, if not all of the files on your PC or laptop so you can get instant back up straight away. Like Google Drive, it does limit the file size to uploads of up to 300MB via the desktop site, however this is increased to 2GB if you use the separate desktop application.
Free storage included with Microsoft SkyDrive
is very similar to the other cloud storage service providers in that it allows you to back up files online to the cloud so you can access them from a computer anywhere in the world, as well as via dedicated mobile apps. However, it differs quite considerably in that it automatically syncs the data by constantly monitoring for changes, which means the latest version of the file will always be backed up. This could save you a lot of time if you constantly edit files on your comouter and don’t want to remember which need to be re-uploaded to the cloud storage facility.
To make sure it syncs you will have to add all devices you want it to monitor but this will only take a few minutes. It’s a great cloud storage service for anyone working between different computers, for example if you leave the office and want to continue where you left off when you get home and you’re on your personal laptop.
Free storage included with SugarSync
Amazon Cloud Drive
The company famous for it’s great value books now offers it’s own free cloud storage service. Without too many bells and whistles, Amazon Cloud Drive
offers a simple interface and everything needed to get going so you can access your files from anywhere. Like the other providers, it also gives the opportunity to download apps for everything from your iPad to Android phone, but also with the addition of one for the Kindle.
This makes it a fantastic service if you’re predominantly looking to store photos that you want to access while on the beach with your Kindle. The free storage included should be enough to hold around 2,000 so you shouldn’t have any problems taking the best family pics with you!
Free storage included with Amazon Cloud Drive