The Best Cloud Storage Services of 2021 [Part 1]
These are the best cloud storage services that you can opt for this 2021.
Using a cloud storage service can be very helpful. Thanks to a cloud storage service, you can have a kind of hard drive “in the cloud”, that is, to store files, photos and different types of documents virtually.
That means that if you use a cloud storage service, you can access it from any device with Internet access, as long as you have the access data.
In addition to being a very practical way to work on the same document from different devices, or to view your photos wherever you are, it is also a highly recommended way to make backup copies.
So, it is clear to us that using a cloud storage service is highly recommended, but … which service should I choose?
If you have had time to find some information about the different cloud storage services, you will have realized that there are too many. This can make choosing the right service for you difficult.
Your choice will depend on many factors: the space you want, the type of extra tools you prefer and, above all, the price. For this reason, in this article we explain more about our favorite cloud storage services, hoping to help you choose.
1. Google Drive
- Free (more storage from £ 1.49 a month)
Google Drive is the center of many of the services that Google currently offers. As soon as you create a Google account, you get 15GB of space. If you use Gmail, Google Calendar, or even YouTube, you automatically have a Drive account.
The space is shared between all these services, that is, within those 15GB of available space are included files attached to emails from your Gmail account or the automatic backup copies of photos from Google+.
Google Drive offers two ways to upload photos and videos. The first is the “High quality” option: it is free and the space it occupies is not included in your storage limit. The other option to upload photos is “Original”.
Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Presentations, Drawings, and files that others have shared with you are not included in your space limit either.
Drive works the same way as most cloud storage services: a folder is created in Windows that is linked to a duplicate version in the cloud.
Google Docs allows two people to open the same document and work on it at the same time.
The previous Google Drive app has been replaced by ‘Backup and Sync’ for Windows and macOS, with mobile versions of Google Drive for Android and iOS.
Google Drive has a selective synchronization system, so you can choose which folders are synchronized on each of your devices.
The applications have a fairly intuitive interface, and the files are organized in a “tree way”, making it very easy to find each file.
You can choose which specific files are available offline on mobile versions.
You will be able to edit these files if they were created in Google Docs. When you reconnect to the Internet, the files will sync again. For other formats (like Word) you will have to open them in another application, thus creating a duplicate copy.
Data is encrypted in 128-bit AES instead of 256-bit encrypted by Box, OneDrive, or Dropbox.
Google has stated that it will not access the contents of any Drive folder unless required by the authorities. Google also offers the two-step verification security system.
2. Microsoft OneDrive
- Free (more storage from £ 1.99 a month)
Microsoft’s OneDrive comes integrated with Windows 10, so it’s probably the most obvious cloud storage option for Windows users.
However, the basic account only offers 5GB of free storage. Although this amount is enough for many, it is worth mentioning that they previously offered 15GB (which you can get with Google Drive).
Of course, if you want to increase the capacity, there are payment plans. You can get 50GB for just € 2 a month. And if you sign up for Office 365 Personal for € 69 per year, you’ll get 1TB of space (plus all the Office 365 tools).
The OneDrive interface uses the same layout as the newer versions of Microsoft. Folders and files can be created on the web, including Office and OneNote formats, thanks to its close relationship with Office Online.
Selective syncing was introduced with Windows 10, which means you don’t have to have all of your OneDrive files taking up space on all of your devices.
OneDrive has also made sharing files with your friends a very simple task. How? Thanks to its link with social networks.
You can also set permissions for each user, allowing them either only the reading of the file or the ability to edit. (And unlike Dropbox, Microsoft does include this feature in its free version.)
There is also a feature that will allow you to remotely access files on another computer through the OneDrive website.
If privacy is one of your concerns, you should be aware that Microsoft reserves the right to analyze your files for what it would consider “objectionable content.”
Apple has a similar policy, which makes them objectively more intrusive services than their competitors.
- Free (more storage from £ 4.49 per month)
If you open a new account with pCloud you get up to 3 GB of free storage. You can increase that number up to 10 GB by doing the following tasks:
- 1 GB extra when you verify your email
- 1 GB extra if you install pCloud Drive
- 1 GB extra if you download the mobile app
- 1 GB extra if you activate the option to upload photos automatically
- 3 GB extra for inviting friends (you both receive 1 extra GB when they register)
And although 10 GB can be a decent amount if you don’t have many files to store, we recommend that you check the prices of their premium plans as they might interest you.
Currently, you can choose the 500 GB option for € 4.99 per month or € 49.88 if you pay for a whole year; or the 2 TB option that will cost you € 9.99 per month or € 95.88 if you pay at the same time for the entire year.
It is worth mentioning that pCloud also offers “lifetime” plans. That is, you will pay only once to obtain the service. Although the figure may be expensive up front, it can also be a good long-term investment that will save you money.
PCloud lifetime plans also offer options of 500 GB (€ 175) or 2 TB (€ 350). To these two options “for life” is added that of the Family Plan, which will cost you € 500, but which allows you to share the account with five different users.
There are applications available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, iPadOS and Android, and you can also access your account through their website, if you prefer.
The applications for iOS and Android have a function called ‘Automatic photo upload’ that allows you to activate the option that the photos and videos you take with your smartphone are uploaded to the cloud automatically.
pCloud does not impose file size restrictions, so you can upload any file that your storage space allows.
Thanks to its servers in the European Union, files are uploaded at high speed, and synchronization is also fast and highly efficient. In addition, all data transfers between the pCloud servers and your device are TLS / SSL encrypted, which favors the security of your files.
pCloud offers import ways that allow you to automatically transfer files from other cloud services, including Dropbox and Google Drive, which is convenient if you are in the process of switching from one to the other, or just want an additional backup of important files.
As with almost all cloud storage services, you can share your content with friends or associates by sending links that allow access to folders and documents. These also have permissions, so you can determine if the person you’re sharing the file with can edit it or just view it.
A good way to share files is the ‘Upload Link’. This is a unique link that you can send to someone you want to share a file with.
By using the link, your friend’s file will become part of your pCloud. In this way you will save yourself having to search through old emails or in your ‘Downloads’ folder.
Customers with free access can access any previous version of a document for 15 days, while premium customers can access previous versions of documents up to 30 days old.
One of the most useful tools in pCloud is its Crypto Folder, in which you can save the files that you want to keep away from “prying eyes”, be they from hackers or certain government agencies.
The content of this folder is encrypted on your device locally. Not even pCloud employees can read it without your password. pCloud uses 256-bit AES encryption for files and folders, while the encryption key uses 4096-bit RSA (both encryptions are extra secure).
Files and folders are not automatically encrypted, instead you have to drag the ones you want to encrypt to the Crypto folder. This means that you can have encrypted and unencrypted files at the same time.
This possibility is very useful to share non-confidential documents with friends and at the same time to have an extra level of security in the files you want.
In the next post we will continue to explain other best cloud storage services of 2021. Till Then Wait for Part 2.