Treasured family photos, extensively researched term papers, important work documents; the cloud offers secure storage for a plethora of digital content. But where do you store all of that media? Choosing the best cloud storage for your endless files can be tricky, and there are numerous options out there. Here's an overview to help you narrow down your list.
When deciding on a cloud storage provider, users should take a few factors into consideration. For one, how much are you willing to pay? Subscriptions vary in price and often correlate with storage size. Aside from cost, the amount of storage that you actually need is probably the most important factor. There's no sense in paying for unlimited storage space if you only plan to save a few Word documents and Powerpoint presentations from your spring semester psych class. Additionally, some storage providers are better suited to particular providers; for example, Apple's cloud storage may be your best bet if you only plan to back up your Macbook.
Experts seem to agree that Carbonite is the superior option if you are looking for unlimited storage. According to Digital Trends, if you have thousands of high resolution photos or home videos that you don't want to part with, this is probably the route you want to take. By automatically saving any files that you want — up to 4GB — recent photos and other content is preserved. The Carbonite website states that it is compatible with Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS and the basic plan has an annual subscription fee of $72.
Another popular choice is Dropbox, which many choose for its ease of use and variety of features. While you can get 2GB for free through your Google account, basic subscriptions run $8.25/month per year or $9.99/month if you opt for a month-to-month basis, but there are more advanced options as well, according to Business.com. It is compatible with Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows 10 Mobile, and Kindle Fire. It also has a desktop app, which makes it an easy option for dragging and dropping files.
If you're looking for a little more free storage, there are a few options for you. Google Drive offers 15GB of storage for free and if you're a loyal disciple of Gmail and Google Docs like I am, it is easily integrated. Microsoft OneDrive also offers a free option that comes with 5GB of storage and works particularly well with Windows 10. If you have a Windows phone that you're looking to backup, Microsoft OneDrive is one of the few providers that can do so.
Amazon Cloud Drive is another option for those seeking simplicity. It comes with 5GB of free storage, according to PC Magazine, and is a great choice if you are looking to use your cloud for music files. It allows users to play music directly through the Amazon Cloud Player and import 250 songs to the music player for free.
iCloud, too, offers 5GB for free and anything downloaded from iTunes is excluded from your allotted storage. However, iOS automatically saves to your iCloud, so any and everything on your Apple device will count against that 5GB. Finally, Box is an option separate from Google, Apple, or Microsoft that comes with 10GB for free. Box also makes sharing files and collaborating easy, by creating a shareable link allowing for comments on files.
If you've decided that you want to back up your files (which you totally should, by the way), think about how much storage you need, how much you're willing to pay, what you want to use your storage for, and what exactly you will be backing up. There are a number of options out there and there is one that is perfectly suited to your needs.