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Buy Online Storage ((FREE))

It wasn't all that long ago that collaborating with people on documents was a huge hassle. You'd make multiple copies of a file and have to add a stupid ending to the filename, like "-edited-JD-final-final," in hopes of keeping track of everyone's changes. Equally painful was managing versions of your own documents as you emailed them to yourself from your personal computer to your work computer. Who misses that? No one has to mess with those problems anymore, largely thanks to online file storage and syncing services.

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If you don't yet have an online storage and syncing service, you should seriously consider getting one. Which one you choose depends on the kinds of files you store, how much security you need, whether you plan to collaborate with others, and which devices you own. It may also depend on your comfort level with computers in general. Most of these services are extremely user-friendly, while others offer advanced customization for more experienced techies. Find our best picks below, followed by a detailed guide to understanding cloud storage and file-sharing services.

OneDrive is a great storage and syncing option for just about anybody. It works on all major devices. Its functionality and design have reached a point of slick usability and reliability. The cost is more than reasonable seeing as you can get added OneDrive storage by paying for a Microsoft 365, which includes office apps. Because it provides automatic backup for documents, photos and other files in Windows and syncs documents in Microsoft's office apps, it's a natural choice for Windows or Microsoft 365 users.

If you use Microsoft 365 apps regularly, including the online version of the apps, using OneDrive for storage and syncing offers real benefits. And Windows users will be delighted that their Desktop, Documents, and Pictures are safely backed up to the cloud, and automatically restored when they get a new PC. It's also a great option for anyone looking for value in an online syncing and storage service. Free users can take advantage of the 5GB of storage, which isn't the most generous free version you can find, but it's in line with the competition.

IDrive has long offered the best deal for online syncing and storage, giving you the most space per dollar and no limit on the number of devices you install it on. Beyond that, it's also a solid service, with apps for all major platforms and a bevy of features. For example, you can set IDrive to back up files to an external hard drive or a network drive. There's even support for creating a complete disk image, although it's limited to the Windows version. It's archiving capability means that you can always find your files, even if you deleted them on the local computer.

IDrive is for anyone looking for the best price per TB for their online storage and syncing service. It will also be appealing to those who want to take advantage of its archiving and continuous backup features.

Google Drive is the natural choice for anyone who regularly works in Google Docs, Sheets, and other online apps; it integrates with many third-party online apps as a cloud storage option. It's also a great choice for people looking for a generous free online storage and syncing service.

SpiderOak is a storage service that focuses on privacy and security. It has a no-knowledge policy, and we like the intuitive desktop application and unlimited versioning capabilities. The service charges more for online storage than competitors, but you can back up an unlimited number of devices per account. You also get good file-sharing and folder-syncing options with SpiderOak, despite the focus on backup.

Sync is a reliable tool for storing your files online and syncing them among up to five devices. We love how user-friendly it is. Paid individual plans start at $96 per year for 2TB of storage space, which is a competitive price. It works on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and the web, but not Linux.

Sync is a simple and straightforward service for anyone who doesn't want to store their files with one of the big tech giants. It's a great option for people who prefer simplicity over an excess of features. A free account comes with 5GB of storage space, making it competitive with most other major services. Linux users should look elsewhere, as Sync does not offer a Linux app.

Apple iCloud is a must for iPhone and Mac users, since it backs up photos, documents, and settings on their devices. It's among the simplest and most reliable storage and syncing services we've seen. It isn't ideal for people who like to have a lot of control over storage and syncing and the web client lacks some basic tools such as search, but it is a no-brainer solution for people who don't want to futz with it.

Though Box isn't highly competitive on price, it does offer dozens upon dozens of integrations with other services and a flexible web app that can open files using desktop software. The free version comes with a generous 10GB of storage space.

Ultimately, we find Box is better suited to business use than personal use, based on its features. The two use cases are different enough that we have a separate review of Box for Business. Anyone who likes Box for Business and wants to use it for the personal files as well will likely be happy with this service. It is a great option, however, for anyone who doesn't want to pay for online storage so long as they have less than 10GB's worth of stuff to store.

While Dropbox doesn't offer anywhere close to the best price per TB of storage, it is a great option for people who are long-time users and don't want to switch to another service, and those who need a healthy stable of integration options.

The very best cloud storage solutions play nicely with other apps and services, making the experience of viewing and editing your files feel natural. Especially in business, you want your other software and apps to be able to retrieve or access your files, so making sure you use a service that easily authenticates with the other tools you use is a big deal. Box and Dropbox are particularly strong in this regard.

The range of capabilities of cloud-based storage services is incredible. Many of them specialize in a specific area. For example, Dropbox focuses on keeping a synced folder accessible everywhere. SpiderOak One Backup emphasizes security. Some cloud storage services, such as Apple iCloud, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, are generalists, offering not only folder and file syncing, but also media-playing and device syncing. These products even double as collaboration software, offering real-time document co-editing.

Distinct from but overlapping in some cases with cloud storage are backup services, particularly ones that offer online backups. Some of them, such as Carbonite, specialize in data protection and recovery, while others like IDrive, combine data protection with syncing and sharing capabilities.

Just to clear up any confusion, the cloud part of cloud-based storage refers to putting your files somewhere other than your computer's hard drive. Usually, it means the provider's servers. There's a half-joke saying in the tech world, "There is no cloud. It's just someone else's computer."

Many cloud storage services have a free account that usually comes with some limitations, such as the amount of storage or a size limit on files you can upload. We prefer providers that offer some level of permanent free service, even if you get only 2GB of storage space rather than a time-based trial. This way you can fully integrate a service into your life for several weeks for real-world testing. During that time, you get a feel for how it works and what might go wrong with your setup.

What could possibly go wrong? Human error accounts for a good deal of cloud storage tragedies, but the dropped internet connection is another common troublemaker. Not to mention that every internet service suffers the occasional outage(Opens in a new window). Ask around (or just look through our review comments), and you'll hear sad stories of how cloud storage can go wrong. One of the benefits of paying for an account is that it usually comes with additional support from the provider, so if anything does go wrong, someone from the company can help you resolve the issue.

There are many other reasons to pay for cloud storage, from getting a lot more space (a terabyte really doesn't cost all that much anymore) to being able to upload huge files. That last benefit is relevant to graphic designers, video editors, and other visual artists who often host enormous files. Other perks of paying for your cloud storage often include increased access to file-version history (meaning you can restore an important business proposal to the version you had before your colleague made a bunch of erroneous changes), more security, and more features for collaboration and teamwork.

Here, we highlight only the best cloud storage services among those we've tested. When PCMag tests these services, we evaluate their feature sets, ease of use, stability, and price. There are other cloud storage services on the market that didn't make the cut for this article, based on these criteria. Click the review links for more detailed information on each of our favorite cloud storage and file-syncing services.

iCloud+ is a premium subscription that provides additional storage to keep your photos, videos, files, and more backed up and automatically available across your devices. It also includes access to features like iCloud Private Relay, Hide My Email, Custom Email Domain, and HomeKit Secure Video support for a private and connected experience.

Cloud storage stores data on a physical drive, and makes it accessible online for users via software from any internet-connected device, whenever and wherever a user wants to access them: hence the term \"cloud\". Some users utilize multiple cloud services in what is called a multi-cloud service.

Self-hosted cloud storage works by using on-premises (on-prem) infrastructure to provide storage, rather than managed, remotely-based servers. You need to manage these types of services yourself. 041b061a72


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