DROPBOXDROPBOX The Granddaddy of cloud storage, Dropbox offers a rather measly 2GB of free storage, but this can be increased up to 16GB free of charge by linking your Dropbox to social media and referring friends to join the service. Dropbox Business subscriptions allow users to collaborate on work as well as giving each person unlimited space in a personal Dropbox account. There are also enhanced features for file recovery and versioning, and an add-on for Gmail.
GOOGLE DRIVEGOOGLE DRIVE Google Drive is a natural choice for owners of Android devices as it's already integrated, but users of other platforms may appreciate the generous free storage too. You can also store high definition photos on your mobile phone with companion app Google Photos, and make use of Google's own office suite (now known as G Suite). Also, upgrading to paid Google Drive plans is now called Google One (although it might not yet be available, depending on the region). Downsides include the fact that the web interface isn't very easy-to-use, although Windows and Mac users can download a desktop app to drag-and-drop files easily.
MEGAMEGA With an insanely generous free tier and a simple drag-and-drop interface, New Zealand- based Mega is one of the cloud storage heavyweights. There's a handy mobile app to allow you to upload files and photos, as well as sync clients with desktop machines. Mega claims that all data stored in its cloud is encrypted on your device before it reaches the firm’s servers. As the company has released the source code to its sync client, experts can check that there are no vulnerabilities.
ONEDRIVEONEDRIVE OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) is integrated into Windows 10's file explorer. You don't have to download an additional app it's there to use out of the box, which is obviously very convenient for those who have made the jump to Microsoft’s newest operating system. Microsoft's Photos app can also use OneDrive to sync pictures across all your devices. There's an app for Android and iOS devices, and there's even one in the App Store for Mac users (although it has received mixed reviews).
I CLOUDI CLOUD If you want to back up your iPhone to iCloud, you'll need more than the free 5GB allowance Apple gives you, but compared to rivals iCloud prices are very reasonable. The Mac Finder app integrates iCloud Drive, where you can store any files you wish. Documents created in the iWork office suite are also saved to iCloud and can sync across your devices. Windows users can also sync their files with iCloud Drive using the official client, and access the iWork apps on the iCloud website.
BOXBOX Box's website currently seems to be pushing its Business plans as clicking ‘sign up’ takes you to the pricing page where for $15 per user (£11, around AU$19) you can benefit from advanced collaboration options and unlimited storage. But there is a 10GB free option, too. As Box has been around for a while, it is supported by a number of mainstream apps such as Google Docs and Office 365. The Box Sync client is available from the Downloads page for Mac and Windows, plus there's also an official Android client.
NEXTCLOUDNextCloud isn’t an online cloud storage provider itself, but offers free software to download and install a cloud storage service on your own server. Using a server on your home network for cloud storage is much faster. You can also enable encryption and make sure the information never leaves your home network, which is far safer. If you've no server or IT experience, you can even purchase a preconfigured NextCloud Box from the website which comes with a 1TB hard drive and will work with an inexpensive Raspberry Pi board to keep your data synced. NEXTCLOUD
SPIDEROAKSpiderOak is part of a new trend of zero knowledge cloud storage providers. The website claims that after installing the client your data is encrypted before syncing. Unfortunately since SpiderOak hasn’t made the client source code public, there's no way to confirm this. The SpiderOak One client is available for Windows, Mac and Linux as well as Android and iOS (although, both Android and iOS are read-only apps, meaning you can only view files, and can't upload or sync anything). You can also log in via the web interface but privacy lovers may prefer not to as it exposes your password to SpiderOak employees SPIDEROAK
IDRIVEIDrive offers continuous syncing of your files, even those on network drives. The web interface supports sharing files by email, Facebook and Twitter. Cautious or click-happy users will be pleased to hear that files deleted from your computer are not automatically deleted from the server, so there's less danger of removing something important accidentally. For photos, you have a neat facial recognition feature that helps you automatically organize them. IDrive also offers IDrive Express a service whereby if you lose all your data they will ship a physical hard drive out to you, allowing for the swift restoration of all your backed up files. IDRIVE
PCLOUDWhile some bandwidth limits apply, there seems to be no limit to the size of files you can upload, so feel free to sync large media files with pCloud. The service is available for all desktop and mobile platforms users can also log in via the website. The company itself is registered in Switzerland which has strong privacy laws, and you can also pay a premium of $4.99 a month (around £3.75, AU$7) for pCloud Crypto to lock (and unlock) individual files with passwords. PCLOUD