The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2021

Why waste important storage space on your PC or phone when you can save and share your documents and media in the cloud? You may accomplish exactly that with the help of these top-rated services.

BEST FOR BEST FOR VALUE

IDrive

Despite some minor drawbacks, you won't find a better online backup service than the full-featured, easy-to-use IDrive.

BEST FOR BEST FOR SYNCING FOLDERS ANYWHERE ON YOUR COMPUTER'S DRIVE

SugarSync

SugarSync is an intuitive file-syncing service with good mobile apps, but it's expensive and lacks advanced collaboration features.

BEST FOR BEST FOR INTEGRATION WITH THIRD-PARTY SERVICES

Dropbox

Dropbox is a simple, reliable file-syncing and storage service with enhanced collaboration features, but it's more expensive and less integrated than platform offerings like Google Drive, iCloud, and OneDrive.

BEST FOR BEST FOR WINDOWS USERS

Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive, the default online storage and syncing service for Windows 10 and Office 365, offers a wealth of powerful features, as well as apps for more platforms than any of its competitors.

BEST FOR BEST FOR BUSINESS INTEGRATIONS

Box (Personal)

Online syncing and storage tool Box is easy to use and integrates with a wide range of apps and services, but it costs more than similar products.

BEST FOR BEST FOR SECURE FILE STORAGE AND SHARING

CertainSafe Digital Safety Deposit Box

When storing your sensitive files in the cloud, CertainSafe Digital Safety Deposit Box makes security its top priority, without sacrificing ease of use.

BEST FOR BEST FOR GOOGLE DOCS USERS

CertainSafe Digital Safety Deposit Box

When storing your sensitive files in the cloud, CertainSafe Digital Safety Deposit Box makes security its top priority, without sacrificing ease of use.

BEST FOR BEST FOR GOOGLE DOCS USERS

Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the slickest, fullest-featured, and most generous cloud storage and syncing services, with excellent productivity suite collaboration capabilities.

BEST FOR BEST FOR SECURE BACKUPS

SpiderOak One

SpiderOak One offers top-notch security features and flexible backup options. It costs more than many competitors, but it does not impose any limits on the number of PCs you can back up with each account.

Why Store Your Data in the Cloud?

When you work from home, there are few things more vital than remotely exchanging your business papers with your coworkers. Online file storing, synchronization, and sharing services, such as those listed below, can help a lot with this. Computer systems have gradually shifted away from local storage and processing and toward remote, server-based storage and processing, often known as the cloud. Consumers are also affected: instead of playing CDs, we now stream film and music from servers. You may experience anywhere-access and improved collaboration by storing your own documents and data in the cloud. To help you determine which cloud storage, file-sharing, and file-syncing services are suitable for you, we've compiled a list of the finest.

These services let you to access all of your essential data, including Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, photographs, and other digital assets, from anywhere. To see your work files, you no longer need to be seated at your work computer. You can access them from your laptop at home, your smartphone on the road, or your tablet on the sofa thanks to cloud synchronization. You won't have to email files to yourself or plug and unplug USB flash drives if you use one of these services.

If you don't already have a cloud storage and synchronization service, you should definitely consider getting one. Which one you select is determined by the kind of files you keep, the level of protection you require, whether you want to work with others, and the devices you use to edit and view your files. It might also be determined by your level of familiarity with computers in general. The majority of these services are highly user-friendly, but some provide deep customization for techies with more expertise.

What Can Cloud Storage Do for You?

The finest cloud storage options integrate seamlessly with other applications and services, making viewing and editing your files a breeze. You want your other software and applications to be able to recover or access your data, especially in business situations, so choosing a service that readily authenticates with the other tools you use is critical. In this sense, Box and Dropbox are particularly good.

Cloud-based storage services have an astonishing variety of features. Many of them are experts in a certain field. Dropbox and SugarSync, for example, focus on having a synchronized folder available from anywhere. SpiderOak places a premium on safety. Some cloud storage systems, such as Apple iCloud, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive, are multi-purpose, allowing users to sync not only folders and files, but also media and devices. These programs also serve as collaboration tools, allowing for real-time document co-editing.

Online backup services are distinct from cloud storage, however they do overlap in some situations. Some, like Carbonite, are only focused on disaster recovery, whereas IDrive integrates disaster recovery with syncing and sharing features.

Most cloud services provide some kind of backup as a matter of course, almost as a byproduct of their intended role. Any files uploaded to a cloud service are theoretically safe from disk failures since copies of them are stored in the cloud. True online backup services, on the other hand, can back up all of the data on your computer, not just those in a synchronized folder structure. Backup is a mass, just-in-case play, whereas synchronization is about managing specific files. You pick the folders, documents, and media that you wish to have fast access to and save them in the cloud for simple access with synchronization. With backup, you can keep anything you don't want to lose. Online backup does not ensure easy, rapid access, nor is it the goal. It's about having peace of mind.

The Deal With the Cloud

To avoid any misunderstanding, the cloud aspect of cloud-based storage services refers to your data being stored someplace other than your computer's hard drive, often on the provider's servers. One tech commentator put it this way: "Cloud does not exist. It's just a computer that belongs to someone else." Having data stored in the cloud allows you to access such files over the internet. Your data is generally encrypted before it travels over the internet to the providers' servers, and it is also encrypted while it is stored on those servers. When you choose a well-designed service, you won't have to re-upload whole files every time you make a modification. They just upload the updates, conserving bandwidth on your connection.

You may access your cloud files from your PC using an app or utility program. It generally displays a tiny notification icon after installation and produces a synchronized folder structure that fits into Windows Explorer or the macOS Finder. You may also use your web browser to access the files. Of course, you'll need an internet connection for this to function, but don't worry if you don't have one right now: The service waits till you have a connection again and then takes care of business.

Free vs. Paid

Many cloud storage providers offer a free account that generally comes with certain restrictions, such as a storage limit or a file size limit. We prefer services that provide some amount of free service (even if it's only 2GB), rather than a time-limited trial, because this allows you to completely incorporate a service into your life for many weeks while learning how it works and what could go wrong with your specific setup.

What's the worst that might happen? A lot of cloud storage disasters are caused by human mistake, but a lost internet connection is also a regular issue. And every internet provider has outages from time to time. If you ask around (or read our review comments), you'll hear horror stories about how cloud storage may go awry. One of the advantages of paying for an account is that it generally comes with additional assistance from the provider, so if something goes wrong, you can call someone and receive help.

There are a slew of additional reasons to pay for cloud storage, ranging from having a lot more space (a terabyte isn't that expensive today) to being able to upload really large files. Graphic designers, video editors, and other visual artists who often store large files may appreciate this last feature. Other advantages of subscribing for cloud storage include enhanced file-version history (allowing you to restore an essential business proposal to the version you had before a colleague made a bunch of erroneous changes), increased security, and more collaboration and cooperation tools.

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