17 best free cloud storage providers to use in 2021
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Consumers and businesses are on a historical trend of digital transformation. It’s a streak that has been ongoing and looks to continue as it shows no signs of stopping any time soon. In fact, most businesses of today are relying more on the online backing up of data, the cloud.
Long gone are the days of local hardware and infrastructure for storage. Dissemination and consumption of information are increasing, and the hard disk wasn’t enough to accommodate all the data for storage.
Therefore, the need to store and access data from anywhere at any time gave rise to cloud computing.
Cloud storage can be a tricky subject, especially if you’re a newbie, but worry no more, we’ve got you covered. This article features everything you need to know about the cloud and what are the best free cloud storage providers you can choose from in 2021.
What’s the cloud?
Cloud is essentially a global network or merely a cluster of servers that are accessible over the internet. As the name suggests, the cloud is not a physical entity. The servers are designed to generally manage as well as store data, run productivity software, deliver specific service, and several other functions.
What’s cloud computing?
This is generally the practice of storing, processing, and managing data using remote servers hosted online instead of the hard disk or even a local server. All that on-demand.
Thanks to cloud computing, you only require access to the web for accessing your data from anywhere. Now, depending on the subject that’s allowed to use the space, the ‘cloud’ can be public or private.
Now to the elephant in the room – what’s cloud storage?
Essentially, it’s a way of storing information on the internet. The entire process takes place through a provider that manages and operates data storage. All on cloud.
Here, data gets delivered according to the user’s demand; therefore, it saves user the trouble of urgently purchasing a data storage device.
The storage capacity depends on your needs and the provider you pick. Your cloud vendor manages the capacity alongside ensuring your data is secure and durable.
So, where does ‘free cloud storage’ come from?
Perhaps, that could be a question at the back of your mind right now – we thought about it too.
As the name suggests, cloud storage is offered by cloud storage providers or companies. When such a service provider provides cloud storage for free, that’s free cloud storage. The fact is, today, most providers offer free storage between 5 to 50 GB.
So, is there any reliable free cloud backup and storage? We hear you ask.
The answer is yes, and in fact, you can get a plethora of providers that will offer you free storage space.
It means that even before you go out to pay for cloud storage, you can test a provider risk-free. And that’s where free cloud storage providers come in handy.
Reasons why you need cloud storage
One of the primary reasons why everyone needs cloud storage today is the local storage limitation. Let it be a company or individual, having free cloud storage does not hurt anyone.
Besides, you cannot take your local storage device everywhere you go. Cloud, on the other side, goes wherever you go. You can access it right from anywhere, anytime. It means that it’s accessible and very much flexible that will only increase any business’s productivity.
That is not all.
The benefits of cloud storage are unlimited.
It’s cost-effective because expenses of purchasing computer software and hardware are eliminated. Moreover, your data is more secure, and as a business, you can use it as a backup procedure to recover files in case of an emergency.
Furthermore, it increases bandwidth and accessibility. You’ll also enjoy the user-friendly interface that most cloud storage providers offer. The features allow you to directly drag and then drop your files between the local storage and the cloud storage.
So far, so good.
Now it is time to discover ‘what are the top free providers?’
We don’t want to hold you back anymore. So, without any further ado, let’s dive into our best free cloud storage providers that you can use in 2021.
The 17 best free cloud storage providers
Every individual is gifted differently, and not all of us are patient. Therefore, if you’re one of the few that can’t wait around to learn everything about the 17 best free cloud providers (or maybe you are short on time at the moment), here’s your quick share;
pCloud is arguably the best free cloud storage you can get in the current market. It comes with storage of up to 10 GB together with a plethora of other features, all for free. It’s the best storage for your music. However, to get the entire 10 GB, you’ll be required to undertake a few tasks – mostly effortless.
Secondly, Sync.com can be a good pCloud alternative, together with several other providers.
If you are ready to dive deep into all the top picks, here you go with our list of the top 17 free cloud storage providers;
- Google Drive
- Apple iCloud
- Amazon Drive
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Yandex Disk
pCloud is arguably the best provider and a go-to option for better security and encryption. It offers 10 GB of free cloud storage space, which you can scale up to even 2 TB. However, to get that much space, you’ll have to perform some tasks such as referring a few users to pCloud.
Moreover, it doesn’t have a limit for filesize, meaning you can store large media files. However, it does have some limitations on bandwidth. As per our research and tests, pCloud is the best option for music storage.
Besides, it features an inbuilt HD media player for your videos, making it the best alternative for your home videos and favorite TV shows. Also, it has an excellently designed media player, which you can use to build your playlist from the saved music files.
The provider offers unlimited upload speeds regardless of your location, which helps upload files faster. You can also resize as well as crop your photos directly via its cloud editing platform without downloading software.
On the downside, the pCloud free plan doesn’t offer password protection of your files and has no expiry dates for shared files. You also do not get zero-knowledge encryption for essential documents in it. However, you can opt to upgrade to its premium to enjoy all those not available features for free users.
- 10 GB free cloud storage
- Extra storage via referrals
- Excellent inbuilt multimedia playback
- Highest encryption levels
- You can easily filter files according to file format
- No password protection for your files in the free plan
- Absence of expiry dates for shared files for free users
Sync.com is another excellent option that you can consider for free cloud storage. It offers up to 5 GB free storage and you can upgrade to get up to 500 GB or even 2 TB at a fee.
Moreover, the provider doesn’t offer file size limits, meaning you can store even your large files without any stress.
If you’re an Android lover, Sync.com is the best cloud storage option. It features an easy-to-use mobile app. The provider offers the best zero-knowledge for files, with the use of AES 256-bit encryption as well as a two-factor authentication mechanism. All for free.
Also, it has an excellent user-interface alongside the ability to restore all your deleted files.
It incorporates a referral system that you can use to refer others and get 1GB extra storage for every user who signs up.
- Doesn’t have file size limits
- Strong privacy laws
- Supports several platforms, including macOS, Windows, and Android
- Excellent download and upload speeds
- Unlimited data transfers
- Not the best storage amount
3. Google Drive
You trust Google, right? Anything you want to know, you just ‘Google’ it. The provider offers a remarkable 15 GB free cloud storage space. Its offline services make it one of the best as you can access your saved photos and files on any of your devices, even without an internet connection.
Google Drive features an inbuilt search engine that will help you locate files easily. Google Cloud’s image recognition technology is another excellent feature that allows users to identify photos and find images using keywords.
It offers synchronization in real-time and can integrate several external apps like Gantt charts and diagram tools. Moreover, it provides extra support for both macOS and PCs.
Unfortunately, when you look to expand its storage for free, you’ll only be disappointed as it doesn’t offer even a referral program to get extra storage. But again on the positive side, unlike many others, you can upload large files of up to 5 TB.
- Support for backups
- Integrates with Google Docs
- Massive free cloud storage of up to 15 GB
- Real-time synchronization
- Economic paid plans
- The web interface needs to be improved
- No private encryption
If you’re looking for a user-friendly cloud storage provider, then Icedrive is the one for you. Moreover, it features the high-levels of encryption. That means you can not only access your files anytime you want with ease, but they also will be secure.
It’s the only provider that supports Twofish encryption, meaning files are encrypted at the client-side with zero-knowledge of the data.
If your question is how you could get 100 GB of free cloud storage, then Icedrive has answers. It offers storage of up to 100 TB that you can store all your files. Also, its sync doesn’t require you to spend much time as you can merely Mount Icedrive with only a click.
You’ll also enjoy the highest degree of transparency, whereby you can download all the personal data about you as well as its GDPR compliant.
If you require more space, you can opt for any of the available three plans that come with 150 GB, 1 TB, and up to 5 TB storage. You can get the first plan for only $19 annually, which has a monthly payment of $1.67.
The major downside is the fact that it lacks some common storage functionalities, such as collaboration tools, block-level syncing, and upload links.
- Easy to use
- Lifetime plans
- The highest degree of security and privacy
- Can store the old files
- You can easily stream audio/video.
- No free advanced link sharing
- Limited bandwidth – 3 GB per day
You get up to 50 GB of free storage with MEGA cloud storage. However, space is reduced to 15 GB after the first 30 days. The provider offers highly secure end-to-end encryption that more likely will combat any breach of your privacy.
Moreover, you’ll get fast transfer speeds without throttling of the performance. It’s also a transparent provider as it makes the source code available that ensures no vulnerabilities.
It also has apps available for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android – the mobile apps include video and voice chat facilities, with all being encrypted.
Mega allows its users to download and upload 1 GB of data every six hours. Moreover, if you need, you could seek general support to upload files as well as create custom folders.
- 50 GB free storage space
- Easy to use
- Advanced encryption and security features
- Share public folders
- Desktop and mobile apps
- Bandwidth limitations
- Lacks advanced link sharing
Dropbox users start with only 2 GB of free cloud storage, but with options to get about 20 GB. The provider offers excellent syncing capabilities that make it one of the best free cloud backup and storage providers in the market for 2021.
It’s an easy-to-use storage option for any user, even the layman. As much as it has basic features, it boasts advanced capabilities such as allowing the sharing of files publicly.
Dropbox uses 256-bit AES encryption protocols to share the files, meaning your confidential files will be secure. Still, the provider has a record of suffering from data breaches in the past. And unlike pCloud and other cloud providers, it does not support zero-knowledge encryption. All that makes it an average option if you value your security and privacy.
But the good thing is, with little tweaks, you can make your Dropbox even more secure. Furthermore, if you lose your device, you can use the remote wipe feature to delete all the documents from your lost device.
You can store and upload files of any kind, from regular PowerPoint presentations to large-sized CAD files. It offers easy syncing, meaning you can easily access all your files from any device.
If you need extra space, you would need to get the Dropbox Plus plan that offers 2TB of storage for $9.99 per month. Its other, Professional plan, costs $16.58 per month where you get up to 3TB of storage.
- Smooth sync of files
- Offers up to 2 GB free storage
- It’s available for several platforms, including Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS.
- You can easily upgrade anytime
- Powerful file search
- 2 GB free storage space is not the best in market
7. Apple iCloud
It feels satisfying when you use cloud storage from reputed manufacturers such as Google or Apple, especially with in-built integrations. And, Apple iCloud has made its way into our list of the best free cloud storage providers for some good reasons.
First, Apple users have nothing to do as it’s already available in the Mac Finder app or as a backup for its iOS devices.
It comes with a free storage space of up to 5GB, and it’s linked to the user’s Apple ID. That means you might get up to speed pretty quickly, mostly when your iPad or iPhone is automatically set to backup to iCloud.
You can opt to upgrade to three plans offering 50GB, 200GB, and 2TB. If you’re on the 200GB or 2TB plan, you can share storage with other family members.
It offers inbuilt security as it comes with two-factor authentication and encrypts your data with AES 128-bit encryption. Even though it is yet to deploy zero-knowledge, still, your data remains safe because Apple has a track record of not giving away the data in a hurry to any authority.
- Easy to use
- Excellent Apple integration
- It’s cheap to upgrade
- Can be difficult to use on the non-Apple devices
- No zero-knowledge encryption
8. Amazon Drive
Another excellent free cloud storage that will help you save your files and photos securely is Amazon Drive. It has a plethora of features that let you handle your files easily.
It offers members storage of up to 5GB for free for files and unlimited storage for photos. Also, users have the option to share their files and create a public link that can be accessed by anyone, even without an Amazon account.
You can upload files using desktop client software or even the web version easily. However, only desktop client software allows folder uploads. Besides, there’s a mobile app that you can use to upload photos and videos from your iOS and Android devices.
It offers apps for several platforms, such as windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and Linux.
- Unlimited photo storage
- Easy to use
- Folder and file syncing is available
- Enables organizing and editing photos online easily
- Does not have any productivity app integrated
Are you yet to settle with an excellent free cloud storage provider? MediaFire is a superb option as it offers up to 10GB free file storage space that you can increase to 49GB by referring friends and family to the service.
It’s also straightforward to use platform where you can store all your photos, files, and documents. The service is available for several platforms, including Android, macOS, iOS, Android, and Windows.
MediaFire is a service that you’ll enjoy using to easily organize as well as search for files — all thanks to the platform’s compartmentalized folders for music, documents, videos, photos, and many others.
It provides excellent download speeds and offers an ad-free experience for both professionals and individuals.
- Excellent free storage
- No bandwidth limits
- Easy to use interface
- Excellent download speeds
- You can download files even without an account
- Users must create an account to store files for over an hour
- Some ads for the free version
Degoo is the best free cloud backup storage currently in the market when it comes to the maximum free space as it offers up to 100GB free cloud backup. The 100 GB secure backup ensures you can download backup files whenever you need them.
Furthermore, it’s a user-friendly service, whereby you can easily select the backup folders. It offers a mobile app that is easily accessible on most-used platforms, such as iOS and Android devices.
Interestingly, you can increase the storage even further via referrals. The paid Degoo plans aren’t expensive either, as you need to pay as little as $3 per month for 500 GB storage.
Still, that all does not make it the best free cloud storage provider out there. Unlike Google Drive or Sync.com, the service does not boast the day-to-day tools to improve productivity. Also, Degoo does not allow you to share files with others alongside not having a file syncing functionality.
- Great referral program
- Easy to use
- Excellent mobile support
- Massive 100 GB free storage
- Doesn’t have productivity app support
IDrive is among the very best cloud storage for businesses. What encourages us to include this in our list is its starter pack that offers 5GB free storage. With paid plans, you can scale up your cloud storage to 10 TB.
It has apps for iOS and Android and a desktop for PCs, macOS, Linux, and Windows.
Moreover, it features a management tool that helps control all your online backups. IDrive makes continuous file backups instead of the scheduled data updates. Meaning that any changes made to your data are automatically saved in the cloud.
In case your machines crash, you don’t have to worry as its snapshot feature will help you restore all your data quickly.
Also, the service doesn’t limit the number of the device you can link to the IDrive account. BackupThe Sync storage doesn’t impact backup storage.
One hesitant aspect of this provider is, it hosts your data in the USA. However, the firm looks committed to privacy as even IDrive does not hold your private decryption key. That takes us to the fact if you lose your private decryption key, the company would not be able to help decrypt your data.
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Ability to recover deleted files within 30 days
- Excellent desktop and mobile apps
- Downloads and uploads take time
- Hosts data in the U.S.
12. Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft is undoubtedly a trusted name that has revolutionized the manners the world interacts. Being a Microsoft product that boasts integration with Outlook and MS Office services, it’s easy to use and transfer files and helps with day-to-day productivity activities.
OneDrive arguably is the ideal option for Windows users. It features an inbuilt OneDrive sync feature, meaning you don’t need to use anything apart from your PC when collaborating on the cloud.
It comes with free cloud storage of up to 5GB, which looks good enough for small entrepreneurs, home users, and freelancers in particular.
- Excellent file restoration features
- Integrates nicely with Office 365
- Great collaboration tools
- You can access files while offline
- SSL encryption
- 5GB storage not the best
- Paid plans are on the expensive side
- Doesn’t have zero-knowledge encryption
Blomp is another excellent free cloud storage provider that offers massive 20GB storage space for free. And better yet, you can increase your free storage to 200 GB by referring members to the provider. Every new member who joins using your link, earns you 20GB extra storage for free.
The platform offers all the essential cloud backup features, such as allowing users to create folders, download backed up data, and upload files easily.
It doesn’t limit the extent of the file that you can upload, so as long as the file is within the 20GB limit, you’re good to go. The website and app support bulk uploads too.
Blomp is available on macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android.
- Up to 200 GB free storage
- Accessible via any web browser
- Brings free backup
- Generous referral system
- The user needs to contact their support for tutorials on how to move from Google Drive, Dropxbox, Mega, and other cloud services
14. Yandex Disk
When looking for trustworthy free cloud storage providers, you better should not miss Yandex Disk. It offers an auto-upload functionality that helps big time. Once the functionality has been enabled, your photos get saved in their original resolution automatically.
Moreover, it does support not only Android phones but also Windows as well as macOS operating systems.
Just like you could transfer all your files in a hard disk, you can as well do the same with Yandex Disk. It also allows users to use Excel, Word, and PowerPoint without installing them.
It offers up to 10 GB free storage, and you can get extra storage of up to 32 GB by merely participating in promotional activities.
- Easy to use
- Free access to the MS Office online
- Allows capturing and editing screenshots
- 50 GB size limit
- Works best only in Europe (especially we found our download speeds slow outside of Europe during our tests)
Koofr is an all-around cloud storage provider and comes with 10 GB of free cloud space that allows connecting your existing cloud accounts include OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon accounts. Moreover, it utilizes the extra fee space available on the hard drive.
It’s available for several platforms, including Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, and Linux. Another excellent thing about Koofr is the provision of automatic backup to all your photos and videos.
Also, it doesn’t have restrictions on the size or type of file you can upload. Furthermore, not only desktop, users can automatically backup files from their mobile phones.
- You can automatically backup files from the phone.
- No file size limit
- Compatible with several platforms
- Poor desktop app
- No options for collaboration
Box is a multipurpose service; it’s a sharing and a file management service. The tool is compatible with several platforms, such as macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, and Linux.
Its mobile app is user-friendly; therefore, you can easily access your files and share them without any hassle or technical knowledge.
Box comes with a free plan that allows storage of up to 10 GB space with a 250 MB file size limit for uploads. Its desktop sync client ensures that uploading your files to Box is super simple and quick.
- You can store any type of file
- Robust search tool
- Spreadsheet and notes integration
- Intuitive interface
- Read-only sharing
- You would be asked to pay even for some basic features
- Limits the size of the file you can upload
Another worth-a-try free cloud provider available today is Mimedia that comes with free storage space of up to 10 GB when you sign up.
The service helps curate as well as manage personal files efficiently and easily. You can access and organize music, images, documents, and videos on all the devices.
What makes it an excellent cloud backup tool is that it supports importing files from Google, Facebook, Flickr, and Dropbox. Its desktop app supports Mac and Windows. Concerning mobile, the service has dedicated apps for Android and iOS. You can also upload any file you feel to the cloud.
- Allows clean organization of music, videos, and photos
- Desktop app available for PC and MAC
- Boasts import from Google, Dropbox, and Facebook feature
- Simple pricing plans
- Week support
- Unfriendly UI
- No client-side encryption
How we picked our free storage providers
The market is full of cloud storage providers, each claiming to offer the best a user may be looking for. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Therefore, we took our time following strict criteria to ensure that we picked only the best providers that you can consider for your needs. Our main focus was on speed, storage, overall security, ease of use, and several other features that the provider offers.
You must not forget that we’re talking about free providers at the back of the mind, meaning you must not expect so much from such plans that you might want to compare them to the paid cloud storage plans.
With that in mind, we were looking for providers with at least the basic levels of overall quality and security that matches free plans. It’s with that reason that we highly recommend pCloud and Sync.com providers as we found them to be offering even offer premium-level products absolutely free.
Best free unlimited cloud storage
Free and unlimited cloud storage sounds like the real deal, right?
Unfortunately, if you come across such a provider that promises heaven on earth, then you must not consider yourself lucky, but instead, you should avoid it like the plague.
In fact, there’re no providers that can offer not only free but unlimited cloud storage. If that’s the case, it should raise the alarm.
But why does it have to be like that?
The reason is straightforward; cloud storage is hugely costly for providers. Therefore, the likelihood that they can provide it for free and unlimited is like abusing the product. Besides, who doesn’t want to make money?
Of course, we understand that you need a generous provider. Still, if generosity means a provider is offering free and unlimited cloud storage, then you may have to consider expectations about generosity. No provider will not want to make money by cutting potential paid plans to waste the profits on a generous product like that.
Yes, Dropbox offers an unlimited cloud storage plan, but again it is not the best provider out there.
There are many free cloud storage providers in the market today, but not all of them can offer the features you might be looking for. A truly top-notch cloud provider should have the best space available, excellent upload and download speeds, and should provide the best security for your files.
By now, you must have made your decision on the best provider to go with, but if you are still confused a bit, we would recommend considering pCloud or Sync.com. Mega and Dropbox are good choices, too.
That goes with saying that the other providers on the list are worth trying, too — it all depends on your individual needs. We hope this article helped you settle on the secure storage you’ve been looking for. And, if you have any questions or concerns, just let us know via the comments section below.
About the author
Douglas is a freelance writer with over six years of experience in article and blog writing who has written in almost every industry with cybersecurity being his primary interest. Mabiria is an advocate for internet privacy, sustainable development, and a green environment. He is very social and enjoys trying new sports as well as implementing new ideas.