The best cloud storage services can be a lifesaver for artists and designer. A quick, safe way to move around large files, cloud storage is a brilliant tool to have in your creative arsenal.
If you're confused by cloud storage, however, you're not the only one. But it's much more simpler than it might appear, offering a straightforward way to stash your files online, regardless of how many files you have or how large they are.
Cloud storage makes it easy to access files wherever you are, and provides a foolproof platform for sending files to clients. Another great advantage to having your critical files backed up on a cloud storage solution is that if you suffer a serious tech failure or are the victim of a catastrophic human error (it happens to the best of us), your work can easily be retrieved.
To help you choose a provider, we've picked out the best cloud storage solutions available right now. Our selection covers a range of options, from no-frills online backup right through to much more heavyweight services that pack in all the features your company will ever need.
The best cloud storage solutions in 2020
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This reliable service is the best cloud storage solution right now
Storage: 5-12.5GB | Free storage: Up to 5GB
Save 80% on CB's best cloud storage option: 2TB for $13.90 for 1 year
We think IDrive is the best cloud storage solution overall right now. If your main priority when it comes to cloud storage is having a reliable online backup system in place, then this is a strong contender. It'll continuously sync all your files, even the ones on network drives, and if you're on its Personal or Business plans it provides a potentially life-saving free backup service called IDrive Express: if for whatever reason you lose all your local files, it'll send you an actual hard drive containing everything that's been backed up.
You'll also be pleased to note that if you accidentally delete an important file, it won't be automatically deleted from the IDrive server, and it'll retain up to 30 previous versions of all backed-up files. Another cool feature is a facial recognition system that makes it easy to organise photos, and of course there's the option to share your files by email, Facebook or Twitter.
IDrive 2TB plan:
$69.50 $13.90 for 1 year
80% off: For a limited time, you can get a massive 80% off a 2TB IDrive cloud storage plan for the first year. So instead of coughing up just under $70, you'll pay just $13.90, which is an absurdly cheap price for that amount of cloud storage.
A lifetime subscription means you can pay once and get on with it
Storage: 10GB-2TB | Free storage: Up to 10GB
pCloud's lifetime premium subscriptions give you either 500GB or 2TB of online storage for a pretty reasonable one-off payment. Anyone who's been online for any length of time should naturally be suspicious of any service that offers a lifetime subscription – after all, how many web companies from just 20 years ago are still around today? However, this looks like a good deal to us.
With no apparent limit to the file sizes you can upload, pCloud is a great option for sharing large media files, and it features a built-in video player and streaming, plus an audio player complete with playlists. For peace of mind, this cloud storage solution hosts five copies of all your files across different servers, using 256-bit AES encryption. For a small extra monthly payment you can also add pCloud Crypto to your service, enabling you to password-protect your files.
A high quality, affordable cloud storage solution
Storage: Up to 5TB | Free storage: 10GB
One of the most affordable and best cloud storage solutions around, Zoolz is an easy to use tool, with excellent web management options available. A UK-based company, Zoolz also offers the option of 'cold storage' – cheaper online storage for files that you don't need to access quite as often.
Primarily geared at home users and businesses looking for low maintenance, long-term data security, Zoolz's featurset and seriously competitive prices make it worth serious consideration.
An easy cloud storage solution for Windows 10
Storage: 5GB-Unlimited | Free storage: Up to 5GB
If you're a Windows 10 user, Microsoft's OneDrive offers an easy way to get cloud storage. It comes built into File Explorer, so you can get started straight away with 5GB of online storage for free, or bump up to 50GB for a low monthly fee. However, if you want to share files you'll need either need to use one of Microsoft's Office 365 plans, starting at $69.99 per year with 1TB storage and including a full suite of Office apps, or look at OneDrive business plans.
Note, with this service you're not limited to Windows any more: there are now apps for both iOS and Android. There's also an app available on the Mac App Store, although in typical Microsoft style it doesn't seem to work as well as the Windows version.
05. Apple iCloud
A good storage-only option for Apple devotees
Storage: 5GB-2TB | Free storage: Up to 5GB
Like its Microsoft rival, Apple's iCloud gives you 5GB of free online storage – not nearly enough to back up your iPhone, but plenty of space for stashing your photos. However, its paid plans come at a very reasonable price.
As you'd expect from Apple, iCloud integrates well with the MacOS and iOS ecosystems, making it easy to store files through Finder, and documents from the iWork suite are saved to iCloud so that you can access them from all your devices. There's also a Windows client, which seems to perform better than the Mac version of OneDrive.
The downside, though, is this is strictly a storage solution – there's no option to share files outside of Apple's Family Sharing. If you want a cloud storage service that you can also use to send files to friends or clients, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Subscribe to iCloud: Paid plans from $0.99/£0.79 a month (5GB free)
06. Google Drive
Get added value out of your Google account
Storage: 15GB - 30TB | Free storage: Up to 15GB
For Android or Chromebook users, Google Drive is the best cloud storage choice as it's built into both systems. However, assuming you have a Google account – and it's hard not to these days, even if you don't use Gmail – then it's well worth looking into. You get 15GB of storage completely free, as well as access to Google's G Suite range of online office apps.
There are desktop apps for both Windows and Mac, enabling you to sync and share files with a few clicks, and there's also a web interface that can be a bit of a pain to use, but gets the job done. If you need more than the free 15GB (it fills up quickly once you start using it) there are paid plans starting at $1.99 a month for 100GB and going all the way up to a whopping 30TB for $299.99 a month.
Subscribe to Google Drive:
- Basic (30GB): $6 /£4.60 a month
- Business (unlimited): $12 / £9.20 a month
- Enterprise (unlimited): $25 / £20 a month
Unlimited storage for business users
Storage: 100GB-Unlimited | Free storage: 10GB
If you need literally all the cloud storage for your business then Box is a very attractive prospect. With the exception of its starter plan, all of its Business plans offer unlimited storage, which beats every other service in this round-up. Naturally there are strings attached; you're limited to a 5GB maximum file size, so it might not be a great option if you're working with vast 4K videos.
Box also provides some strong security options as well as data loss protection, and it's supported by plenty of mainstream apps such as Office 365 and Google Docs, and there's direct integration with other apps such as G-Suite and AutoCAD. There's also a Box Sync client for Mac and Windows as well as an Android client.
The only real downside is that it's not so hot for personal use. The free option gives you just 10GB storage with a 250MB maximum file size, while its Personal Pro plan gets you 100GB (with a 5GB file upload limit) will set you back £8 per month; many better options are available elsewhere.
This cloud storage solution offers the most generous free option
Storage: 50GB-8TB | Free storage: Up to 50GB
Want loads of free storage? Mega's the place to go; its free service gives you a whole 50GB to play with. This cloud storage service's paid plans are similarly generous: they start at $6 per month for 200GB, and go up to a whole 8TB for $35 a month.
With both mobile and desktop apps enabling you sync and upload files, Mega is easy to use wherever you are and whatever you're doing, and the service also boasts impressive security credentials. It maintains historic versions of your uploaded files, and claims that everything you store is encrypted on your device before it's uploaded to its servers. Mega also publishes all its source code and cryptographic architecture, so you can be sure that if there were any vulnerabilities in its systems, they'd quickly be spotted.