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Best cloud storage: Top storage options for your files in 2021

Best cloud storage: Glass buildings rise to meet the clouds in the sky
(Image credit: Philipp Birmes from Pexels)
The best cloud storage: Top 5

Our pick of the best cloud storage providers right now:
01. IDrive
02. pCloud
03. BigMIND by Zoolz
04. Degoo Cloud
05. Livedrive

If 2021 is the year you want to really organise your files, the best cloud storage services can help make life easier. And keep your documents, photos and videos safe from both accidental deletion and external security threats. 

There's no messing about with extra devices (we have enough of those to deal with already these days). Just upload your files through your browser or app, and rest assured they're safely stored in the cloud. Then you can retrieve them, edit them, share them and more from any internet-connected laptop, phone or tablet, wherever you are in the world.

But with so many cloud storage providers vying for your business, how do you choose between them? In this article, we bring together the very best cloud storage options available to you today.

We'll look at how they compare on price, and what each has to offer, from collaboration tools to file-sharing features, as well as the level of security they can provide for your important data. From no-frills, budget platforms through to the more expensive options, you're sure to find the best cloud storage here for your specific needs.

Today's very best cloud storage deals

1. EXCLUSIVE: IDrive One-year 5TB plan: $69.50 $3.48
95% off -
No, we can scarcely believe it either. But thanks to a special deal for Creative Bloq readers, you can grab a year's worth of 5TB, normally costing just under $70, for just $3.48! Not to mention that IDrive is our pick as the best cloud storage service available today... so this deal is a real no-brainer. Take advantage while it's still available!
View Deal

2. IDrive 2TB plan: $69.50 $13.90 for 1 year
80% off:
Here's another amazing deal! For a limited time only, you can get 80% off a 2TB IDrive cloud storage plan for the first year. So instead of coughing up just under $70, you pay just $13.90 for a whole 12 months... to store as much data as most people could ever need.
View Deal

3. pCloud: Lifetime subscription, or less than £4 a month
If you're looking for the best data storage at a guaranteed low price long term, we'd recommend pCloud. Prices start at just £3.59 a month, and you get a whopping 500GB of storage for all your files.View Deal

The best cloud storage services of 2021 in full

Diagram showing various threats to your data security

(Image credit: iDrive)

01. IDrive

The best cloud storage service overall.

Storage: 5GB-12.5GB | Free storage: 5GB

Easy to use
Fast
High security
Some free services offer more space

iDrive is our pick as the best cloud storage provider overall, largely because it offers so many useful features. You can back up your data to an unlimited number of devices, with real-time syncing. You can also access older file restorations, which can be very handy if you accidentally delete something. And it's not just files that you can back up either. iDrive works with mapped network drives, so you can use it to preserve full disk images – back up entire systems, in other words – if you choose. 

To make it easy to access everything, you can back up files from all of your PCs, Macs and mobile devices into a single account if you wish. Beyond that, iDrive can provide you with activity reports, two-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption. And if you want to collaborate with friends or colleagues, you can share synced files from your computer, mobile device or via the web quickly and seamlessly. 

You can use iDrive for free with up to 5GB of storage, and if you need more, there are paid-for options that run up to 5TB, 10TB and 12.5TB. For more details, read our full IDrive review.

Illustration of man adding photos to his smartphone

(Image credit: pCloud)

02. pCloud

The best data storage service for a one-off price.

Storage: 10GB-2TB | Free storage: 10GB

Variety of pricing models 
Useful features
Strong free plan
Maximum 2TB storage

You know how some online services are cheap for the first year, but then hike up the direct debit in the second once you're bedded in? Well, if you're sick of that happening to you, then pCloud offers a lifetime subscription, which provide 500GB and 2TB storage capacities for a reasonable one-off payment of £159 / £309. If you'd rather pay monthly or yearly, the prices are pretty cheap too, and there's even a free plan which comes with a generous 10GB of storage.

Either way, you'll get a great service from pCloud, which allows you to manage your files in real time across all the devices you can think of. There are no limits on individual file sizes, and backups of deleted and altered files are kept for up to 30 days just to keep you covered. 

You can set up automatic backups from Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive. Security is covered by 256-bit encryption and two-factor authentication. And you can choose whether you want your data stored in the EU or US. Also note that pCloud itself is based in Switzerland, which is famed for its strong privacy laws, so you can be sure your data is in safe hands. 

pCloud doesn’t have as many high-end business features as some rivals, and the maximum 2TB storage won't suit everyone. But if you just want a robust and reliable data storage service, you'll find it here at very competitive prices. And the unique one-off subscription plan will be attractive to anyone who just wants to "set it and forget it", as they say. For more details, read our full pCloud review.

Woman choosing geographical region

(Image credit: Zoolz)

03. BigMIND by Zoolz

The best cloud storage service for long-term archiving.

Storage: 100GB-10TB | Free storage: 100GB (trial only)

Versatile 
Affordable
Cold storage option
Lacks live backup

Zoolz is an easy-to-use cloud storage provider geared towards businesses that seek long-term data solutions. There's no free option (although there is a free trial), but the paid options are pretty affordable and 10TB is going to be more than enough for most enterprises' needs. There's also a thoughtful option for ‘cold storage’, which lets you archive files that you won't need to access particularly often, at cut-price rates.

In general, there are a good range of features on offer, including automatic backups, uploads and syncing all kinds of device, and clever AI that groups together objects, faces, documents and text for easier organisation. There's also excellent file versioning and a good range of search options to help you find what you're looking for more quickly. 

With all that, plus intelligent filtering, 256-bit AES encryption and multi-factor authentication, this is one of the best cloud storage options to explore if you need a long-term home for your stuff. 

Woman on holiday with camera

(Image credit: Degoo)

04. Degoo Cloud

The best cloud storage service for photographers.

Storage: 100GB-10TB | Free storage: 100GB

100GB for free
Photography focus 
Free option is ad-supported
Limited business features

Most cloud storage providers offer a free plan, but none come as generous as Degoo Cloud's, which gives you an incredible 100GB of space. Yes, you read that right: 100GB of storage, without paying a penny.

Degoo, which is largely targeted at photographers, doesn't skimp on features either, giving you 256-bit end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, automatic uploading, cross-device support and real-time syncing into the bargain. Admittedly, you'll get served a lot of ads, but you can't really argue with that when you're getting so much good stuff for free.

You'll need to upgrade to the paid plan, however, to get more storage plus advanced features including zero-knowledge encryption and a photo-storage maximisers. Those are available on the Pro and Ultimate levels respectively, which give you either 500GB or 10TB of storage. Beyond that, Degoo is missing some of the more advanced features that come with more business-oriented cloud storage services, but that won't be an issue for most photographers.

Woman at laptop answering the phone

(Image credit: Livedrive)

05. Livedrive

The best cloud storage service for collaborative business use.

Storage: 2TB-Unlimited | Free storage: 2TB-10TB (trial only)

Feature rich
Strong collaborative tools
No free version
Complex choice of plans

Livedrive's cloud storage service is packed with features, including easy restoration options, support for a wide range of devices, 256-bit encryption and two-factor authentication (plus more sophistcated encryption on business accounts). Your deleted files are archived for 30 days, and most notably there's an emphasis on business and collaboration features, such as on-the-go editing, team folders and smart file sharing. 

There are a variety of different plans, which can get a little complex, but does give you the flexibility to create a setup that suits you. On the whole, this is one of the more expensive services, so it's most suited for business rather than personal use, particularly where multiple people need to collaborate on documents and other files. While there's no free version, there is a free trial so you can at least try before you buy.

Abstract illustration of a box surrounded by icons

(Image credit: Nordblocker)

06. NordLocker

The best cloud storage for security and privacy.

Storage: 3GB-500GB | Free storage: 3GB

Automatic encryption
Powerful security
Free version
No dedicated smartphone apps

Is protecting your privacy and the security of your data your main priority when it comes to cloud storage? Then we'd recommend NordLocker. This service offers more powerful encryption than most providers, and all your data is automatically encrypted before you upload it... so even NordLocker can’t see it. Secure file-sharing, two-factor authentication and master password support are all included.

In general, this is a pretty good cloud storage service too, featuring easy, drag-and-drop file upload and management and syncing between multiple devices. The free service provides a not-inconsiderable 3GB of space, while the generally cheap payment plans range up to 500GB. 

If you want a business solution, you can get more storage than that, but you’ll need to talk to NordLocker directly. Also note that NordLocker doesn’t offer dedicated smartphone apps and you need to use the dedicated desktop app on your PC, rather than your browser. When it comes to security and privacy, though, there’s nothing finer.

Onedrive screenshot on both monitor and smartphone

(Image credit: Microsoft)

07. Microsoft OneDrive

The best cloud storage service for Windows 10 users.

Storage: 5GB-6TB | Free storage: 5GB

5GB for free 
Integrated with Windows 
Good smartphone and Mac apps
Fairly basic service

Do you use Windows 10? Then you'll find Microsoft’s OneDrive one of the easiest options for cloud storage. It’s built right into the operating system and includes 5GB of free space. If you’d like more, then you can get a whole 1TB of capacity as part of Office 365 subscription, and you can pay extra for more still on top of that. Alternatively you can get an impressive 100GB of monthly storage without Office 365 for quite a tiny amount.

There are OneDrive apps for Android, iOS and macOS, and you get real-time syncing, 30 days of file restoration, ransomware detection and a personal vault that protects key files with ID verification. There’s support for multipage scanning, offline folders, automatic photo saving and editing on any device, and of course all of this is nicely integrated into your Windows 10 workflow. 

OneDrive isn't as sophisticated as some of its most business-oriented rivals, but it’s a solid, reliable and easy to use service, and for Office 365 and Windows users it's a slam dunk to at least try out for free.

Illustration of Dropbox

(Image credit: Dropbox)

08. Dropbox

Easy sharing and unlimited storage.

Storage: 2GB-Unlimited | Free storage: 2GB

Flexible collaboration tools
Intuitive interface
180-day file history preservation
Not the cheapest

Launched in 2008, Dropbox is one of the most long-running and respected cloud storage solutions on the market. Its standout features include real-time syncing across multiple devices, a very intuitive interface, 256-bit encryption, two-factor authentication and most of all, easy and secure file sharing. 

You can also get 180-day file history preservation (which is more than most), watermarking, smart permission options, and a huge range of collaboration tools, including team folders, editing tools, secure file transfers and commenting. 

Most people will know Dropbox from the capable free version, which offers just 2GB storage, but the paid tiers offer extra storage (indeed, unlimited amounts at the higher levels), device approvals, audit logging, centralised admin consoles and networking controls. 

On the downside, these options are a little more expensive than many cloud storage providers', and there's not much on offer when it comes to privacy features. For more details, read our full Dropbox review

iCloud screenshot on both monitor and smartphone

(Image credit: Apple)

09. Apple iCloud

The best cloud storage service for Apple users.

Storage: 5GB-2TB | Free storage: 5GB

OS X & macOS integration
Easy to use 
Solid security features
Not great for non-Apple users

Tied into Apple's ecosystem? Then it makes sense to give its native cloud storage service, iCloud, a go. This tool provides you with 5GB of free space, and its integration with macOS and iOS is well-thought out. iCloud offers seamless storage and synchronization of all your key files and, as you'd expect from Apple, browsing and navigation are slick and friction-free.

On the whole, iCloud offers good sharing options, clear visual organisation, two-factor authentication, and reasonably priced upgrade storage plans. On the downside, you won't find the kind of specialist security or business features available in other tools. And even though you don't have to be an Apple fan to use iCloud (there’s a Windows client, too, and the mobile website works well on Android devices), there isn't really much point in doing so if you aren't.

Subscribe to iCloud: Paid plans from $0.99/£0.79 a month (5GB free)

Google Drive screenshot on both monitor and smartphone

(Image credit: Google)

10. Google Drive

The best cloud storage service for Chromebook users.

Storage: 15GB-20TB | Free storage: 15GB

15GB free storage
Android integration
G-Suite integration
More free storage with Degoo or Mega

Like with OneDrive and iCloud, Google’s cloud storage service is built into Google’s own services – it’s included if you’ve got a Google account, an Android phone or a Chromebook. You get a generous 15GB of storage for free, and you can use Google’s own suite of online apps to edit, collaborate on, manage, and share your files. Even better, if you want to open an exotic file that Google doesn't have an app for, it does a great job of searching for one that will help you out, all without leaving the interface.

Drive offers desktop apps for Windows and Mac, and it includes all the standard cloud storage features you need, including real-time syncing, encryption, offline working and document scanning. You can also restore files from up to 30 days in the past, and store photos with no compression. On the paid plans, storage can be upgraded to a maximum of 20TB.

Subscribe to Google Drive:

Diagram showing people connected around the world

(Image credit: Box)

11. Box

Unlimited cloud storage for business users.

Storage: 100GB-Unlimited | Free storage: 10GB

Unlimited storage on most plans
Nice app integrations
Data loss protection 
Indvidual file upload limits

If you're looking for vast amounts of cloud storage for your organisations, then Box is a very well worth investigating. With the exception of its starter plan, all of its Business plans offer unlimited storage. Note, though that you can't upload indivdual files greater in size than 5GB, so if you're working with raw 4K or 8K videos, that might be an issue.

Beyond that, Box offers some sophisticated security options as well as data loss protection, is supported by apps such as Office 365 and Google Docs, and directly integrated with others such as G-Suite and AutoCAD. There are bespoke Box apps for Mac, Windows and Android. And note-taking tools and nice collaboration features are the icing on the cake if you're sharing your files and folders with multiple stakeholders.

We wouldn't really recommend Box for personal use. The free plan gives you just 10GB storage with a 250MB maximum file size, and its Personal Pro plan isn't very competitively priced. But for business use, including creative freelancers, this feature-rich service with unlimited storage is very much worth considering. For more details, read our full Box review

Mega screenshot on both monitor and smartphone

(Image credit: Mega)

12. Mega

The most open and transparent cloud storage provider.

Storage: 50GB-16TB | Free storage: 50GB

Open approach to technology
Strong security features
50GB storage for free
Apps are quite basic

If you're looking for a lot of free storage, Mega is one of the best cloud storage options around. You can get 50GB of free space here, which is far more than any other on this list beside Degoo Cloud. Plus, if you need more, you can get upgrade and get from 1TB to 16TB of storage at some very low low prices.

Mega's desktop apps, mobile apps and browser extensions are basic but very usable, offering seamless syncing and uploading across its apps and extensions. There's also a strong focus on security, with user-controlled end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and endpoint encryption all included. Both chat and file-sharing are encrypted, so you can be sure you're not being snooped on at all times. The company even publishes its own source code and cryptographic architecture, which is great practice for eliminating security vulnerabilities. 

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