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The best cloud storage: Top storage options in 2021

best cloud storage
(Image credit: Anthony Harvie at Getty)
The best cloud storage: Top 5

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

Having the best cloud storage means you can relax knowing your most vital files are safe and secure. Moving documents, images, videos and other data to the cloud also frees up desk space, reducing the clutter of physical devices, dongles or sticks (and the fear of losing them).

When you've got your cloud storage set up, you can retrieve, edit and share your files at a click of a button (provided you have an internet connection) – no more faffing around with leads or connectors. The best cloud storage options also offer an extra layer of protection to prevent files from being deleted or threatened by external security breaches. You have peace of mind knowing that everything's stored safe and sound in servers scattered across the globe.

Choosing the best cloud storage company for you isn't so easy, though. There are a bunch of similar-sounding services, which means finding the right one for you can take some time. That's why, in this article, we've collated the absolute best cloud storage options available.

You'll also find all the information you need to compare them, on everything from price to the level of security they provide. And our list includes everything from premium platforms to cheap and free services, so you're sure to find the best cloud storage here for your specific needs.

Today's very best cloud storage deals

01. EXCLUSIVE: IDrive One-year 5TB plan: $69.50 $3.48
Get 95% off:
IDrive is our choice as the best cloud storage service available, and Creative Bloq readers can get 5TB for only $3.48, for a whole year, which would normally cost close to $70. That's a bargain you won't want to miss.View Deal

02. pCloud: Lifetime subscription, or less than £4 a month
Low cost storage:
If you want a guaranteed low price over the long term, the pCloud is the best cloud storage service for you. Plans start at just £3.59 a month, and you get 500GB of storage; or you can opt for the very reasonably priced lifetime subscription.View Deal

The best cloud storage services of 2021

Best cloud storage: IDrive logo on laptop in home office

(Image credit: IDrive)

01. IDrive

The best cloud storage service overall

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

Easy to use
Excellent custom support
Some free services offer more space

IDrive is our pick as the best cloud storage provider overall, as it's well designed, affordable, easy to use, and just does everything you need, for a low price. 

It's packed with features, too. For example, you can back up your data to an unlimited number of devices, with real-time syncing. You can access older file restorations, too, which is handy if you accidentally delete something. Plus 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. 

IDrive can also provide you with activity reports, two-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption. If you want to collaborate with others, you can share synced files with them quickly and seamlessly. Security is taken extremely seriously: your data is encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption, both during transfer and at rest, giving it more protection than a service such as Google Drive. And customer support is available by phone five days a week, or by email and live chat 24/7.

You can get up to 5GB of storage on the free plan, and there are paid-for options that run up to 5TB, 10TB and 12.5TB. For more details, read our IDrive review.

Best cloud storage: Illustration of man adding photos to his smartphone

(Image credit: pCloud)

02. pCloud

The best cloud storage service for a low price, long-term

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

Easy to use 
Cheap over long term
Media management tools
No live chat or phone support

Typically, online services are cheap for the first year, but then hike up the direct debit. pCloud, however, allows you to avoid that problem by offering a lifetime subscription. This gets you 500GB or 2TB of storage for a one-off payment of just $175 / £159 or $350 / £309. Alternatively, if you'd rather pay monthly or annually, it's prices are pretty cheap too. And there's even a free plan which comes with a generous 10GB of storage.

Despite the low prices, pCloud offers a great service, which lets you manage your files in real time across all your devices, using either a browser extension or mobile app. There are no limits on individual file sizes, and backups of deleted and altered files are stored for up to 30 days. Plus there are some great media management tools, which you can use to resize and compress content within your cloud account.

Security is covered by 256-bit encryption and two-factor authentication. There are good file sharing and versioning features. 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. 

pCloud doesn’t have as many high-end business features as some of its rivals, and support is only provided by email, not by phone or live chat. Also, the maximum 2TB might be enough for your needs. But as long as these aren't deal-breakers, this is the best cloud storage option for long-term low prices. For more details, read our full pCloud review.

Best cloud storage: Woman choosing geographical region

(Image credit: Zoolz)

03. BigMIND by Zoolz

The best cloud storage service for business archives

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

Cold storage option
AI helps with organisation
Lacks live backup
No free option

Zoolz is an easy-to-use cloud storage provider geared towards businesses that seek long-term data archiving. 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. There's also an option for 'cold storage', which lets you archive files that you don't need to access particularly often, for less money.

Standout features include automatic backups, uploads and syncing to a variety of devices, and AI that groups together objects, faces, documents and text for easier organisation. There's file versioning and a range of search options; intelligent filtering, 256-bit AES encryption and multi-factor authentication. In short, this is one of the best cloud storage options to explore if you need a long-term home for your business archives. 

Best cloud storage: 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
Focused on photography
Good security 
Limits on free option

There are two reasons to choose Degoo Cloud over other cloud storage providers. Firstly, because it's designed specifically for photographers. And secondly, because it gives you an extremely generous 100GB of space on the free option.

On top of that, you get 256-bit end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, automatic uploading, cross-device support and real-time syncing. The only downside is that you'll get served a lot of ads, you can only use it on three devices, and your account gets cancelled if you don't use it for 90 days. But you can't really complain seeing as you're getting all this for free.

The ads and inactivity limit disappear when you upgrade to the paid plan, and you'll also get more storage (500GB or 10TB depending on your level), support for either 10 or unlimited devices, plus advanced features such as zero-knowledge encryption and a photo-storage maximisers. For more information, see our Degoo review.

Best cloud storage: Abstract illustration of a box surrounded by icons

(Image credit: Nordblocker)

05. NordLocker

The best cloud storage service for security and privacy

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

Powerful security protections
Free version
No mobile app
Only 500GB

Is protecting your privacy and data security your main concern? Then we'd recommend NordLocker, as this is the best cloud storage service for keeping your files safe. 

Not only does it offer more powerful encryption than most, but 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 as standard. And beyond the security protections, this is a very decent, all-round cloud storage service. The interface is particularly well designed and easy to use, compared to rivals.

With the free plan, you get 3GB of storage, while the premium plan gives you 500GB. If you want more than that, though, you’ll need to talk to NordLocker directly. Also note that NordLocker operates via a desktop app only, and so you can't use a mobile app or browser extension. For more details, see our Nordlocker review.

Best cloud storage: Onedrive screenshot on both monitor and smartphone

(Image credit: Microsoft)

06. 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

If you use Windows 10, you'll know about Microsoft's OneDrive as it’s built right into the operating system, and includes 5GB of cloud storage for free. And if you take out an Office 365 subscription, you'll get a whole 1TB, with the option to pay for more. Alternatively you can get 100GB of monthly storage without Office 365 at a surprisingly low price.

OneDrive offers 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 as well as using it on your Windows PC, you can also get OneDrive apps for Android, iOS and macOS. 

OneDrive may lack some the advanced features of its business-focused rivals, but it’s solid, reliable, easy to use and nicely integrated into Windows. For more details, read our article iDrive vs OneDrive.

Illustration of Dropbox: Best cloud storage

(Image credit: Dropbox)

07. Dropbox

The best cloud storage service for collaboration

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

Easy to use
Great collaboration features
180-day file history preservation
Paid plans are expensive

Dropbox has been around since 2008, and is very popular, so even if you haven't signed up yourself, you've probably used it to grab other people's files at some point. Its main aim is to make file sharing secure and easy, and it succeeds. We'd describe this as the best cloud service provider for collaboration tools, with its team folders, editing tools, secure file transfers and commenting making it easy to work on files with others. 

Other standout features include an intuitive interface, real-time syncing across multiple devices, 256-bit encryption and two-factor authentication. Dropbox also offers an impressive 180 days of file history, and the ability to add watermarks and smart permission options. 

The free version offers 2GB storage, while you get more if you pay, and unlimited amounts at the higher levels. The paid tiers also unlock device approvals, audit logging, centralised admin consoles and networking controls. On the downside, these options are expensive than many equivalent cloud storage providers. For more details, read our full Dropbox review

best cloud storage: iCloud screenshot on both monitor and smartphone

(Image credit: Apple)

08. Apple iCloud

The best cloud storage service for Apple users

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

Apple integration
Easy to use 
5GB for free
Not great for non-Apple users

Do you do most of your work using Apple devices? Then you'll already have access to iCloud and the 5GB of free storage it offers. As you'd expect, the service integrates beautifully with both macOS and iOS, making it easy to store and synchronize your data, and find files when you need them. 

There are also good sharing options, clear visual organisation, and two-factor authentication. If you need more storage, you can get 55GB for 99 cents per month, 200GB for $2.99 per month and 2TB for $9.99 per month.

Business users, however, won't find the kind of specialist security or advanced features available in other tools. And while it is possible for non-Apple fans to use iCloud on either Windows or Android, we can't really think of a great reason to do so. For more information, read our articles iCloud vs IDrive and iCloud vs Google Drive.

best cloud storage: Google Drive screenshot on both monitor and smartphone

(Image credit: Google)

09. 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 space with Degoo/Mega

To access Google’s cloud storage, you just need a Google account, an Android phone or a Chromebook, and you'll get 15GB of storage for free. As you'd expect, it's nicely integrated with G-suite apps such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sheets, making it easy to edit, collaborate on, and share your files. Plus if you want to open a file that Google doesn't have an app for, it does a great job of searching for one.

With desktop apps for Windows and Mac, and mobile apps for iOS and Android, you can access all the standard cloud storage features, such as real-time syncing, encryption, offline working and document scanning. You can restore files from up to 30 days in the past, and store photos with no compression. 

The paid plans start from $1.99 per month for 100GB. Beyond that, you can get 200GB for $2.99 a month, and 20TB for $9.99. For more information, read our article iCloud vs Google Drive.

Diagram showing people connected around the world: Best cloud storage

(Image credit: Box)

10. Box

Unlimited cloud storage for business users

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

Unlimited storage on most plans
Supported by 1,500 apps
Data loss protection 
Indvidual file upload limits

If you're looking for vast amounts of cloud storage for your organisation, then Box is well worth investigating. With the exception of its starter plan, all of its Business plans offer unlimited storage. Note, though that there's a 5GB limit on individual file uploads.

Box offers some sophisticated security options, data loss protection, note-taking tools and collaboration features. There are bespoke Box apps for Mac, Windows and Android. And because it's been around since 2005, Box is also supported by a lot of third-party apps: more than 1,500 in total. 

We'll be honest: this isn't the best cloud storage solution for personal use. On the free plan you get just 10GB storage, compared with Google Drive's 15GB, and there's 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: Best cloud storage

(Image credit: Mega)

11. 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

Mega is one of the best cloud storage options for free space, offering a whopping 50GB. That's far more than any provider on this list beside Degoo Cloud. And if you need more, you can get 1TB-16TB at some very low prices.

Mega's desktop apps, mobile apps and browser extensions are basic, but usable. They offer 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 too. 

And that's not all. The company even publishes its own source code and cryptographic architecture, which is great practice for eliminating security vulnerabilities. So if you're looking for transparency and support for the open web, this is certainly the best cloud storage provider for you.

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