Whatever kind of creative business you're running, whether you're a lone freelancer or in charge of a larger agency, it's increasingly essential to have some kind of cloud storage service in place. Not only does it mean that you can have project files available to work on wherever you are, but it can also make it easy to send large files to clients.
More importantly, having your critical files backed up online ensures that if you suffer a serious tech failure or similar, all your work can easily be retrieved without you missing any deadlines.
Finding the best cloud storage solution can be a challenge, though, especially now that there are so many services to choose from. To help you make your decision we've picked out six of the best, covering everything you might need from no-frills online backup through to heavyweight cloud storage systems with all the options your company will ever need. Read on for our guide to the best cloud storage solutions in 2019.
The best cloud storage solution for reliability
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 whopping 80% off a 2TB IDrive cloud storage plan for the first year. So instead of shelling out just under $70, you'll pay just $13.90, which is an absurdly cheap price for that amount of cloud storage.
Pay once and get on with it
Storage: 10GB-2TB | Free storage: Up to 10GB
pCloud's lifetime premium subscriptions, giving you either 500GB or 2TB of online storage for a pretty reasonable one-time 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, it's 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. And for peace of mind, pCloud hosts five copies of all your files across different servers, using 256-bit AES encryption. For an extra $4.99 a month you can add pCloud Crypto to your service, enabling you to password-protect your files.
pCloud subscription options:
An easy cloud storage solution for Windows 10
Storage: 5GB - Unlimited | Free storage: Up to 5GB
For Windows 10 users, Microsoft's OneDrive is an easy way to get cloud storage as it comes built into File Explorer, so you can get started straight away with 5GB of online storage for free, with 50GB available for $1.99 per month. However if you want to share files then 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. You're not limited to Windows, either; there are now apps for both iOS and Android, and 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.
OneDrive subscription options:
- 50GB: $3/£1.99 a month
- 1TB: $8/£5.99 a month
- Unlimited: $11/£7.99 a month (as part of Onedrive for Business)
A good storage-only option for Apple users
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 – but 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 go elsewhere.
Subscribe to iCloud: Paid plans from $0.99/£0.79 a month
05. 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 an obvious 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 using, especially as you get 15GB of storage completely free, not to mention 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. And if you need more than the free 15GB (it fills up easily 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:
- 100GB: $1.99/£1.59 a month
- 200GB: $2.99/£2.35 a month
- 2TB: $9.99/£8 a month
- 10TB: $99.99/£74 a month
- 20TB: $199.99/£148 a month
- 30TB: $299.99/£236 a month
The most generous free option
Storage: 50GB - 8TB | Free storage: Up to 50GB free
Want loads of free storage? Mega's the place to go; its free service gives you a whole 50GB to play with, and its paid plans are similarly generous, starting at $6 per month for 200GB and going up to a whole 8TB for $35 a month.
With both mobile and desktop apps enabling you sync and upload files, it's 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 Mega's 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.