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The cheapest cloud storage in 2021

Cheapest cloud storage
(Image credit: Unsplash, @alejandroescamilla)

If you're looking for the cheapest cloud storage deals, you've come to the right place. Storing your creative work in the cloud is one of the best ways to keep it safe and accessible across all your devices. But for many creatives, the subscription costs for  can be a major hurdle.

The good news is that cloud storage is getting more affordable with every passing year. In fact, it’s now possible to get terabytes of storage without breaking the bank. In this guide, you'll find quick links below to our top three picks for the cheapest cloud storage. You can scroll down further for full details and more options. If you want more options still, without the focus on price, you can also check our pick of the best cloud storage overall and the best cloud storage for business.

The cheapest cloud storage: our top 3

The cheapest cloud storage in full

cheapest cloud storage: Backblaze

Backblaze offers unlimited cloud storage for a single device (Image credit: Backblaze/Ingram Publishing on Getty)

Unlimited backup for one computer

Specifications
Free storage: None
Storage options: Unlimited
Plans starting at: $6/month
Number of devices: 1
File syncing: No
End-to-end encryption: No
Reasons to buy
+Unlimited storage+Restore lost files via a hard drive mailed to you+No file size limits
Reasons to avoid
-Only supports one device-No mobile app

Backblaze is an incredibly cheap cloud storage solution if you have a lot of data and only a single device. The platform offers unlimited cloud storage for one Mac or PC, plus any external hard drives you want to connect to it, at $0.005 per GB each month. The first 10GB are free. Even better, ExpressVPN has a deal that offers a year's free backup with Backblaze when you sign up. ExpressVPN is the best VPN in our opinion and worth signing up for itself, and this deal gives you the Backblaze B2 plan thrown in.

Backblaze is equipped with a number of features to make backing up your files as simple as possible. You can automatically back up files anytime they’re changed or set your backups on a schedule. You also have the option to limit how much data the software can transfer at any time so it doesn’t slow down your computer or Internet connection while you work. Old file versions are automatically retained in your account for 30 days, and you can extend your version retention to one year for $2 per month.

If you need to restore your files after a data loss event, you can request that Backblaze mail you a hard drive with your data on it to speed up the recovery process. The Backblaze software also comes with a built-in tracking software so that you can find your computer if it’s ever lost or stolen. Want to know more? See our Backblaze review.

Since Backblaze is designed to back up a single computer, it’s not ideal for syncing projects across devices. It does have a mobile app so you can easily download files from the cloud to your smartphone, but it won’t enable you to upload files from your smartphone back to the cloud.

cheapest cloud storage: Amazon

Amazon Photos comes with Amazon Prime and includes unlimited photo storage (Image credit: Amazon/Ingram Publishing on Getty)

Unlimited photo storage for Prime members

Specifications
Storage: 5 GB
Storage options: 5 GB to unlimited
Plans starting at: $1.99/month
Number of devices: Unlimited
File syncing: Yes
End-to-end encryption: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Included with Amazon Prime+Supports RAW files+Order prints from Amazon
Reasons to avoid
-Limited video storage-Basic search options

If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you might be surprised to find out that you have access to unlimited cloud storage for your photos. Amazon Photos is included with Prime at no additional cost, allowing you to upload any number of photos, including RAW files, and up to 5GB of video.

If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, you can subscribe for $12.99 per month or $129.99 per year. If you don't want to join Amazon Prime, all Amazon customers get 5GB storage for free and can purchase an extra 100 GB for £1.49/$1.99 per month or an extra 1 TB for £7.99/$6.99 per month. 

Amazon Photos has a number of tools for managing your images in the cloud. You can edit images, organise photos into albums, and even order prints and photo books from Amazon. Amazon Photos syncs images across all your devices, including an Amazon Echo Show or Fire TV.

We especially like how Amazon Photos handles sharing images. You can share individual photos or albums, as well as create shared groups with multiple albums. These collaborative groups are perfect for delivering photos from multiple shoots to clients and receiving comments back.

The one area where Amazon Photos falls short of competitors is in file search. You can search through your photos and videos by name, but there is no way to add searchable tags or descriptions. So, you need to stay on top of your albums and folders if you want to keep your storage space organised.

Cheapest cloud storage: IDrive

iDrive offers very inexpensive 5 TB and 10 TB cloud storage plans (Image credit: IDrive/Ingram Publishing via Getty)

Low-cost storage for all your files

Specifications
Free storage: 5 GB
Storage options: 5 GB to 10 TB
Plans starting at: $52.12/year
Number of devices: Unlimited
File syncing: Yes
End-to-end encryption: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Store any file types+Team plans available+Backup and restore via mailed hard drive
Reasons to avoid
-No online productivity tools-Poor file sharing

If you need a large volume of storage, IDrive is one of the cheapest cloud storage options around. It offers 5 TB for just $79.50 per year or 10TB for $99.50. Better yet, you can get 25% off IDrive for your first year. There is also a team plan for small businesses that includes 5TB of storage for five users for $99.50 per year.

IDrive handles most file types, which makes it useful for storing any type of creative work. You can preview text documents, PDFs, and JPG images, but not RAW files or most Adobe file types in the cloud. IDrive is heavily focused on storage, however, so you won’t find any tools for editing your files online.

It’s not great for file sharing since recipients must register for a free IDrive account in order to view any files you share with them through the platform. That makes IDrive inconvenient if, for example, you’re looking for a way to send finished products to a client. 

Perhaps our favourite detail is that IDrive includes a courier service through which you can receive a physical hard drive through the mail. You can return the drive with your files on it to have IDrive upload them directly to the company’s servers. You can also request a drive with your files after a data loss event. This courier service can save a huge amount of time if you have terabytes of data to upload to the cloud when you first sign up. Find out more in our IDrive review.

Cheapest cloud storage: Google Cloud

Google One includes cloud storage for Google Photos and Google Drive (Image credit: Google One/Ingram Publishing via Getty)

04. Google One

Access Google Photos, Drive, and Workspace

Specifications
Free storage: 15 GB
Storage options: 15 GB to 2 TB
Plans starting at: $1.99/month
Number of devices: Unlimited
File syncing: Yes
End-to-end encryption: No
Reasons to buy
+Includes Photos and Drive storage+Add family to your plan+Straightforward file syncing
Reasons to avoid
-2TB cap-No physical recovery drives

Google offers two linked cloud storage platforms: Google Photos and Google Drive. Google Photos is purpose-built to store high-resolution photos and videos. It includes a built-in photo editor, plus simple tools for syncing images across your devices and sharing photos with anyone. 

The platform also uses artificial intelligence to automatically scan your images for faces, scenery, and objects, and then categorizes them into suggested albums like Sunsets or Bikes. Google Photos also has an integrated print shop where you can create custom photo books or order prints for pickup from your local Walgreens or CVS.

Google Drive is an all-purpose cloud storage platform that integrates seamlessly with Google Workspace, which includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more. Thanks to this integration, you can edit most documents in the cloud without downloading them to your devices. Google Drive also comes with a backup and sync client, which is extremely helpful if you work across multiple computers or on your smartphone.

One thing to note is that your storage allocation is shared between Google Photos and Google Drive. You get 15GB for free, and if you need more you can purchase up to 2TB through Google One. A 100GB plan costs $1.99 per month, while a 2TB plan costs $9.99 per month. 

Cheapest cloud storage: OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive offers cloud storage for all your files, and some plans include the Office 365 productivity suite (Image credit: OneDrive/Ingram Publishing via Getty)

05. Microsoft OneDrive

Collaboration tools for business users

Specifications
Free storage: 5 GB
Storage options: 5 GB to 1 TB
Plans starting at: $1.99/month
Number of devices: Unlimited
File syncing: Yes
End-to-end encryption: No
Reasons to buy
+Includes Microsoft Office 365 apps+Supports any file types+Sync across all your devices
Reasons to avoid
-1 TB per user cap-Expensive if you don’t need Office 365

Microsoft OneDrive is a very capable cloud storage service that you can buy on its own or with Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite. On its own, OneDrive probably wouldn’t make this list. You only get 5GB for free, and a 100 GB plan costs $1.99 per month. However, you can bundle in Office 365 with 1 TB of OneDrive storage for $69.95 per year, which is a much better deal if you need apps like Word and Powerpoint.

OneDrive also offers excellent value for small businesses. You can get 1 TB of storage per user along with an Exchange email server (which allows you to host your own emails instead of using a service like Gmail) and the Teams communication software for $5 per user per month. The price is still a modest $12.50 per user per month if you add Office 365 to your plan.

This cloud storage platform is packed with tools to help keep your files organised. Photos are automatically organised into their own folder, for example, and you can create albums in the cloud. You can also share any documents or folders and easily track what you’ve shared to limit access to your files.

OneDrive doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption, which is considered one of the most secure forms of file storage. However, there is a Personal Vault that you can use to store your most sensitive files. It’s protected with two-factor authentication and auto-locks after 20 minutes of inactivity.

Cheapest cloud storage: Flickr

Flickr offers unlimited storage for high-resolution photos (Image credit: Flickr/Ingram Publishing via Getty)

Unlimited storage for high-resolution photos

Specifications
Free storage: 1,000 photos
Storage options: 1,000 photos or unlimited
Plans starting at: $5/month
Number of devices: Unlimited
File syncing: No
End-to-end encryption: No
Reasons to buy
+Unlimited photo storage+Built-in social network+Stats about image views
Reasons to avoid
-Not very private-Only accepts photos-Doesn’t support RAW files

Flickr is slightly different from the other cloud storage platforms on this list. Instead of having a private storage space, your images are publicly visible to everyone else on Flickr by default. This can be an advantage if you want to showcase your photography, especially since the platform includes stats about how many times your photos are viewed. However, you do have the option to make images private if you want.

Flickr enables you to organise your images into albums and share them with collaborators and clients outside the platform. You can also tag your photos and add metadata, which makes them easier to search. In addition, Flickr includes a basic photo editor so you can make changes to your images in the cloud. The biggest limitation is in what you can store. Flickr only supports photos, and it doesn’t accept RAW image files. So, while it may be a workable solution for some photographers, it’s probably not suitable for graphic designers, videographers, and other creatives.

Flickr enables you to store up to 1,000 photos (of any size) for free, and you don’t need a subscription to use the platform’s social network. If you want unlimited photo storage, you'll need to pay $5 per month. See our Flickr review for more details.

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Michael Graw

Michael is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Bellingham, Washington. His interests span a wide range from business technology to finance to creative media, with a focus on new technology and emerging trends. Michael's work has been published in TechRadar, Tom's Guide, Business Insider, Fast Company, Salon, and Harvard Business Review.