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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, we’ll highlight six of the cheapest cloud storage options you can turn to in 2021. Want more options? Check out our pick of the best cloud storage around.

The cheapest cloud storage around

Cheapest cloud storage: Backblaze

Backblaze offers unlimited cloud storage for a single device (Image credit: BlackBlaze)

01. Backblaze

Unlimited backup for one computer

Free storage: None | Storage options: Unlimited | Plans starting at: $6/month | Number of devices: 1 | File syncing: No | End-to-end encryption: No

Unlimited storage
Restore lost files via a hard drive mailed to you
No file size limits
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. This platform offers unlimited cloud storage for one Mac or PC, plus any external hard drives you want to connect to it, for just $6 per month.

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

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 that 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.

Cheapest cloud storage: Amazon Photos

Amazon Photos comes with Amazon Prime and includes unlimited photo storage (Image credit: Amazon)

02. Amazon Photos

Unlimited photo storage for Prime members

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

Included with Amazon Prime
Supports RAW files
Order prints from Amazon
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 and enables 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. Alternatively, you can purchase 100 GB of Amazon Photos space for $1.99 per month or 1 TB for $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 offers very inexpensive 5 TB and 10 TB cloud storage plans (Image credit: Idrive)

03. iDrive

Low-cost storage for all your files

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

Store any file types
Team plans available
Backup and restore via mailed hard drive
No online productivity tools
Poor file sharing

If you need a large volume of storage, iDrive is one of the cheapest providers around. This cloud storage platform offers 5 TB for just $79.50 per year or 10TB for $99.50. Better yet, you get 25 per cent off for your first year. iDrive also has 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.

One thing to note about iDrive is that it’s not great at file sharing. 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 through the cloud.

Perhaps our favourite thing about this cloud storage platform is that it includes a courier service by 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 to recover more quickly after a data loss event. Using this courier service saves a huge amount of time if you have terabytes of data to upload to the cloud when you first sign up for iDrive. Find out more in our iDrive review.

Cheapest cloud storage

Google One includes cloud storage for Google Photos and Google Drive (Image credit: Google)

04. Google One

Access Google Photos, Drive, and Workspace

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

Includes Photos and Drive storage
Add family to your plan
Straightforward file syncing
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. 

In addition, any photos you upload to Google Photos before June 1, 2021, don’t count towards your storage cap.

Cheapest cloud storage

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

05. Microsoft OneDrive

Collaboration tools for business users

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

Includes Microsoft Office 365 apps
Supports any file types
Sync across all your devices
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 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 an 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 offers unlimited storage for high-resolution photos (Image credit: Flickr)

06. Flickr

Unlimited storage for high-resolution photos

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

Unlimited photo storage
Built-in social network
Stats about image views
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 your images private if you want.

Flickr enables you to organise your images into albums and to 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 to this platform 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, Flickr costs $5 per month.

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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.