Which Are The Best Free Cloud Storage Providers?
Particularly for first-time users of the cloud, it can be reassuring to know that not every cloud storage provider will charge you a monthly fee. Some offer their services absolutely free of charge and, though these services will never be quite so powerful or feature heavy or have quite so many features as a paid equivalent, free cloud storage providers are an entry level cloud user’s dream. So what are you looking for when choosing a free cloud storage provider?
Free Cloud Storage Providers For Collaborative Colleagues
If you’re someone who works freelance or has colleagues in different offices all around the country and world, you know the pitfalls of trying to walk collaboratively. There are certain free cloud storage providers whose services have been designed with this sort of situation in mind. Google Drive https://drive.google.com/ , for example, requires nothing more than a Google account to access and is integrated with the rest of Google’s offerings, such as Gmail. You get 5 GB of free storage and the ability to share individual documents or whole folders, not to mention use of many different software tools that resemble slightly less powerful versions of Microsoft Office. You can use Google Drive to work simultaneously on documents and see the changes your colleagues are making in real time.
Of course, if you’re looking to work collaboratively on spreadsheets and written documents, you can’t go too far long asking Microsoft to help you out. Skydrive https://skydrive.live.com/ gives you access to Microsoft Office products as you work, allows you to store up to 7 GB of data in files up to 300 MB in size and then access everything from a web browser or any computer. It’s the largest free cloud storage available and very helpful for PowerPoint aficionados.
Free Cloud Storage Providers For Backing Up Data
If you’re simply interested in a safe place to store your documents and collaborating is a secondary concern, you may feel more comfortable with a simpler free cloud storage service. Box https://www.box.com/ will give you up to 5 GB of storage space free and is aimed at small companies, with plenty of features that will come in handy for enterprise use. For example, task management features and content management tools abound.
Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/ is meanwhile one of the world’s most popular free cloud storage services, because it’s incredibly intuitive and loves its users. You may start with a relatively small 2 GB of storage space, but you can increase this to a whopping 18 GB if you refer other people to the service. It’s powerful, but easy to use and very simple to understand. It’s not great for collaborative workers, however, as there’s no option to edit documents directly in the cloud – Dropbox is a tool for storage and transfer only.
If you need a lot of storage from your free cloud storage provider, you might be interested to try MediaFire http://www.mediafire.com/ . It has an incredibly generous free cloud storage limit of 50 GB, but you can only use it with desktop applications such as Windows and OS X. If you don’t mind not being able to access your storage from your mobile devices and you have a lot of documents to store, MediaFire is the choice for you.
Free Cloud Storage For Recreational Users
Music lovers with large libraries of songs have slightly different needs when it comes to free cloud storage, but fortunately there are free cloud storage providers out there who understand this and have tailored their services to be very friendly to music libraries. iCloud https://www.icloud.com/ for instance is a free cloud storage services designed by the ever-popular Apple. It allows you to store your music files in the cloud and then download them to any and all Apple devices – it’s a service that’s automatically offered on all Apple devices using iOS5 or later. Meanwhile, it’s also strongly integrated with iOS features and tools, which means it’s not just limited to music lovers.
Never ones to be late to the party, Amazon also released their own free cloud storage service that has up to 5 GB of free storage space. Amazon Cloud Drive http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000828861 comes with an in built application called Cloud Player, which was designed to allow users to access their stored music from any device that has internet access. Unsurprisingly, it integrates beautifully with the Kindle family, but it can also be used from any computer or other device.
MiMedia http://www.mimedia.com/ is another free cloud storage provider that describes itself as being a tool specifically for multimedia users. With 7 GB of free storage available, it will allow you to back up and then access your media files. If you have files that exceed the maximum upload size, the service will even send you a hard drive on which you can dump your data and send it back to them to place on the cloud. You should be aware, however, that MiMedia does not encrypt your files while it stores them and doesn’t support Mac devices.
Moving On From Free Cloud Storage Providers
Most of these free cloud storage providers also offer paid upgrades so, if you fall in love with the cloud and want to upgrade what it can do for you, it’s a simple matter of increasing your account with the provider you’re already working with. If, however, you discover that your needs exceed what even the paid versions of your providers can offer, you might be interested to browse the comparison tables below – our cloud storage experts have spent considerable time evaluating the best cloud storage available and summarizing their findings for you.
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