Selecting ONE cloud storage provider is a bit difficult, and it becomes tougher as you get to know what to look for in a provider. This article is going to provide you with a list of the best cloud storage services for business and personal use, as well as an overview of their security, cost, features, privacy, and every important aspect.
Honestly, I was one of those guys who didn’t care about cloud storage or backup services until I water-damaged my phone last year. I lost all data and photos saved on my iPhone. I started cursing myself for not using a backup or cloud storage, and that is why I am making this list, so you don’t make the same mistake.
There are lots of cloud storage providers in the market, but the majority knows only a few, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive. However, providers like Sync.com, Mega, pCloud, and Icedrive, and a few more have earned the trust of millions of users. These are perfect for personal as well as business use.
If you are someone who is looking for a free cloud service, then I have also mentioned what you would get for free here. I have really dug deep in this field to find the best cloud storage for 2022 for all people who want reliable, safe, and privacy-oriented cloud solutions.
- 1 Understanding the Difference Between Online Backup and Cloud Storage
- 2 1.MEGA
- 3 2.pCloud
- 4 3.Sync.com
- 5 4.Icedrive
- 6 5.Treasure.Cloud (Special Mention)
Understanding the Difference Between Online Backup and Cloud Storage
It is important to understand what “cloud storage” is before you start shopping. That way, you know all the features your software should have and won’t end up with disappointment.
One of the first things you should know about is the difference between cloud & online backup. These two seem similar in a lot of ways because they both offer a solution to safeguard your files from remote data centers, but it’s important not to mix them up when managing your data. Online backup & cloud backup both allow you to store and access files on different devices. Make sure you’re aware of the differences between them to avoid confusion, as many people call online backup a “cloud backup” service.
Online backup is different from cloud storage because its main goal is disaster recovery. Online backup is accessed over the internet, while cloud storage lets you share files with live access to them and collaboration. In addition, many users use cloud storage to store their photos, videos, and important files just like they store on a hard drive or pen drive and share them easily.
In the online backup, backup schedulers and better data recovery options provide peace of mind that there will always be a copy of your most important files safe and sound offsite. On the other hand, cloud storage providers are popular because of file syncing and file sharing features. Besides that, there are cloud storage services that provide integrated apps like task managers and word processors, which can really help increase your productivity.
|20GB free on sign up, 2TB for $122 a year (99.99 Euro)
|Mega.nz and Mega.io
Pros and Cons
|Free Zero-knowledge encryption
Secure servers in Europe and Canada
Enticing free storage
Limited transfer (traffic) data
Free cloud storage services like Google allow you to keep your data safe, but you don’t have the option of privacy. For complete anonymity, you’re better off choosing a provider like MEGA, which has had no interactions with law enforcement, and your data can be accessed only by YOU. MEGA emphasizes security and privacy, so I feel confident when files are encrypted in an ‘end-to-end’ encryption system (zero-knowledge encryption) – not even MEGA can access them.
With servers in Canada, NZ, and Europe, MEGA guarantees your data will be private wherever you are. In order to do so, it has taken a leap against US law. So, users who want servers outside the US can choose this cloud storage provider. MEGA encrypts (almost) all files you upload. This means that it cannot read any of the contents, but it keeps some metadata to monitor unauthorized access to your file. In addition, since its founder Kim Dotcom left the company, there are rumors about Chinese owners, so it can be concerning for some users.
The Best Cloud Storage With 20GB Free
MEGA is the perfect cloud storage solution for anyone that wants a free account with 20GB of storage space. They also offer promotions and deals if you want to increase your storage space. Plus, they have mobile and desktop apps for you to enjoy as well. For the time being, MEGA’s free plan is offered with all features. This includes access to all the security and privacy that MEGA has to offer except password protection on sharing and increased transfer data which is capped at 5GB.
|10GB Free, 2TB for $95 a year or $350 for lifetime
Pros and Cons
|Virtual drive for PC (works exactly like a hard drive)
Lifetime deals available
Easy sharing and remote upload are available
EU servers as an option
|Zero-knowledge encryption (pCloud Crypto) comes at an additional cost
Not seamless experience on a smartphone
I got to know about pCloud recently, and I was surprised to know that it has existed since 2013. This is rare since many companies have come and gone in this industry. This is one of my favorite cloud solution providers. My recommendation is to try it out if you’re looking for an alternative to other big, known players like Dropbox and Google Drive.
pCloud started offering lifetime storage deals when no one was offering, and even now, it is one of the two companies along with Icedrive to offer such an awesome deal. This could be your best pick for the price, as well as if you want to store videos and music on the cloud and play them whenever you want. pCloud comes with an in-built media player, which permits you to play any media files within the mobile or PC app.
pCloud also makes it easy to sync your files across devices. It syncs files slightly differently than most other providers, making your device virtually pull the file from the cloud rather than copy it over. This not only saves storage space but also makes syncing quicker. The limited storage on an SSD may force you to replace it regularly. So, if you’re constantly running out of space, pCloud could be a lifesaver.
Privacy Comes at an Additional Cost
pCloud premium doesn’t support zero-know encryption. However, paying $3.99 per month nets you this protection from pCloud Crypto. On the plus side, it’s included as part of business plans for free. But pCloud Crypto is not like other encryption systems as it is much more secure. Data protection is of utmost importance to pCloud. You can decide where your data is stored: either on servers in the US or in Luxembourg, a country with strong digital privacy legislation. For example, your data will only not be retrieved even with a court order.
|5GB free, 2TB for $96/year
|5 (Individual plans)
Pros and Cons
Great syncing feature
Good customer support
|Not great speed compared to others
Sync.com is proclaimed the best cloud storage provider by many experts. If you need a top-notch cloud storage app at a competitive price, Sync is a great choice. It’s lightning-fast and offers the most competitive pricing in the market, making it an ideal solution for businesses of any size as well as personal use.
If you’re looking for a zero-knowledge cloud storage service, Sync comes with this as standard. This ensures that all your data is encrypted, and only the holder of the encryption key will ever have access to it, which is YOU. You have control over what you share with people. If there’s a security breach or the government demand access, they can only view the files but not what’s inside them.
In case you need a reliable service that lets you share & sync files across devices, Sync.com will have what you need. Zero-knowledge encryption is usually difficult. Sync.com, however, lets you work on Microsoft Office without compromising your privacy – all without breaking the encryption.
Pricing and Speed
Despite not being the fastest of providers, Sync.com is still worth considering due to its low pricing plan. Not only does it beat other providers on account of price, but it also has an available set of features that are more advanced than most other services on the market.
Sync.com has 5GB of storage, which is a decent amount that goes up against Amazon Drive and OneDrive. The Pro Solo Basic account – $8 per month (but you have to pay the bill for a year) – offers the most value, though: for $8 per month, it’s 2 terabytes of storage space on top of the 5GB you already have.
If I compare it with others, only pCloud and Dropbox come closer. The drop has a good price for storage of $9.99 per month, and pCloud offers 2TB at $7.99, which is equal to what Sync.com charges. Overall, Sync.com is a great online storage provider at a price you can’t beat. It also has a lot of features and will work with Windows 10, MacOS, Android, and iPhone. Personally, besides Mega, this is the mobile application I like the most among all cloud storage services that offer apps.
|10GB free, 1TB for $49.99/year and $299 for lifetime (One-time payment)
Pros and Cons
|Twofish encryption algorithm
Zero-Knowledge (End-to-end) encryption
Easy and fast preview encrypted files
Lifetime deals available
|Zero-knowledge encryption comes at an additional cost
Novice in the market
Fewer subscription plans
Icedrive is a bit new in the market, but it gained instant popularity as it offers some amazing features when it comes to speed, privacy, security, integration, and device support. Icedrive is among the few startups that are being able to match their already established competitors in terms of prices and features. One of the best things about Icedrive is that it is one of the few providers that chose not to use AES 256-bit encryption. Instead, it offers the security protocol Twofish, an algorithm that is said to be unbreakable. Some believe that Twofish is more secure than AES.
Icedrive Pricing & Lifetime Plans
One of the major features Icedrive touts is its low price. If you pay annually for this service, 1TB of storage will only cost you $4.17 per month. For businesses that need more data space, the next plan offers 5TB for $15 monthly if paid annually (or $17.99 monthly if there’s no annual subscription). That sounds like a fair bit of money, but some users might prefer the convenience and consistency of a lifetime subscription. With this option, you won’t have to worry about increased prices or data limits in the future.
Nonetheless, this may seem risky to many users since Icedrive is still a new provider, but risks might be worth it seeing its roadmap. If you want security, privacy, and space less than 1TB at a fair price, Icedrive could be the best cloud storage service.
5.Treasure.Cloud (Special Mention)
|10GB free, 1TB for $99.99/year, and 4Tb for $249.99 (Amazing referral offer to get 800GB)
Pros and Cons
|Zero-knowledge encryption at no extra cost
Amazon Web Services servers
Connect multiple cloud accounts such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box
Get up to 800GB storage space for a lifetime from referrals (10GB on every referral)
Secure file sharing
Upload and download size limit of 5GB (may increase in future)
New in the market
No desktop software
Treasure is also an infant in the market, just like Icedrive. Launched at the end of 2020, Treasure has turned the attention of the users with zero-knowledge encryption, an impressive referral program, and file management. Treasure Cloud is a new service that has some hiccups but is overall pretty good. In my opinion, there are glimmers of greatness in this service. Whether it is security, privacy, file sharing, or multiple device support, Treasure leaves no stone to amaze you.
Unlike other cloud storage companies, Treasure doesn’t keep its features for premium plans except for storage space. Client-side encryption, sharing files with options to set a password and expiry date, and multiple cloud account integrations are available for every user. Its universal search enables you to search any file on multiple accounts. It provides utmost security, but since it is based in Singapore, the surveillance laws of Singapore can be a concern.
Pricing and Referral Program
Treasure Cloud’s pricing is high – the paid plans’ prices are actually not that competitive. The free plan is tempting, so let’s talk about the paid plans first. Starting with the Plus plan, this includes 1TB of cloud storage. Unfortunately, its monthly price is double that on Icedrive’s 1TB plan: $9.99 per month for on Plus plan VS $4.99 on Icedrive’s 1TB plan. You can also get a Premium plan at $24.99/month with unlimited cloud connections and 4TB storage.
Treasure is a good option for individuals who need a storage service that is both free and easy to use. The Standard plan offers 10GB of free storage with up to 3 connected clouds, but individuals can increase their storage space up to 800GB by referring friends.
Tell your friends to sign up for Treasure Cloud with your referral link, and you’ll both get an extra 10GB. So, if you have 80 friends or an audience, you can share your link with others and earn 800GB of free space for a lifetime on Treasure Cloud. This is THE BEST referral program in the industry.