Remember the days of hauling your files around with you on portable drives, rewritable CDs, or even floppy disks? Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about that anymore. Cloud storage makes syncing and backing up your files easier than ever before. Even so, choosing the right cloud storage service for your budget can be tough.
We’re taking a look at some of the best options available and how much they’ll cost you. If you want more control or value your privacy above all, you might be interested in a self-hosted solution. We’ve already taken a look at self-hosted cloud storage services like NextCloud in a separate article.
One of the more ubiquitous names in cloud storage, Dropbox seems to rely heavily on its reputation. You don’t get much free storage at just 2GB, but you can increase this in various ways. Even so, the price per gigabyte isn’t fantastic either.
You can get 1TB of storage for $99 per year or 2TB for $198.96 per year. Either way, you’re looking at paying roughly $0.10 per GB per year. That’s not terrible, but there are better options. Still, for the price, you get Dropbox’s file recovery and version history, as well as remote device wipe. Both are nice features. Dropbox is available for mobile devices as well as Windows, macOS, and Linux. In the case of Linux, only the EXT4 filesystem is supported, which could be an issue for you.
Google Drive (or Google One – the naming varies these days) offers much more free storage than Dropbox at 15GB. The pricing can be better, too, but it depends on how much you’re looking for and how you want to pay.
If you don’t need much storage, you can opt for the 100GB option, which costs $1.99 per month. This works out to $0.02 per GB per month, or $0.24 per GB per year. Much more cost effective is the 2TB plan, which costs $99.99 per year. This works out to $0.05 per GB per year or half of what you’d pay with Dropbox.
Google One storage doesn’t just include Google Drive. This also includes Gmail, Google Photos, and everything else. Google Drive is available for mobile devices as well as Windows and macOS. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to set up Google Drive on Linux as well.
OneDrive only offers 5GB of free storage, but its pricing is comparable to Google Drive. Plans start at 50GB for $1.99 per month, which works out to $0.50 per GB per year. Paying for Office 365 makes much more sense, as the $69.99 per year personal plan gives you 1TB. The $99.99 Office 365 Home plan gives you 1TB for one user for up to six users.
This works out to either $0.07 per GB per year or $0.02 per GB per year. In either case, you not only get the storage but the entire Office 365 suite that includes Word, Excel, Outlook, and more. This is only available for Windows, macOS, and mobile devices, but you can use OneDrive storage in Linux.
Box is another expensive option, but it does offer 10GB of free storage. For personal plans, storage tops out at 100GB, which costs $10 per month. This works out to $0.10 per GB per month or $1.20 per GB per year. That’s much higher than any other storage option on this list.
This makes sense, as Box is aimed more at businesses than individuals. If you’re still considering box, it’s available officially for Windows, macOS, and mobile devices. You can get it working under Linux, but not officially or very easily.
While perhaps not as well-known as some of the other options on this list, pCloud has some interesting options. If you’re looking at paying yearly, the service offers 2TB for $95.88 per year. That works out to $0.05 per GB per year.
More interestingly, the Switzerland-based pCloud also offers Lifetime Storage options. 500GB of lifetime storage is currently available for $175 or $0.18 per GB. If you need more, you can get 2TB of lifetime storage for $350 or $0.05 per GB. Of course, this lifetime storage is only available as long as the company exists, so there is some risk. Still, it’s tough to beat the price. pCloud also has apps available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and mobile platforms.
MEGA offers up to 50GB of free storage, though you’ll need to participate in its “achievements” program. For paid storage, the company offers Pro plans ranging from 200GB to 8TB. In the case of the highest tier, you’ll pay 29.99 Euro or $34.16 per month. This works out to roughly $0.05 per GB, on par with some of the other better options on this list. MEGA also offers end-to-end encryption, which may make it a hit for the privacy-conscious. MEGA is available for Windows, macOS, Linux and mobile devices.
Do we have a winner?
Both Google Drive and pCloud offer the best bang for the buck for a yearly price, with each offering 2TB for $0.05 per GB per year. If you’re willing to gamble on the service staying alive, pCloud might be the better option, considering the lifetime 2TB option.