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5 of the Best Free Cloud Storage Providers and Their Features

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People are increasingly using cloud storage nowadays. Whether you’ve got important documents, photos, music or other files that need to be shared across more than one device, using a cloud storage option is often the easiest way to do it.

With so many cloud services along with the recent introduction of Google Drive, you may be wondering which one could be right for you. Check out our list below to get a general summary of each popular cloud service and their major features.

1. Google Drive

Google Drive logo
Google.com

Since Google Drive became available in April of 2012, many have wondered whether or not they should drop their current cloud service and make the switch. If you’re an avid Googler, it may be worth it. One of the high points about Google Drive is that it’s automatically integrated with other Google tools like Docs, Google+ and Gmail. And if you opt for a paid version of Google Drive, your Gmail space will automatically be increased to 25 GB.

Free storage: 5 GB

Approximate annual price for 20 GB: $29.88

Approximate annual price for 100 GB: $59.88

Max file size allowed: 10 GB

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac

Mobile apps: Android, iOS coming soon

2. Dropbox

Dropbox
Photo © Dropbox

Because of its simplicity and intuitive design, Dropbox may perhaps be the most popular cloud storage service embraced by the web today. You can do a lot with Dropbox, including being able to share files with the public with a link and you can invite your friends on Facebook to share Dropbox files. Even with a free account, you can expand your 2 GB of free storage up to 18 GB of free storage by referring new people to join Dropbox. If you’re already paying for more storage, you can still increase it up to 32 GB with no further payment by referring new users.

Free storage: 2 GB (Get more space through referrals.)

Approximate annual price for 50 GB: $99

Approximate annual price for 100 GB: $199

Max file size allowed: 300 MB via browser, unlimited via desktop

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac, Linux

Mobile apps: Android, iOS, BlackBerry

3. Apple iCloud

Apple iCloud
Photo © Apple, Inc.

If you’ve got Apple devices working on a recent iOS version, you’ve probably already been asked to set up your iCloud account. Just like Google Drive integrates with Google tools, Apple’s iCloud is also deeply integrated with iOS features and functions. You can also opt to get iTunes Match, which lets you store any non-iTunes music in iCloud, such as CD music that has been ripped. iTunes Match costs an extra $24.99 per year.

Free storage: 5 GB

Approximate annual price for 20 GB: $40

Approximate annual price for 50 GB: $100

Max file size allowed: 25 MB for free users, 250 MB for paid users

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac

Mobile apps: iOS only

4. Microsoft SkyDrive

SkyDrive
Photo © Microsoft Corporation

Not an Apple fanboy? Maybe Microsoft is more your thing? Then SkyDrive may be a good option for cloud storage. SkyDrive gives you remote file access and allows you to create MS Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and OneNote notebooks directly in the cloud. You can also publicly share files, enable group editing and take advantage of the integrated Bing search in SkyDrive.

Free storage: 7 GB

Approximate annual price for 20 GB: $10

Approximate annual price for 100 GB: $50

Max file size allowed: 2 GB

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac

Mobile apps: iOS, Windows Phone

5. Box

Box
Photo © Box

Last but not least, there’s Box. Although quite intuitive to use, Box is embraced slightly more by enterprise companies compared to individuals who want personal cloud storage options. While larger file storage space may cost more with other services, Box gives you the option to pay per user business account ($180 per user for 1 TB of space). Box also comes with a lot of great features and tools for businesses, such as content management, online workspaces for better collaboration, task management, a built-in editing system and so much more.

Free storage: 5 GB

Approximate annual price for 25 GB: $120

Approximate annual price for 50 GB: $240

Max file size allowed: 25 MB

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac

Mobile apps: Android, iOS, BlackBerry

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