13 Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2023
There is an astounding array of options when it comes to cloud storage and file-sharing services available. There are so many that choosing the best option for your personal use or your business can seem like an immense feat of research.
You want a service that provides the optimal amount of bandwidth and storage while keeping your data safe and secure. In this guide, we go through the 13 best cloud storage and file-sharing services available out there in 2022.
Most of them offer feature-rich free plans so that you can test and sample the service before committing to a paid plan. So, you can take the time to evaluate each option to determine if it is the right fit for your needs, whether business or personal.
But first, why should you even consider cloud storage?
Why Store Your Data in the Cloud?
Cloud storage services store your data in secure data centers. With such services, the burden of managing the servers, updating software, and maintaining hardware is taken off your shoulders. Besides this, there are several other advantages of storing your data in the cloud.
1. Protects Your Data from Disasters
During natural disasters such as fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and even global pandemics, having your data stored in the cloud can be a lifesaver as the data is kept in several off-site secure data centers.
2. Offers Redundancy for Ultimate Protection
The best cloud storage providers will have several data centers scattered across multiple locations to provide redundant optional locations and ensure accessibility to your firm’s data whenever needed. This offers protection from disasters or hacking attacks.
3. Secures Your Data with Encryption
Sensitive personal information such as credit card details must be treated with utmost care to avoid leaks and other security breaches. The best form of protection against such breaches is encryption. Encryption prevents others from accessing your data as it moves from one place to another, which is usually when data is most vulnerable.
4. Makes Office Management Easier
Cloud storage can also make office management easier. For one, cloud-based software allows workers to work remotely from anywhere they can find an internet connection. The software is also usually automatically updated for you.
5. Makes Information Management Easier
With your data stored in the cloud, employees have easier access to client and case information. You can also more easily manage access levels. You can make information available to only parties of interest or revoke anyone’s access at any time with a click of your mouse.
Best Cloud Storage and File Sharing Services
Best Cloud Storage Service for Multimedia Content.
pCloud is a safe and secure cloud storage solution that allows users to access their data from any internet-enabled device.
The solution speeds up the workflow of teams and business professionals by providing easy access to project files and folders. Users can also share files with colleagues and other authorized persons via the numerous file-sharing options available.
You can create several versions of files, track changes, retrieve changes made to a file, and collaborate with team members in a more streamlined manner.
pCloud guarantees the safety of all sensitive and confidential information, providing top-notch encryption and password protection to prevent data security issues.
It offers integrations with third-party tools and services like social media platforms and content management systems, to mention a few. These integrations allow users to backup content and files from these platforms and tools.
pCloud offers multiple pricing plans, each available monthly, annually, or in a lifetime license. Monthly prices range from $4.99 per month to $9.99 per month. The lifetime licenses range from $175 to $500. There’s also an enterprise plan which is quote-based.
- Plays media files online without requiring download
- Free online storage of 10 GB
- FIle versioning available
- Enterprise-level encryption
- The free version is quite limited
- It appears as a removable disk in the File Explorer
Best Cloud Storage Service for Security.
Sync.com is a cloud storage and file-sharing platform targeted towards SMBs. It is regarded as a great alternative to Dropbox and is renowned for its security and data privacy features. It can sync across computers and mobile devices.
Sync.com makes collaboration easier, allowing the transfer of files between clients and co-workers. Through file audit logs, users can view who accessed a file. The platform can also backup and restore deleted files.
The file-sharing feature allows users to share files with people who don’t have a Sync.com account. Anyone with a link to a shared file or document can access and download the relevant files. This is particularly useful for sharing large files.
Users can set permissions for those with whom they share files. For example, they can grant a viewer permission to edit a file while preventing others from doing so. Or they can allow a viewer to download files from a folder but prevent them from uploading files to the same folder.
Moreover, the platform provides end-to-end encryption and its zero-knowledge storage architecture ensures the privacy of users.
Another great feature of Sync.com is its selective sync capability. This feature allows users to choose which features they want to have synced to their computer. So, when connecting a new computer, unchecked files and folders won’t be synced.
Sync.com offers three pricing plans. There’s the Business Solo Plan, which costs $8/month, billed annually. There’s the Business Pro Plan, which costs $5/user/month, billed annually. And there’s the Business Advanced Plan, which costs $15/user/month, billed annually.
- End-to-end encryption
- Easy to use
- Extended file history
- No monthly billing
- No third-party integrations
- Tech support is limited
Best Low-cost Cloud Storage Service.
IDrive is a privacy-focused cloud storage platform. It allows users to backup files across multiple devices with a single account. Users can also back up social media content, and the platform can be accessed from any mobile device, whether iOS, Android, or Windows through the IDrive Online Backup mobile app.
IDrive comes with a vast array of useful features that include scheduled automatic backups, backup management, viewing logs, real-time file syncs, and easy file restoration from your IDrive account to any mobile device or computer.
Data is secured with 256-bit AES encryption, with the option of creating a password for access to your data.
IDrive also releases specialized backup applications: IDrive Lite for backing up contacts from mobile devices; IDrive EVS for software developers; IDrive Portable application for local data backup and IDrive Photos for backing up photos from user phones.
IDrive offers its basic plan for free. It comes with 5 GB of storage and never expires. Other plans include IDrive Personal, which costs $69.50 per year; IDrive Team, which costs $99.50 per year; and IDrive Business, which costs $99.50 per year. Each plan comes with a discount for the first year.
- Easy to set up
- Unlimited devices per account
- Allows bulk uploads and restores
- Fast upload speeds
- Stellar mobile experience
- Sharing options are basic, at best
- No unlimited storage
Best Cloud Storage Platform for Syncing Folders Anywhere.
SugarSync is an intuitive cloud storage solution created to allow businesses and individuals to backup, sync, and share files of all types across any device.
In addition to file sharing, SugarSync also offers features that allow business teams to collaborate on projects, share view-only files, and share links to documents over the web.
SugarSync allows users to share and sync as little as a few folders or as much as entire libraries across multiple devices.
The platform is smartly integrated with several external business systems and tools, blending easily and naturally into any software ecosystem, and drawing and syncing data easily from any database.
All folders and files are backed up in real-time; so, every connected device shows all recent changes and updates.
Accessing your files from any device is easy, whether you’re on iOS, Android, or Windows. So, you can begin working on a document at the office and finish on your home PC.
Being cloud-based, setup is easy and security, backups, and software updates are automatically taken care of. You get the option of choosing which folders you would like to sync, instead of having everything synced automatically.
The platform’s inbuilt file manager offers users complete file control and organization, allowing you to arrange and rearrange your files and folders in any way you choose.
SugarSync offers three Individual plans that range in price from $7.49/month to $18.95/month. The two enterprise plans include a 1000GB storage plan for $55/month for 1 – 3 users and a quote-based custom plan that’s ideal for 10 users. All plans come with a 30-day free trial.
- Enterprise-grade 256-bit AES encryption
- Support for unlimited devices
- Easy to use
- No two-factor authentication
A Cloud Storage and File Sharing Platform with an Impressive UI and Great Security Features.
IceDrive aims to make cloud storage feel as natural as a physical hard drive using the vendor’s revolutionary drive-mounting software.
By using IceDrive, you can access your files on the cloud as easily as if they were on your device’s hard drive, but without taking up any space. In other words, you can mount IceDrive to your device like any other physical drive with a single click.
It uses proprietary software to make file operations — such as open, upload, edit, and delete — feel as fast as on your hard drive. It also uses intelligent caching of recently used files to make sure that everything feels snappy. But unfortunately, this feature is only available on Windows.
But other operating systems aren’t left out. With IceDrive’s portable app — so called because the app does not need to be installed; just download it and run it from wherever you’ve downloaded it — the platform can be used on any operating system.
On this app, you can stream media, download files and folders, and preview images and documents without first having to download them. As you edit files on your computer, the portable app will monitor them for changes and upload new versions to the cloud.
On top of that, there is also a web app that functions almost identically to the portable app. And there are apps for iOS and Android that offer similar functionality.
IceDrive is available in monthly, annual, and lifetime plans. The monthly plans range in price from $4.99/month to $17.99/month, the annual plans range from $19.99/year to $179.99/year, and the lifetime plans from $59 to $499.
There is also a free plan that comes with 10 GB of storage and 3 GB of daily bandwidth. But this plan does not come with client-side encryption.
- Security is excellent
- Virtual drive simulates the hard drive experience
- Reasonably priced
- The virtual drive functionality is only available on Windows
- Support is limited
- Collaboration features are not available
Best Cloud Storage Platform for Third-Party Integrations.
Dropbox works seamlessly with macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS to keep your files backed up to the web and synced across all your devices without any extra effort from you. Dropbox holds all your files and folders in a designated Dropbox folder and automatically syncs everything to the cloud.
One limitation of Dropbox is that external drives and network drives can’t be included in your Dropbox. But you have the option to choose which files and folders you want to have synced to which device, and you can choose to have files stored exclusively on the cloud to save space on your device’s hard drive.
There are top-notch apps for mobile as well, offering the ability to back up images and videos taken with your phone whenever needed.
Dropbox excels at sharing and collaboration, allowing users to give other people access to files and folders. It even comes with a Google Docs clone called Paper that lets you work collaboratively on documents with other people in real-time.
Powerful search functionality allows you to search within documents, too. And version history goes as far back as 30 days on the free plan and 180 days on paid plans. There’s even a nifty file-sharing tool called Dropbox Transfer for sharing large files over the internet.
Dropbox’s free plan offers 2 GB of storage and is free forever. Individual plans range between $9.99/month and $16.99/month in price. Business plans range between $16.58/month and $20/user/month.
- Provides plenty of file sharing features
- Advanced selective syncing
- Well-exected mobile apps
- Smooth user experience
- Does not provide an option for full device backups
- A bit pricey
- Free storage is limited
- No end-to-end encryption
Best Cloud Storage Solution for Windows Users.
Microsoft OneDrive has improved dramatically over the years, so much so that it can now stand toe to toe with the biggest names in the cloud storage business.
The service is tightly integrated into Windows 10 and is part of the Microsoft 365 package with the Office Suite. But there are separate clients for multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and macOS.
Just like with other well-known cloud storage options, you select the files and folders you want to back up and they will be synced automatically to the cloud and other devices on which you have set up OneDrive.
Unfortunately, it does not provide unlimited backups of devices. So, if you have the misfortune of running into a catastrophic drive failure, you will have to reinstall your operating system, applications, and settings as OneDrive only backs up your files.
External drives and NAS drives are not supported. OneDrive does allow you to restore previous versions of files, going as far back as 30 days.
When you store any of your Microsoft Office files (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, for example) on OneDrive, you get some extra features like autosaving and advanced collaboration.
You can play multimedia files directly on the web without having to download them to your device. And you can use AI-enhanced search on your photos stored in the cloud to spot landmarks and identify objects.
Pricing for Microsoft OneDrive ranges from $1.99/month to $6.99/month for personal plans. There’s a Family Plan which costs $9.99/month and offers 6 TB of storage for five users. There’s also a Free Plan, but it only offers 5 GB of storage.
The Business Plans start at $5/month and offer advanced features like user management and advanced file auditing.
- Integrates well with the Windows ecosystem
- Slick mobile apps
- Large file size limit of 100 GB
- macOS client could be improved
- Pricing plans may be confusing
- Not great value if you don’t use Microsoft 365
Best Cloud Storage Service for Business Integrations.
Box has been in the cloud storage game since before cloud storage became a thing. As such, it is packed with lots of features and options and is available anywhere you need it.
Like Dropbox, Box sets up a dedicated folder on your computer and then keeps all the contents of that folder synced to the cloud and your other devices on which you have Box installed.
If you want a solution that can back up everything on your hard drive, including your OS, settings, and all, you’ll have to look elsewhere as those are not Box’s forte.
Box integrates itself seamlessly with Finder on macOS and File Explorer on Windows. You get the option to download all your files for offline access, or to keep them online and only transfer them to your device as needed. This helps save space on your device.
Sharing files and folders is straightforward. You can collaborate with teammates on documents or simply generate a viewing link.
But Box truly shines at the business side of the spectrum, offering seamless integrations to Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Workspace, and other software packages.
The team management features are excellent, allowing you to control access to files and folders, check the use of data and files across an entire country, view who is collaborating on what, and so on.
Box is easily one of the best cloud storage options out there, especially for a large company that needs to manage its cloud storage data in complex ways.
Box’s free plan gives you 10GB of storage and a file size limit of 250MB. The Personal Plan costs $10/month and offers you 100GB of storage and a maximum file limit of 5GB.
The Business Plans range in price from $7/user/month to $47/user/month (for which you get unlimited storage), all for a minimum of three users and with a 14-day free trial.
- Deeply integrated with operating systems
- Top-notch security
- Excellent admin tools
- Quite pricey
- Limited options for individual users
- Some feature overlap
A Cloud Storage Platform that Runs Like Clockwork.
Tresorit is a cloud storage platform with a focus on simplicity and security. It syncs files to and from the cloud on your mobile devices and computers and lets you share files with whomever you need.
It operates similarly to other services like Dropbox and SugarSync, but it offers a clean interface and an emphasis on securing your files (with end-to-end encryption) that make it worth considering.
The platform also allows you to create what it calls ‘tresors’ within the apps, which are collections of files and folders which you intend to organize or distribute as one. You get a bit more flexibility with folder structure than the default structure on your computer.
Tresorit gives you the option to backup data from networked drives and NAS drives to the cloud. There’s also support for file versioning, which means you can roll back to older versions of files if you ever need to. On links to shared files and folders, you can add expiry dates and passwords for extra security.
Although you can sync files across multiple devices and people, there are no live in-app collaborative features like you get with alternatives such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Despite this, it is still a worthy contender and worth your consideration.
Tresorit’s Basic Plan is free and comes with 5 GB of storage. The paid plans come with a 14-day free trial period after which individual users will have to pay anywhere between $12.50/month to $30/month to continue using the service.
The Business Plans offer more robust enterprise features that cost between $15/user/month and $3/user/month, depending on how many users you need.
- Provides end-to-end encryption
- Clean interface
- Fast connection speeds
- Few add-ons and extras offered
10. Google Drive
Best Cloud Storage and File-sharing Service for Google Account Holders.
While Google Drive exists in its element on the web, it also boasts very useful mobile apps. It offers desktop backup tools for macOS and Windows and while it does not come with every bell and whistle in the game, it more than makes up for this in speed and efficiency.
Google Drive is impressive in the most important features expected from a cloud storage solution. The sharing features, for one, excellently offer the best of both functionality and ease of use. Of course, you can set sharing permissions at the admin level, and you can share files via links or as email invites.
Although only available on the Business and Enterprise plans, the Team Drives feature is well-executed, allowing teams of colleagues to work together on files and folders in customized spaces. Naturally, there is a smooth integration with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
There are also file versioning, offline access, advanced search, and a host of preview and layout options.
Google Drive’s free plan comes with 15 GB of storage. For $1.99/month, you can get an additional 100 GB of storage, and there are plans with even more storage.
Businesses can use Google Workspace which contains all of Google’s apps and services plus some extra features for managing teams of people. Prices start at $6/user/month and each user gets 30 GB of storage.
- Fast and easy to use
- Comes with a free online office suite
- Great mobile apps
- Not a complete backup solution
- Tightly integrated with the Google ecosystem
- Does not offer end-to-end encryption
Best Cloud Storage and File-sharing Service for Mac and iPhone Users.
Moving beyond backing up data from some apps, iCloud has evolved into a conventional cloud storage service. It now has its own directories in the macOS Finder and apps for the iPad and iPhone. You can back up anything you like to Apple’s servers and access them from wherever you like.
Unsurprisingly, the platform does not support Android natively — that is unless you don’t mind the tortuous process of logging into the iCloud web platform from a browser. Windows users are a bit luckier as they get a desktop client in addition to the web interface.
The best thing about iCloud Drive is that it simply works. It’s designed to operate in the background, and anything you add to your iCloud Drive is synced. There’s no file versioning here, but basic file and folder sharing are allowed.
For free, every user gets 5 GB of storage. Extra space will cost between $0.99/month and $9.99/month.
- Great integration with mobile and desktop
- Improved sharing options
- Great UI
- No support for Android
- Lacks advanced features
- Power users will find it lacking
12. SpiderOak One
Best Cloud Storage Platform for Secure Backups.
SpiderOak One has a strong reputation in the cloud storage industry for its excellent security and abundance of useful features. There are so many features that it would probably be quicker to discuss the features that SpiderOak doesn’t have.
Essentially, it focuses on doing what’s expected of it: backing up folders and files to the cloud from your computer, USB drives, external drives, or on the local network. Though your cloud storage space may be limited, the amount of devices you can connect with SpiderOak is unlimited.
One thing that this platform doesn’t do is a bare metal backup and restore. So, if something goes wrong, you’ll have to download and install your OS and apps separately.
Other great add-ons that SpiderOak One offers include SpiderOak Hive (which allows you to store files in the cloud without having them saved to your device) and ShareRoom which allows you to collaborate with team members on files, with a password and room key to restrict access.
Also, transfers on SpiderOak are block-based, which means that if you make any changes to a large file, only the altered parts get synced. This dramatically reduces sync times. There’s also great support for file versioning and activity logging.
Pricing is dependent on how much storage you need. After the 21-day free trial, prices range from $6/month (for which you get 150 GB) and $29/month (for which you get 5 TB).
- Well-designed desktop client
- Supports unlimited devices
- Superb security
- Lacks a proper web interface
- Quite pricey
- Limited support for mobile
A Worthy Contender for Best Cloud Storage Platform for Security.
Mega is configured somewhat differently than most other cloud storage services. The main draw of this service is the plethora of security features you get with all of Mega’s plans, even the free plan.
In addition to the standard end-to-end encryption, Mega also publishes its source code on GitHub so that anyone can check it for security issues. Overall, Mega is intuitive and offers cross-platform tools for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, which means that it runs on just about every device.
You can have it watch certain folders on your device and upload files via the web interface. You can upload files of any size; the only limitation is your overall quota. And Mega supports file versioning as well.
File sharing is also baked into the system. You can choose to conveniently include the encryption key with the link or transmit the key separately via a different channel. Links can also be password-protected and you can assign expiry dates to them.
Users even get a secure chat client with the platform, useful for secure communications between team members in a small business setting.
But Mega does not include the free online office suite that comes standard with most other cloud storage providers. It also lacks some other more advanced features.
For free, you can get Mega with 15 GB of storage. The paid plans start at $6.07/month for 400 GB and a 1 TB file transfer limit and go up to $36/month for 16 TB and a 16 TB transfer limit.
- Excellent security
- Competitive pricing
- Great UI
- Business support is basic at best
- Limited add-ons
- Collaboration options are lacking
What Features Should You Look for in the Best Cloud Storage Services?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to cloud storage solutions. Every company or person needs to find something that conforms to their individual needs. So, to help you along your way, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most important features to look for when comparing or considering cloud storage services.
1. File Versioning
Services with this feature allow you to make changes to your files worry-free because they don’t overwrite your old files when you edit them. Instead, they save several versions of the same files so that you can go back to old versions at any time.
This could be a lifesaver for your business as you can retrieve important information that may have been overwritten. Some services will even keep files after they’re deleted. Check to see how far back the file versioning goes on the cloud storage options you’re considering.
2. Automatic Syncing
Auto-sync is a must for business users who rely heavily on the cloud. This feature updates your files automatically and in real-time to reflect the changes you make to your files.
Not all providers that offer syncing offer automatic syncing. This might not seem like a big issue until you find that you forgot to sync your presentation files before a business presentation. Automatic syncing ensures that your files are always up-to-date.
3. Collaboration Tools
The best services allow you to share files with other users on any device in several ways, including via a direct link or email. They also keep your shared data secure with passwords and encryption.
4. View and Edit Files on the Cloud
Transferring files from cloud to device and vice versa every time you need to make a change can very quickly turn into a nightmare. You need to be able to access your files at the drop of a hat, wherever you may be.
This is why the top cloud service providers allow users to edit files directly on the cloud, on the fly, and from any device.
But you must be intentional about looking out for this feature because some services do not offer it.
5. Security Features
Security is a major concern for most organizations today, and rightfully so. No one likes to have their data compromised. When choosing a cloud storage provider, make sure to choose one with adequate security features and encryption.
You need a service that encrypts your data at least once before it leaves your company’s servers and heads to the cloud. Some providers allow you to choose an encryption key that protects your files from even your employees if necessary.
You’ll also want a system that allows you password-protect your files and set different access levels for employees.
6. Flexible Capacity at Affordable Prices
The best cloud storage services are those that can grow with your business. Though you may be starting with only a handful of employees, you’ll want a service that can grow to accommodate your needs as you grow without necessarily skyrocketing costs.
7. Reliable Customer Support
Technical difficulties are no joke. If you can’t access your files at any time for whatever reason, it may cost you seriously. The best services will have someone respond to your inquiries promptly, 24/7. They also offer support via several channels including live chat, email, and phone.
Cloud Storage FAQ
A cloud storage service allows users to store, edit, manage, and retrieve their data from a remote cloud storage server over the internet. An Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering, cloud storage services deliver flexible, scalable, redundant storage through web apps, desktop apple, or mobile apps.
Dropbox is a well-liked among cloud storage solutions because it is easy to use, reliable, and simple to set up. You can back up images, documents, and any other files to the cloud and you can access them from anywhere and at any time, provided you have access to an internet connection and an internet-enabled device.
But it may not always be the best option for every scenario, person, or organization. The best service for you will be determined by your unique needs and peculiar specifications.
With most cloud storage providers, you only pay for what you use and many free offerings do not offer all the features that you’ll need to get the most out of using a cloud storage service. If you want more advanced features or even just need more storage than available on the free plans of most providers, then yes, it makes sense to pay for a cloud storage service.
The cost of cloud storage services differ incredibly from provider to provider for various reasons. Generally, business users can expect to pay anywhere between $5 – $25/user/month. As expected, businesses generally have to pay more for cloud storage than individuals do.
Which Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Service Should I Choose?
As already explained, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to cloud storage solutions and every company or person needs to find something that conforms to their individual needs. That said, here are our recommendations:
- For the security-conscious, consider Sync.com.
- For the price-conscious, check out IDrive.
- Those who need a lot of business integrations may find Box particularly attractive.
- And if you work with multimedia, pCloud may work well for you.