Ten Free Cloud Backup Services
All of the best-known cloud backup and storage services give you a free taste of a few gigabytes, but most users want more and that can cost money. However, there are a few lesser-known cloud storage services that offer very generous or even unlimited space, subject to a few rules. Read on to learn how you can get over 250 GB of free online storage that you can access without ever whipping out your credit card...
Free Cloud Storage Options
Cloud storage is simply another name for online file storage. Keeping backups or working copies of important files in the cloud, instead of your hard drive, can give you peace of mind, as well as more convenient access to your files when you need them. As long as you have a computer (or in many cases even a mobile device) with internet access, you can access, edit, and share your files using cloud services. And if it's free, that's even better!
Three of the most popular cloud storage providers are Microsoft SkyDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. They're all excellent, secure cloud services, and they all offer some amount of free online storage. Services like Mozy and Carbonite are specifically designed as online backup providers, but only Mozy has a freebie, and it's only 2GB.
If you combine that with SkyDrive's 7 GB, Google's 15GB, and the 2GB from Dropbox, that's 26 gigs of free cloud space. But you can do a lot better by adding any of these free cloud storage options to the mix.
Symform starts you off with 10 GB free of charge. If you want more online storage, you can earn it by sharing unused space on your local hard drive with Symform’s cloud storage network. For every 2 GB of local storage space you contribute, you earn 1 GB of of cloud storage for backups. There is no limit to the amount of free space you can earn.
Why pay two bytes for one? Because you get the security of off-site backup storage and the convenience of cloud storage. Most new computers come with a terabyte (1000 gigabytes) of hard drive space. I just checked my drive, and I'm using only about 100 GB. You probably have oodles of free space on your hard drive, so why not put it to some good use? Think of it as converting part of your hard drive's unused space into cloud storage.
Bitcasa is another cloud storage service that lets you earn more space. Your "external hard drive in the cloud" starts off with 5GB of free space, and you can earn a extra 1 GB for each friend who signs up. for a total of up to 20GB. During setup, you choose which files and folders you want to backup or automatically mirror to your Bitcasa account. Mirroring is another word for syncing, and means that any files you update on your computer are automatically updated in your cloud storage as well. Bitcasa has desktop apps for Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
SurDoc offers a whopping 100 GB of online storage, but there are some caveats. In order to keep your account active, you have to renew it once a year, and it appears that you can only renew it in 10GB chunks by referring friends. Also, you should be aware that SurDoc is meant primarily for files that you can print or play: documents, spreadsheets, text files, PDFs, music and videos. You can store other types of files, including executable programs and zip files, but these are limited to a max of 5GB total, with a 10MB max file size. Auto-backup client software is available for Windows or Mac, and there are mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. It's not meant to be used as a backup for disaster recovery, but if you have tons of office documents or media files, it's a good choice. SurDoc also claims to have top-notch file security, with an encryption method that prevents hackers and even company employees from accessing your files.
MediaFire starts you off with 50 GB of free storage space, enough for many users’ backup needs. Additional storage can be purchased, up to a maximum of 1 Terabyte per user. MediaFire also enables collaborative document sharing, image galleries, support for mobile devices, bulk downloads, and direct links to files that can be enclosed in emails. Note that MediaFire does not sync your files like DropBox and some other services that automatically keep files updated in multiple locations as they change.
ADrive also offers 50 GB of free cloud storage, with their Personal Basic plan. Stash your files in ADrive and you can access them from any computer or mobile device that has Internet access -- even Android and Apple iOS phones or tablets. ADrive makes it easy to backup, share, or edit your files from wherever you are. Adrive is integrated with the Zoho online office suite, so you can work on your documents, spreadsheets or presentations just by logging into your ADrive account. You can also send an email with a file attachment directly from your ADrive account.
4Sync offers 15 GB of free storage. Unlike most cloud storage services, it allows you sync any file or folder, not just those deposited in specific folders. SugarSync also offers this handy feature. If you need more space, it starts at $10 per month or $75 per year. The software is available for Windows, Android and iOS devices.
Comodo Online Backup offers 10GB of free storage, accessible from your Windows desktop, the web or mobile devices. Because it's designed as a backup service, Comodo Backup has some features that cloud storage services generally lack. Smart Profiles will automatically find all your documents, photos, music and videos files, and back them up with one click. You can do full, incremental or differential backups, with scheduling. Versioning allows you to keep multiple copies of important files, and the junk file scanner eliminates duplicates, temp files and other useless files you don't need to store.
Adding It All Up...
So even without referring friends or sharing any of your hard drive space, you can access over 260GB of free online storage using the services listed above. If you're very organized, you might decide to backup your photos on one service, music on another, and your documents, spreadsheets or presentations somewhere else in the cloud.
But if you split your backup data across multiple free cloud storage services, you’ll probably want a way to manage them from a single user interface. Otixo gives you a convenient way to manage multiple cloud storage accounts, lets you Search and find files across them, and even lets you drag and drop files from one cloud provider to another. Otixo supports the most cloud storage services, but it's not free.
PrimaDesk and Hojoki also provide interfaces to multiple cloud storage accounts, with varying levels of support for the cloud platforms, and both free and paid accounts.
One potential gotcha that applies to any online backup or cloud storage scenario is whether your Internet service provider has limits (bandwidth caps) on how much data you can upload or download in a given month. Check with your ISP to see if your account has data transfer limits.
Are you using free cloud storage for backup, online collaboration or some other purpose? Tell me about your strategy, and your favorite online storage providers. Post your comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 13 Jan 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Ten Free Cloud Backup Services (Posted: 13 Jan 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved