Ten Free Cloud Backup Services

Category: Backup

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 a terabyte 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.

Free Cloud Backup Services

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.

Tardis Cloud boasts enough free space to hold an elephant, which they have calculated to be exactly 150 GB. The service lets you easily post, share and email links to your files.

Finally, Flickr offers photography fans one TERABYTE (1000 GB) of free storage -- enough space for about 500,000 photos. The service is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS devices.

Adding It All Up...

So even without referring friends or sharing any of your hard drive space, you can access over one terabyte 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...

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Most recent comments on "Ten Free Cloud Backup Services"

(See all 29 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Bill Anton
14 Jan 2014

Re: Zoolz. Early on, they offered a free membership which included unlimited storage for one machine. I see that they are now charging $36 yearly for that service. Ya snooze, ya lose.

Posted by:

14 Jan 2014

I have 25 GB free with my Hotmail account subscribed in 1999. My other Hotmail account subscribed in 2009 has only 7 GB free. I can't use that space because it is not working with Windows 8.1 unless you log into Windows with your Microsoft account. May be I paranoia but I'm concern about my privacy. Microsoft will be able to know many things about me if he wants.

I miss Windows Live Mesh. It has many features : the cloud space of course, the possibility to synchronize huge files between 2 computers, on the same network, including your Mesh network, without using the cloud and finally with no size limit. It was also possible to help others remotely, like with TeamViewer. I guess it was to much for a free application. Anyone knows an application that synchronizes files between your local network without using any cloud?
Thank you
Yves Tremblay

Posted by:

14 Jan 2014

Could I store a backup image of my entire hard drive at MediaFire or ADrive? Its about 42 GB.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just noticed in the fine print: Adrive says "2GB Individual File Size Limit". At MediaFire, free users can upload files up to 200MB in size. So no image upload for you! A possible free alternative is to use Crashplan to back up to a friend's computer.

See http://askbobrankin.com/free_online_backup_with_crashplan.html

Posted by:

14 Jan 2014

When I used to go to my daughter's regularly, I used to keep one of my portable drives there and rotate them weekly, in case fire or some other disaster destroyed my computer etc. at home. But as she now works full time and I no longer visit weekly, I have started to back up some of my files to the cloud, for precisely the same reason.

But uploading files to the cloud can be a very slow and long winded process - even if you have good broadband speeds, because upload speeds are always considerably lower than download speeds:-(

As for accessing the files on your cloud storage from anywhere, that is all very well - as long as you can always remember your login details! But remembering them is almost impossible because we all have so many different sets of login details for dozens of different sites nowadays. So I have to keep an encrypted partition with all my login details stored in it on a flash drive, which I keep attached to my key ring and which I update daily. Even then I have to remember the very long and complicated password I need to access my encrypted folder - and so far I have been able to :-) But if the day comes when my memory starts to fail, I will probably not be able to and therefore I will not be able to access any of my encrypted files or my cloud storage.

Posted by:

Tom Welch
14 Jan 2014

Bob, I've been using Dropbox as a lot of my writer friends do. What do you think.

Posted by:

14 Jan 2014

most timely article from my present needs ever, as just today i got in touch with nokia to find out if there's a different 7gb of free space from having a nokia lumia smartphone, apart from accessing it from a computer. Would that give me an extra 7gb?
thanks again for the article,

Posted by:

Glenda Oakley
14 Jan 2014

I just pay $10 for 20GB from Amazon cloud drive. Suits me. I put all my photos, videos, ebooks etc. Whatever I want.But that's just me.

Posted by:

14 Jan 2014

This is a very useful article. But if I use Symform, in exchange for giving them storage space on my hard drive, am I taking a risk? For example, could I go to jail if they use my hard drive for child porn? Also, where will they store the data I upload? On someone else's hard drive or safely encrypted in a secure storage vault?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Symform says: "With Symform's revolutionary technology, encrypted, fragmented, inoperable bits of your files are stored redundantly across our distributed global network. It is virtually impossible for anyone to compromise your data."

Posted by:

14 Jan 2014

After reading all the comments listed here I have come to the conclusion the guy who first commented is probably the best way to go. Keep a flash drive in your car, house, work locker, and at the gym, and you haven't invested much more than $50.00. Every Sunday morn sync all of them to go to my PC or whatever you use.
Best regards, john.

Posted by:

26 Mar 2014

Hey, I got 150GB free cloud storage from TARDIS. Did anyone else see this?

Posted by:

07 Jul 2014

To Maars:
Do you mean http://tardis-cloud.com/ or https://tardis-box.com/? They both offer 150GB free and are copyrighted "Copyright 2014 Tardis Box" though the latter seems to be trying to appeal to more techie user.

Another Cloud system is Copy.com by Barracuda, offering 15GB free and more added as you enlist others. Works on multi-platforms.

Other cloud mgmt sites to link several sites are www.multcloud.com which combines your other cloud drives (reviews at site)and www.cloudsfer.com which holds 2GB for files in transit.

Bob, have you heard anything about these sites?

Posted by:

03 Sep 2014

A few years ago I got a "7GB Free Forever" account at MiMedia.com. It was great until about 2 weeks ago when, without any notice, I got a popup message stating that my account was disabled. I contacted their support and within about 12 hours, got an email saying my case had to be escalated. That was on August 25. I haven't received anything from them since then. Today I got a new error message that implied I'd exceeded my quota -- which is not true unless they've drastically reduced the allowance. I tried to login to my account online and got a "Database Unavailable" message. Several of the links on their web site are broken, including the Plans & Pricing and the Live Help. I submitted a new support request but I'm thinking they've closed the doors and left the building. I'm glad I have other backups in several different locations.

Posted by:

22 Sep 2014

4Sync no longer has a free option. "In an attempt to provide even better service for less money, we decided to drop prices while becoming Premium only." It appears their least expensive option is $99 per year, but includes 1 TB of storage.

Posted by:

09 Oct 2014

Brilliant ideas!! However, I am currently using Free CloudBacko for my Cloud data storage. I am using it since a very long time. I hardly found any non-reliability during my data storage. CloudBacko support Windows, Linux, Mac, UNIX etc and even can combine free cloud storage available from Google Drive, One Drive, One Drive and Dropbox into Single large storage. One can store 100TB of cloud storage free of charge. So this appears a good option for going ahead.

Posted by:

Warren Ngo
24 Nov 2014

Am I too impatient? It's been 17 hrs. since I was approved for "pre-order registration" with Tardis-box.com and any sign-in attempt results in an error message saying "...user is not activated. We will contact you once we activate your account".

I have a feeling that Tardis-box.com has been over-subscribed, and has not bothered to revise their website to reflect such a circumstance.

Posted by:

21 Oct 2015

ADrive is discontinuing the free 50G account as of 11/15/2015.

Posted by:

Bob Price
22 Jan 2016

I've been trying to log into ADrive for three days. Site says 'technical problems'. Are they still in business?

EDITOR'S NOTE: The website seems to be active now...

Posted by:

23 Feb 2016

ADrive is no longer free!

Posted by:

Aiko Nichol
15 Apr 2016

Wow... what a great post! I also can be helpful here :) So here is my saving grace: AltoMerge helped me to merge and manage files order. Just try it http://goo.gl/WdhmBi, you'll love it.

Posted by:

01 Jul 2016

SurDoc closed its doors recently.

ADrive claims I never uploaded any files into my account which is simply not true. Regardless, I have zero files showing in my account. (I took advantage of their 3-year paid plan when they quit being free, and I'm not happy!)

Livedrive is apparently having some problems, too. I got a discount through StackSocial for a lifetime subscription and for the past 10 days I've been getting a notice that my account is suspended. No response from Livedrive, so I contacted StackSocial who supposedly contacted Livedrive, who supposedly said everything would be fixed by now. No such luck.

I'm trying to decide if I want to take a chance with Duplicati (free backup software) and either Google Drive or OneDrive. Knowing how Google and Microsoft often giveth and then taketh away, I'm not so sure. At least I still have my external drive working. (Knock on wood.)

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