When looking for a solution to store files in the cloud, or sync between machines, there is an ever-growing list to choose from.
Here are just a few and the space you get for free.
- Dropbox – Free 2 GB
- Google Drive – Free 5 GB
- Box – Free 5 GB
- Microsoft SkyDrive – Free 7 GB
- Apple iCloud – Free 5 GB
- SugarSync – Free 5 GB
- Cubby – Free 5 GB
- Amazon Cloud Drive – Free 5 GB
One thing to keep in mind is that the amount of free space varies, however most sites often give out space as rewards for inviting friends or beta testing a new feature. Sometimes you can easily get lots of additional free space.
Currently I have 24 GB in Dropbox (free space tip), 50 GB in Box and 25 GB Microsoft SkyDrive; all for free. Those are well over the amount of free space I was given when I signed up.
With all this space I can store almost anything. Instead of picking one cloud storage solutions, I’ve decided to use multiple services for different reasons.
Dropbox is my main service. The one that I use to sync my day-to-day digital goods and the one that I have installed everywhere. I also have quite a few apps that store their data in my Dropbox so my programs stay in sync at home, at work and on my phone. I don’t know what I would do without my Dropbox.
I’m using SkyDrive for photo backups. SkyDrive has a nice visual layout for photos so I toss my extras over there. I currently have about 2 GB of photos uploaded to SkyDrive and removed from my computer as I needed some space. I’ll probably be adding more soon.
With Box I’ve started using this along with IFTTT to automatically backup some of the things I do online. Every Instagram photo I take gets uploaded there and I’ll probably be hooking Facebook and Twitter in as well. Since most social services don’t do a good job at letting you search through your history, I might as well push some of my important data someplace else where I can.
Google Drive is currently used for just Google documents. I have lots of spreadsheets and text documents that I work on collaboratively and share with co-workers or family. I have yet to put much into Google Drive as everything else works so well.
The other one I use quite often is iCloud. However, with iCloud it’s integrated into iOS and my work computer and it just works. I don’t store anything in iCloud unless one of my apps does it for me. iTunes has all my music in iCloud along with my iOS apps, AppStore apps and lots of game data. It works well and I don’t have to think about it.
All of these cloud storage systems work well and most have comparable features. However, none of them are prefect. I still backup everything on my computer to an external hard drive and to BackBlaze to ensure all my important data is in multiple places and safe.
If you’re looking for a cloud storage solution the first thing you should do is check the desktop apps and see if they support your system. I know the desktop apps for Box and SkyDrive won’t run on my home iMac so they can never be the main contender in my book; well at least not until I get a new computer. However, all have nice web apps.
You should also check for mobile apps if you are concerned about having your data on the go. Also talk to your friends or co-workers to see what they have if you plan on collaborating with others.
Then just dive in and try one. Cloud storage is great as you don’t have to carry around a USB drive or worry too much about space. Your files are available anywhere there is internet.