Which Cloud Based Storage Service Is Right For You?

There is no hiding from the fact that cloud based storage is big business, it’s practical, easily accessible from anywhere and can be connected to multiple devices. Besides easy access to your files are stored, having them stored in a virtual space online also means that if you lose your device then you won’t lose the data it holds. You may already be won over by specific cloud-based storage service, but the next thing you need to ask yourself is whether this service is actually the right one for you?

Numerous companies who offer these services exist and you may recognise some of the bigger names such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft’s OneDrive. But, how do you decide on which one to choose? Who offers the most amount of storage for the least amount of money and which operating systems do these different services support? I’m going to explore these questions to hopefully help you to determine which service will be most suitable for your particular needs.


File Size Restrictions

Free Storage

Earn Extra Storage

Paid Plans

Operating Systems

OneDrive 10GB 15GB Yes 100GB = $2/month; 200GB = $4/month; 1TB = $7/month Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone 


Dropbox 10GB 2GB Yes 1TB = $13/month; Unlimited = $17/month Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Linux, Blackberry, Kindle Fire 


Google Drive 5TB 15GB No 100GB = $2/month; 1TB = $10/month Windows, Mac, Android, iOS 


Box 250MB 10GB No 100GB = $11.50/ month Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Blackberry 


Amazon Cloud Drive 2GB* No** No Unlimited = $60/month Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire 


Copy None 15GB Yes 250GB = $5/month; 1TB = $10/month Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux 


* No file size limit within the desktop apps.
** Amazon Cloud Drive offers limited free storage only to those who have signed up to an Amazon Prime Subscription.


Before we get into the details, I want to point out that the reason Apple’s iCloud Drive has not been included is because it can only be used by Apple devices. Thus it wouldn’t be a fair comparison against other services which allow all device types to use them.



Microsoft's Cloud Based Storage called OneDrive

OneDrive used to be called SkyDrive for those of you who may have noticed the name change. OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud based storage service and people using Windows 8 and 8.1 have this service pre-built into their operating systems. iOS, Windows and Android phones have "auto upload" enabled, meaning whenever you take a photo it will automatically upload directly to your cloud storage.


Windows devices work with the service seamlessly as it comes built into the operating system. It is easy to access and also very easy to edit files within the storage, such as Microsoft Word documents or Excel documents. Creating an account with OneDrive gives you a Microsoft account which allows you to access to Outlook, Xbox Live and other Microsoft services.


The service's automatic file organisation facility can sometimes put files into incorrect folders, which can be a nuisance.


Most Suitable Tech
A Windows computer, tablet or phone has the service inbuilt into its operating system making it very simple to use across all of these devices.




Dropbox the Online Cloud Based Storage service

Probably one of the most user-friendly cloud based storage services out there, Dropbox is compatible with the majority of operating systems and it’s so easy to use. Within your Dropbox account you can store any type of file in its very cleanly designed website or app. Dropbox also incentivises you to earn more storage by completing certain tasks within it’s website, such as referrals or watching tutorials etc.


Dropbox works seamlessly on all devices thanks to its simplicity. The basic design has lead to its popularity across the world making anyone a master of Dropbox. The service also blends into your computers operating system making the adding of files to your account like moving one file from your computer to another file on your computer, simple.


The service doesn’t let you control how your files are displayed.


Most Suitable Tech
The majority of devices are compatible with Dropbox either through its website or app.



Google Drive

Google Drive is Google's Online Cloud Based Storage service

Google Drive gives you a little bit of everything such as a word processor, spreadsheet application, presentation builder and of course 15GB of storage space for free. Google also provides an integration service, which allows you to integrate it into your computer’s operating system, similar to Dropbox. Google’s drag and drop functionality with all files and documents makes it a very easy and stress-free service to use.


Google Drive requires very little to set it up on your device, especially if you already have a Google account (Gmail, Google+ etc). Saving attachments from your Gmail into your Google Drive account can be done with only a few clicks. The Google Drive app will automatically back up your photos to Google Photos without you having to install the Google Photos app.


When you create a new document with Google Drive’s tools, e.g. a spreadsheet or word document, you must export them in order to edit them with another program. The 15GB storage space you are allocated is shared with the contents of your Gmail inbox.


Most Suitable Tech
Any device will work with Google Drive and if you want inbuilt office tools, Google Drive could save you a couple of hundred bucks on buying the Microsoft Office suite.




Box the Cloud based online storage service

Anyone can sign up for a free personal account and the service provides an endless list of sharing features specifically designed for companies and I.T. nerds. You can store any type of file, share files with colleagues, assign tasks, leave comments on other people's work and get notifications when a file changes within the storage. This service can also be connected to suites like Salesforce and NetSuite.


Box has an abundance of tools for business use; some of the more useful consist of file collaboration, task assignment and privacy control.


Box’s endless list of different services and privacy features can be too much for the average user to take in, alienating it from users of other simple services such as Dropbox. The large amount of features can also be rather intimidating to the humble non-techy user, especially if you only want to save a few files and pictures.


Most Suitable Tech
Box works great on most forms of technology whether it’s a mobile device or a laptop. Large networks of computers at the office down to the individual user will all find the service a great tool if they require the amount of features Box has to offer.



Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon's cloud based online storage system

March 2015 witnessed Amazon Cloud Drive introduce new storage plans for its customers, one which was dedicated purely for photos and another for storing all other types of documents. There is no free storage option unless you have an Amazon Prime account but you at least have to have this account to receive the free storage, so technically its not free. Unlimited means unlimited, so if you opt for this package at $60 per year you will never have to worry about storage space again. Automatic uploads also occur within Amazon Cloud Drive’s Android and iOS apps.


Owning an Amazon account means you don’t need to sign up to Amazon Cloud Drive, you simply have to sign into its Cloud Drive area.


Their desktop app doesn’t integrate with your file system like it does with Dropbox, so you can only upload and download files. You cannot upload files which are larger than 2GB into the Cloud Drive website and you can only view files from within their website. Plus there is no free storage.


Most Suitable Tech
If you have an Amazon Fire tablet or Fire phone its very easy to use because like Microsoft’s OneDrive, it’s built into the operating system.




The Online Cloud based storage service from Copy

Copy is similar to Box in the sense that its origins come from a heavily I.T. focused background. However, whilst it provides a versatile service to very I.T. focused individuals, the average non-tech savvy user can also easily use it too. The company offers 15GB of storage that is equivalent to what's available from heavyweights Google and Microsoft. Also, one feature that is certainly worth mentioning is that if you are sharing a 20GB folder with 4 people, that folder will only consume 5GB of your personal storage.


Copy is simple to use, fast and responsive with a great track record for being a solid storage system. You receive 15GB for free and its paid plans are very competitively priced too.


The weakest part about this service is the company’s website, which lets it down slightly if you were to compare it to the simple, easy to use interface of Dropbox's website. The inbuilt desktop feature isn’t as easy to navigate either.


Most Suitable Tech
Ideal for any device and any user who wants a free or inexpensive cloud storage based service and doesn’t want to use the mainstream alternatives.


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