Here is our ranking of the best online storage. We tested these services taking into account all the criteria that make a good cloud storage: security and privacy, price, synchronization and sharing features, …
For those in a hurry, here are the Top 3:
- pCloud is the best cloud storage, for its features, security and low prices. Our review of pCloud.
- Icedrive is a modern online storage, very secure, and offers very interesting prices with its 5Tb lifetime offer. Our review of Icedrive.
What are the best online storages?
1. pCloud : The best cloud storage
- Uncompromising security
- Choice of service and data hosted in Europe or the United States
- Configurable personal encryption
- Satisfied or your money back for 10 days
- Free 10GB of space
- Very economical lifetime plans (one-time payment)
- Various storage spaces of 500 GB, 2 TB, or 10 TB.
- PCloud Crypto personal encryption as a paid option
- Collaboration tools to be improved
pCloud is a lesser-known competitor to Dropbox or Google Drive, but it stands out as a better alternative.
It offers better security options and has all the desired features (synchronization, sharing, etc.). However, pCloud does not lose sight of ease of use to better accommodate novice users.
The free 10 GB offer is more than enough to test the service before moving on to the more substantial offers.
As for the prices of the paid packages, pCloud has very low prices for its 500 GB, 2 TB and 10 TB plans. It is also the only one, along with Icedrive, to offer a single payment for lifetime use, which is much more economical in the long term than traditional subscriptions.
pCloud has innovated with its Lifetime single-payment offers and its offer dedicated to the family (2 TB to be shared with 4 other people). All Lifetime offers are currently particularly interesting with a -65% promotion and even -80% for the 10TB plan.
Moreover, you can easily test an offer and then ask for a refund during 10 days if you are not satisfied.
In summary, pCloud is currently the best storage service.
2. kDrive: Subscriptions half the price of its competitors
- Subscriptions overall half the price of competitors for the same cloud space
- Equally well suited for professionals and businesses as well as individuals
- 30 days free to try the entire service
- All service and data based in Switzerland
- Decreasing prices according to the commitment of 1, 2 or 3 years
- No client-side encryption to protect your files yet (but soon available according to kDrive)
- Free offer only available in a few countries in Europe
The kDrive service, created by the company Infomaniak, is an interesting player in the online storage market. With its particularity of storing data only on its own data centers in Geneva, Switzerland, it allows a certain security of the data (no data sent outside Switzerland, and in particular to the United States which has a data policy against privacy protection).
In fact, with its formulas very adapted to teams of users, kDrive is a very good solution for teamwork and companies. It proves to be a very interesting option as a cheap but complete professional cloud storage.
We regret the absence of private encryption on the client side (Zero-Knowledge) which would have allowed for a more complete confidentiality of data. But kDrive still guarantees that your data will not be used outside the Infomaniak company itself.
Another interesting aspect for companies is that kDrive is only one of the services offered by Infomaniak. It is therefore possible to combine it with other useful services in a unified and pleasant interface, especially for companies (email addresses, video conferences, sending newsletters or SMS, calendar and contact management, transfer of large files, hosting and cloud servers, etc.). In short, it’s a very complete cloud service that doesn’t just take care of storage. Small companies and teams can be interested in it for their professional tasks, especially as an alternative to the American web giants.
Its free 15GB package is interesting but limited in functionality. Fortunately, kDrive offers a free 30-day trial of its more comprehensive paid plans.
3. Icedrive: modern cloud storage with good value for money
- Very low prices, especially in lifetime payment
- Very good security and privacy (private encryption included)
- Satisfied or your money back for 14 days
- 10 GB of free cloud space
- Website and applications in English only
Appeared in 2019, Icedrive is yet another newcomer in the cloud. It takes the example of pCloud to offer a very affordable service associated with excellent security and privacy (including private encryption on the client side).
We especially like the lifetime offers (a single payment to access your online storage for life) that can boast of being even cheaper than those of pCloud: 150 GB for 99€, 3 TB for 449€ or 10 TB for 999€!
4. Sync.com: The most secure and privacy-friendly cloud storage
- Very cheap 2TB or 6TB plans
- Very good security and privacy (private encryption included)
- Service and data hosted in Canada, more privacy friendly than the US
- 30 days money back guarantee
- Unlimited file versions and recycle garbage can
- English only site and applications
- Slightly less comprehensive than pCloud in terms of features
Sync.com is a Canadian storage service that has serious advantages for those who want total discretion for their data hosted in the cloud.
All data stored on Sync.com is encrypted according to a private encryption principle: the user is the sole owner of the key to decrypt and read the data. Even Sync.com cannot decrypt the data hosted on their servers. You are guaranteed to be the only one who can access your files.
Compared to other online storages that offer private encryption (Mega and Tresorit for example), Sync.com has the advantage of being cheaper.
As far as storage space is concerned, it offers 5 GB for free, which is half as much as its competitor pCloud. During 30 days, you can ask for a refund if you are not satisfied. So the service is easy to test.
Sync.com has the disadvantage that it is only in English. So you’ll prefer Sync.com if your goal is to protect your privacy at a very low price, but losing slightly in features and ease of use compared to pCloud.
5. NordLocker: Online storage focused on security and privacy by the creators of NordVPN
- Very good security and privacy (Zero-Knowledge)
- Excellent web and desktop applications for Windows and macOS.
- 30-day money back guarantee.
- Too little free space of 3 GB
NordLocker is an online storage offered by the same creators as NordVPN and NordPass. Naturally, it focuses on security and privacy. Like Sync.com cloud storage, Zero-Knowledge private encryption ensures that your files can only be read by you. This makes it perfect for storing private or confidential data. The desktop interface is particularly nice and modern, but the mobile apps (iOS and Android) still need some work.
6. Google Drive: 15 GB free to enjoy Google tools
- Integration with Google tools (Google Docs, Google Photos, etc.)
- Free 15 GB cloud space
- No private encryption option (zero-knowledge)
- Non-confidential data
- No Linux application
Google Drive is one of the most famous online storage systems. And it must be said that there is one aspect on which it is unbeatable: online collaboration tools.
Google has indeed developed several tools to work online directly (Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.). These tools make collaborative work pleasant and efficient.
The biggest concern with Google Drive is that the data entrusted to it is not confidential, quite the contrary. Google can access and browse your files, especially for advertising purposes. This is also the case with most of the most famous cloud storage like Dropbox and iCloud for example. That’s why we prefer more privacy-friendly alternatives like pCloud, Sync.com, Icedrive or NordLocker.
Google Drive is below the level of data synchronization features offered by services like pCloud. Fortunately, Google’s 15GB of free space makes all the collaboration tools usable without paying.
For those looking for more storage space than a few dozen gigabytes, it’s more advisable to go with our top choices in this comparison. The latter are more interesting options, especially in terms of security.
7. Mega: Security in the spotlight and 20 GB of free space
- Very good security and privacy (private encryption included)
- Free 20 GB cloud space
- Offers individual cloud storage up to 16 TB
- Sometimes low transfer speed
- Several controversies about the real security of Mega
Mega has become known for two reasons in the world of online storage.
First, it is the successor of the famous MegaUpload, an online file hosting service that was shut down in 2012 following an anti-piracy campaign. Secondly, when it first came on the market, Mega offered 50 GB of free space which helped it attract many users. The free space offered today is much smaller and Mega has lost what set it apart from its competition.
However, Mega remains a good secure storage service (with private encryption) that has a nice interface. However, some controversies around Mega’s actual security have tainted its reputation.
Mega’s prices have been lowered recently, which makes it much more attractive in the secure online storage category.
8. apple iCloud: Apple’s online storage
- Integration with the Apple ecosystem (iOS, macOS)
- No client-side encryption to protect data
iCloud is the cloud storage offered by Apple to complete its ecosystem. As with most of the cloud storage spaces of the American giants (Google Drive and OneDrive from Microsoft in particular), it integrates perfectly into the company’s ecosystem. iCloud is therefore very practical for backing up data from an iPhone, iPad or Mac.
On the other hand, it also has the great disadvantage of being very light on privacy. The data stored on iCloud can be viewed by Apple. Thus, many users will prefer a more secure service that allows them to store their data in a truly confidential way.
In terms of pricing, iCloud remains in the middle of its main competitors. Those who want to save money will prefer kDrive cloud storage which is half the price.
9. OneDrive: Microsoft’s cloud storage
- Integration with Microsoft tools
- No client-side encryption to protect data
As an online storage service signed by Microsoft, OneDrive’s strength is its privileged integration with Microsoft Office tools.
The rest of the cloud storage service is classic and doesn’t really stand out from the alternatives, and it’s a shame that Microsoft hasn’t developed a dedicated application for Linux.
At least, OneDrive’s prices are in a very reasonable range compared to the rest of the market.
10. Dropbox: Cloud storage that has lost its appeal
- Good integration with external tools
- A bit expensive
- Limited security and privacy
Dropbox needs no introduction, as it has long ruled the cloud storage market to the point of being almost synonymous with it. Its pioneer status in 2007 led it to the top, but for several years now Dropbox has not been as successful and has been losing users to its competitors.
It is a quality service, but its security and privacy protection leave something to be desired.
Add to this the fact that its prices are higher than the best online storage solutions of the moment such as pCloud (the closest alternative in terms of features) or kDrive, and we have no choice but to recommend alternatives to Dropbox.
11. TresorIt: Secure storage but way too expensive
- Security and privacy taken seriously
- Service and data hosted in Europe
- Very expensive
- No free storage (but a 14 day trial period)
Tresorit is an online storage service whose main argument is its security.
Although the service lives up to its promises in this area, it is currently priced too high to go higher in our ranking.
For users who value security and private encryption (which ensures that only the user can read the data), it’s best to look for cheaper alternatives.
pCloud, for example, has a private encryption option which, although it costs a lot less than tresorit. Sync. com is another option that offers the lowest prices for a service that offers private encryption by default and on all stored data.
What is online storage?
Online storage or cloud storage is widely used today. Not to be confused with online backup, it involves synchronizing all your data so that you can retrieve your files at any time and from anywhere.
The synchronized files are available from your computers, phones, tablets, or from a web browser.
Cloud storage also offers other convenient features. For example, sharing files or folders with friends or colleagues becomes very easy. A simple link sent by email, and the file is shared, regardless of its size.
Different types of cloud storage
The cheapest online storage
We have written guides for those where price is the main criterion. Depending on the type of space you are looking for, check out these articles:
- The cheapest online storage between 200 and 500 GB. These are the storage spaces that allow you to store a large amount of files, without having to worry too much about exceeding the online storage limit. Movies, music, photos, you can store the heaviest multimedia files here.
- The cheapest online storage between 1 and 5 TB. With this type of storage, you will probably be able to store all your files, or at least a large majority of them.
A large, economical storage space
Once you want more than a few gigabytes of data, free space is no longer enough. Switching to paid online storage becomes necessary. Instead of synchronizing a small selection of files, it becomes possible to synchronize all your data in a few hundred gigabytes or a few terabytes.
If you want to combine a large storage space in the cloud without paying a lot of money in the long run, there is the solution offered by pCloud and Icedrive.
These providers innovate by offering lifetime online storage. The user pays once, and can use the storage space for life.
This original offer differs from the monthly or annual subscription usually offered by other cloud storage services. As we have calculated, the purchase of a pCloud or Icedrive storage space pays for itself in only 3 or 4 years. See our article on lifetime online storage for more details.
An original gift idea: lifetime online storage
The lifetime offers from pCloud or Icedrive are also very original gift possibilities.
The idea of giving a cloud storage space seems strange, but it can be very useful for people of all ages, as long as they own a smartphone and a computer, for example, or if they enjoy sharing their files with others.
The fact that an online storage space is paid for by subscription is probably the main reason that makes it hard to give as a gift: what’s the point of giving something that will have to be paid for again in a few months or in a year?
But the lifetime cloud storage from pCloud and Icedrive changes the game and also becomes an ideal last minute gift.
Storage to share with the family
A variant of the pCloud Lifetime storage space is dedicated to families. It is still a one-time payment for unlimited use over time.
This time, the 2 TB storage space can be shared as you wish with 4 other people.
The principle is that the user who owns the account manages the space he wants to allocate to each family member, up to a limit of 2TB in total.
Like the pCloud Lifetime offer, the pCloud Family offer is currently discount ed by 65% for the 2TB space, or a cost of €600 instead of €1700, and -80% for the 10TB space (€1500 instead of €7600). A significant one-time payment, but one that pays for itself in the long run.
How to choose an online storage?
Security, synchronization and sharing
An extremely important feature of online storage is security, especially privacy. However, this aspect is often overlooked by users.
Few of them realize that most of the most popular online storage providers (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud, etc.) have access to their data.
This means that although the data stored on their servers is encrypted (encryption has become essential), the key to decrypt it is also stored on their servers.
This weakness is both a lack of privacy, but also an additional source of hacking. Indeed, a hacker who manages to find a breach to extract the decryption key from your data will be able to access it without any problem, with all the problems that this implies. Not to mention that ill-intentioned employees could also get their noses into your data.
To address this, we prefer cloud storage that offers private end-to-end encryption. In short, these providers don’t store the data encryption key. You are the only one who knows it, and thus the only one who can access your data.
Ease of use and interfaces
The ease of use of online storage is not to be overlooked. Many of us started using online storage with Dropbox or Google Drive. Most of the existing services follow the same principle of synchronizing all files in a dedicated folder.
It should be noted that some providers are only available in English. This is unfortunately the case of Sync.com which, although excellent and very secure, is only available in English.
Free online storage space
The first entry into online storage is often via the free online storage offers that most cloud storage providers offer.
Often, it is the best-known storage systems that are used (such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox, despite the fact that 2 GB of free storage is very light today). However, you should not hesitate to test other cloud storages which will be more interesting in the long term.
Don’t be mistaken: if online storage services offer free storage space, it’s in the hope that one day you’ll decide to switch to a paid plan.
And they are right, because even if you don’t plan to do so today, it is possible that one day you will be tempted by more space. And in that case, in the majority of cases, you will probably select a paid plan from the provider that already provides you with free storage.
For this reason, it is best to consider from the start the criteria (security, prices, features) that will make your free storage space a good candidate for paid storage as well.
That’s why we naturally recommend pCloud as the best gateway, with its 10 GB free storage space. This is a very good free storage space, but also has all the qualities of an excellent storage space in all categories.
If security is your primary concern, we recommend Sync. com which stores all your data with private Zero-Knowledge encryption (even Sync.com cannot access your data). Since this private encryption is not free with pCloud, we recommend Sync.com if you want low-cost private encryption on all your files. Unfortunately Sync.com only provides 5GB of free space, but their paid plans are very cheap. Icedrive is also a great option, as it includes a digital vault (a folder where all files are privately encrypted) at no additional payment.
Read our dedicated guide for more details on free online storage.
In a nutshell: the Top 3 best cloud storage
Simply the best cloud storage, for its features, security, and low prices. A very good cloud storage choice for most users.
Icedrive is modern, very secure, and offers great pricing with its pCloud-inspired 5TB lifetime offer (one-time payment for lifetime use, instead of a subscription).