The Best 5 Free Online File Storage and Backup Sites
In this post, we will take a close look at some of the best options for online file and data storage & backup sites which offer a free membership that allows you to make backups of your files and photos and store them online.
If you are not keeping multiple copies of your critically important files and if you are not backing them up regularly, be it on external hard drives or online storage systems, then you are living with an increased risk of losing your files and data any time, usually at a time when you would least expect. Before you continue reading further, take my friendly advice and just start your back up plan for your important files and execute it as soon as you can.
No matter how much our technology advances, software and hardware will never be 100% reliable. Unexpected software failures such as bugs, errors or hardware failures such as hard disc malfunction may happen any time without prior warning and that may result in losing all your files and valuable data on your computer or mobile device. Having a backup or multiple copies of your important files and folders will not guarantee their safety since the platforms you will be using won't be 100% reliable either; however, they will increase the chance of keeping your files safe quite considerably.
Imagine that you have one extra copy of the files on your computer that you are storing in an external hard drive in your house. That's good for sure but it is not enough. May it never happen but what if there was a fire, an earthquake or flood (highly possible, right?) and you lost both your computer and hard drive? All your files and important data will be gone. So, even having a local backup copy is not safe enough if you need to keep your files out of harm's way.
Online storage and backup sites, which became a widely popular choice to store files and photos as of late, boost the chance of survival of your files by having their own safety and backup mechanisms. Not only that but also their highly increased security systems make them a great option to keep a backup copy of your files and folders. By the way, you can use such sites to also share your files with others.
Now, let's see 5 of the best and most popular websites that provide free online file storage and backup service to users from all around the world.
Free Online Storage and Sharing Sites
I will start the list with the most popular one that you are probably already a member of.
Dropbox finds its way at the #1 spot of our list simply because it is a wonderful file storing, backup and sharing platform with an elegant and easy to use interface that would make you feel at home. It has a minimalistic interface free of anything annoying and it makes uploading and sharing your files a breeze.
In addition to the web interface, you can also use the Dropbox desktop app to quickly upload/download files to your account. You can access your files from anywhere and any device including mobile. Dropbox also makes it very easy to share files with your friends and co-workers. And the good thing is, you can share files with even those who don't have a Dropbox account.
When you first sign up for a free account, Dropbox offers 2 GB of storage which you can upgrade to 2.5 GB simply by installing their desktop app. One fantastic feature of Dropbox is that you can increase your allocated storage capacity by 500 MB (up to 16 GB) every time you refer a friend to create an account on Dropbox and install the desktop app on their computer. You can use this link to create a Dropbox account if you don't already have one. As a disclosure, I may receive 500 MB added to my storage capacity if you sign up via that link, thank you :)
You can learn more about Dropbox on this page.
2. Amazon S3
Amazon S3 (Amazon Simple Storage Service) is another highly popular platform that is widely used for personal or business focused file storage and other related services. Amazon S3 is a cloud storage service that you can use not only for storing and backing up your personal files and folders but also the files and data of your websites.
The free option of Amazon S3 (AWS Free Tier) gives you 5 GB of storage and it has some file access capacity limitations if you will be using it actively for your websites. If you are planning to use any other Amazon cloud computing services such as Amazon EC2, using Amazon S3 would be a good choice.
One thing you should keep in mind is that you can use the free tier of AWS for one year starting with your registration, after which you will need to pay to continue using the service.
You can learn more about Amazon S3 on this page.
3. Google Drive
(Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.)
Another great option to store your files, photos and videos online for free is Google Drive. It is backed up with Google's expertise and security procedures and it will be a nice option for those who also use other Google applications such as GMail, Google Docs or Google Apps for Work.
Google Drive starts with a 15 GB storage capacity which you can use to store pretty much any type of file that you may need to store such as photos, documents, drawings, audio and video recordings etc. You can access your files from anywhere you need; computer, tablet or smartphone.
Google Drive also allows the sharing of your files and collaborating on them with others.
You can learn more about Google Drive on this page.
Microsoft OneDrive can be used for personal purposes or for work and school. Recent merging of Outlook with OneDrive and other online services of Microsoft such as Office 365, made file storage and organization for Microsoft users a lot simpler.
You can access OneDrive and use it to store your files and photos on PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices. If you need strong collaboration features on different types of documents such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint, Microsoft OneDrive will be a good choice for you.
The free plan of OneDrive offers 5 GB of storage and allows you to use Office Online from your browser for free.
You can learn more about Microsoft OneDrive on this page.
The final website on our list is Box.com, which like the other four sites is also preferred by a large user base for managing and sharing their files. Box provides a secure, easy to use platform that you can access from anywhere and any device to store and share your files.
One of the features that you may find useful is that Box has over 1400 integrations with third party apps such as Office 365 and Google Apps. It also lets you build your own custom apps if you are running a business and need to have such functionality for the collaboration of your team.
Box has multiple personal and business plans that you may choose from based on your needs. The personal free plan offers 10 GB of file storage with a maximum file size of 250 MB.
You can learn more about Box.com on this page.
There are many more file storage and backup sites but the above five are the most popular ones that are offered by some of the most well known Internet companies, which enhances the security, safety and capacity of your file storage compared to other services offered by less known companies.
If you are just looking for simple storage and backup, and you don't need any other features whatsoever, my personal recommendation would be to go with Dropbox.
I hope that this post will help you decide with choosing a free online service for your file storage needs. If you liked this post, please share it to help others find nice alternatives for their file storage and sharing activities.
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