Cloud storage tools
How to choose the best cloud storage service
By Callum Tennent
Moving your files, photos and documents online to the cloud is one of the smartest moves you can make.
With your most important files stored safely online, you don't need to panic about your laptop seizing up or your external hard drive breaking down. Even if your computer is lost or stolen, you'll still be able to access your documents or photo collection online through the cloud.
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Choosing the best cloud storage service for you
Moving your files online to the cloud can be easy, but there are lots of different services to choose from. As well as picking a cloud storage provider, there are numerous storage plans and prices to decide on.
Free cloud storage
Most cloud storage providers offer a free taster of their services. You won't typically get a lot of storage space; 2GB to 15GB is typical for a free storage allowance.
The amount of free storage you'll get varies from one cloud storage provider to another. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from setting up multiple free accounts and enjoying a sizeable combined amount of storage.
50GBThe largest amount of storage offered for free, courtesy of Mega
Paid-for cloud storage
If you want to make the most of online cloud storage, you'll need to spend some money to get more space. Typically, you'll have to pay an annual or monthly fee to take advantage of more online storage.
However, comparing the different prices for cloud storage can be a baffling business. The main cloud storage providers tend to be inconsistent in how they present their price plans, making it hard to know who offers the best value when you want to upgrade to a larger cloud storage allowance.
Fortunately, we've done the hard work so you don't have to, by comparing price plans from all the main cloud storage services so you know exactly how much each charges and who's the best value overall.
|Provider||Free storage||Paid-for storage (per year)||Average cost per GB||Review score|
200GB = 15GBP
2TB = 30GBP
4TB = 50GBP
100GB = 16GBP
1TB = 79GBP
100GB = 24GBP
200GB = 48GBP
|Amazon Cloud Drive||5GB||20GB = 6GBP
50GB = 16GBP
100GB = 32GBP
200GB = 64GBP
500GB = 160GBP
1TB = 320GBP
100GB = 49GBP
250GB = 65GBP
500GB = 163GBP
1TB = 358GBP
50GB = 60GBP
125GB = 96GBP
1TB = 96GBP
Unlimited = 132GBP
Unlimited backup = 36GBP
2TB = 84GBP
5TB = 132GBP
Cloud storage versus external hard drives
Backing up your data to an external hard drive only defers the worry of losing the files on your PC. Hard drives are every bit as susceptible to damage or loss, or data corruption.
That said, If you're saving a large number of files, it can be more expensive to pay an annual fee for cloud storage than it is to simply buy an external hard drive. But, with the financial outlay comes the convenience of being able to access your files anywhere.