How we test cloud storage services

Cloud storage tools

How we test cloud storage services

by Callum Tennent

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

  • Get the Which? verdict from our independent experts
  • Weigh up the pros and cons in an instant
  • Go to town on the details with our full review
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  • Is it a Don’t Buy? It could be a dud, and a costly one too
  • Best Buy
  • Don't Buy
  • 8 Cloud storage tools available

How we test cloud storage in a nutshell

Our reviews answer common cloud storage questions such as:

  • How easy is it to sync files to the cloud?
  • How easy is it to share saved files?
  • Can you edit those files online?
  • When you delete your account, where do your files go?
  • Is the service worth the money

What makes a Best Buy cloud storage service?

Dropbox or Google Drive? SkyDrive or SugarSync? A cloud storage service should be about making your life easier - with your files saved online to the cloud, all the stress of backing up should be taken care of for you.

But not all cloud storage services are alike, and some make the process of backing up your files much easier than others. That's why we test cloud storage services to find the best ones for backing up important photos, files and documents.

Cloud storage can make backing up your important files the easiest thing, or an absolute misery, depending on the service you choose.

Sign up today for a £1 Which? trial to discover the benefits of Which?, including full access to our expert cloud storage service reviews.

Should I buy it?

Each of the assessments described above goes part way to making up a total test score, which is the percentage figure awarded to each cloud storage service. But certain assessments are more important than others and so carry different weights (price is always ignored):

  • Overall ease of use ..... 80%
  • Systems and setup ...... 20%

Cloud storage ease of use

An easy-to-use cloud storage service should make it a breeze to back up your files.

  • Syncing files to the cloud Some providers do all the hard work for you, with automatically syncing backup that keeps your files up-to-date and consistent no matter where you access them. We make sure to alert you of any that don't.
  • Uploading and downloading files on the cloud In the wrong hands, the process of uploading your files to the web can be laborious. We've even tested some services that deliberately limit the default speeds for uploading and downloading your files. Our test monitors the quality, speed and reliability of each service when uploading and downloading files.
  • Sharing files saved to the cloud Sharing your files with others is one of the great benefits of cloud computing. We test cloud storage services to see how easily you can share files with anyone at all, with specific people, and with password protection.
  • Accessing and editing your documents on the cloud We test to see how easily you can view or access your files on the cloud, without having to download them to your PC first. We also test the online-editing features.

Cloud storage setup, apps and options

Getting started with cloud storage ought to be easy, but this isn't always the case.

  • Setting up your cloud storage account We test the installation process for each cloud storage service we test, including the setup of any sync boxes and folders that are installed on your computer.
  • Cloud storage apps We test the functionality of cloud storage apps for smartphones and tablets. Some will let you access files, others will let you edit them directly from a smartphone or tablet.
  • Deleting your cloud storage account In case you wish to close down your cloud storage account for good, we test how easy it is to remove your files and delete your account. We found that some services make this straightforward, while others make it maddeningly difficult.