Cloud storage: How to choose the best cloud storage service The best value cheap cloud storage services

Best cheap online storage providers.feb2015

By moving all of your files, photos and documents online to the cloud, you can make sure everything that's important to you is backed up securely. 

But if you have thousands of files, this means you're going to have to pay for sufficient online storage to handle all that data.

Best Buy cloud storage providers - read our reviews of the best online cloud storage providers

There are huge difference between what various cloud storage providers charge for storage space. 

What makes things particularly confusing is that most services list their price plans and options completely differently to one another. Some list prices in dollars, others in pounds; some show charges by the month, others by the year.

All of this makes it maddeningly difficult to compare cloud storage price plans. That's why we've done the hard work for you.

Cloud storage prices compared

In the table below, we compare the annual charges for the most popular cloud storage services:

Cloud storage prices compared
Cloud Storage ProviderFree storagePaid-for storage (per year)Average cost per GBReview score
Amazon Cloud Drive5GB20GB: £6
50GB: £16
100GB: £32
200GB: £64
500GB: £160
1TB: £320
32pSubscriber only content
Dropbox2GB - 18GB1TB: £96
Unlimited: £132
n/aSubscriber only content
Google Drive15GB100GB: $24 (£16)
1TB: $120 (£79)
12pSubscriber only content
LiveDriveNoneUnlimited backup: £36
2TB: £84
5TB: £132
n/aSubscriber only content
Microsoft OneDrive15GB100GB: £24
200GB: £48
1TB: £72
18pSubscriber only content
Mozy2GBMozyHome 50GB: £60
MozyHome 125GB: £96
98pSubscriber only content
PC WorldNone200GB: £15
2TB: £30
4TB: £50
£0.03Subscriber only content
SugarSync5GB100GB: £49
250GB: £65
500GB: £163
1TB: £358
36pSubscriber only content

 

The easiest point of comparison is to look at the average cost per Gigabyte, and this is where there are some huge differences in what one cloud storage provider charges compared to another.

By this measure, MozyHome's average of 98p per GB absolutely dwarves the 3p per GB charged by PC World's KnowHow cloud storage.

Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage is more expensive than Google Drive when you look at the average cost per GB (Google's pricing is in US dollars), and SugarSync's cloud storage turns out to be the most expensive service of the group.

If you're looking for a large amount of cloud storage, there's a massive difference between paying £50 per year, and receiving 4 terabytes of storage with PC World KnowHow, and £358 per year for only 1TB of storage with SugarSync.

But is it as simple as choosing the cheapest service possible when saving your files online to the cloud?

Take a £1 trial to Which? to find out if the cheapest cloud storage services are also the best
 

Google Drive vs PC World KnowHow

Choosing the best cloud storage service for your money

As with most services, paying for online cloud storage isn't simply a matter of finding the lowest possible price. It's about making sure you spend your money wisely.

After all, if you're saving your most important files online, you want to know they're going to be in safe hands. 

Transferring a large number of files can be a labour-intensive process, and picking a cloud storage provider that makes it difficult to upload and access your files can be a huge frustration.

We've found big differences in the ease of use and functionality of the best, and worst, cloud storage providers.

While our Best Buy cloud storage providers make it incredibly easy to back your files up online, the worst services we've tested end up creating more work for you. 

We've tested some services that force you to do a manual sync every time you make a change to a file. This means if you change a file stored on your PC, you have to re-upload the newest version to the cloud yourself. Our Best Buy cloud storage services do this automatically.

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