The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (2022)

It wasn't all that long ago that collaborating with people on documents was a huge hassle. You'd make multiple copies of a file and have to add a stupid filename appendix to each one, like "-edited-JD-final-final," in hopes of keeping track of everyone's changes. Equally painful was managing versions of your own documents, as you emailed them to yourself from your personal computer to your work computer. Who misses that? No one has to mess with those problems anymore largely thanks to online file storage and syncing services.

File syncing and storage services provide seamless access to all your data—Word docs, PDFs, spreadsheets, photos, and any other digital assets—wherever you are. You no longer need to be sitting at your work PC to see your work files. With cloud syncing you can get to them from your laptop at home, your smartphone on the go, or from your tablet on your couch. Syncing and storage services also add safety and security to your online life because when you sync your files via the cloud, you by default create a backup of them as well. If you lose your laptop, all your files are still accessible to you if you log into your syncing service from any computer.

If you don't yet have a service for storing and syncing your data in the cloud, you should seriously consider getting one. Which one you choose depends on the kinds of files you store, how much security you need, whether you plan to collaborate with other people, and which devices you use to edit and access your files. It may also depend on your comfort level with computers in general. Most of these services are extremely user-friendly, while others offer advanced customization for more experienced techies.

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (1)

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More About Our Picks

Microsoft OneDrive

5.0 Exemplary

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (2)

Best for Windows Users

Bottom Line:

OneDrive, the default online storage and syncing service for Windows 10 and Office 365, offers a wealth of powerful features, as well as apps for more platforms than any of its competitors.

Pros

  • Excellent interface
  • Clients for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows
  • Well integrated with Windows 10 and Office 365
  • Strong online photo presentation and management
  • Powerful file-sharing and document collaborative editing

Cons

  • Less free storage than some competitors
  • Only allows syncing of specific folders

Read Our Full Review

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IDrive

4.5 Outstanding

(Video) The BEST Cloud Storage in 2022? Dropbox vs Google Drive vs iDrive vs Sync vs pCloud vs OneDrive

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (3)

Best for Low-Cost Backup and Syncing

Bottom Line:

IDrive is both a file-syncing and storage tool as well as a full backup service. While its file-sharing features could be more robust, IDrive's low per-GB cost makes it an excellent value.

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Unlimited devices per account
  • Disk image backup
  • Bulk uploads and restores via mail
  • Fast upload speeds in testing
  • Excellent mobile app

Cons

  • Only basic sharing options
  • Storage isn't unlimited
  • Files in synced folder slow to upload in testing

Read Our Full Review

Available at IDriveCheck Price(Opens in a new window)

Google Drive

4.0 Excellent

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (4)

Best for Google Workspace Users

Bottom Line:

Google Drive is one of the slickest, fullest-featured, and most generous cloud storage and syncing services, with excellent productivity suite collaboration capabilities.

Pros

  • Generous free storage space
  • Excellent productivity-suite collaboration
  • Includes desktop-to-desktop file syncing
  • Many third-party integrations
  • Cross-platform apps

Cons

  • No password-protection for shared files
  • Mobile apps could do more; multiple apps required for all related functions
  • Some privacy concerns

Read Our Full Review

Starting at $6 Per Month at Google WorkspaceSee It(Opens in a new window)
(Video) Best Cloud Storage 2022: Google Drive vs OneDrive vs Dropbox vs pCloud vs Icedrive vs Sync

Dropbox

4.0 Excellent

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (5)

Best for Integration With Third-Party Services

Bottom Line:

Dropbox is a simple and reliable service for file-syncing and storage, but you'll pay more for it than if you were to use the storage that comes included with an office suite.

Pros

  • Apps for just about every operating system
  • Supports multiple ways to collaborate
  • Good features for paying subscribers
  • Digital signing tool included
  • Excellent support for integrations

Cons

  • Free account is skimpy on storage
  • Paid accounts are expensive

Read Our Full Review

Available at DropboxCheck Price(Opens in a new window)

SpiderOak One Backup

4.0 Excellent

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (6)

Best for Secure Backups

Bottom Line:

SpiderOak One Backup offers top-notch security features and flexible backup options. It costs more than many competitors, but it does not impose any limits on the number of PCs you can back up with each account.

Pros

  • Strong privacy features
  • Supports an unlimited number of computers per account
  • Excellent versioning capabilities
  • Includes file-sharing and folder-syncing options
  • Well-designed, full-featured desktop application

Cons

  • Lacks multi-factor authentication option for web logins
  • No longer offers mobile apps
(Video) Best Cloud Storage Providers for 2022

Read Our Full Review

Available at SpiderOakCheck Price(Opens in a new window)

Box (Personal)

3.5 Good

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (7)

Best for Business Integrations

Bottom Line:

Online syncing and storage tool Box is easy to use and integrates with a wide range of apps and services, but it costs more than similar products.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • On-demand file syncing
  • Well-designed for collaboration
  • Integrates with many third-party services
  • Generous free storage allotment

Cons

  • Low storage amount for paid account
  • Desktop app options too numerous and unclear

Read Our Full Review

Available at BoxCheck Price(Opens in a new window)

Apple iCloud Drive

3.5 Good

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (8)

Best for Mac and iPhone users

Bottom Line:

The iCloud Drive file-syncing and storage service is worth using, especially if you're committed to Apple's ecosystem, but it doesn't quite measure up to the competition from Google and Microsoft.

Pros

  • Well-designed app and web interfaces
  • Compatible with Windows as well as macOS and iOS devices
  • Account includes 5GB storage when you buy an Apple device
(Video) Top 5 Best Free Cloud Storage Services (2022)

Cons

  • Less straightforward than competing services
  • No search in web interface
  • No Android app
  • Collaborative editing lacks expected capabilities
  • No file versioning aside from iWork documents

Read Our Full Review

$0.00 at Apple.comSee It(Opens in a new window)

What Can Cloud Storage Do for You?

The very best cloud storage solutions play nicely with other apps and services, making the experience of viewing and editing your files feel natural. Especially in business, you want your other software and apps to be able to retrieve or access your files, so making sure you use a service that easily authenticates with the other tools you use is a big deal. Box and Dropbox are particularly strong in this regard.

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (9)

With Google Drive's web app, you can access all your files, including images, from anywhere.

The range of capabilities of cloud-based storage services is incredible. Many of them specialize in a specific area. For example, Dropbox focuses on keeping a synced folder accessible everywhere. SpiderOak One Backup emphasizes security. Some cloud storage services, such as Apple iCloud, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, are generalists, offering not only folder and file syncing, but also media-playing and device syncing. These products even double ascollaboration software, offering real-time document co-editing.

Distinct from but overlapping in some cases with cloud storage arebackup services, particularly ones that offer online backups. Some of them, such as Carbonite, specialize in data protection and recovery, while others like IDrive, combine data protection with syncing and sharing capabilities.

Most cloud services do offer some level of backup, almost as a consequence of their intended function. It follows logically that any files uploaded to a cloud service are also protected from disk failures, since there are copies of them in the cloud. But dedicated backup services sometimes also create a disk image of your machine so that you can restore not just your files, but everything, including system settings and programs. Syncing, by contrast, is about backing up and managing selected files only.

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (10)

Box's web interface lets you manage your folders and files.

What's the Deal With the Cloud?

Just to clear up any confusion, thecloudpart of cloud-based storage refers to putting your files somewhere other than your computer's hard drive. Usually, it means the provider's servers. There's a half-joke saying in the tech world, "There is no cloud. It's just someone else's computer."

Having data in the cloud gives you the ability to access your files through the internet. Your data is usually encrypted before making the journey over the internet to the provider's servers, and it remains encrypted while it lives on those servers.

Well-designed services don't upload a brand-new copy of your files every time you change one little thing. Instead, the file syncing service looks for changes to your files and uploads only them, saving your connection bandwidth.

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (11)

Dropbox, once installed, shows you icons in the Finder or Windows Explorer indicating the sync status of each file you save to the cloud.

You can access your cloud files through an app or utility software installed on your computer. Once it's installed, it usually shows a small notification icon and creates your synced folder structure that fits into Windows Explorer or the macOS Finder. You can also get to the files via your web browser. Of course, you need an internet connection for it to work, but if you temporarily are without a connection, that's okay. The service waits until the next time you do have a connection and takes care of business then.

For a deeper explanation of the cloud, seeWhat is Cloud Computing?

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The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022 (14)

OneDrive offers 5GB for free, and you get more storage with a Microsoft 365 account.

Free vs. Paid

Many cloud storage services have a free account that usually comes with some limitations, such as the amount of storage or a size limit on files you can upload. We prefer providers that offer some level of permanent free service, even if you get only 2GB of storage space rather than a time-based trial. This way you can fully integrate a service into your life for several weeks for real-world testing. During that time, you get a feel for how it works and what might go wrong with your setup.

What could possibly go wrong? Human error accounts for a good deal of cloud storage tragedies, but the dropped internet connection is another common troublemaker. Not to mention that every internet service suffers the occasionaloutage(Opens in a new window). Ask around (or just look through our review comments), and you'll hear sad stories of how cloud storage can go wrong. One of the benefits of paying for an account is that it usually comes with additional support from the provider, so if anything does go wrong, someone from the company can help you resolve the issue.

There are many other reasons to pay for cloud storage, from getting a lot more space (a terabyte really doesn't cost all that much anymore) to being able to upload huge files. That last benefit is relevant to graphic designers, video editors, and other visual artists who often host enormous files. Other perks of paying for your cloud storage often include increased access to file-version history (meaning you can restore an important business proposal to the version you had before your colleague made a bunch of erroneous changes), more security, and more features for collaboration and teamwork.

(Video) Best Cloud Storage 2021 – Comparing Price, Security, Lifetime Plans and Collaboration

Outlook: Cloudy

Here, we highlight only the best cloud storage services among those we've tested. When PCMag tests these services, we evaluate their feature sets, ease of use, stability, and price. There are other cloud storage services on the market that didn't make the cut for this article, based on these criteria. Click the review links for more detailed information on each of our favorite cloud storage and file-syncing services.

FAQs

The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2022? ›

Which cloud storage is best?
  1. Google Drive – Best Overall. Pros. ...
  2. Microsoft OneDrive – Best for Windows + Office users. Pros. ...
  3. pCloud – Best for Lifetime plans. Pros. ...
  4. Mega – Most free storage with end-to-end encryption. ...
  5. Sync.com. ...
  6. Dropbox – Best for compatibility. ...
  7. Apple iCloud – Best for iPhone & Mac users. ...
  8. 8. Box – Best for business.
Feb 4, 2022

Which is a top rated file sharing cloud service? ›

10 top file-sharing services: Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and more
  • Dropbox.
  • Google Drive.
  • iCloud Drive.
  • MediaFire.
  • Microsoft OneDrive.
  • OpenText Hightail.
  • SugarSync.
  • Tresorit.
Sep 24, 2021

What is the most secure cloud storage 2021? ›

Top 10 Safest Cloud Storage of 2021
  • Microsoft OneDrive.
  • Google Drive.
  • Egnyte Connect.
  • MEGA.
  • Tresorit.
  • SpiderOak.
  • Koofr.
  • Conclusion.
Mar 3, 2021

Which cloud storage is fastest? ›

Most major cloud storage providers are fast, with Icedrive, Google Drive and pCloud taking the top three spots in overall performance. There is a roughly 15% difference in the performance between the fastest service (Icedrive) and the 10th fastest (OneDrive).

Which cloud has the most free storage? ›

List of Top 15 Free Cloud Storage Available in 2022
  • Blomp. Blomp offers free cloud storage for your images, videos, and multiple files up to the capacity of 200GB.
  • Degoo. Degoo is another good option which offers a space upto 100GB. ...
  • Mega. ...
  • Media Fire. ...
  • Yandex Disk. ...
  • Google Drive. ...
  • Icedrive. ...
  • Koofr.

Is Dropbox better than OneDrive? ›

For basic cloud storage and file sharing, OneDrive features can be enough for some users. But when it comes to creating content, especially with a team, Dropbox is simply more versatile. Plus, Dropbox makes it easy to work with hundreds of file types—even the rich media and large files that OneDrive doesn't support.

Which is better Dropbox or Google Drive? ›

Google Drive has better options for plans than Dropbox, and many features you have to pay for with Dropbox are either free or available at a much lower price with Google Drive. Overall, when it comes down to price, usability, and features, Google Drive puts itself ahead of Dropbox for most users.

Which is better Google Drive or OneDrive? ›

In short, Google Drive is better for independent users who store a normal amount of stuff. OneDrive makes more sense for businesses and teams that are doing heavy-duty storage or large-scale syncing. Realistically, though, most users will fall somewhere in between the two, where either platform would meet their needs.

What is the safest data storage? ›

If you want the convenience and benefits of cloud storage but without the privacy invasion, check out these encrypted, secure cloud storage providers instead.
  1. Mega. MEGA. 11.6K subscribers. ...
  2. Sync. Sync.com. ...
  3. Tresorit. Tresorit. ...
  4. SpiderOak One Backup. SpiderOak CrossClave. ...
  5. NextCloud. Nextcloud. ...
  6. Internxt X Cloud. Internxt.
Apr 20, 2022

What is safer Dropbox or iCloud? ›

Privacy and Security

Dropbox offers 256-bit AES file encryption, which restricts the possibility of data breaches or encryption without authorization. On the other hand, iCloud increases its files with 128-bit AES encryption.

Which is most reliable source of storage? ›

Explanation: Tape drives are most reliable source of storing information.

Is it worth paying for cloud storage? ›

For us, there's little question that cloud storage is the best way to back up your data. You get much more peace of mind, and the ability to back up your data continuously from any device. In fact, it might not be too long before physical hard drives become another casualty of digital progress.

What are the three common systems in cloud storage? ›

There are three types of cloud data storage: object storage, file storage, and block storage.

What are the 3 types of cloud computing? ›

There are also three main types of cloud computing services: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Is there any free cloud storage? ›

Here are seven of the best free cloud storage services that you can use to keep your files online.
  • OneDrive. You get 5GB of free online storage with OneDrive. ...
  • Dropbox. It seems like everyone has a Dropbox account, but you only get 2GB for free. ...
  • Google Drive. ...
  • Sync. ...
  • pCloud. ...
  • Amazon Drive.
Jan 20, 2022

How do I get 100GB cloud free? ›

The most generous of the lot, Surdoc offers 100GB for free – no catch. There are no apps or downloads – you have to access everything using a web browser — just sign in on Surdoc.com.

Is Google Drive Better than iCloud? ›

iCloud is the more secure platform, although Google Drive has made several necessary steps forward recently. Both platforms enable you to use multi-factor authentication, which we highly recommend. Almost all data stored on iCloud's servers is encrypted both in transit and at rest to 128-bit AES standard.

Which is better Google Drive or OneDrive? ›

In short, Google Drive is better for independent users who store a normal amount of stuff. OneDrive makes more sense for businesses and teams that are doing heavy-duty storage or large-scale syncing. Realistically, though, most users will fall somewhere in between the two, where either platform would meet their needs.

How do I get 100GB free on Google Drive? ›

Here is how to get your 100GB of free Google Drive space on a Chromebook.
  1. Open Chrome from the desktop.
  2. Navigate to google.com/chromebook/offers/ the 100GB of Google Drive space.
  3. Scroll down to the Google Drive section and click "Redeem offer." Note, you can also redeem 90 days of free Google Play.
Jan 22, 2018

Is iCloud storage worth buying? ›

I love Apple products, but there's no other way to put this: In most cases, buying iCloud Storage is unnecessary and you should never pay for it. In 99% of cases, you don't have to pay any extra money to fully back up your iPhone and iPad.

Videos

1. 12 Best Websites for File Sharing in 2022
(Icecream Apps)
2. Best Cloud Storage: Google Drive vs OneDrive vs Dropbox vs pCloud vs Icedrive
(The Cyber Lab)
3. Best Cloud Storage 2022: Who Is the Winner for Price, Security, Collaboration & Performance?
(cloudwards)
4. Google Drive vs Dropbox vs OneDrive - Which Cloud Storage is Best?
(Be Productive)
5. Dropbox vs Google Drive vs OneDrive: The Best Cloud in 2022?
(cloudwards)
6. Top Free Cloud Storage Services for Content Creators and Businesses
(Digital TUTOR)

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