Best Free Cloud Storage Sites and Their Features

Store everything from photos and videos, to Word docs and spreadsheets

Maybe you've heard about the cloud, but haven't quite jumped on board yet. With so many different options, it's hard to pinpoint which is the best free cloud storage site out there.

Refresher: What is cloud computing, anyway?

Since each has its own set of advantages, you many want to try more than one to see how you like it. Lots of people use multiple storage providers for different purposes anyway -- myself included. In fact, I use 4 out of 5 on this list! 

Whether you’ve got important documents, photos, music or other files that need to be shared across more than one device, using a cloud storage option is often the easiest way to do it. Check out the list below for a general summary of each popular cloud service and its major features.

Cloud Storage
Photo © Atomic Imagery / Getty Images

You can't really go wrong with Google Drive. In terms of storage space and file size uploads, it's the most generous to its free users. Not only can you create as many folders as you want for all your uploads, but you can also create, edit, and share specific document types right in Google Drive.

Create a Google Doc, a Google Sheet, or a Google Slideshow right from within your account, and you'll be able to access it from anywhere when you sign in to Google Drive. Other Google users you share it with will be able to edit or comment on them if you give them permission to do so.

Free storage: 15 GB

Price for 100 GB: $1.99 per month

Price for 1 TB: $9.99 per month

Price for 10 TB: $99.99 per month

Price for 20 TB: $199.99 per month

Price for 30 TB: $299.99 per month

Max file size allowed: 5 TB (as long as it's not converted to Google Doc format)

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac

Mobile apps: Android, iOS, Windows Phone More »

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Because of its simplicity and intuitive design, Dropbox rivals Google as another extremely popular cloud storage service embraced by web users today. Dropbox allows you to create folders to organize all your files, share them with the public via a unique link to copy, and invite your friends on Facebook to share Dropbox files too. When you favorite a file (by tapping the star button) when viewing it on a mobile device, you'll be able to view it again later even if you have no internet connection.

Even with a free account, you can expand your 2 GB of free storage up to 16 GB of free storage by referring new people to join Dropbox (500 MB per referral). You can also get 3 GB of free storage just for trying out Dropbox's new photo gallery service, Carousel.

Free storage: 2 GB (With "quest" options to earn more space.)

Price for 1 TB: $11.99 per month

Price for unlimited storage (businesses): $17 per month for every user

Max file size allowed: 10 GB if uploaded via Dropbox.com in your web browser, unlimited if you upload via the desktop or mobile app. Of course, keep in mind that if you're a free user with just 2 GB of storage, then you can only upload a file as big as what your storage quota can take.

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac, Linux

Mobile apps: Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire More »

If you’ve got any Apple devices working on a recent iOS version, you’ve probably already been asked to set up your iCloud account. Just like Google Drive integrates with Google tools, Apple’s iCloud is also deeply integrated with iOS features and functions. iCloud offers a range of incredibly powerful and useful features that can be accessed and synced across all your Apple machines (and iCloud on the web) including your photo library, your contacts, your calendar, your document files, your bookmarks and so much more.

Up to six family members can even share iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store purchases using their own accounts through iCloud. You can see the full list of what Apple iCloud offers right here

You can also opt to get iTunes Match, which lets you store any non-iTunes music in iCloud, such as CD music that has been ripped. iTunes Match costs an extra $24.99 per year.

Free storage: 5 GB

Price for 50 GB: $0.99 per month

Price for 1 TB: $9.99 per month

Additional price info: Pricing varies slightly depending on where you are in the world. Check out Apple's iCloud pricing table here.

Max file size allowed: 15 GB

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac

Mobile apps: iOS, Android, Kindle Fire More »

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Microsoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive)

Just as iCloud is to Apple, OneDrive is to Microsoft. If you use a Windows PC, a Windows tablet or a Windows Phone, then OneDrive would be the ideal cloud storage alternative. Anyone with the latest Windows OS version (8 and 8.1) will come with it built right in.

OneDrive's free storage offering is right up there with Google Drive. OneDrive gives you remote file access and allows you to create MS Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and OneNote notebooks directly in the cloud. If you use Microsoft Office programs often, then this one is a no-brainer.

You can also publicly share files, enable group editing and enjoy automatic photo uploading to your OneDrive whenever you snap a new one with your phone. For those that upgrade to get Office 365, you can collaborate in real time on documents you share with other people, with the ability to view their edits directly as they happen.

Free storage: 15 GB

Price for 100 GB: $1.99 per month

Price for 200 GB: $3.99 per month

Price for 1 TB: $6.99 per month (plus you get Office 365)

Max file size allowed: 10 GB

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac

Mobile apps: iOS, Android, Windows Phone

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Last but not least, there’s Box. Although quite intuitive to use, Box is embraced slightly more by enterprise companies compared to individuals who want personal cloud storage options. While larger file storage space may cost more compared to other services, Box really excels in the area of collaboration for its content management feature, online workspaces, task management, incredible file privacy control, a built-in editing system and so much more.

If you work closely with a team, and need a solid cloud storage provider where everyone can work together, Box is hard to beat. Other popular enterprise-focused apps like Salesforce, NetSuite and even Microsoft Office can be integrated so you can save and edit documents in Box.

Free storage: 10 GB

Price for 100 GB: $11.50 per month

Price for 100 GB for business teams: $6 per month for each user

Price for unlimited storage for business teams: $17 per month for each user

Max file size allowed: 250 MB for free users, 5 GB for Personal Pro users with 100 GB of storage

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac

Mobile apps: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry More »