After creating a website, you need web hosting in order for people to view your website on the web. Similarly, many files and pieces of data require hosting too, which is called cloud storage.
If you’ve ever used Google Drive then you would have used a free cloud storage solution. Some of the best UK web hosting plans are cloud-based, for example, HostGator offer cloud hosting from just $4.95 per month.
What are the benefits of Free Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage and cloud hosting are secure and fast, and it’s also scalable. Free cloud storage exists in many places allowing users to access files quickly and safely, with no limitations.
Here are just a few benefits of using free cloud storage:
- Can save costs
- Data redundancy
- Easily drag and drop files
- Easily share documents and files with other people
- Higher levels of security
#1: pCloud (Best Overall Free Cloud Storage)
pCloud is my number one choice for the best free cloud storage. It also offers extremely affordable upgrades with 256-bit encryption to secure your files and data. You can sign up for pCloud for free and access up to 10GB free storage. All you’ll need is an email and password to create an account, or you can sign up via Apple, Facebook, or Google.
If 10GB isn’t enough storage for you, you can upgrade to one of pCloud’s premium plans. Their lifetime plans are the best value for money, offering 500GB storage for a one-time payment of £175.
However, if you do want to pay annually and you aren’t ready to commit to a lifetime plan, prices start from just £47.88 per month.
Both the Premium 500GB and Premium Plus 2TB plans include shared link traffic, fair share, shared link branding, and 30-days trash history.
pCloud’s free storage solution allows you to collaborate with other users, inviting them to shared folders by sharing links and file requests, very similar to Google Drive. All of pCloud’s plans are 256-bit encrypted with TLS/SSL channel protection.
pCloud has a built-in video player for playing video files directly on your device, as well as video streaming with unlimited file size and speed. You can back up your files from Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram, OneDrive, and Google Drive.
Pros & Cons
+ Very affordable pricing plans
+ 10GB free storage
+ Lifetime access plans available
– Crypto encryption is an addon
MediaFire has been around for some time now (nearly 15 years), and over time has generated more than 40 million registered users. They are one of the top free cloud storage solutions in the UK, offering 10GB free cloud storage and unlimited sharing.
MediaFire’s free plan comes with 10GB free storage and ad-supported downloads. Aside from the basic features, there’s not much more on offer, but it is free.
However, if you enjoy MediaFire’s free plan, you can always upgrade to their Pro or Business plans. The Pro plan comes in at $3.75 per month (£2.86) and enables one user access to 1TB cloud storage.
The Business plan is designed for businesses (believe it or not) offering 100TB cloud storage at $40 per month (£30.50). Both the Pro and Business plans allow access to download entire folders, ad-free sharing, up to 20GB per file, and MediaFire’s famous FileDrop.
MediaFire doesn’t limit bandwidth or downloads on their free cloud storage plan which is super handy. Once you’ve uploaded a file you can share it with others via email or anywhere that allows a link.
You can download the MediaFire app for Android, BlackBerry, Windows, iPhone, or iPad, allowing multiple uploads at any one time. MediaFire’s one-time links mean that you can share a file with someone, but they won’t be able to share it with anyone else, making the process even more secure.
Pros & Cons
+ FileDrop feature is really handy
+ Free 10GB storage
+ Allows multiple file types
– Download page is ad-supported
#3: Google Drive
Google Drive is one of the most popular free cloud storage solutions used across the world, allowing files to be edited and shared among individuals and teams. If you have a Gmail account, Google will grant you free access to Google Drive, as well as other services like Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.
A free Google Drive plan will give you access to 15GB storage which is the most generous amount of storage in our list so far. If you do want more storage, Google One allows you to purchase a plan from just £1.59 per month, giving you 100GB storage, access to Google experts, options to add family members, and other member benefits.
200GB will cost you £2.49 per month, and 2TB will cost you £7.99 per month, or £79.99 per year. All plans include the same features, however, the 200GB plan will give you 3% back in the Google Store, and the 2TB plan will give you 10% back.
When you upgrade to Google One, you’ll have direct access to Google experts. If you have any issues with their products, you can contact them via live chat, telephone, or email.
Google One allows you to invite up to 5 additional family members to your plan, allowing everyone to store their own personal files in their own space.
If you have an Android phone you can download the Google One app, allowing you to upload and store your important information like photos, videos, and contacts. The major letdown of Google Drive is their AES 128-bit security which is certainly not the best available.
Pros & Cons
+ 15GB free storage
+ Multiple features under one platform
+ Easy to collaborate with others
– No iOS support
– 128-bit AES encryption
Degoo offers the most free storage any free cloud storage solution offers (that I’ve come across). You can also earn an extra 500GB storage if you refer a friend (5GB per referral), as well as upgrading to premium tiers.
Degoo has three pricing plans; a free cloud storage plan, Pro which offers 500GB space at $2.99 month (£2.28) and Ultimate which offers 10TB space at $9.99 per month (£7.62).
The referral bonus structure is quite good, offering an extra 5GB per referral on the free plan, and 10GB per referral on the Pro and Ultimate plans. The only problem is, if your account is inactive for 90 days or more, Degoo will close your free cloud storage account and your files will be gone.
Degoo’s security is 256-AES encryption on all tiers, however, most other security features like zero-knowledge encryption are only available when you upgrade to a paid plan. In normal testing, Degoo is pretty fast, however, you can activate “turbo” mode which can offer up to 30x faster performance.
The main problem with Degoo is that the web interface is pretty frustrating, so uploading your files to the cloud can be a bit of a pain. The desktop facilities are poor, but mobile apps for Android, iOS and Kindle provide the kind of functionality you’d expect from a cloud storage solution.
Pros & Cons
+ 100GB free storage
+ 256-AES encryption
+ Connect to multiple devices
– Poor desktop app and interface
– Lacks advanced features compared to other cloud storage solutions
#5: Microsoft OneDrive
OneDrive is an intuitive and quick free cloud storage solution; it connects well with other Microsoft products like Office, Outlook, and Skype. OneDrive is super easy to use, just drag and drop your files or folders from your PC to the browser or app and your upload will start straight away. OneDrive uses 256-AES encryption and TLS protocol to ensure no man-in-the-middle attacks can occur.
Microsoft recently introduced and switched their products over to Microsoft 365; this includes Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. OneDrive’s free cloud storage plan includes 5GB storage and access to the OneDrive app.
If you want to upgrade your storage but don’t want to pay more for Office apps, the OneDrive Standalone product is just £1.99 per month and gives you access to 100GB storage.
However, if you do plan to use any Office apps, it’s worth considering the Microsoft 365 Personal plan at £59.99 per year (or £5.99 per month), or the Family plan which allows up to 6 people to use the apps and storage available.
The free OneDrive cloud storage plan includes a Personal Vault which means you can protect up to 3 files with identity verification (this upgrades to unlimited on the Microsoft 365 plans).
One of my favourite OneDrive features is that you can use your phone to scan and save multiple printed documents, receipts, etc. This is a really handy tool and is included across all OneDrive products.
All of the OneDrive plans include free Office for the web with no installation, PC folder backup, advanced sync technology, mobile apps, photos, anywhere editing, files on-demand, version history, privacy, and lots more.
Pros & Cons
+ 5GB free storage
+ Access to Office online
+ Collaboration tools
– Limited offline access
– Yearly subscription required for Microsoft Office apps
Free Cloud Storage: What To Look For
Before signing up for a free cloud storage plan, it’s important to understand how much storage you’re limited to. Most free cloud storage services come with a generous amount of storage to get started, however, some may be very limited and will only offer you more storage when you refer friends or family.
Here’s a quick recap of the storage limits on each of the free cloud storage plans we’ve listed:
- pCloud: 10GB free storage
- MediaFire: 10GB free storage
- Google Drive: 15GB free storage
- Degoo: 100GB free storage
- OneDrive: 5GB free storage
Most web services you come across will offer extra features in order to give them the edge over their competitions. Some features may not be that useful, whereas others are worth their weight in gold, and may be worth upgrading for.
It’s a good eye to keep your eye out on the features that free cloud storage solutions offer, as well as what’s on offer if you upgrade to a paid plan. If you end up enjoying a service, there’s no reason you couldn’t sign up for a plan later on, so instead of having to move all of your files to a new cloud storage solution, you may as well like the one you choose first!
Free Cloud Storage FAQs
Is Free Cloud Storage Actually Free?
Yes, it is. Unlike some free services that exist on the web, free cloud storage is really free and there’s lots of it about. In fact, there’s nothing stopping you from signing up to multiple free cloud storage providers!
How Do I Get 100GB Free Storage With Google?
If you purchase a Chromebook, you can claim 12 months of Google One by following this link here.
Can Other People See My Files?
No, not unless you share your files or folders with other people. In most cases, free cloud storage providers will provide a way for you to share files and folders, either through an email invitation, collaboration, or using links.
Businesses all around the world are quickly adapting their services to using cloud storage solutions. Cloud storage offers more versatility, flexibility, and ultimately storage space.
If you want to store your files in a secure way, and you want to get free cloud storage space, this article should have provided you with enough information to get started.