If you want to access your files across multiple devices and have backups incase your own harddrive fails, or if you want to share files with your friends, colleagues and business clients, having a cloud storage account is essential.
In this article and the video above I will briefly review the top 5 free cloud storage and filehosting services available at the moment.
|1||Mediafire||10GB+40GB||Unlimited||Public & Private||United States|
|2||Mega||50GB||10GB/mo||Public & Private||New Zealand|
|3||Google Drive||15GB||Variable||Public & Private||United States|
|4||Dropbox||2GB+14GB||20GB/mo or 100k downloads||Public & Private||United States|
|5||OneDrive||5GB||Unlimited||Public & Private||United States|
Mediafire is a Texas based cloud storage and filehosting company. They offer 10GB initial storage with the possibility to add 40GB more space without having to pay for it. You can get more free space by doing certain tasks. For example you can get up to 32GB by inviting friends to use the service, for downloading and installing their desktop and mobile apps you can get 2GB extra storage each, sharing their website on Facebook and Twitter will also give you more free space and so on.
Bandwidth is unlimited but free accounts have ad-supported filesharing.
The interface is drag-and-drop and it’s easy to use. Filesharing for both files and folders can be done with public and private links and there’s a FileDump feature for folders which enables friends, collegues and clients to upload files to your account.
Mega is a cloud storage service based in New Zealand and founded by the infamous German hacker and tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom AKA Kim Schmitz or Kimble. Kim founded Mega back in January 2013 after his previous filehosting service was shuttered a year earlier by the US government for alleged copyright infringement.
Kim left Mega in September 2013 and is no longer a shareholder in the company. He revealed in a Slashdot Q&A in July 2015 that Mega had become the victim of a hostile takeover by a Chinese investor who used multiple straw-men and proxy businesses to acquire an increasing amount of Mega shares. This Chinese investor is wanted for fraud in China and his Mega shares were seized by the New Zealand government, which means they effectively control part of the company.
Regardless of that Mega has continued its operations and still offers a fairly good free cloud storage and filehosting service. Free accounts get 50GB of free storage and 10GB of monthly bandwidth. The service also claims to focus on security by only allowing users to access the decryption key for their files in what’s called user controlled encryption. Usually the service provider is the only one with access to that.
The interface is a modern looking and has drag-and-drop functionality with the ability to create folders and search files on your account. Files and folders can be shared publicly with a link that includes a unique decryption key for that file. Folders can also be shared with other Mega users.
The fact that Mega is controlled in part by the New Zealand government is a concern especially if you have to rely on your files remaining safe and secure from western government snooping, for example if you’re a journalist or activist. But for most people that is not a concern and the service should be a huge issue.
#3 Google Drive
Google Drive is Google’s cloud storage service. This service is technically included with every Google account. It comes with 15GB of free storage which includes Gmail, Google+ Photos and some other services (not YouTube) connected to your account.
Bandwidth is technically unlimited but practically variable, meaning that there’s no strict bandwidth limits but if some files are shared “too much” then they will be throttled. So while Google Drive can be used to share files with friends, colleagues and clients, it’s not good for public filehosting.
With Google Drive you can also edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations in your browser using Googles web applications.
The interface is fairly easy to use and has drag-and-drop functionality. Files can be organized into folders and Google has a powerful search engine to help you find the files you are looking for. Files and folders can be shared publicly with links.
Dropbox is a US based cloud storage and filehosting service. With Dropbox you only get a measly 2GB initial space which can be upgraded by 14GB to 16GB by refering friends, family and colleagues to use the service. You get 500MB extra free space for every person you refer.
Dropbox has a bandwidth limit of 20GB or 100k downloads.
The interface is easy to use and drag-and-drop, files can be organized with folders and Dropbox has a search function. Files and folders can also be shared publicly, with a feature to allow other users to upload files into your folders. There’s also a file request function that allows people who don’t even have Dropbox accounts to upload files.
OneDrive is a cloud storage service provided by Microsoft, it was previously known as SkyDrive. Untill January 2016 OneDrive had 15GB of free storage but it has since been cut down to 5GB.
Bandwidth is technically unlimited but I suspect that there are some practical limits like with Google Drive but I cannot confirm it.
Files can be organized into folders and both files and folders can be shared privately and through publicly available links. The interface has a drag-and-drop function and is easy to navigate.
Documents, spreadsheets and presentations can be edited in the browser with Microsoft web apps provided with the OneDrive service.