Cloud storage is a revolutionary technology that allows you to save your data and documents directly on the internet. This saves space on your hard drive, but also and above all to ensure data security and access from any device. Widely adopted by companies, cloud storage has not yet really democratized to the general public. Consumers are often afraid to pay for these services. Still, there are many free online cloud storage services right now. So which cloud to choose? Check out the cloud comparison of free cloud services and a guide to choosing the free online storage service that suits you.

Definition – What is cloud storage?

Cloud computing technologies offer many possibilities. To put it simply, the cloud makes it possible to carry out all the operations usually carried out on a PC directly on the internet. The notion of cloud storage therefore refers to storing data, files and documents directly on the internet rather than on a hard disk or other physical medium . This is cloud backup. Cloud storage allows you to access your data from any computer, phone, or tablet by simply connecting to the cloud service on which it is stored.. In addition, unlike local storage, cloud backup ensures the durability of data. If your hard drive fails, your files are lost, while on the cloud, they are preserved forever (at least in theory) . This is one of the benefits of free online storage. Some services also allow you to edit the contents of files directly from your browser.

Guide – What are the criteria to consider when choosing a free cloud? Which cloud to choose?

1 – Security

Typically, data stored on the free cloud is not encrypted on the storage in question. They are only encrypted during the transfer process. However, some free online storage services take the trouble to encrypt the data on the remote hard drive . This is the case of Mega, which opts for 2048-bit encryption. Others offer to pay extra for an encryption service. This is the case of pCloud and its Crypto option, priced at $ 3.99 per month. In most cases, data is stored in clear. If youreally want to perform the encryption of your data, you can use a compression tool and a password, using a program like WinRAR, or use a program designed for this purpose as BoxCryptor or Cloudfogger .Quoi it in itself, the data stored on the free cloud is generally safer than the data stored on your hard disk. The suppliers attach importance to the security of data in order to maintain their credibility with their customers, and have the financial means to guarantee security .

2 – Storage space

In terms of storage space, not all free cloud services are equal. At most, you can have free 50GB, with Mega, which should be enough to meet the needs of most users. On the contrary, some free cloud services offer only the bare minimum to encourage users to subscribe to the version pay. This is the case of Dropbox which offers only 2GB free. To enjoy more space, users will have to pay $ 9.99 per month for 100GB, $ 19.99 per month for 200GB or $ 49.99 per month for 500GB. It is also possible to get up to to 16GB of additional disk space by referring friends, at a rate of 500 MB per sponsored friend. However, Dropbox is distinguished by a feature for backing up the file history. After modifying or deleting a file, it is possible to find it intact for a period of thirty days. It is also important to take into account the maximum file size allowed by each service.. In this area, the Mega or Hubic services lead the way, since they do not offer any size limit. However, other services offer more storage space, but limit the maximum file size. It’s up to you to determine the size of the files, and the total size of the content you want to store in the cloud to determine which cloud backup service is right for you. However, it’s important to keep in mind that free cloud storage services are only not eternally frozen in time. Due to their free service providers sometimes consider that they are not accountable to users. In fact, these services can disappear overnight, or change their conditions drastically. One example is Microsoft OneDrive. Initially, Microsoft offered 25GB of free storage to its subscribers. The space was then reduced to 15GB, then 5GB. Users have complained, and the firm has finally decided to offer 15GB of storage space again, and another 15GB dedicated to photo storage. Finally, the creator of Windows finally chose to limit the space to 5GB in all and for all. This kind of initiative pushes users to opt for the paid version. In this case, Microsoft offers 50GB for € 2 per month. However, such a scheme may also encourage users to give up service to compete.

3 – Transfer speed

The transfer speed is a major feature of cloud storage services . It determines the time it takes to upload your files to the cloud, or to download them. In this area, Google Drive wins the palm with 10.5 MB / s download and 5.5 to 6 MB / s upload. Less well known, Ozibox also excels with an upload speed of up to 12 MB / s.Dropbox meanwhile offers about 8.5 MB / s to 9 MB / s download and only 650 KB / s upload. At Mega, the download speed is 1.5MB / s and 1.8MB / s upload. For its part, the French Hubic offers upload speed and download limited to 1.2 MB / s . Microsoft is clearly at the bottom of the rankings, since OneDrive is limited to 500 Kb / s in upload and download.

4 – Applications

Mobile apps and desktop applications are the software that allows you to manage, edit, and download documents from a cloud storage service. In fact, the quality and comfort of use of the application are important to take into account in the choice of a free cloud service. It is also possible to use the website of the service from a browser, but this solution is usually less convenient.Among the best applications, we include those of DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive and Hubic. For example, the Google Drive client allows local files to be synchronized online instantaneously. The opposite is also valid. In fact, changes made to a local file are immediately backed up to the cloud,

Office applications

The Microsoft OneDrive application is also excellent. It is available on Windows, macOS, and management can also be done online on Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 . The latest version of the OS provides direct access to OneDrive from Explorer. A directory is created from the first installation to allow the user to find all his files stored online on the cloud server. The user then selects the files he wants to download on his hard drive. The Hubic application is also remarkably simple to handle. The applicationindicates the number of GB used and available in the synchronization directory automatically created on the hard disk, the interval between each synchronization, and allows to choose precisely the elements to be synchronized within a folder .Rares are the services that do not offer no desktop or mobile application . One example is e-nautia, whose users must be content with a web interface to manage their files. For the rest, most services come with an application for management.

Mobile Apps

The Mega service offers a mobile app for Android and iOS. This application can efficiently manage cloud storage, load files, rename, delete or share .Dropbox on its side offers many mobile applications to manage, delete, rename, share files, or create files. folders . Third-party developers are also allowed to create unofficial Dropbox applications. French Hubic does not have to blush at its competitors. The Android application allows you to see the available storage space, manage the cache, and protect the storage space with a 4-digit code . A nice feature that enhances cloud security.

5 – Content editing

In addition to offering storage space, some services also offer editing content online through the cloud . This very useful feature is only offered by Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox. Each of these services has its own advantages and its unique functioning. On Dropbox, it is possible to consult PDF documents, and even to modify them by installing certain plugins . Tools such as WriteBox or TextDropApp will be very useful for those who regularly need to edit PDF content. There are dozens of plugins compatible with Dropbox, allowing for example to synchronize files on different platforms (inSync) or to encrypt data (SafeBox, BoxCryptor …). With Microsoft OneDriveit is possible to modify all types of documents from a web browser . You will be able to edit Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents without even needing to own the Microsoft Office suite. Subscribing to OneDrive can save the cost of a subscription to Office. On Google Drive, you can open any document format. A Word text with Docs, an Excel spreadsheet with Sheets, or a PowerPoint presentation can be opened without difficulty by the various services of Google. It is also possible to make changes or edit these documents from a browser without going through software, and even to create PDF documents. Again, this cloud service can save the price of a subscription to Microsoft Office .

6 – Streaming

Some free cloud services allow streaming audio / video files over the internet, without downloading them to hard disk . Encoding is directly supported by the cloud server, making it easy to open any video or audio file format from any device. The Dropbox service allows you to view any audio file. or real-time video on any browser without downloading . The main AVI, MP4 and MKV formats are all supported. This feature is unfortunately only available on desktop. On mobile, it is necessary to download the video and audio files in advance.Google Drive service also lets you play streaming audio or video files . AVI, MP4, MOV formats are supported. It is possible to view the videos saved on the cloud storage space, or to preview them thanks to a system of transcode very economical in terms of bandwidth. On mobile, however, it happens that Google Drive has trouble opening a video document too heavy. For its part, Microsoft OneDrive also offers streaming audio and video from the cloud . Users can listen to music or watch videos without having to download them first. However, only some standard formats are supported. MP3 or MP4 formats are supported, but not high-quality formats like FLAC or MKV.If youwant to enjoy a streaming feature, it is better to avoid Hubic . This service does not allow you to play a video or audio file directly from the mobile or desktop application. It is necessary to download the file to open it from his device. On Mega either, no streaming video or audio functionality is offered . It is necessary to download the file to a hard drive. However, the service offers a ZIP compression feature. In addition to offering download on hard drive, Mega allows you to download the files directly to another cloud account.

7 – Multi-versions

Few free cloud services allow users to keep multiple versions of the same file . The Dropbox service keeps a file history for 30 days. It is possible to restore a previous version of a file. Similarly, Google Drive offers 30 days of history and 100 file changes. With OneDrive, Microsoft proposes to keep the 25 previous versions of a file. These three free services are the only ones to offer to keep multiple versions of the same file. On all other services, be extremely careful not to make mistakes by saving incorrect changes to a file .

8 – Transfer between services

It is very useful to be able to transfer documents from one cloud service to another. This process enhances file security by backing it up twice . Unfortunately, competition requires, very few services offer such a feature. To transfer documents from one service to another, it is therefore necessary to download and upload them again.

Top free cloud storage services

Mega, the biggest free cloud storage

The famous Kim Dotcom, controversial creator of Megaupload and Megavideo, offers a free cloud storage service. Users can enjoy 50GB for free. Given Dotcom’s past and its involvement with the law, however , it is risky to rely solely on this service to store all your data . Recall that Megaupload was closed by the authorities, and that the user data stored on the service had been permanently deleted. Anyway, more than 7 million people use this server, and most are very satisfied. The interface of this digital safe is very intuitive. It is enough to go on the Mega site and begin to drag files to store in the cloud. A mobile app is also available from a smartphone or tablet, as well as a computer sync client. It is also possible to install extensions to use Mega securely on a web browser. The files can be synchronized on all your devices thanks to these different tools. It is possible to recover deleted files, or previous versions of a modified file. Regarding confidentiality, Mega relies on Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that shall not be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks on his honor and reputation “. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks “. Thus, Mega guarantees end-to-end encryption. To secure collaboration, you can also monitor changes made by colleagues with whom you share content in real time. It is difficult for a newcomer to use the security features of MEGA . This is the main defect of this service. Another disadvantage is the lack of transcoding of the shared videos. If you want to upgrade to Pro, you can benefit from a maximum of 4TB from € 8.33 per month. The bandwidth is 96TB.

Hubic, the free French cloud storage service

The French leader in web hosting, OVH, offers its own cloud storage service, Hubic . Users can enjoy 25GB for free . The customer service located in France is a real advantage, because you will be able to contact this service in your language in case of problems and benefit from a support compliant with French standards. It is possible to have a maximum of 50GB additional by sponsoring relatives. In terms of confidentiality, the French HubiC cloud also benefits from the French localization of its data centers. French data privacy laws are much stricter than in many countries, including the United States, and the government has no rights to access your data without consent. This service is also distinguished by powerful desktop software. Windows compatible, macOS and Linux, and a mobile application available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry . It is possible to manage automatic backups from these two programs, save files three times, and share collaboration links directly on social networks. Moreover, the size of the files is unlimited.Attention however. Many users lament the poor quality of this service. TheDesktop and desktop applications are unreliable, and data is regularly lost . The download speed is much lower than that indicated by HubiC, let alone outside France. The web interface leaves something to be desired, since it is impossible to preview the files or access a history. The data is not encrypted on the cloud. Finally, it is impossible to contact customer support directly. Therefore, if you opt for HubiC, avoid relying solely on this French cloud for storing your data.

Bajoo, the other free French cloud

With Bajoo, you can have 25GB of free cloud storage space located in France . Again, this service benefits from the very strict French data privacy laws, and guarantees the impossibility for the government or any other third party to access your files without your direct consent. The data is encrypted end-to-end, and even Bajoo can not access it without your password. However, the official website of the service has no legal mention, which can cause suspicion . In addition, the application consumes a lot of computing resources.

pCloud the free Swiss cloud

This Swiss-based digital vault service gives you 20GB of free cloud storage . It consumes no space on your hard drive, unlike many cloud services. It is faster than Dropbox, and more secure thanks to the Crypto encryption system. This service also allows you to share files with people who do not use pCloud. File size is not limited, and it is possible to synchronize any folder . The desktop application is compatible with Windows, Linux and macOS, while the mobile application is available on iOS and Android. An integrated video and audio player makes it possible to play multimedia files in streaming.the versioning of the files is not very intuitive . Similarly, no local encryption system is offered with the free formula.

Google Drive, a free cloud with an office suite

With Google Drive, you can get free 15GB free cloud storage . In addition, the various Google services like Docs and Sheets allow you to open and edit all document formats such as text, tables or PowerPoint. The Google Drive digital safe is particularly easy to install and launch. In less than five minutes, it is possible to start using it. And if you’re one of the many Gmail users, you already have a Google Account, so you do not need to create one. The service is also easy to use and very intuitive. It is also distinguished by its features of sharing and collaboration very well thought. However, some features are sorely lacking. We deplore the lack of automatic backups, programming or a simple way to select folders to synchronize from the hard drive. In addition, no local encryption is proposed. In fact, this service is recommended for occasional users. On the other hand, if you need to regularly back up a large amount of data, it is better to turn to a more professional solution. Professionals can benefit from Big Data services through the Google Cloud Platform.

OneDrive the free cloud of Microsoft

Microsoft once offered 15GB of free OneDrive cloud storage, but eventually decided to reduce that space to just 5GB . This multiplatform offer has the advantage of supporting Hotmail or Outlook addresses. The web application is simply masterful, and the integration with Windows 10 is irreproachable. On the other hand, we deplore a slow upload and download speed, a limitation of 10GB per file, and a maximum number of files limited to 20000 . Similarly, no local encryption is offered and the NSA can easily access the data stored on this cloud. The iOS application is also very rough.

Yandesk Disk the free cloud of the Russian giant of the internet

The Russian leader of the internet, Yandex offers 10GB of free storage space on its free cloud . The firm is also known (in Russia) for its search engine and analytics services. It alone occupies 60% of the national market share. Since its creation in 1997, Yandex has taken a path similar to that of Google. The firm offers a service of email, cartography, music, news, videos, search engine and taxi booking. The Yandex.Disk cloud service was launched in beta a few weeks before Google Drive. Since then, it is the most used cloud service in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. Its advantages are the ease of use of its web client, its desktop integration, or its integrated tool for photographic editing and screenshot capture. . Its sharing features are also complete and intuitive, as well as its integration with various social networks. In terms of security, file transfers are encrypted in SLS / TLS, and access to data is protected by Russian laws. The application is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows Universal, Mac, Linux and WebDAV. Among the flaws, we regret uploads limited to 2GB on the web and 10GB on other applications. It is not possible to protect shares with a password, and the configuration is also limited. You can not back up or restore previous versions of a file. Outside Europe, the download speed is also very slow. Russian privacy laws protect outside governments, but not really against the Russian state itself. Finally, the official Linux support is limited to a command-line tool., an intuitive and complete free cloud

With, a direct competitor of Dropbox, you can benefit from free 10GB cloud storage . Additional space was once granted to owners of Samsung Galaxy S3 and LG Nexus 4, but this partnership with the Korean leaders of the mobile market has not been renewed . Despite its many features, is very easy to use . The sharing and collaboration features are very comprehensive. The control of access to the files is also very developed. It is possible to preview the files directly from the browser. On the other hand, the desktop application leaves something to be desired.