13 Best Free Cloud Storage Choices of 2021
Storing digital files safely on the cloud is an on-going concern for content creators or just people who love to shoot family video or photos. It’s also great to share files with friends, colleagues, and family all over the world. For this reason, file storage can be a viable option. There are often limits to the amount of space you get on free storage providers.
As this is article is focused on the “FREE-ness” of file storage providers, I’ll list the providers from the most amount of FREE storage to the least. At the end, I’ll list my hacks to getting unlimited free space for your file storage. The exception to this rule is when a company has trixy clauses, for example, you can only upload a certain size of a file, despite being allowed to upload unlimited data or if the company deletes your data after a specific timeframe.
Size is one thing, but what else should you look out for? Other things to consider when selecting a FREE file storage provider would be the ease of file sharing, collaboration tools, the speed of uploading and downloading and also the success of the company. Secure cloud storage is another issue that we covered in another article. We’ll discuss:
Storage – the amount of space they offer for free
AlexaRank – How popular they are on the web #1 being highest.
Pros & Cons – I’ll outline some of the pros and cons of the storage provider
Lastly, I’ll share a few secret hacks to getting file storage completely free. Ok – without further ado, let’s dive in and find out what the 15 Best FREE File Storage Providers are:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
#1 | Google Drive (15GB)
Alexa Rank – #1 (for Google)
Google needs no introduction – the largest search engine in the world that also provides free email and office software like Google Docs. You’ll get access to your Google Drive account as part of the bundle. Make an email address, and you’ve got Google Drive as part of the deal. The major downside of using Google Drive is the privacy (READ: You get no privacy with Google Drive), but they do give you a tonne of tools and space for FREE.
If you want more storage space on your Google Drive account you can get a massive 2TB plan for $9.99 per month. They also offer humungous plans like 30TB for $300/month – which would keep most people going for most of their life.
✔ You get a suite of software to use for FREE like GoogleSheets and GoogleDocs
✔ Easy to set up
✔ Easy to use
✔ Auto update feature
✔ TLS protocol
✔ 15GB Free storage
✔ Cost effective pricing plans
✘ You need a Google Account to use the service
✘ ZERO PRIVACY, Google openly states they look through your files to market products to you
✘ Linked to all of your Google accounts.
#2 | OneDrive (15GB)
OneDrive is Microsoft’s answer to cloud file storage. You get 15GB for free – which is the largest amount of storage offered for free by any cloud storage provider. Other than Mega, who give you an extra limited time 35GB that has some catches, more about that below.
Microsoft has merged OneDrive with their Microsoft Office 365 offering. When you upgrade to Microsoft Office 365 you’ll get their whole suite of Office software products as part of the deal for $7 per month. With this package they provide 1TB of storage which is pretty decent.
✔ 15GB is a decent amount of storage space for FREE
✔ You get the suite of Microsoft Office software as part of the deal
✔ AES 256-bit encryption
✔ TLS protocol
✔ Great Collaboration tools
✔ Fast sync
✘ Files are not private (Microsoft can look at your files)
✘ If you login from another location (or a different IP address) you might get locked out of our account as they check your IP address
#3 | Mega (15GB FREE + Limited 35GB)
Alexa Rank # 870
Compared to the top two FREE storage solutions Mega is quite far down in the Alexa ranking. However, they do offer up to 50GB storage space for free (with a catch). It’s best to think that Mega offers 15GB of storage, as the other 35GB of data that you might upload will be deleted if you don’t upgrade to a premium plan in time. One thing to note about Mega is that the original owner was prosecuted for piracy in the past. Also their top shareholder was marked for extradition from China, so it might pay to keep an eye on what the owners are doing.
Data protection is one of the key USPs of Mega. They were featured in our secure storage options for this very reason. If you want to upgrade and get more storage their premium plan, the cheapest plan from Mega gets you just 200GB of storage for $5.69, which isn’t great. The best value premium account offers a decent 1TB of storage for $11.38 per month. However, this is quite a bit more expensive than Google Drive. Mega is more tight on privacy and security, so it depends on what is most important to you.
✔ TLS Protocol
✔ Sync any folder
✔ Nice Collaboration tools
✘ Can be Slow
✘ Bandwidth limitations
#4 | 4Shared (15GB + quite a few bizarre catches)
Alexa Rank 452
4Shared is based in the Kieve, Ukraine was launched in 2005 and is owned by New IT Solutions Ltd. Now one of the largest file hosting companies (probably because they rely heavily on their resellers) with over 11 million users and 317 terabytes of files transferred daily. 4Shared is higher in the Alexa rankings than Mega (meaning they are more popular) and also offer 15GB file storage for FREE. A big drawback is the fact that you can only download 3GB of data per day. So it’d take you 5 days to download all of your stored content.
You can sign up for an account with 4Shared in seconds with Facebook, Google, and Twitter. They have a clean and easy to use interface, which is a plus. When you upgrade you get just 100GB of storage for $10 per month, which is a bit steep, considering you can get 1-2TB from other providers for the same price.
If you pay annually you can save $3.50, but you have to pay for the whole year in advance. One really odd thing is that you need to pay via one of their Resellers. Some of their resellers accept Bitcoin which is nice, but their payment options are rather bizarre to say the least.
✔ Clean interface
✔ Easy to signup
✔ 15GB FREE storage space
✔ Mobile app
✘ Lots of adverts, including adult content
✘ Limited download capabilities
✘ You cannot pay directly, you need to go through one of their resellers
#5 | MediaFire (10GB FREE)
Alexa Rank 164
If we weren’t focused on the amount of space that you get for FREE, then I’d order this list very differently. MediaFire comes third (so far, in the Alexa rankings) but it’s definitely not my favourite file storage provider.
Mediafire often does an amazing deal where you get 50% off their premium offering, so that’s something to look out for. The normal price is $10 per month for 1TB of storage space. You can get up to 100TB of storage space for $100, which is a whole load of space.
With the FREE option there are lots of ads, which are quite off-putting. Their user interface is also not the best
✔ 10GB FREE storage space
✔ Frequent 50% discount sales
✘ Lots of Ads
✘Slow, clumsy user interface
#6 | Box (10 GB FREE)
Alexa Rank 446
The 10GB that you get free from Box is decent, however when you are looking to get more space, the upgrade price is extortionate – $10 per month for 100GB is wild. In saying that, Box is a good provider for businesses as you can add extra users on. This could also be a good option for a family to use. When you upgrade to their Business account you get unlimited storage and you can add as many users as you like.
✔ Unlimited additional users can be added
✔ 10GB FREE storage space
✔ SSL and at-rest encryption
✔ Two-factor authentication
✔ Premium package has unlimited storage
✘ Download speeds are slow
✘ Hard to share files
# 7 | DepositFiles (10GB + a catch or two)
Alexa Rank 4,062
DepositFiles has servers in 9 countries, which is great for uploading and downloading. They also offer 10GB for free. With DepositFiles there are a few catches. One is that you’ll have to endure advertisements on your FREE account. Their site and user interface is also a bit dated and not very intuitive. You can upgrade to the gold membership which gets you faster upload and download speeds and you can pay with credit card or Bitcoin. DepositFiles pricing is a bit steep at $12 per month, and with this you don’t get extra file storage.
One thing that is great about DepositFiles is the fact that you can send a link with password protection – even on the free plan. I also like the fact that they store your files for free for an unlimited time.
✔ Link password protection
✔ Free App
✔ Files are stored for an unlimited time
✘ Max file upload 10GB
✘ Largest stored file – 2GB
#8 | Sabercat Host (5GB FREE)
SaberCats host is based in Houston, US. SaberCats Host offers 5GB of free storage space and unlimited bandwidth. They also have fast uploads and downloads, which is brilliant. Their UX is clean and easy-to-use and works well on both mobile devises. . Sharing files is easy with SaberCats Host. One thing that is great about SaberCats Host is that you can use their site without making an account. This feature is really great for collaboration and sharing.
You can pay with Paypal and all of the regular credit card options. There is no need to subscribe with SaberCats Host – which is a breath of fresh air, as all of the subscription payments add up. You can sign up for just 7 days to a year.
✔ Fast upload and download speeds
✔ 5GB free storage space
✔ Use without creating an account
✔ No subscriptions
✘ Advertising on free account
✘ You can only
#9 | iCloud (5GB)
Alexa Rank 333
Owned by Apple, iCloud comes bundled with Apple devices. You’d think they’d offer more storage space for free, being such a big company, but no. Apple takes control of your data, and can do with it what they please – so not necessarily the best option for sensitive file storage. Most Apple products come with a big-fat-price-tag, but not iCloud, you can get 50GB for just $0.99 per month. The 2TB plan is competitively priced at $9.99 per month.
✔ Automatically syncs to Apple devices
✔ Larger packages are inexpensive
✔ Two-factor authentication
✔ Great for Apple Device users
✘ You need an Apple ID to use iCloud
✘ Lacking privacy
#10 | DropBox (2GB FREE)
Alexa Rank 87
DropBox is the biggest cloud storage provider out there, probably due to their massive marketing budget. However, they only offer a tiny 2GB for FREE. You can upgrade to their premium plan for $10 per month, which will get you 1TB of storage space, pretty good. To use DropBox you must create an account – which is a bit of a pain for sharing files. The file sharing and syncing is great with Dropbox.
✔ Fast sync
✔ Password protect shared links
✔ Easy to use UX
✔ Easy file sharing
✘ Not easy for beginner
✘ Small free storage option
✘ Lacks privacy
#11 | WeTransfer (2GB FREE with a catch)
Alexa Rank 444
WeTransfer is a quick and easy way to share files – however you don’t get access to a dashboard or members area with the free option. You can simply send files over the internet. This service is really handy if you need to quickly send large files to a friend or colleague. If you upgrade to their premium plan, the cheapest option is $12 per month for just 100GB. A downside to this provider is that you don’t get a chance to test drive your account to see if you like it before upgrading.
✔ Easy to use
✔ Upload and send multiple files
✔ Great for sending large files
✘ No password protect on free option
✘ No dashboard on free option
✘ Links that you send expire
#12 | Uploaded.net (2GB FREE)
Alexa Rank 607
Uploaded.net is a cloud storage company based in Germany. They offer just 2GB of FREE storage which is miniscule. When you upgrade they give you a faster user experience- however their plans are quite complicated. Uploaded.net is doesn’t have the easiest UX to use. The pricing is around $111 for premium for 2 years, but you need to pay for the storage space separately. You need to pay monthly for the storage from $6 for 100GB to $9 for 1TB.
✔ No expiration date for files
✔ Well known file storage provider
✔ Nice affiliate program
✘ Complex UX
✘ Slow upload and download speeds
#13 | SendSpace (300MB + a catch or two)
Alexa Rank 2,310
SendSpace is more of a file sending rather than a file storage company. You can store files with them, but they’ll be deleted after 30 days as standard. In the free version you will be shown ads and have a slow download speed. If you want to upgrade you can get just 100MB of storage space for $9 per month, which is super pricey.
✔ Unlimited storage
✘ Files removed after 30 days
A Few Other Semi-FREE Options
I was going to review a few more, but in all honesty I just about lost the will to live. Hightail, Zippyshare, and Egnyte all have “somewhat free” options. From 300MB to a 15-day free trial, but I’ll leave you to have a look at them if you feel so inclined. They don’t really offer much in the way of a free service and when you upgrade they are quite pricey. Apart from Egnyte who are the ones offering 15-day free trial, they give you 1TB for $10 per month, which is pretty nice. I’d like to cut to the chase and give you a few sneaky secret storage hacks before you go.
My Secret Hack to FREE Large File Storage
If you are looking to store lots of video files, this can take up a lot of space and be costly. Why not upload your videos to Youtube and keep the link “private”. Think outside the box and see where you can upload large files in a social media account for future use. Another idea is to create a private group on Facebook and keep your files in there – that way you can keep unlimited photos, documents, and videos. The only catch with Facebook is they compile your images – which means you can’t store them in high definition. Oh and the small fact that Facebook loves to spy on people, so not for sensitive documents. A solution to the compiling affecting image resolution would be to join a creative social media company like Vero Social or YouPic.
Got lots of Photos you need to store, share and present? Check out our list of “Best Websites for Photographers”.
If you’re looking for FREE file storage, there are many options – especially if you think out of the box. Make sure that the company you choose don’t delete files after a given date as Sendspace and Zippyshare do. You could also get an external hard-drive and keep a copy of your files on there, old fashioned, but it still works as another backup source.