5 Cloud Storage Alternatives to Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud
These days, most people are familiar with cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud, and rightly so. They allow you to store files and information in the cloud, which can be accessed from anywhere, on any device. They’re great if you want to start a project at work or school, and then pick it back up again when you get home. These services are also remarkably useful when you want to transfer content between devices, such as your computer and smartphone.
While the popular services are enough for most, there are certainly one or two outliers that are worth checking out. And since most cloud storage services have a limit on the amount of content you can store – without purchasing a subscription – it’s always good to keep a few options in mind.
SpiderOak is one of the most interesting cloud storage providers because it offers full encryption for all data, and it also locks access through password protection. It’s adopted a “zero-knowledge” policy, which means that all data – incoming and outgoing – is encrypted and locked behind the user-configured password. No one can gain access to the related data without the appropriate password, not even SpiderOak’s customer support team.
So, if you’re worried about security, then SpiderOak is the service for you. There are corporate and enterprise packages too if you’re looking for something that can handle a large team.
You can access content through the official website at SpiderOak, or you can download and install the desktop application. The desktop application is available for Mac OSX, Linux, and Windows. Once the application is setup, you can use it in a similar manner as Dropbox by designating a sync folder and then dragging and dropping files within.
Up to 2GB of storage space is free to try for 60 days. If you like the service you’ll need to subscribe, starting at 30GB of space for $7 a month, and up to 5TB for $25 a month.
All the familiar services and features are commonplace with SugarSync. It’s a cloud-based file service that allows you to backup and access personal files from anywhere.
What’s most interesting about SugarSync is that instead of setting up a single folder designated as your “sync” directory, you can choose to sync any folder on your computer. For example, this would allow you to keep your Desktop folder synchronized across all devices. This is relevant because it allows you to choose the most appropriate directories to sync up.
Then, through the use of SugarSync’s proprietary File Manager application you can access all those synced files in one, organized and easy-to-use window. In addition, it works as sort of a server-based system, allowing you to remotely access files stored on another device and even edit and save them without ever uploading anything to the cloud.
It’s worth noting that the desktop application comes with 5GB of cloud storage space for free. If you need more, you can get up to 100GB of storage for individual use, for just $7.49 a month. Of course, there are higher tiered plans with more storage and support for multiple users, if you need it.
Have you ever run into an issue where you’re trying to email a file or folder to someone and your email client just can’t do it because the content is too large? SendSpace is an excellent solution, even if it’s not technically a traditional cloud-storage service.
Through SendSpace’s free service, you can upload a total of 20 files at a time, at a maximum of 300MB each. Once a file is uploaded, it remains available through the service for 30 days. This allows you to conveniently share content with family, friends or even colleagues.
Files that are shared through the service can also be tracked in real-time, so you can see who is accessing them.
There are mobile applications and a desktop application that can be used to unlock additional functionality. With the apps, you have a greater control over editing and monitoring features.
If you need more space to share files, you can always upgrade to a premium account starting at $8.99 a month for the Pro tier.
Cloudup is similar to Dropbox, except that it was specifically designed to be convenient and mobile friendly. That doesn’t mean you can’t access your content from a desktop or laptop, it just means everything is streamlined.
It uses a drag and drop style interface, where you can share photos, videos, links, music, documents, and so much more. Every Cloudup user can share up to 1,000 items total, up to 200MB each. Altogether, that totals to about 200GB of storage space – for free!
You organize content into what’s dubbed as a separate “stream.” Then, you can share your streams via email, social media networks, or another form of messaging. If your friends, family, or colleagues use the Cloudup service you can allow them to upload their own content to the stream. They can be password protected too if you have sensitive material that you don’t want just anyone to have access to.
On Desktop, the Cloudup service provides a menu bar where you can drag and drop items to upload. On mobile, the service has an app that you can do the same with. No matter where you are you’ll always have access to your custom streams.
5. BitTorrent Sync
BitTorrent Sync is a unique file-transfer service that doesn’t use the cloud. It uses the same peer-to-peer protocols as the popular BitTorrent platform so that you can easily sync files across multiple devices regardless of size. It transfers content on a local network, and there’s absolutely no need to be connected to the Internet.
It’s available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle, and Windows Phone devices. The client is free to download on all of the above systems, and your storage limitations are only related to the amount of local space you have on your device.
What makes BitTorrent Sync most enticing is that it utilizes some remarkably advanced security measures to protect and encrypt all data. Any time you choose a folder or file to by synced, it will generate a “secret” 21-byte authorization key. Without said key, the content cannot be accessed.
If you’re working with a large team and you need to be able to sync content across multiple devices for many different users, that’s also possible. However, to manage folder access permissions, and enable team support you will need to upgrade to the Pro version for $39.99 per user, per year.