What is the best FREE Cloud Storage that you can sign up for and use right now in 2022?
Whilst there is a plethora of cloud storage services that you can use right now, many of them are pretty basic when it comes to things like the privacy and security of your data. In this post, I’m going to cover my top 5 picks for cloud storage services that do keep your privacy and security of your data to heart, even though you aren’t paying them a single cent of your money.
I want to talk first about Synology for sponsoring this video which has just launched a fully-featured and also FREE password manager which is actually one of only 2 other free password managers that don’t restrict their free tiers. You can upgrade it to a family plan for just £4.99 a YEAR, which is still insanely cheap.
If you don’t already have a password manager or are looking to switch away from your current one - I’d highly recommend checking Synology out, and I’ll leave a link down below, along with links for all of the free cloud services I’m talking about today.
First up, let’s talk about Google Drive.
Google Drive will give you 15GB of Free online storage space, and for that pricely sum of totally free, you also get some added benefits which come as part of using a well-known name like Google.
Things like their very popular online collaboration tools like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms.
You also get their email system, Gmail as part of that free service - though do remember here that both Google Documents and Email will take up part of that 15Gb of free space that’s on offer.
You also get their Google Meet video service which can host up to 100 participants, and of course, being Google - you get all of the security, and privacy controls that Google offers.
This includes secure 2Factor authentication with the likes of a Yubikey to protect someone else logging into your account which is one of the most secure ways to protect your account.
When it comes to privacy, Google is just, OK. One key thing here is that Google Drive isn’t something called Zero-Knowledge. This means that whilst your data is safe with Google from the likes of Hackers, Viruses, and Ransomware - Google does still have access to your data so that they can scan things to ‘Make your life easier’.
This is of course nothing untoward or illegal, or things like scanning your photos to identify people in them but also means that if they were instructed to by law enforcement for whatever reason, Google would be legally obliged to hand over your data.
This isn’t a concern for most people, but of course, there is still a concern that this level of access could be abused, so it may be better to look for an alternative solution that does protect your privacy.
This brings me over to the next service - MEGA.
MEGA is a service that has a lot of controversy around its origins and who owns it, which I made a video about last year.
Having said that Mega does offer some impressive free cloud storage along with good security and privacy from a technical perspective.
MEGA offers 20GB of free storage which is more free space than any other GOOD cloud storage service that we’re looking at today, and of course with Mega that storage is reserved wholly for cloud storage, so your email isn’t taking up valuable space in your drive.
In terms of security and privacy, MEGA has Zero-Knowledge encryption for your files so even if the law comes knocking on their door, there is no physical or technical way for MEGA to hand over your data to someone else.
MEGA also has a feature that will allow you to get even more storage like installing the desktop App, installing MEGA Mobile, Inviting Friends, and by verifying your account with SMS. These achievements, as they call them, can unlock a further 15GB of free space in addition to 5GB for every friend who installs a MEGA App.
This additional space is only valid for 365 days, and once you’ve used them, you can’t use them again unless you invite new people each time to sign up.
Though I guess if you really had the time spare, you could spin up lots of fake email accounts and invite yourself to get extra storage if you really wanted to.
You also get some other features like encrypted chats and file recovery and versioning which makes it a pretty solid option for those looking for free storage.
Next up, we have pCloud, and with pCloud, you get ‘up to’ 10GB of Free cloud storage. 2GB of that is immediately available when you sign up, and you can unlock up to 7GB by following the prompts to do things like download the app and install it on your phone. To get the full 10GB on offer though, you’ll need to invite some of your friends.
pCloud does have some features which others don’t like a built-in media player for videos and a music player but, there are a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, if you use an M1 Mac then you’ll need to do some pretty hooky workarounds to get their client working.
Also if you want to encrypt your data, you will need to upgrade to their pCloud Crypto service, which lets you encrypt individual files and folders as you wish. This is a pretty good option, but if you’re considering paying for a service then I’d recommend reading my review on the best Paid For cloud storage before signing up.
If you want to find a service that’s free and includes Zero-Knowledge encryption, then you will want to look at one of our next 2 services starting with sync.com.
Sync.com offers 5GB of free cloud storage, which isn’t much - BUT there are reasons for why I’m listing them as number 2 today.
They have some of the strongest privacy controls, and with Sync being based in Canada, this helps it to be one of the most secure cloud storage providers today.
Along with excellent security features along with Zero-Knowledge encryption included as standard, they also have a referral system that lets you get 1GB of extra free cloud storage per person that signs up - and this will let you get up to 20GB of additional storage space, totally free and this doesn’t expire as MEGA’s does. Plus, I’ve also read that they may be able to lift or even remove the 20GB cap if you drop them an email.
You get an interface that works very well and is similar to Dropbox, along with the ability to share files via secure links. There’s version history and deleted file recovery with its included backup, and you get no third-party tracking, along with compliance with the likes of GDPR, and even stricter HIPAA compliance if you upgrade to one of their paid-for plans.
NUMBER 1 - iDRIVE
Number 1, is iDrive. I’m ranking them as number 1 because they provide 10GB for Free, which is better than Sync, but includes Zero-Knowledge encryption as standard and allows you to use the service for both backup and online storage.
They have clients for pretty much every device that you’ll need to use it from and right now, if you did want to go over that 10GB Free cap, you can upgrade to a huge 5TB of storage space for just $7.95 for the first year. Which are just nuts.
I know that’s not technically free, but the fact it’s so affordable to upgrade means this is a great option when compared to the others.
You also get block-level transfers, which sync doesn’t have on their free plan, which means if you make a small change to a large file, it doesn’t have to re-upload the entire file back to the cloud, it can just do the small changes so is much better for large files or slower connections.
iDrive also stores 30 previous versions of every file which is a great feature to have if you ever need to recover anything from a backup.
You don’t get some of the more collaboration features like Sync offers, so if you’re looking to share files then that would be the better option for you, but it’s still a great option and it’s why I believe that iDrive is once again, one of the best solutions out there.
If you want to sign up then make sure to check the links below which include the best discounts I can find.
iDrive also won my best Cloud Photo storage service for 2022, which you can see here. Thanks so much for reading! See you in the next one.