Cloud storage is everywhere today. Most of the applications you use are built in the cloud and most of your photos and videos are kept in the cloud so that you don’t even think about it.
Cloud storage services have made it possible to maintain access not only to photos and videos but also to all types of files on any device, without the need for cables and instantly in sync. I have started with Dropbox. However, I quickly outgrew their services and had to find better options.
Dropbox is one of the first cloud storage services on the market - it was founded in 2007. Today it is still probably the largest with more than 500,000,000 users. The service was designed to help people and businesses collaborate easily. Users can share and access files on any device, wherever they are. Dropbox offers 2GB of cloud storage, and if you rush through it and invite your friends, that storage can grow.
Not everyone likes Dropbox - like I said, I had to change myself. In the last few years, they’ve had a couple of hacks with over 50,000,000 accounts compromised, which is very concerning. Fortunately, some services provide greater security, efficiency, and reliability, and I’m going to cover 5 of them here.
Alternatives to Dropbox: Top 5 Dropbox Alternatives for Cloud Storage Services
pCloud is a relatively new but fast-growing cloud storage service. They were founded in 2013 in Switzerland and just 3 and a half years they already have 7 million users around the world.
What makes pCloud a great alternative to Dropbox is that your pCloud Drive desktop app doesn’t use your computer’s storage by default. By the way, if you want to move your files from Dropbox to pCloud, you can do it in a couple of clicks; It is 100% automated, and you also get an account of up to 10 GB for free.
Dropbox recently launched a similar feature called Smart-Sync, but it is currently only available to business users. pCloud offers yours to everyone, and absolutely free of charge. All you have to do is drag and drop a file onto the pCloud drive and when it is uploaded to the cloud you can delete that file from your computer. After that, you don’t need to download it or anything to use it. You can open it at any time and it will be there but without taking up physical space on your device.
My Macbook has a very small SSD, so this is gold for me and every other Mac user. I used to get quite frustrated when paying for a Pro Dropbox account and couldn’t sync my files to my Mac as it is only 256GB.
So yes, the pCloud drive adds storage to the computer and acts as a virtual hard drive.
Of course, those files are accessible on any other device you have through the pCloud mobile applications and the web (they also have a browser version).
Speaking of mobile apps, here’s a feature that I love. It’s called “Free up storage.” After turning on auto-upload, which uploads all previous or future photos and videos from your phone, you can delete all the files that are already in the cloud with just one tap. So no more low memory on your mobile devices.
You can share files and folders with people like all other cloud storage services. You can add passwords and expiration dates to your links. And you also have statistics of how much traffic and how many people have downloaded from those links, which is also very good if you are sharing a lot and want to keep track.
Another feature that I use all the time, aside from having no storage on my Mac, is Remote Upload. If you have a direct link to a file, simply paste this link into the pCloud upload manager (which is in the web version), and the file is instantly uploaded to your pCloud account at server speed (pCloud servers are downloading the file from its origin server and data centers have a very, very fast internet connection). I managed to download a 1GB video in less than a minute.)
Last but not least: security.
pCloud has this paid feature called pCloud Crypto which is a client-side encryption plugin. What this means is that whatever you put in your pCloud Crypto folder is encrypted on your device and only the encrypted files are stored. This means that no one but you knows what is in that folder. This is great for keeping private information, passwords, or any kind of important documents. pCloud challenged hackers around the world to try and hack it for $ 100,000 and no one could.
Google Drive is one of the first things people think of when looking for Dropbox alternatives. This is mainly due to the various functions they had before Dropbox. One of them is collaboration: multiple people can work on the same file simultaneously with Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.
These services also allow you to leave comments, which is pretty neat. Another cool feature, especially for people who type a lot, is that Google Docs has speech-to-text functionality. This means that writing an article becomes much easier.
Google Drive offers you initial storage of 15 GB, which is shared between all the services of your Google account (Gmail, Photos, etc.). Here’s a helpful tip you probably didn’t know about: Google will give you 100GB of storage absolutely free if you succeed to get to Google Local Guides level 4 (the service where you check the review sites you’ve been to and the reviews are added to Google Maps).
Last but not least, Google Drive supports integrations with most of the tools and applications that people use, making it a huge advantage for all other cloud storage services.
The interface is very clean and the applications and web versions are so easy to use that they are almost foolproof. Drag-and-drop functionality helps you organize your account in just a few clicks.
Of course, you can share files and folders and set different permissions for the different people you collaborate with. It’s worth mentioning, however, that these functionalities could be enhanced with things like password protection and expiration dates on specific shared links.
The Google disk drive on your desktop has everything you have in the web version, but one downside is that it syncs the files with your local machine to grab from your storage.
Box was founded in 2005, 2 years before its main competitor, Dropbox.
It’s primarily a business service, but it also offers some personal cloud storage options.
The free package gives you 10GB. That storage sounds great, but Box limits file sizes to 250MB for free accounts, which is a bummer when trying to send a larger file: a video, a larger layout file, etc.
The interface and design of all the applications on the different platforms are very clean and very original. The functionality is aimed at the business user, which makes it very easy to work with company files. With the web version, you can create and edit files in Microsoft Office or Google Docs and work with them online through the free Box plugin.
One great thing about Box is that it is integrated into most of the applications that people use in their business. Some programs allow you to link Office directly to Box, so all files are saved there, an FTP application so you can migrate older data to the site, and a bunch of others that are listed on the website.
Another thing I like about the box is the speed. The service is very fast even when I am not using a good wifi connection.
OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage and is a great Dropbox alternative for heavy users of Microsoft products.
In fact, OneDrive comes with every new Windows 10 computer you buy - you don’t need to install anything. It is built into work very well with all Microsoft Office applications and is very easy to get used to.
They have applications for all types of devices and the web version is very easy to use as well.
That said, I expected OneDrive to support expiring and password-protected links, but sadly they don’t. Another thing that didn’t impress me was the fact that the PDF scanner is for Premium users and that it can only be used on a couple of devices if you are a free user.
With the Premium plan, you not only get more storage, but the traffic limit is also slightly higher. I guess Microsoft did it because so many users were abusing the service when they were on an “unlimited storage” plan.
The good news is that with the Windows 10 update, OneDrive introduced selective syncing, which means that not all folders on your account have to be synced and using your hard drive storage. However, to use the files, you still have to sync them.
If privacy is a major concern, it should be noted that Microsoft reserves the right to scan your files for what it considers objectionable content. This could be copyrighted material or things of an explicit nature.
But like I said, very good service if you are a Microsoft power user.
You may remember MediaFire as a file-sharing service, but they went around and built their own cloud storage service.
They don’t differ much from all the other cloud storage services that I have mentioned. You can share files and folders, which is the foundation of cloud storage in general.
What I like the most about MediaFire is the file manager they have. You can organize files and folders very easily. Also, you can control access to those files and folders from any device.
Something worth mentioning is that you will not hit any bandwidth limits no matter how popular your links are. That’s a topic that other cloud storages treat very carefully.
Last but not least, I am a huge fan of one-time links. You can share a file using a free one-time link and the recipient will not be able to share the link with anyone else. It’s perfect for sensitive business or personal documents.
Like pCloud, MediaFire also supports a remote upload feature, but here it is only for Premium users.
What I didn’t like is that the links you share when you have a free account are full of ads.
In short, a great service to share if you have a Premium account so that your recipients can skip the ads. The speed was great too.
Cloud storage is a problem today, and there are perhaps hundreds of such service providers. Dropbox is no longer the only option, and I hope trying these 5 alternatives to Dropbox will help you choose a service if you are looking for a Dropbox replacement.