Ranked: The Three Best Cloud Storage Providers on the Planet in 2021 (Based on User-friendliness, Versatility & Privacy)
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The Internet has now made it possible from information of any kind to be stored in remote servers online rather than just on the local computer – also known as the cloud.
Cloud storage services gives you easy flexible access to your precious data – Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, media files. With cloud syncing you can retrieve them not just from your personal or work PC, but from your smartphone, tablet or even laptop anytime, anywhere. You won’t even need to carry a pen drive or hard drive around.
If you haven’t considered storing and syncing your data online through cloud storage, you will find it essential! Which one you choose depends on what your needs are.
What To Look For In A Cloud Storage Provider
There are two main reasons why you use cloud storage.
- Personal Backup Tool The first and primary use is to store things online like a data vault. You need a secure place where you can store your valuable information that you may or may not access everyday. This is more for individual use.
- File Sharing & Productivity Tool The second and more social function of cloud storage is to provide easy access to your files from any device or other people who may need access to these files for fun or to synchronise working projects files. This is particularly helpful for people in the corporate environment.
Some things you may need to watch out for then are:
- Function versatility The ideal cloud storage service gives you the best of both worlds allowing you to safely store your files while giving you the freedom to share them with whomever you please, whether it be for casual or business purposes.
- User and platform friendly From the serious user to those who aren’t so tech-savvy, the programme should be intuitive and easy to use. Also, for those who use multiple digital devices on multiple platforms, it always helps to be able to use your saved files on the different devices you are handling.
- Data integrity and security Files stored in cloud storage are not floating in the air but saved on a data server. The question is what security measures are being done to ensure your data is safe from illegal access or deletion? What backup measures are in place in case you happen to lose your important information? Do they just password protect or do they include encryption services so that your files are doubly safe?
- Cost As always, every premium service provider comes at some sort of cost. Essentially, depending on what you are looking for, you need to consider if you are getting the value you desire from this.
- Customer service When you pay for a subscription service, how helpful the provider is to troubleshooting any concerns you have is also important.
Without further ado, we present you the top 3 best cloud storage providers:
- As integrated local drive
- Download & upload link
- 180-days file revisions
- Lifetime plan available
- Remote backup
"A versatile all-rounder that covers both backup and provides friendly file-sharing with an easy-to-use interface."
pCloud is our #1 choice as it covers every aspect on how you could possibly use cloud storage.
- Versatility It provides backup services but it also focuses on syncing with the existing folders on your computer. That saves you the trouble of having to upload files all the time just to save them.
- Friendly to users and all platforms Not only is it easy to use, you can use pCloud on your mobile phone and even on Linux, making it very useful on all digital platforms. It includes the ability to access and play your files offline (internet is needed for syncing though) with built-in plug-ins. Furthermore, it has a useful remote upload feature allowing you to upload from other sites like Dropbox or Google Drive as well.
- Useful features for sharing files pCloud has a Public Folder that you can use to provide links for easy access to other users to view the files you have while still keeping them secure.
If you understand HTML, you can even build and store static webpages or embed images/videos or other files and even use your cloud storage account for website hosting. This is perfect if you want to feature your work on a simple website without having to own a separate website hosting account. This is possible by utilising your account’s Public Folder. You can also provide an upload link to give permission to someone else to share their files with you.
- Records your work file progress up to 180 Days Have you ever worked on a file, saved it and realised too late that you made a mistake or needed pertinent data from an earlier version of the file? pCloud allows you access to previous versions of your file up to 180 days ago just in case saving your file actually was a mistake.
- No limit to devices used You can access your account from any unlimited amount of devices.
- Insurance servers to backup precious data pCloud backups its online storage on at least 3 different servers to ensure that your data can be retrievable from 3 different sources if one should fail.
- Lifetime plan A one-time payment gives you a lifetime subscription to their services and any future improvements to their services so you need not renew your subscription every time the old one runs out. With pCloud, you save in the long run. Read more on lifetime plan.
- Excellent customer service Customers can send an email or use the online contact form on the website to get support responses in less than half an hour.
Any downsides for pCloud?
There aren’t any major downsides to this cloud storage provider. The only concern is in the area of security because while your files are password-protected, if you want a boost in security by having your files encrypted, you pay extra for that feature.
- 100% Canadian
- Priority email support
- Remote wipe data
- HIPAA, PIPEDA, PIPA, FIPPA, ATIPPA compliant
"Sync focuses on work productivity and provides the best in security to ensure your files are safe."
Sync.com is another great service provider that serves mainly as a work productivity tool and its greatest feature is its security.
- Versatility Like pCloud, it can serve as a backup as well as a file-sharing tool.
- Simple user-friendly interface Applicable to Windows, Mac and mobile usage, the interface is easy to understand and yet allows for great organisation of your files.
- Strong security features Sync’s main strength is in how it gives you complete control over the security of your data in the following ways:
- Headquartered in Canada, Sync has ensured that all your data meets strict federal and provincial data privacy laws and encrypts all the information with only you having access to the key (unless shared).
- The compliances include but are not limited to HIPAA (US), PIPEDA (Canada), PHIPA (Ontario). Learn more at Sync.com
- You can also password protect whatever folders or files you wish to share with others and include the option of an expiry date as an added security measure decreasing the risk of unwanted people getting access to intellectual property and confidential information.
- You can have the option of having an additional security code sent to you when you wish to log-in along with the usual username and password for extra protection. This will be sent via email or you can setup and use Google Authenticator on your phone.
Any downsides for Sync.com?
Strong security is great for archived and highly confidential projects but it limits how well you work with other people with all the extra security measures added in.
Also, it should be noted that as user-friendly as Sync.com is, the interface on the mobile application may seem cumbersome for some users.
Lastly, it does not operate on Linux.
- Unlimited file backup
- Private encryption key
- Offline restore option
- Support external HDD
- Restore files anywhere
"Economical affordable tool that makes it easy to backup your computers."
Backblaze is for you if you are looking for a cheap and easy way to backup your computer without too much work or hassle.
- Unlimited storage space at a very competitive rate For $4.20 a month (paid annually), you get unlimited space to backup all the files in your computer.
- Automatic and Easy Backup Once installed on your PC or Mac, Backblaze automatically backs up all files in your computer with all extensions except for system and temporary files. While the initial backup may take up to a few weeks, you save time in the long run as you won’t have to individually select files or folders to backup. After that, Backblaze will keep track of changes to your files (in your computer) and only copy the affected sections accordingly rather than the whole files again.
- Simple user interface Backblaze provides an easy user interface with the bare basics you need for backing up your computer.
- Strong file security Files that are uploaded to Backblaze servers are encrypted securely with encryption keys kept by Backblaze themselves. You have the option of private encryption where you are the only one with the key and you can also include an extra security code option for good measure.
- Great backup insurance In the event that your computer (HDD) crashes, you can download your files again with certain limitations. You can make 5 simultaneous requests for 500GB worth of data which will be given in .zip file format.
There is also the additional option where Backblaze can FedEx an external pendrive or hard drive over for you to quickly restore data fast. You will have to pay for the drive up front but once you courier it back, you will be refunded.
- Fast online customer service support Online chat is available on weekdays from 9am – 5pm US Pacific Time. They also have an efficient email ticket system where you get a response within a few hours with the option to check your ticket status as well.
Any downsides for Backblaze?
The affordable charge above is per computer basis so if you are using multiple computers, that charge multiplies.
Also, mobile applications can access the backup files remotely but cannot be used for syncing.
Lastly, previous versions of your files will be removed after 30 days which is short compared to pCloud and sync.com.
Best of the rest
Here’s all the cloud storage we’ve reviewed so far:
Best all-rounder for personal or work - with awesome lifetime plan!
Focuses on work & productivity with top-notch security.
An economical cloud backup with unlimited storage and speed!
Budget cloud storage with AI tools, great for personal use!
Final Verdict: Choose Based On What You Need
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for an all-round solution that works across all platforms with all the necessary tools to backup, sync and share files conveniently, look no further than pCloud.
If, however, you don’t mind sacrificing some benefits for higher security, especially if you are dealing with data-sensitive or confidential projects, then Sync.com may be what you need.
For simple backing up of computers at a competitive rate, look no further than Backblaze.
Feel free to drop us a message if you have any questions on these cloud storage providers.