Online backup has become hugely popular because it is an easy way to keep your files safe in case your computer fails but it will also protect you in the event of things like fires or theft. Plus, you can access your files from any computer and depending on what software you use, your smartphone or tablet too.
The best part of all is that there are some absolutely free services available that you can use. Of course, don’t expect the same amount of storage or speed as you’d get using an external hard drive so consider using both methods or paying for premium online storage which offers more space.
Many of the following free services offer a small amount of space for free but you can choose to pay money for more. This is a great way to try before you buy or decide if online backup is for you so if you’re not sure where to start, just read this guide on the best free online backup and storage services.
Online Backup Services
At the time of writing, iDrive offers 5GB of free space on unlimited devices and the upgrading packages are pretty cheap. After setting up, you will be asked to select the files you want to automatically back up. My Documents will be included by default but if you have folders in other areas you can ensure they are automatically backed up too.
If you work from different computers or devices such as your smartphone or your tablet, you can easily access your files from anywhere. This option is very easy to use even for people who aren’t very computer literate.
With Bitcasa, you begin with 20GB of backup space but if you are willing to upgrade to their infinite package for $99 a month it is the only service that offers unlimited space. It’s easy to use on multiple devices and easy to share with others. It can run a little slower than other services but depending on what you want to use it for and if you have a very large amount of storage to backup it can be a worthwhile compromise to make.
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MiMedia is an Android only app so you can use it on your PC and your Android devices. It’s easy to upload data from and you can set it up so that as soon as you take a photo on your Android phone, it will automatically be backed up to the secure server. It is mostly used to access things like music, videos and photos from wherever you are so if you’re just looking to store your media and not all your important documents, it is a good choice. It is a handy tool because you can play music off your phone without actually using up any of your phone’s storage space. This service offers 7GB of free space.
Online Storage Solutions
Online storage systems are similar to backup with the main difference being you upload the things you want to store or keep them in a special folder that automatically updates, rather than being able to select from your existing files. If this all sounds weird, just think of your storage folder as your new My Documents and work from it, it’s not really a big deal.
They are generally the best option if you plan to access your files from multiple devices and they usually run a bit faster too. Remember if you choose to use online storage to keep your folders organized so it’s easy to keep track of how much free space you’re using and find things.
This service starts with just 2GB of free storage but you can get an extra 500MB per every friend you refer. The maximum you can earn is 20GB (35 friends) so you might have guessed it is aimed at large groups of users. Alternatively, you can buy more storage by paying a monthly or yearly fee. It is said to be the fastest when it comes to downloading your files.
The good thing about Google Drive is it’s already available within your Gmail account so it’s easy to use. You start with 5GB free and you can purchase a wide variety of upgrade plans from 25GB to 16TB. If you want multiple users to be able to work from the same documents, you can use Google Docs for easy access.
SkyDrive is the largest free storage system that offers 7GB free and they also have the cheapest upgrade plans. Their plans are not as large as the previous two though but it is a decent option if you don’t need to work with others.
You’ve no doubt been told to back up a million times before but that is only because it really is essential. Your files are important to you whether it’s your work, your personal photos or just your hobbies and you don’t want to lose them. It’s so easy to use storage in the cloud and you can even do it for free so there’s no reason not to; just decide which is the best option for your needs.
Archie Phillips lives an breathes computers. After completing his degree in Computer Science he became a full-time blogger, helping others with their tech-related questions. His most recent research has been in comparing membership plugins like Memberpress.