Don't risk your images; whisk them up into the safety of the cloud. Here we test six leading options to find the best cloud storage for photos.
Backing up your photos is hardly a blast, and that was especially the case back when that meant spending time burning them to CDs.
Fortunately, keeping your photos safe is now much easier thanks to the cloud. Put simply, 'the cloud' is just techno-jargon for online storage.
You can choose from numerous websites offering anywhere between 1GB and 1TB of free remote hard drive space.
Backing up like this doesn't just eliminate the hassle of dealing with discs or hard drives, it also enables you to access your photos from anywhere with an internet connection.
The ability to share photos is another bonus, while websites like Flickr let you exhibit your images to the world, with scope for other users to leave feedback.
Of course, if you'd rather keep your photos private, most cloud storage providers make it easy to set restrictions to make images accessible only to your password-protected account, or to anyone with a private web link.
We've compared six of the best cloud storage websites; three aimed at photographers and three suited to general storage.
Best cloud storage for photos: 01 Dropbox
FREE (2GB) www.dropbox.com
Dropbox is great for storing pretty much any digital file type. Organising files is a cinch thanks to the intuitive folder system, plus you can access your files on the go with apps for iOS, Android and Blackberry mobile devices.
All this and 2GB of storage is free with a Dropbox Basic account. A Pro account offers 1TB for £7.99/ $9.99 a month or £79/$99.99 a year, or you can get an extra 500MB of space for referring a friend.
For its versatility and simplicity, Dropbox is superb, but ultimately Flickr's more attractive interface, social interaction and sheer value make it the better option.
Pros Easy to use and stores virtually any file type.
Cons Not quite able to match the style and value of Flickr.
We say The best way to store multiple file formats.
Best cloud storage for photos: 02 Google Drive
FREE (15GB) www.google.co.uk/drive
Drive isn't just another cloud storage provider, it's also home to several free office apps. Like Dropbox, Drive is geared towards file sharing, with multiple users able to modify shared files.
You can store photos on Drive, but it doesn't offer the same stylish setting as more photography-focused online storage.
To really show off your shots, you'll need to sync them with a Google+ page.
15GB of free storage comes with Drive, although this is shared by other Google apps like Gmail.
You can increase the space to 100GB for $1.99 per month, while 1TB costs $9.99 per month.
Pros Storage combined with cloud-based productivity apps.
Cons Can be daunting at first.
We say Cloud computing at its finest, but overkill for simply storing photos.
Best cloud storage for photos: 03 Microsoft OneDrive
FREE (15GB) www.onedrive.live.com
Microsoft's cloud storage offers a very similar set-up to its arch-rival, Google Drive. Anyone familiar with the Microsoft Office suite will feel right at home with OneDrive's integrated office apps.
OneDrive adopts the same look and feel as Windows 8, so it's easy to navigate.
However, it isn't designed solely for photographers, so don't expect the same viewing experience as you get from Flickr.
Pricing is close to Google's, with 15GB for free and an extra 100GB costing $1.99 per month.
However, Microsoft's 1TB option is better value at $6.99 per month, and includes the Office 365 package.
Pros Cheaper subscription plans than Drive.
Cons Won't display photos as well as some rivals.
We say Offers a good balance of versatility and value.
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