Skip to main content

Best cloud storage of 2022

Photo montage of logos of some of the best cloud storage providers
(Image credit: Future)

Finding the best cloud storage provider isn’t always easy. The market has developed and evolved so much of late that there are now a plethora of different options available. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered whether you are a complete newbie or a seasoned techie. 

In the following guide, we go back to basics by explaining what cloud storage is (and what it isn't), as well as which service providers are the best - and most importantly why. 

We have tested and reviewed more cloud storage services than anyone else online. More than 50 services, including personal cloud storage and enterprise-grade secure cloud storage. Each platform has been analyzed carefully so we can tell you which cloud storage service is the closest to perfection.

Below, we cover a variety of different criteria, such as capacity, price, file size, security, ease of use and more. If you’re still wondering how to choose the right cloud storage partner, you could do a lot worse than considering the safety and privacy of your files and folders. Fortunately, our experts have worked on a list that represents our top picks for the best cloud storage services, putting those considerations at the forefront.  

Make sure you read the fine print carefully when assessing the pricing plans of any cloud solution as some offers are only valid for new customers. In addition, keep in mind that - as is the case with all service providers -  we urge you to adopt the 1-2-3 backup strategy. Keep reading for our in-depth assessment of each cloud storage service below and much more.

And if you can't find what you're after, check out some of our other guides, including the best cloud backup, best free cloud storage, best photo storage, and best business cloud storage.

Our best cloud storage deals, right now


1. IDrive is out top cloud storage provider
IDrive, the cloud storage veteran, delivers tons of storage online for an incredibly small outlay, across a wide range of platforms. 10TB of storage for $3.98 for the first year is unmatched and so is the support for unlimited devices and the extensive file versioning system available.

pCloud pCloud

2. pCloud provides a lifetime cloud storage subscription
pCloud is more expensive than the competition, but the one-off payment means that you won't have to worry about renewal fees that can be horrendously expensive. $350 for 10 years service is less than $3 per month.

We tested these cloud storage services providers to see how they performed on security, capacity, file size limits, value-for-money, user friendliness, platform compatibility, features but also customer support as well as feedback from third parties.

Which is the best cloud storage service?

If you're searching for the best cloud storage service, overall - then look no further than IDrive. It boasts an easy setup process, unlimited devices per account, and the option of a free 5GB plan with the paid version costing only $3.98 for 10TB for the first year. Another major plus point is its excellent mobile app. With so much modern work taking place in a remote or hybrid environment, any cloud storage platform needs to allow users to manage their files wherever they are - even when away from their desks. Its speed and security also give other services a run for their money.

pCloud is another service vying for the title of being the best cloud storage provider around. The price point is also very appealing, as is the fact that you can open a family account to share your storage space. What's more, the free account is seriously impressive, offering 10GB of storage, pus the same feature set that accompanies the paid offerings. Ultimately, both IDrive and pCloud represent great cloud storage offerings. 

Best cloud storage services: a closer look
Cloud storage servicesBest planOnline Storage
IDrive$3.98 for first year10TB
pCloud$350 lifetime2TB
Backblaze$0 when purchasing ExpressVPNUnlimited
IceDrive$599 lifetime5TB

Best cloud storage services 2022

TechRadar's editor's choice logo

IDrive provides secure cloud storage for PCs, Macs, iPhones, Android devices, servers, and other mobile devices all in one account for one low fee. (Image credit: Future)
Best overall choice thanks to a rock-bottom price and a huge storage quota


Free tier: 5GB
Storage size: 10TB
Number of devices: Unlimited

Reasons to buy

Fast and capacious
Easy to use
Quasi universal support for any device

Reasons to avoid

No small capacities available

IDrive nabs the first place in our best cloud storage leaderboard by offering tons of online storage with plenty of security features and a price tag that's hard to beat.

The web interface supports sharing files by email, Facebook, and Twitter. Cautious or click-happy users will be pleased to hear that files deleted from your computer are not automatically deleted from the server, so there's less danger of removing something important by accident.

Up to 30 previous versions of all files backed to your account are retained. Another thing to note is that IT admins have access to the IDrive Thin Client application, which allows them to backup/restore, manage settings, and more for all their connected computers via a centralized dashboard.

For mobile, IDrive offers a backup app available for iOS and Android devices, that offers cross-platform backup and recovery. IDrive also offers IDrive Express which sends you a physical hard disk drive if you lose all your data, allowing for the swift restoration of all your backed up files. 

IDrive Business offers priority support, single sign-on, as well as unlimited users, and server backup. While IDrive Personal offers up to 10TB per user, the IDrive for business delivers up to 50TB of online storage.


IDrive 10TB cloud storage - $95.99 $3.98 for 1-year
IDrive, the secure cloud storage veteran, delivers tons of storage online for an incredibly small outlay. 10TB for $3.98 for the first year is unmatched, and so is the support for unlimited devices and the extensive file versioning system available.

pCloud is a European-based secure cloud storage provider which is one of the few to sell on-off subscriptions (Image credit: Future)
Best for those who don't mind paying a one-off fee


Free tier: 10GB
Storage size: 2TB
Number of devices: 5

Reasons to buy

Elegant, intuitive interface
Simple to use

Reasons to avoid

No collaboration tools

Challenging for the title of best cloud storage services is this newcomer from Switzerland. pCloud is one of the very few cloud services that offer lifetime subscriptions; you essentially get a virtual, permanent cloud drive. It describes itself as a "personal cloud space where you can store all your files and folders [with] a user-friendly interface that clearly shows where everything is located and what it does."

pCloud comes with a 30-day trash history and unlimited remote upload traffic (you only need the URL of the file); you are - as expected - limited on the download link traffic: 500GB for the Premium package and 2TB for the Premium Plus package every month.

While some bandwidth limits apply, there seems to be no limit to the size of files you can upload, so feel free to sync large media files. The service is available for all desktop and mobile platforms – users can also log in via the website.

pCloud now allows its users to choose where they want their data to be stored, either in the EU or US. The company itself is registered in Switzerland which has strong privacy laws, and you can also pay a premium of $4.99 a month for pCloud Crypto to lock (and unlock) individual files with passwords.

There's also a family option that allows you to share your space with up to four other family members and a superior option - pCloud Business - that offers 1TB per user with pCloud Crypto included.

pCloud pCloud

pCloud 2TB lifetime cloud storage - $350
At face value, you might think pCloud's offering is a little on the expensive side. However, a one-off payment will be cheaper in the long run plus, you can rest easy in the knowledge your data is secured by strong encryption and extensive redundancies.

(Image credit:
Best for straight out of the box security


Free tier: 5GB
Storage size: Unlimited
Number of devices: Up to 5 active computers or mobile devices

Reasons to buy

Strong security features
Good for teams
Simple access and setup

Reasons to avoid

Single-folder sync
Basic interface options

Despite some stiff completion in the cloud storage space, Sync more than holds its own. One of its biggest strengths is in terms of security, with end-to-end encryption offered across all plans. And, as the name would suggest, syncing files across different devices and users is straightforward - you always have total control over the files that you share with others. Password protection and expiry dates for any links you send help to bolster this control.

Sync also supports versioning, so if you want to roll back a particular file to an earlier version, this can be achieved easily. Impressively, these older versions don't count towards your storage limit. What's more, Sync does have an accompanying mobile app, with automatic video and photo uploading, which means it's ideal if you simply want to make sure the pics on your smartphone are kept safe.

While Sync may not have as wide a range of features as some of the other cloud storage services reviewed here - in many ways, that is one of its strengths. Sync focuses on its core offering. It may not be as polished as other cloud platforms, but what it does, it does well. 

4. $50 off Sync's yearly plans

4. $50 off Sync's yearly plans 

Solo professionals can access Sync cloud storage for just $24 a month (dropping to $20 when billed annually). Teams, meanwhile, can access unlimited storage for $18 per user, per month (or just $15 if billed annually) - only with this exclusive deal.

Backblaze is an excellent option for those who need backups, and no other trimmings, in terms of their secure cloud storage (Image credit: Future)
Best for storage simplicity, made even better with our exclusive deal


Free tier: N/A
Storage size: Unlimited
Number of devices: 1 (Personal Plan)

Reasons to buy

Unlimited storage
Fantastic value when purchased with ExpressVPN
Dead easy to use

Reasons to avoid

No features beyond backups
One PC per account only

Backblaze is a cloud storage giant, an industry veteran that caters for personal and large-scale business backup needs. The keyword is "backup" here, because there are no file syncing or fancy collaboration features here – as the name suggests, Backblaze backs things up, and that’s it. 

It is the only one in this list that offers true unlimited cloud storage, no strings attached. The subscription price for personal backups – which can be paid monthly, yearly, or on a two-year deal – is good value ($60 for a year), particularly considering that you’re getting unrestricted storage. 

But that gets only better still when you know that you can currently get Backblaze completely free for a year when you sign up to award-winning VPN provider ExpressVPN

Not only is ExpressVPN our #1 favorite service out there for protecting your privacy online, reinforcing your anonymity, and letting you geo-spoof your location, you also get 15 months for the price of 12 - and now that free year of Backblaze, too!

But if all you need is a backup system, then Backblaze is a seriously tempting proposition on a number of fronts. For starters, Backblaze makes the whole process of keeping your files backed up and safe extremely easy; trivial, even. 

Simply install the app, and it continuously backs up all important data (basically grabbing everything that isn’t a system file or similar), with no need for any intervention from the user. You can forget it’s installed and simply not worry about your files.

The caveat is that one account only covers one computer, so while there are no data allowance worries, you’ll have to pay for a fresh account for each PC you want backed up.

Backup speeds are fast, your data is encrypted for security, and you have the option – for a fee – of having a physical hard drive or flash drive sent over in the event that a restoration process is required.

Whether or not you go for Backblaze will depend on your exact needs when it comes to secure cloud storage, but those who just need a pure backup system, with no extra features or trimmings, will find it a great service for sure – and an impressive value proposition given the unlimited data support. Also of note is a 15-day free trial (no credit card details required) to try before you buy.

Get unlimited BackBlaze Cloud Backup FREE

Get unlimited BackBlaze Cloud Backup FREE
BackBlaze is the only unlimited cloud storage service we recommend, offering unlimited bandwidth and file size. Sign up for the #1 rated VPN provider -  ExpressVPN - for $6.67 per month and get your first year of BackBlaze completely free, a freebie worth $72.

IceDrive may be a relative newcomer, but it’s already a strong player in the cloud storage industry (Image credit: IceDrive)
Best option mirroring internal storage


Free tier: 10GB
Storage capacity: 5TB
Number of devices: Unlimited

Reasons to buy

Top-notch security
Easy-to-use interface
Impressive value, particularly lifetime options

Reasons to avoid

Lacks any collaboration features

IceDrive may only have been in the cloud storage business for a couple of years, but the firm offers a compelling solution and one that’s rather different to the traditional cloud locker.

The key difference is that IceDrive’s online storage can be presented as a standard drive on your (Windows) system, just like your hard drive, with the idea being that it makes this storage easier and more intuitive to use. It’s just the same as accessing a local drive, and you can use functions like opening or editing files with close to the same speed you’d get with a local operation – as we observed in our review, there’s almost no slowdown evident.

That’s a Windows-only feature, although there is a nifty app for other platforms – Windows, Mac or Linux, and a web app for that matter – with a streamlined and well-thought-out interface.

Security is also a strong suit here, with IceDrive employing super-safe twofish encryption on its servers, with the data leaving your machine encrypted client-side as well, to keep things even safer. The major weak point with IceDrive is the lack of any of the collaboration features and tricks you can pull off with the likes of OneDrive, for example.

IceDrive subscription plans are nicely priced, and you can get the Lite tier which offers 150GB of storage for as little as $20 for a year ($1.67 per month). A Pro+ plan with 5TB capacity comes out at $15 per month, and lifetime plan options could work out as superb value, running from $99 to $599.

IceDrive IceDrive

IceDrive 1TB lifetime cloud storage - $149
One of the top options from IceDrive is the lifetime Pro deal, which gets you 1TB of storage – and 2TB of monthly bandwidth – on a permanent basis. Normally, it runs to $224, but you can pick up this plan for $149 now, which is a third off. If you prefer an annual Pro subscription, it’ll set you back $4.17 per month (meaning that in three years, you’ll pay the same as the lifetime cost).

NordLocker gives you plenty of options when it comes to secure file storage, and it’s supremely easy to get to grips with (Image credit: NordVPN)
Best combination of security and ease of use


Free tier: 3GB
Storage capacity: 500GB
Number of devices: Unlimited

Reasons to buy

Slick and user-friendly app
Good on the security front
‘Zero knowledge’ policy

Reasons to avoid

You only get 3GB with free product
NordLocker app required for file sharing participants

NordLocker might sound familiar, mainly because it’s from the makers of NordVPN, one of our best VPN services. It’s a relatively simple but effective service which gives you a cloud storage locker, or alternatively can be used to create a local file vault on your device for secure storage, protecting your data with encryption in both cases.

To use on your own machine locally, NordLocker is free, and with that free version you also get a small amount of online storage – 3GB to be precise. If you want a workable amount of secure cloud storage, however, you’ll need to pay for a subscription, with two available plans that provide 500GB and 2TB of space, respectively. That comes at a reasonable $3.99 per month on the annual subscription or $9.99 per month for the latter.

NordLocker allows you to sync all those files in the cloud between all your devices, and using the app is an absolute breeze – just drag-and-drop your files in, and they’re automatically encrypted and uploaded. File sharing with others can be achieved, but they must also have signed up for a NordLocker account and be using the app.

As you might expect, security is super-tight, with NordLocker using Argon2, AES256, and ECC encryption protocols, with a ‘zero knowledge’ policy in place, meaning that your files can only be decrypted by yourself (and not the company, even if it wanted to).

NordLocker may not deliver enough in the way of features for experts or more demanding users, but it’s a solid basic service, highly user-friendly, and if that’s what you need, it’s a robust value proposition.

NordVPN NordLocker

NordLocker Premium 2TB cloud storage - $9.99 per month
NordLocker only has one paid plan, which gives you 2TB of online storage. The good news is that it’s currently being offered at 50% off for the first year, so instead of forking out $19.99, you’ll pay $9.99 per month. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the service initially.

OneDrive comes by default with Microsoft's popular Windows operating system and gives you 5GB storage space for free (Image credit: microsoft)
Best for those who are invested with Microsoft Office


Free tier: 5GB
Storage capacity: 6TB
Number of devices: 30

Reasons to buy

Comes with Microsoft 365
Can edit files online without downloading them

Reasons to avoid

No advanced features

Like Google Drive's appeal to Google users, OneDrive will be a good fit for anyone who is committed to using Microsoft's services, offering neat integration with, the company's popular email platform, for instance. 

OneDrive also ties in nicely with Windows 10 and Windows 11 and there is a selection of reasonable mobile apps to facilitate access on the move. It's also integrated with non-Microsoft services like design behemoth AutoCAD.

It's possible to share files with other people even if they aren't OneDrive users (complete with customizable permissions), and the ability to edit files online without downloading them is a welcome touch.

Coming from Microsoft – a company with plenty of money to throw at the cloud – it's a little disappointing to find that OneDrive doesn’t include more space free of charge. Free users get a mere 5GB of storage, although it's relatively inexpensive to increase this to 100GB.

If you have Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) either through your work, educational institution, or private purchase, you'll automatically get 1TB of space per user for free with an option to boost it up. Just bear in mind that this is secure cloud storage at its simplest with barely any advanced features here.

The Pro version has a dark mode and tighter integration with Microsoft Teams. Note that Microsoft upped the upload file size limit on OneDrive from 100GB to 250GB.

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft 365 Family | $99.99 for 1-year
This is the best value for money offer from Microsoft. 365 Family costs only $99.99 per year and provides you with 6TB of secure cloud storage in all, spread across six separate users. Other than the apps included (Outlook, Word, Excel, Access, Publisher, OneNote and PowerPoint), you get AI-powered creative tools and 60 minutes of Skype calling per month.

Google Drive allows easy and secure access to all of your content. Store, share, and collaborate on files and folders from any mobile device, tablet, or computer (Image credit: Google)
Best for those who are using Google Workspace


Free tier: 15GB
Storage capacity: 2TB
Number of devices: Unlimited

Reasons to buy

Generous amount of free storage
Integrated with Android devices

Reasons to avoid

Web interface isn’t the best

Google Drive is a natural choice for owners of Android devices as it's already integrated, but users of other platforms may appreciate the generous free storage too. 

You can also store unlimited high-definition photos on your mobile phone with the companion app Google Photos, and make use of Google's own office suite (Workspace). Also, individuals upgrading to paid Google Drive plans will join Google One.

The array of features delivered by Google Drive via One - which ties into Google's Cloud platform - is bewildering and evolves continuously. At the time of writing, Google engineers were rolling out the ability to request approvals for Drive items and lock approved versions.

The 2TB tier - which offers 10% back in Google Store credits - allows the main account holder to invite up to five other additional members and costs $99.99 per year.

Downsides include the fact that the web interface isn't very easy-to-use, although Windows and Mac users can download a desktop app to drag-and-drop files easily. Drive also integrates Google's powerful AI and search technology, probably one of the best in the world.

Google Apps

Google One (2TB) | $99 for 1-year
Google offers One as a membership, a quasi-lifetime commitment that's not unlike Amazon Prime. Although you get unlimited storage for your photos (terms and conditions apply), you "only" get 2TB to play with via Google Drive. You can share it among up to six members, and Google Experts are only a phone call away should you need them.

What to consider when choosing cloud storage services

Given the number of cloud storage providers on the market today - from tech giants like Google to smaller, more niche players - choosing the solution that’s right for you isn’t easy. One of the first things you’ll probably want to consider is cost. While the capital expenditure for cloud storage is usually very low (or nonexistent), the operational expenditure can add up when you factor in additional storage requirements and premium features. Be sure to check your cloud contract carefully to ensure you don’t receive an unexpectedly large bill. 

Credentials around service and security standards are also key. Look for a cloud storage provider that can boast the certifications that promise an SLA you can rely on - and safeguards that protect your data. In addition, make sure your storage provider offers the scalability you need should you grow - and a flexible pricing model to accompany it. Perhaps the best thing to do when choosing a cloud storage provider is simply to shop around. There’s bound to be a solution that suits your needs - but don’t simply go with the first cloud provider you find. 

How we tested the best cloud storage providers?

When we test a cloud storage provider, we look at the upload and download speeds of file transfers but this is a minor component of the overall rating as there are scores of other factors that affect your download or upload speeds that cannot be easily mitigated (contention rate, time of day, server load etc).

The other thing you’ll probably want to consider is cost. While the capital expenditure for cloud storage is usually very low (or nonexistent), the operational expenditure can add up when you factor in additional storage requirements and premium features. Be sure to check your cloud contract carefully to ensure you don’t receive an unexpectedly large bill. 

Credentials around services and security standards are also key. Look for a cloud storage provider that can boast the certifications that promise an SLA you can rely on - and safeguards that protect your data. In addition, make sure your storage provider offers the scalability you need should you grow - and a flexible pricing model to accompany it.

Last but certainly not least is the level of support that a cloud storage service will provide to its customers, whether it's 24x7 over the phone or web-based only. Our reviews include all this and more details including usability, and platform compatibility, and compare each cloud storage service to similar rivals, across key features and pricing, so you can make an informed decision based on as much data as possible when it comes to the time when you will choose the best cloud storage provider for you.

What is cloud storage and more

What is cloud storage?

To understand what cloud storage means, you need to grasp what the cloud is. In a nutshell, that's a resource (usually computing power or storage) that you can access remotely online either for free or for a fee. 

At its simplest, it is a secure virtual space that you will usually access via your browser or a desktop application (or mobile app). 

Think of it as the self-storage services  - cherished by home movers and renters - but instead of filling them up with boxes, you fill cloud storage accounts with your own files.

There are dozens of services that fall under that umbrella term (cloud storage) and many users interchangeably call them cloud backup, online storage, online drives, online backup, file hosting, file storage, and so on.

Where is data stored in the cloud?

The actual location of your files is usually in a data center somewhere, in a server, on a hard drive or solid-state drive. But bear in mind that there are providers that allow you to store files on tape drives and even on other people's computers using a technology similar to bit-torrent.

How does cloud storage work?

Believe it or not, the concept of cloud storage has been around for a long, long time. Amazon popularized the concept with its S3 (Simple Storage Service) launched in 2006 but the ability to upload and save files remotely on a service provider's disk drive can be traced back to 1983's Compuserve offer. 

At the end of the day, you are simply using someone else's resources (part of whole of a hard drive, a solid state drive, or even tape) to store your information.

That resource is usually located in a server housed in a data center (but not always) alongside potentially hundreds of others. The process is done over the internet over a secure connection via a dedicated app or via a web browser.

Almost everyone who has a smartphone or an email address has a cloud storage account of some sort. One might even consider Facebook to offer a limited version of cloud storage to its members as videos and photos can be uploaded free of charge to its servers.

What cloud storage have you reviewed?

As of March 2022, we've reviewed the following cloud storage providers

  1. IDrive
  2. IDrive Photos
  3. ZipDrive
  4. BackBlaze
  5. PCloud
  6. IceDrive
  7. Microsoft OneDrive
  8. Google Drive
  9. Amazon Drive
  10. Amazon Photos
  11. Apple iCloud cloud storage
  13. Zoho WorkDrive cloud storage
  14. NordLocker
  15. Degoo
  16. Box
  17. Dropbox
  18. Spideroak
  19. Sugarsync
  20. Zoolz
  21. Livedrive
  22. Backupvault
  23. Mega
  24. Wasabi
  25. Tresorit
  26. Nextcloud
  27. Crashplan
  28. Egnyte
  29. Carbonite
  30. Ionos HiDrive
  31. SOS Online Backup
  32. Masv
  33. Flipdrive
  34. WD Upthere
  35. Elephantdrive
  36. Hetzner storage box
  37. Data deposit box
  38. Certainsafe
  39. Creativehub
  40. Mediafire
  41. G Cloud Unlimited cloud storage
  42. Internxt cloud storage
  43. 500px cloud storage
  44. Gladinet CentreStack
  45. AOMEI Multcloud cloud storage
  46. Rewind cloud storage
  47. Arq cloud storage
  48. Shareit
  49. Sendbig
  50. SendGB
  51. Thunderdrive
  52. Koofr
  53. Humyo
  54. Polarbackup

Where did cloud storage come from?

Amazon is widely credited with launching the first true cloud storage. Simple Storage Service or S3 was unveiled in March 2006, almost 16 years ago. The actual term Cloud Storage predates it by more than 100 years. The earliest mention of Cloud Storage can be found in an 1896 book with a title that seems to come straight from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Mystery of the White Snake: A Legend of Thunder Peak Tower. 1896 was the year the modern Olympic games were revived in Athens; it’s that old.

If you want to learn more about cloud storage

Desire Athow
Desire Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.