As our lives become increasingly digital, Internet speeds are faster, file sizes are larger and local drives are getting larger, and our reliance on these digital assets have increased. Quite frankly, not everybody has an array of drives at home. So, online storage has become an attractive option for backing up your files and making them accessible between multiple computers, phones, tablets and other devices that augment our lives.
Given the number of photographs and videos that I take, storage space is important–as is the economics. Sure, there are services like Amazon S3, and others, that are great repositories for files. And, there are PC backup services, like Carbonite, that will keep a complete backup of your PC. There are even services like GoToMyPC or PogoPlug that will give you remote access to your desktop computer. But, what I’m talking about here are services that allow you desktop-like, on-demand access to your files across multiple platforms (phones, tablets, computers, etc…).
Many of these services offer free space. Heck, if you were to sign up for several of the services I mention below, you could easily accrue 50 gb of free storage. But, that’s not very convenient. As indicated above, I have TONS of pictures. And, I make most of those pictures available on Facebook, Flickr. Facebook will store all of your pictures for free. And, Flickr will give you unlimited storage for $25/year. Not bad.
But, again, I’m talking about giving you desktop-like access to search, sort, open, share your files as you would on your normal computer. I don’t mean for this list to be exhaustive or a bible for cloud storage. There are gives and takes on each of these services. But, I’ve used them all to varying degrees of success, and failure.
In my opinion, there’s currently a quiet leader in this avenue of cloud storage, and it’s Copy. Anybody that follows me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ knows I’m a fan of Copy. Why? Because they do it well. Their user interface isn’t quite as spiffy as DropBox. But, it’s, by far, the most economic desktop cloud storage option in my opinion.
How do I figure? Well, I’ve taken the best (per year) deal from each of the leaders in this segment and broke the economics down into cost per gigabyte.
This isn’t a commentary on the ease of use. They’re all basically the same in that vein. You install the software, you designate a folder on your device, and the program stores that folder online and makes it accessible through your computers or devices that have that software–or through a website interface. An added feature is that with their respective apps, many of these programs will also instantly upload all of your pictures from your smart phone into your folder(s) and make them available to you on your desktop — and backed up if you destroy your phone.
So, from where I sit, here’s where you get the most for your money–assuming your storage needs exceed the free space you can get:
- Copy (copy.com): $0.39/gb (15-20 gb free)
- SkyDrive (skydrive.com) $0.50/gb (7 gb free)
- ZipCloud (zipcloud.com) $0.72/gb (0 gb free)
- Box (box.com) $0.60/gb (10 gb free)
- DropBox (dropbox.com) $1.20/gb (2 gb free)
- iCloud (icloud.com) $2.00/gb (5 gb free)
- JustCloud (justcloud.com) $2.40/gb (variable free)
As my Dropbox subscription is coming up for renewal, I did the price check for packages. And, amazingly, you can get 500gb of space via Copy for LESS than 200gb of space on Dropbox. That’s wild. You can get 500gb of storage that will sync across all of your devices for $150. That’s pretty amazing.
Note: just for reading this blog and signing up for Copy, you can get 20gb of FREE storage by using this link: https://copy.com?r=V7b7DJ