11 Dropbox Alternatives to Securely Store Your Files in the Cloud
Looking for some Dropbox alternatives to help you out with cloud storage?
Don’t get me wrong, Dropbox is a great company…but it’s definitely not for everyone.
Some people don’t like Dropbox’s “all or nothing” approach to some of its permissions (though they’ve improved on this by introducing “read only” access). Similarly, I’ve seen some concerns that, while Dropbox does encrypt your files, Dropbox still holds onto those encryption keys, meaning that you’re not fully in control of your files’ security.
Additionally, more casual users might be disappointed that Dropbox only offers 2 GB of free storage, while many other cloud providers offer higher limits
So, if you’re looking for something different, you’re definitely not alone and there are plenty of other services which offer similar functionality to Dropbox. And in this post, I’ll delve into some of the most popular and best. Hit the links below to jump straight to read about specific platforms.
- Google One
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Zoho Docs
- Amazon Photos
As I go through the various Dropbox alternatives, I’m going to order them roughly by how popular they are. That is, I’ll start with some mainstream alternatives like Google One and then get into some smaller, more niche-specific cloud storage services.
Sound good? Let’s dive in.
1. Google One (Previously Google Drive, Gmail, & Photos)
Ok, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard of Google Drive (now rebranded along with all the other Google cloud services as Google One). But I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention one of the most popular cloud storage providers that also just happens to perfectly integrate with all of the other Google services out there.
Google One offers a massive amount of free space – up to 15 GB. Just remember – that space is shared across all of your Google services, including Gmail. Google previously offered unlimited free storage for photos stored at “high quality” but any images uploaded after 1 June 2021 at any resolution will count towards your allowance.
Google One has desktop clients for both Mac and Windows, as well as mobile apps that make it easy to access your files on the go. Another thing that’s really nice is how well Google Docs integrates into Google One. It’s easy to open any of your files right there in the cloud.
- Free storage limit: Google One allows you to have up to 15 GB of files for free.
- Price for paid plans: Paid plans start at just $1.99 per month for up to 100 GB.
- Data center locations: Google operates data centers in North and South America, Europe, and Asia with an estimated 2.5 million servers. Enterprise and G Suite Business plans can choose where their data is stored. The company matches 100% of its electricity consumption in renewable energy.
- Company location: Google is based in Mountain View, California and has offices in more than 50 countries.
- Active users: 2 Billion
- Security & encryption: Google Cloud data at rest is encrypted with 128-bit AES keys, while files in transfer are secured with 256-bit SSL/TLS encryption. For people who are at increased risk of online attacks such as journalists, IT admins, and anyone storing sensitive information in their Google account, there’s the option of using Advanced Protection, which requires security keys to sign in to any personal Google Service. You can use your phone’s built-in security keys for this purpose, or purchase physical keys for around $25.
2. Microsoft OneDrive
Like Google, Microsoft is another company you might have heard of. Their OneDrive plan is cloud storage that’s built right into Windows (and pre-installed on all Windows 10 PCs). If you’re a Windows user, it’s a viable alternative. But if you’re on Mac, there’s less incentive to go with OneDrive.
With OneDrive, you can automatically sync files to the cloud and access them wherever you’re at with apps for Mac, PC, Android, and iOS. If you need to collaborate, you can easily share files.
And because OneDrive comes from Microsoft, it’s extra easy to share documents from Microsoft Office. If you’re still using Office, that’s a big plus.
With regards to free storage, OneDrive isn’t quite as generous as Google Drive. But they still offer 5 GB of free space, which is superior to Dropbox.
- Free storage limit: OneDrive gives you up to 5 GB of files for free.
- Price for paid plans: Paid plans start at $1.99 per month for up to 100GB of storage
- Data center locations: OneDrive data centers are located in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
- Company location: Microsoft is incorporated in Washington, where its headquarters is located, and has office locations all over the world.
- Active users: 200 million
- Security & Encryption: Microsoft OneDrive uses TLS encryption to protect data in transit and data at rest is secured with AES256 keys encrypted with a set of master keys that are stored in the Azure Key Vault. Personal Vault files have an additional layer of protection, with 2-step authentication. On Windows 10 PCs, personal vault files are synced to a BitLocker-encrypted area on your local drive. OneDrive also monitors your account for suspicious activity and detects ransomware and mass file deletion.
3. Zoho Docs
Zoho Docs is part of a whole suite of Zoho office tools that can be used as an alternative to the Microsoft or Google versions. Zoho is probably the closes thing around that’s an alternative to G Suite, and while it’s not as popular, it offers some additional features at a cheaper price. Zoho Docs is the cloud storage and syncing tool that offers versions for individuals as well as teams and businesses.
Zoho offers 5GB of storage for free and paid accounts start from $4 a month. You can sync files from your desktop and there are apps for android and iOS. You can also set up distribution rules for your files so that different sets of documents are saved on different devices.
Zoho Docs works best in combination with its office suite of tools, but you can store and preview files in any format including .pdf, .xls and more. You can also share files easily with friends and family.
- Free storage limit: You get 5GB of storage with a free Zoho Docs account
- Price for paid plans: Paid plans start at $4 per user, per month for 100GB storage
- Data center locations: Zoho data centers are located in the US, Europe, and Asia. You’ll be assigned a data center closest to the country you select when you sign up for your account.
- Company location: Zoho is headquartered in Chennai, India, and has offices all over the world.
- Active users: 50 million users in total using the Zoho suite of tools
- Security & encryption: Zoho Docs files at rest are encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption. Zoho encrypts files in transit with an RSA-based 2048-bit key and TLS protocol. All keys are managed with an in-house system and stored on different servers with limited access. 2-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security.
Box is a secure cloud storage and collaboration service aimed at teams and businesses, but personal accounts for storage and backup are available too.
Box’s generous free account allows up to 10GB of storage, so it’s a better option than Dropbox if you don’t want to pay. Just like other options, Box integrates into your desktop, as well as Office 365 and G Suite, for easy file syncing and there are mobile apps available too.
At $11.50 per month for 100GB of storage, Box is the most expensive option on this list for personal users. However, they’re a good option if the free account offers enough storage space for you. They’re also worth considering if you need to share data with a team safely or have specific data compliance needs.
- Free storage limit: Box offers a free personal account with up to 10GB of storage
- Price for paid plans: Personal paid plans are $11.50 per month for up to 100GB of storage and Business plans start from $5 per user, per month (with a minimum number of users)
- Data center locations: Box has data centers all over the world and businesses can choose where their data is stored.
- Company location: Box is based in Redwood City CA and has offices across the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
- Active users: 41 million
- Security & encryption: Box uses 256-bit AES encryption to secure files at rest and TLS 1.2 encryption for files in transit. Box adds an extra layer of protection with a key-wrapping strategy that also uses 256-bit AES encryption. 2-factor authentication is also available.
New Zealand-based company MEGA is a relative new kid on the cloud storage scene but they have over 10 million daily active users and are definitely worth consideration.
MEGA advertises 50GB of storage for free accounts but in practice this is only active for 30 days, dropping to 15GB thereafter. This is still significantly more generous than what Dropbox offers with its free account.
There’s a desktop and mobile apps for easy use and access to your files, and there’s also a secure messaging system to keep your communications private.
- Free storage limit: New free accounts with MEGA start with 50GB of storage, dropping to 15GB after 30 days.
- Price for paid plans: MEGA paid plans start at $6.15 a month for up to 400GB of storage.
- Data center locations: All data is stored in European data centers.
- Company location: MEGA is based in Auckland, New Zealand.
- Active users: 10 million.
- Security and encryption: MEGA uses end-to-end encryption and encrypts all your data at the client end so only you have the keys. 128-bit AES encryption is used for files at rest and in transit, in combination with the TLS protocol. 2-factor authentication protects your account from fraudulent access and anti-ransomware technology means you can revert your files back to a point in time before infection.
pCloud is another one of the smaller cloud service providers that puts an emphasis on rock-solid security. All at a surprisingly affordable price.
Like the others, pCloud gives you both desktop and mobile apps to make syncing and accessing your files easy.
You can access your files on any device, share and collaborate with others, and rest easy knowing that all of your files are encrypted.
pCloud has reduced their previous incredibly generous 20 GB of free storage but you can still get 10GB of storage space for free. And after that, their plans are still fairly affordable.
- Free storage limit: 10GB free storage
- Price for paid plans: Paid plans start at $47.88 per year for up to 500GB of storage. pCloud also offers a lifetime payment model starting at a one-off payment of $175 for 500GB
- Data center locations: pCloud stores data on servers located in Europe and the USA. You can choose the data region your files will be stored when you sign up.
- Company location: The pCloud company is based in Switzerland.
- Active users: 8 million
- Security & encryption: Files and folders stored in pCloud are secured with 256-bit AES encryption during transfer and at rest, with TLS/SSL channel protection. pCloud also offers the option to encrypt confidential files at the client end so only encrypted files are uploaded to the cloud and the encryption keys are only accessible to you. Files are stored in at least 3 server locations to ensure redundancy.
7. SpiderOak One
If you want your cloud storage provider to emphasize privacy, SpiderOak One is a great option for you. Every file you store on SpiderOak One is encrypted end-to-end, and you’re the only one with the encryption keys to unlock your data.
SpiderOak is even Edward Snowden approved! Which should give you a good idea just how much emphasis the company puts on data security.
But privacy isn’t helpful if it’s too difficult to use, so SpiderOak One backs up all of that security with desktop and mobile apps to still make it easy for you to access all of your secure files. Currently, they have desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS.
Unfortunately, the one price you pay for these features is the lack of a free plan. SpiderOak gives you a 21-day free trial, but after that, you’ll need to pony up for a paid plan to continue using the service.
- Free storage limit: 21-day free trial. But no permanent free storage.
- Price for paid plans: Paid plans start from $6 per month for up to 150GB storage.
- Data center locations: All of SpiderOak’s datacenters are located within the US.
- Company location: SpiderOak is based in Northbrook IL and has offices in Kansas City OH.
- Active users: Over 1 million
- Security & encryption: SpiderOak uses end-to-end encryption with a combination of 2048-bit RSA and 256-bit AES keys. SpiderOak has a no-knowledge policy, meaning they have no way of accessing your password or files stored in the cloud. Traffic is encrypted over TLS/SSL and protected further with Certificate Pinning. There’s no 2-factor authentication, but otherwise, SpiderOak gets top marks for data security.
Sync.com isn’t quite as popular as Google Drive or Dropbox, but it’s quickly growing thanks to a quality service and rock-solid security.
One nice thing about Sync.com is that you have full control over your encryption keys, which means no one else can access your files no matter what. They also include a desktop app for automatic syncing, as well as apps for iPhone, Android, and iPad.
Sharing files is easy and you can even invite team members for easy collaboration.
While Sync.com doesn’t give you quite as much free storage as Google Drive, they still beat out Dropbox with 5 GB of free storage just like Microsoft OneDrive.
- Free storage limit: Sync.com gives you up to 5 GB of files for free.
- Price for paid plans: Paid plans start at $8 a month for up to 2 TB of storage.
- Data center locations: Sync has two data centers, both of which are in Ontario, Canada.
- Company location: The company is registered and based out of Toronto, Canada.
- Active users: 750,000
- Security & encryption: Sync uses 2-factor authentication, AES 256-bit encryption for data in transit and at rest, and uses end-to-end encryption and secure TLS tunnels to keep your files safe. Sync is a zero-knowledge encryption system, meaning they do not have access to your encryption keys.
While casual users might be unfamiliar with SugarSync, it’s a pretty well-known name in the cloud storage industry. One nice thing about SugarSync is that it lets you easily back up all of your files with their original folder structure. No need to change anything around!
Other differentiating features include the ability to choose specific folders to sync across devices and detailed folder permissions.
Of course, SugarSync also has all of the essentials like desktop and mobile apps. The only downside? No free plan.
SugarSync gives you a 30-day free trial, but after that, you’ll need to go with one of the paid plans. Those start at $7.49 per month for up to 100 GB of storage.
- Free storage limit: You can get a 30-day free trial, but after that, you’ll need to pay.
- Price for paid plans: Paid plans start at $7.49 per month for up to 100 GB
- Data center locations: SugarSync’s data centers are located in the US
- Company location: The company is based in San Mateo, CA and owned by J2 Global – a technology company based in Los Angeles, CA.
- Active users: 112,000
- Security & encryption: SugarSync uses TLS to protect files in transit and 256-bit AES encryption to keep them safe in the cloud but there’s no 2-factor authentication or end-to-end encryption so if watertight security is a priority, you’re probably better off with another service.
Tresorit is a Swiss-based zero-knowledge cloud storage platform that boasts an impressive level of security and some useful collaboration tools for teams.
Tresorit’s secure platform is accessible across all devices and browsers. Additionally, the client-side encryption is available when using mobile devices, unlike rival SpiderOak.
With a free plan that’s designed more for sending files rather than storing them, the storage limit isn’t a lot more generous than Dropbox and the prices for paid plans are more expensive than other options, but if you’re after best-in-class security and business tools, Tresorit may just be what you’re looking for.
- Free storage limit: The Tresorit free account is capped at 3GB storage
- Price for paid plans: Tresorit paid plans start at $10.42 per month for up to 500GB of storage space.
- Data center locations: All of Tresorit’s data centers are located within the EU.
- Company location: Tresorit is headquartered in Switzerland, which is known for its strong data privacy laws.
- Active users: 17,000
- Security & encryption: Tresorit offers AES256 end-to-end encryption. The company’s zero-knowledge approach means only you have access to your keys and data. 2-step verification, password protection, and a remote wipe option add additional security.
11. Amazon Photos (Previously Amazon Drive)
Amazon’s usefulness in the cloud storage arena has dived since they discontinued their Amazon Drive service a few years ago, but we’re including Amazon Photos for completeness.
Amazon offers its Prime users 5GB of free unlimited-resolution photo and video storage. None-Prime users can sign up for various plans, with the cheapest offering 100GB of storage.
The service is designed to work with the Amazon Photos desktop and mobile apps and is intended for photos and videos only. So if you’re looking for cloud storage for your general files, you’re advised to choose one of the other services on this list.
However if you’re already an Amazon Prime customer, Photos is easy to use and the free storage limit may be enough for backing up photos from your phone.
- Free storage limit: Amazon Prime members get 5GB of free photo and storage.
- Price for paid plans: Paid plans start at $1.99 a month for 100GB of storage.
- Data center locations: Amazon has data centers all over the world and doesn’t state specifically the location of the servers for its Amazon Photos users.
- Company location: The company is based in Seattle and has office locations all over the world
- Security & encryption: Amazon doesn’t use encryption to protect your photographs when they’re stored in the cloud so it’s probably not the best place for storing any images you wouldn’t be happy for anyone else to see.
Wrapping Things Up
If you’re a casual user who’s just looking for a cloud storage provider with more free storage than Dropbox, then you should go with Google One or MEGA (depending on how much you use Google’s other services). These services offer the most generous free storage limits.
If you need to protect sensitive data, you’re more vulnerable to cyber attacks because of your job or position, or you’re looking for the most secure cloud storage platform, Tresorit and SpiderOak score highest for security .
For business use and easy team collaboration, it’s worth trying out Box, or consider Zoho Docs as a budget option.
And once you’ve got your shiny new cloud storage service, you may want to grab a WordPress backup plugin that can automatically sync your backups to the cloud.