Google Drive’s cloud storage is excellent and free, but there are alternatives that are much better in terms of privacy and encryption
Cloud storage sites like Google Drive makes it easy to backup and access files from anywhere, and create and manage documents, spreadsheets, presentations, surveys. Google Drive is excellent, and free, but if you want better syncing and privacy then there are better Google Drive alternatives ⇣ out there.
Cloud storage has changed the ways in which the world captures data. It has taken over as the main method of data storage: Forget about rooms filled with filing cabinets just sitting there taking up space, time, and manpower to sift through it.
- Best overall: Sync.com ⇣. This is my favorite cloud storage provider because Sync.com is affordable, easy to use, comes with great security and features. Sync’s end-to-end encrypted storage platform and apps ensure that only you can access your data in the cloud.
- Runner-up, Best overall: pCloud ⇣. Runner-up is pCloud thanks to its cheap price, and I love the one-time cost for a lifetime subscription. pCloud’s Crypto provides client-side encryption, which encrypts your files on any device and make them invisible to others.
- Best free alternative to Google Drive: Dropbox ⇣ comes with 2GB of storage and is always free. Dropbox uses SSL/TLS to protect data in transit. SSL/TSL creates a secure tunnel protected by 128-bit or higher Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption.
Best Google Drive alternatives in 2021
Here are the 10 best free and paid cloud storage alternatives to Google Drive.
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1. Sync.com (Best overall alternative)
What is Sync.com?
Sync.com is rising to be one of the strongest competitors to cloud storage platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Sync.com has been around for a few years, and it’s proved to be one of the fastest and most secure places you can store data online: A combination of these features and great customer service has made Sync.com a powerhouse of a cloud storage platform that’s great for business or personal use.
- A larger amount of storage space than any other cloud provider. Cheaper plans afford as much as 2TB of total storage, while the plans aimed at businesses offer 10TB – and that’s per user signed up to your main cloud.
- Data is uploaded and accessed through the use of a downloadable data client or in-browser, although the data client is recommended for faster uploading.
- The option of automatic data syncing to ensure that your devices are always backed up.
- Sync’s end-to-end encrypted storage platform and apps ensure that only you can access your data in the cloud.
Their free plan offers 5GB of free storage but limits the amount of data transfer. Their paid plans start at $60 per year and offer 200 GB in storage and unlimited data transfer among other security and privacy features.
|Personal Free Plan ||Forever FREE|
|Personal Mini Plan ||$5/month ($60 billed yearly)|
|Pro Solo Basic Plan ||$8/month ($96 billed yearly)|
|Pro Solo Standard Plan ||$10/month ($120 billed yearly)|
|Pro Solo Plus Plan ||$15/month ($180 billed yearly)|
|Pro Teams Standard Plan ||$5/month ($60 billed yearly)|
|Pro Teams Plus Plan ||$8/month ($96 billed yearly)|
|Pro Teams Advanced Plan ||$15/month ($180 billed yearly)|
- Upload speed is both consistent and fast: It’s one of the most important factors, especially for a business-based cloud platform.
- Data is easy to access from anywhere, with no delays.
- Customer support responds to queries fast: International data storage requires that customer support is always right there, and they always get back fast if there are any issues or questions from the user.
- Users who are used to Dropbox or Google Drive might need to take a tutorial to navigate the Sync.com interface for the first time.
- No downloadable client support for LInux.
Why use Sync.com instead of Google Drive
While Google Drive can be called the Default, Sync.com is worlds apart in terms of storage capacity, functionality and tech support. Have you ever tried to get a fast answer out of most other cloud companies? Most of them make you wait, while Sync.com interacts with customers in a decent time – especially if you’re having issues.
There’s no reason to stick with the limited functionality offered by Google Drive when you can have the best of functionality and space with Sync.com instead.
2. pCloud (Best budget alternative)
What is pCloud?
pCloud is one of the newer cloud providers that have only come into force within the past 10 years.
The sheer growth of pCloud users should be a clear indication that functionality turned out to be better with pCloud – and anyone who checks it out should be impressed by the easier-to-navigate interface.
- Built-in media players and document viewers allow you to open, view and stream files directly from your cloud no matter where you are: For people who want their favorite movies and memories right at their fingertips, this is great.
- Automatic uploading for files between devices and straight to the cloud.
- Selective sync allows you to choose a specific PC folder and only sync what’s in there: Great for anyone who doesn’t want all of their information on the cloud automatically.
- pCloud takes security to a higher level with their pCloud Crypto. It enables you to encrypt your file on your computer or mobile-first before sending it for storage. To unlock it, you will need to use the generated key called CryptoPass.
The free plan offers 10 GB storage space. Their premium plans start at $3.99 per month. It offers 500 GB storage and allows 500 GB of data transfer bandwidth for sharing. Unlike most other cloud storage providers, pCloud also offers a lifetime plan for just $175. It’s a one-time cost and you get 500 GB for your whole lifetime.
|Free Plan ||Forever FREE|
|Premium Plan |
|Premium Plus Plan |
|Business Plan |
|Family Plan ||Lifetime plan: $500 (one-time payment)|
- Their free plan offers 10GB of storage at no charge, with other, heavier plans available for anyone who needs more out of it.
- They offer a Lifetime plan, which offers payment once and access to a comprehensive cloud for the rest of your life.
- Uploading and automatic syncing is a pretty easy process for anyone who would like total control (and instant access) to their online stuff.
- pCloud’s cloud storage options can be lacking for large businesses: Many need far more than 2TB, the maximum amount they offer.
- Their pricing can be expensive if you don’t opt for the Lifetime plans, which can be a pricy once-off if you’re just a personal user.
Why use pCloud instead of Google Drive?
Google Drive has come under a great deal of fire for their cloud storage so far. Security and privacy concerns are amongst the top complaints: Others include a lack of customer support, the likelihood of locking yourself out of your Drive if you lose access to your devices and a lack of real storage space even with their paid plans. pCloud tops most of the issues that users might have about Google Drive and provides a better platform that’s easier to use.
3. Dropbox (Best free alternative)
What is Dropbox?
Dropbox is usually one of the first alternatives users and people come to consider when looking for a powerful cloud provider. They’ve been around for a long time, and most people will already be familiar with their limited “free” storage plan: Some might even have switched to one of their paid plans instead. Dropbox.com is particularly powerful if you want to upload on-the-go and sync all your devices together.
- Free, personal and business plans depending on how much data you’re looking to store.
- Uploading and data accessing through an app, downloadable desktop client or in-browser.
- Simple editing and viewing capacity for the most common types of document and media files.
- Works fast and works well, whether you’re using your PC or smartphone to do most of the uploading.
- Files are easy to organize, search through and move around on the cloud with just a few clicks.
- The free plan is the default option for many people and happens to be a great alternative for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of data to stick on the cloud yet.
- Share links can leave your entire cloud’s folder vulnerable to anyone with the link when you only wanted to share one file.
- With any connectivity issues, forget about seamless uploading or downloading to the cloud.
- There’s no offline access to most of your cloud for emergencies.
Why use Dropbox instead of Google Drive
If you’re used to Google Drive, then Dropbox will feel like a dream come true to most users. Functionality is better, and although Dropbox lacks the fancy “Google Docs” editor that you’ll find with Drive, its ability to view files in-browser, app or desktop client kind of makes up for this.
- Website: https://www.icedrive.net/
- Generous 10 GB free storage
- Cheap monthly, annual and lifetime plans
Icedrive was founded in 2019 but despite being new on the market, they have already made an impressive first impression. Icedrive comes with great features such as file synchronization options, intuitive interface design, Fort-Knox-like security, and cheap prices.
One of Icedrive’s best features is its cloud storage and physical hard drive integration. This makes cloud storage feel like a physical hard drive, where no syncing is needed nor any bandwidth is consumed.
Mounting the cloud+physical storage is simple. You download the desktop software (on Windows, Mac & Linux), then access and manage your cloud storage space as if it were a physical hard disk or USB stick directly in your operating system.
- Client-side, zero-knowledge encryption
- Seamless cloud storage + physical hard drive integration
- Twofish encryption (more secure than AES/Rijndael)
- Client-side, zero-knowledge encryption
Icedrive offers three premium plans; Lite, Pro, and Pro+.
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|Lite Plan |
|Pro Plan |
|Pro+ Plan |
Icedrive vs Google Drive:
The same applies to the previous cloud storage hosts listed, you should consider choosing Icedrive over Google Drive if security, encryption, and privacy are things you care about.
- Website: https://www.nordlocker.com/
- Cloud storage from from the makers NordVPN
- Get 3 GB of cloud storage for free
- Unlimited end-to-end encryption
NordLocker is an end-to-end encrypted cloud storage service available on Windows and macOS. NordLocker is developed by Nord Security (the company behind NordVPN).
NordLocker uses a strict zero-knowledge policy and is powered by state-of-the-art encryption. To guarantee ultimate security to your data, only the most advanced ciphers and elliptic-curve cryptography (ECC) is used with XChaCha20, EdDSA, and Poly1305, plus Argon2, and AES256.
- NordLocker syncs your files via a private cloud, so they’re accessible from anywhere.
- NordLocker encrypts and back ups your cloud locker data automatically.
- The most trusted encryption algorithms and state-of-the-art ciphers (AES256, Argon2, ECC).
- Strict zero-knowledge policy, no logging ever.
The free plan offers 3 GB storage space. The annual price is $3.99 a month for 500 GB of storage, or $7.99/mo if you don’t like to commit for a whole year.
NordLocker vs Google Drive:
Choose NordLocker over Google Drive if you care about state-of-the-art encryption that encrypts the files you store locally or in the cloud. It also uses the most advanced algorithms and ciphers: Argon2, AES256, ECC (with XChaCha20, EdDSA, and Poly1305).
What is Box?
Many users might not have heard of Box.com before, but it’s a great cloud storage option for any personal users who could use safe online storage. They offer free plans and paid alternatives, with both being powerful enough to keep a business or person’s data secure – and an easy enough way to upload and access this info.
- Free plans that offer you several GB worth of online storage, and paid plans that increase this rate to enough for a smaller business.
- The ability to upload and download files with a click from the in-browser cloud.
- Limited file access settings that allow who can see certain files and when.
- Box.com offers a secure cloud that offers a hacker-resistant guarantee, and one of the few clouds that do.
- Fast uploading from most places around the globe.
- The ability to limit how people see files.
- Every file is encrypted using AES 256-bit encryption in diverse locations.
- There’s no clever editing tool or file preview function. There are just filenames and the ability to click on them to download: That’s not clever for any cloud provider.
- There’s an automatic cap on uploading files larger than 250MB if you’re on one of the free plans. What’s the point of this?
- Box feels far more advanced than it needs to, even to users that call themselves advanced.
Why use Box instead of Google Drive?
If you’re frustrated with Google Drive and all you are looking for is a personal cloud or space to share some photos and videos with family members, Box is a great option to look at – although there are still better ones (like Sync.com) that can offer you more.
Functionality issues related to Box (such as the lack of file preview) means that there are good reasons to look at Sync.com instead.
7. Amazon Drive
- Website: www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=15547130011
- Free plan for all Amazon users and premium plans starting at $19.99 per year
Amazon Drive is a cloud storage application managed by e-commerce behemoth Amazon. They offer you secure file backups, file sharing, cloud storage, and on-demand photo prints via their Amazon Prints service. It’s a great cloud storage service to save all your beautiful memories.
All you need to enjoy unparalleled cloud storage is an Amazon account. Whenever the need arises, you can easily access your videos, photos, and files on a wide range of devices, including your computer and mobile devices. They offer you a great line up of plans ranging from 100 GB to 30 TB, meaning there are plenty of options to meet your storage needs.
Amazon Drive Features
- Free plan offering you 5 GB of free storage
- iOS and Android apps to access your files on the go
- One-time or scheduled uploads
- Easy set up process
- Ability to upload entire folders
- Unlimited photo storage with Amazon Prime membership
- Integration with Fire TV, so you can view a slideshow of your photos on your television
- Plenty of sharing options including link, email, Facebook and Twitter
- Custom photo albums and keepsakes
If the 5 GB that comes with the free plan isn’t enough, you can upgrade to any of the premium plans. Amazon Drive offers you up to 13 paid plans. The smallest plan offering you 100 GB of storage space costs just $19.99 per year.
The biggest package that comes with 30 TB of storage space will set you back about $1,800 per year. To get the most bang for your bucks, I recommend going for the $59.99/year plan that offers you 1 TB of storage space.
Why Amazon Drive is a good alternative to GDrive:
For starters, Amazon Drive offers you more plans than Google Drive, which means you have more leeway to choose a storage solution that’s perfect for your needs. Secondly, Amazon Drive is cheaper and more versatile, offering you a better way of storing and accessing your files. Thirdly, it’s pretty straightforward and easy to set up, plus you get 5 GB of free space to store away your photos.
What is Backblaze?
Backblaze is another one of the newer cloud providers that have only been around for the past ten years. They’ve managed to stand up as one of the strongest competitors for Google Drive just for the amount of storage they offer (and their comparative rate-per-GB if you were to grab your calculator and figure out who really gives you more value).
- Instant upload from mobile, browser or their downloadable app.
- The option of several plans, with paid plans giving several TB of available storage (and more than other cloud providers for the price). Unlimited storage is available for those who aren’t sure how much data needs to be beamed up.
- A file restore option for those things that you might accidentally delete and want back to the cloud at a later stage.
- The option of unlimited file storage for users in need of it.
- Quick and easy uploading process with an easy-to-navigate interface.
- Security: They guarantee that your data won’t be stolen, sold or checked out by anyone who isn’t authorized by the cloud owner to do it.
- File restore can take a while.
- Automatic file .zip function for data compression means that you might experience quality loss with audio files.
- Harder to navigate for users who don’t have a little more PC experience.
Why use Backblaze instead of Google Drive?
With the addition of unlimited storage, anyone who needs to store huge amounts of data at a time will prefer Backblaze to the usual Google Drive – especially if you’ve exceeded the capacity of what Google has to offer but will have more files to get up to your cloud.
What is SpiderOak?
SpiderOak is a lesser-known cloud provider, but this doesn’t mean they compromise on the speed, space or security – and it might make a great alternative for anyone who wants to get off Google Drive into a safer space.
- A free plan with as much as 2GB of storage space.
- Direct Linux support for their desktop client and other options for users of Windows or Mac.
- Uploading directly through an app, with the ability to preview files.
- Consistently fast speeds when it comes to uploading or accessing your online library.
- Easy to use, even for anyone who isn’t used to cloud uploading platforms.
- Several uploading platforms, friendly for Mac, PC, Linux or mobile.
- Seriously lacks in what it offers for free storage space.
- Paid options are more expensive than they need to be: Other providers like Sync.com offer a better comparative deal.
Why use SpiderOak instead of Google Drive?
If your frustrations with Google Drive include a lack of customer support and uploading or downloading lag, SpiderOak could be a great choice – but only on the condition that you don’t have a lot of data to store, and don’t mind the lack of proper “viewing” add-ons within their app. The addition of a restore option makes up for it.
10. Microsoft OneDrive
What is Microsoft OneDrive?
If you use a PC running Windows, you’ll have seen the option for OneDrive somewhere on your computer before; you might have even heard that it’s backing up files to OneDrive and found your way to the cloud by wondering why.
OneDrive is Microsoft’s answer to the cloud, and it turns out to be a pretty powerful tool for both businesses and personal users.
- Seamless and fast file upload from the app, client or directly from your browser.
- Automatic virus protection and spyware check for all files uploaded and shared.
- Free and paid plans that offer users 10GB of possible cloud storage and up.
- Uploading and downloading speed with OneDrive is more than good enough for personal and business.
- Automatic syncing of your files (or only specific folders) make this a breeze.
- OneDrive promises decent security, and that’s what you get.
- Being made by Microsoft, OneDrive is completely cut off from any form of support for Linux.
- Free options are very limiting, and advanced users or businesses might not find OneDrive a satisfying enough alternative either.
- Frustrating for new users to get to know, and most people will have given up by the time they figure it out.
Why use OneDrive instead of Google Drive?
OneDrive makes a powerful and great alternative to Google Drive on any chosen day. It’s easy to use, safe and fast – and it’s all of the things that Google Drive stopped being about ten years ago. Even Dropbox users might consider OneDrive instead – but for the best in terms of functionality, Sync.com still seems to win.
What is Cloud Storage?
With storage “in the cloud” or files, documents, images, etc. saved remotely on servers provided by cloud companies, storing vast amounts of information no longer takes up as much energy and space as it used to in the days before the cloud.
Cloud storage is also considered safer than most mainstream storage alternatives. It offers instant access to everything you need, kept secure from anyone else who might want to dip their fingers into your data.
Most companies (and some governments) store their data on the cloud. Cloud platforms are also storage spaces for other data, including personal memories or photographs.
It goes without saying that you want to choose the best possible cloud provider, and factors like security and privacy are important in determining which is best.
The Benefits of Cloud Storage
Cloud storage is simple: It’s easy to upload files, and it’s easy to download or share files. All you need is internet access.
Most cloud providers offer a free option with a certain GB amount of data at no charge: More storage needs means that you’ll have to pay for it.
Cloud storage guarantees simple, safe storage of files (and anything else that can be put into raw online data).
Simply, that’s why cloud storage is better.
But is your current cloud provider the right one for your needs?
What is Google Drive?
Google Drive is the cloud storage option that you get together with your Google or Gmail account. It’s free unless you choose one of their paid plans to upgrade the amount of storage.
- The first 15 GB of storage is completely free
- Offers offline viewing and editing with Google’s Office tools (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.)
- Very user-friendly and cross-platform support
- 2-factor authentication and file versioning
Because it comes bundled together with a Google account, it has become a hugely popular option that a lot of people prefer just because it’s right there.
Do you or your company use Google Drive?
If the answer is yes, it might be time to consider some alternatives. While Google Drive is free, convenient and comes with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and other handy editing tools, there are cons that are making people consider a switch.
Why Change from Google Drive?
Privacy concerns and the impossible “I’ve been locked out of my Google account forever” situation has made many people change to cloud alternatives like Sync.com, Dropbox or Box.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Google Drive?
Google Drive is a free cloud-based storage solution that lets you save files online and access from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or computer.
What are the pros of Google Drive?
Google Drive is free, synchronization, sharing and collaboration is easy to use and it comes with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Surveys, Forms, and more.
What are the cons of Google Drive?
Slow syncing, and slow upload and download speeds. Privacy has been a concern, as Google Drive has been connected to the U.S. National Security Agency’s PRISM project.
What are the best Google Drive alternatives?
The best-paid alternatives to Google Drive are Sync.com and pCloud.com. The best free alternative is Dropbox.
Best Google Drive Alternatives: Summary: So, What’s Best?
It’s safe to say that there are enough options for a cloud provider that can make your head spin when it’s time to choose one for you or your company. Cloud storage has become cheaper, faster, and better – and now, there are more companies than just three cloud megaliths who used to dominate the industry.
Out of most other cloud providers reviewed, Sync.com is also one of the most secure: So far, they’ve never been hacked or seen their user data compromised – and this is something that many other cloud providers (even the largest ones) can’t lay claim to.
Sync.com also ranked the highest in terms of functionality, speed, and ease-of-use for both advanced and novice users.
A second excellent Google Drive competitor is pCloud. It is a secure and easy-to-use cloud storage that gives you 10 GB of free storage and offers affordable lifetime plans for up to 2 TB.