Personal Cloud Computing Services

For many of us, cloud computing has thankfully swept away the need to carry around a USB drive and load lengthy attachments to emails. Opting for cloud storage you can easily back up files, work collaboratively with others, and sync your data between multiple devices to access on the go. Whether for work or personal use, if you’re not yet on the cloud you need to be. But with so many cloud services out there, which one is right for you?

By Jane Hosking 


Dropbox is a firm favorite for many. The personal cloud service works with all major operating systems allowing you to access your files, photos, videos, and data no matter where you are or which device you’re using. One of the main attractions of Dropbox is that it doesn’t need a web-browser interface, meaning you can continue to work on documents offline. While the storage system is simple it can be set up to sync with all your devices and any changes you make can be undone, including undeleting files. The downside of Dropbox is that you only get 2 GB free to start with, but you can earn up to 16 GB through referrals to your friends and adding extra devices. If you need more space than this or want more features for multiple users then you can pay to upgrade your plan, although it’s not the cheapest option if you need a lot of storage.

Cost: Free for 2 GB, plus 14 GB that you can earn, and plans from $9.99 a month for 100 GB.

Available for: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry

Features: 5 stars

Usability: 4 stars

Sharing: 3 stars

Google Drive

Google Drive is similar to other cloud storage services, with its local folder on your PC linked to a cloud version of the folder allowing you to open your files on any computer with an Internet connection. Google Drive’s 15 GB of free storage puts its well ahead of Dropbox in terms of space, especially as the documents you create in Google Drive aren’t counted in its quota. But the real strength of Google Drive is its sharing capabilities that allow you to invite others to collaborate on your documents. This sets it apart from most alternatives that only allow others to view your files without making changes. While it’s not as simple and easy to use as its competitors, the plus side is that you may already have an account if you use Gmail and just need to explore the features available.

Cost: Free for 15 GB and plans from $1.99 for 100 GB.

Available for: Windows, Mac, Web, Chrome, Android, and iOS

Features: 3 stars

Usability: 3 stars

Sharing: 5 stars

Microsoft OneDrive

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Microsoft’s OneDrive, formerly known as SkyDrive, is the best of the bunch when it comes to free storage space. It comes with 15 GB free and the opportunity to earn an additional 8 GB via referrals or by activating your phone’s camera roll to automatically backup photos. OneDrive is well integrated with the Microsoft suite and allows real time collaboration on documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Permission can be set for each user from editing ability to read-only. If you’re a big user of Microsoft software then OneDrive is a good option for you, although some reports say that it can be glitchy unless you also have the Microsoft devices to go with it.

Cost: 15 GB free, plus 8 GB that you can earn, and plans from $1.99 a month for 100 GB.

Available for: Windows, Mac, Web, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows Tablet

Features: 3 stars

Usability: 4 stars

Sharing: 4 stars


 If you’ve ever tried one of these cloud computing services, let us know what you think in the comments section below.