In this blog post I will be outlining the key differences between the big three cloud storage providers; Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive. Each provider offers their own deals and perks, helping to identify the pros and cons for each when it comes to using them for file storage.
Free to sign up. The basic account comes with 2GB of free storage space, but they also offer referral perks which allows you to invite friends and family to increase your free storage limit. Dropbox offers 500MB of extra storage space for every person you refer. You can increase your storage by a maximum of 16GB in this way, giving you a grand total of 18GB, when added to your initial 2GB.
If more storage space is required, you can opt for a Dropbox Pro account which offers 1TB (1,000GB) of space for £7.99 a month. If this is still not enough, you can opt for Dropbox for Business which is an unlimited space service for £11 per user, per month. Dropbox for Business allows you to try their service free of charge for 14 days.
If you have a Gmail email account, Google Drive is already available to you. Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage space when you sign up. Although Google do not offer any referral perks, upgrades are reasonably priced and you are also able to use storage space with other Google services such as Picasa which will not affect your Google Drive allowance. The pricing for Google Drive per month is as follows:
15GB – Free
100GB – $1.99
1TB – $9.99
10TB – $99.99
20TB – $199.99
30TB – $299.99
Comes with 15GB of free storage when you sign up although they do not offer the same large storage options as the other two providers. The main advantage with OneDrive is because it’s a Microsoft product, if you upgrade to the 1TB version, you also get Office365 thrown in. Prices per month are as follows:
15GB – Free
100GB – $1.99
200GB – $3.99
1TB – $6.99 (includes Office365)
The Dropbox desktop application is available on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Dropbox is also available on mobile devices iOS, Android and Blackberry. Dropbox is currently the only service which supports Linux and is the only service available on Blackberry.
Available for Windows and Mac OS. Google Drive has no native support for Linux and if required relies on third party programs. For mobile devices, Google Drive is only available on iOS and Android.
Available for Windows and Mac OS. Just like Google Drive, OneDrive relies on third party programs to make it work on Linux platforms. OneDrive will work with iOS and Android and is the only service to offer their own official app for the Windows Phone, which you might expect being a Microsoft product.
Uploading files through the Dropbox website is limited to 300MB, the same as OneDrive. However, uploads via the Dropbox desktop application have no file size limit, whereas OneDrive has a 2GB upload limit when using the desktop application.
Unlike the other providers, Dropbox is fully integrated with Facebook groups allowing you to share files between members.
Allows you to disable automatic deletion of old versions, enabling you to keep all file revisions for as long as you want, however, if you do not keep track of this, space can fill up quickly.
Google Drive also provides an online document editor which converts your Microsoft Office documents into a Google Document (.dgoc) before editing.
Installing the OneDrive desktop application allows you to access every file on the PC it is installed on. As long as your PC is on and connected to the internet, you can access your file system through the OneDrive website. As good as this feature may be for some, those worried about extra security can disable it.
OneDrive also has Microsoft Web Applications which includes support for viewing all types of Office documents from your web browser. Although this feature does not include all of the power of Microsoft Office, it is more than enough for viewing and making basic edits.
Dropbox and Google Drive both have two-step authentication features when logging into the account via a webpage. A standard email and password login is followed by a security code which is sent directly to your smartphone via SMS or by using the Google authenticator application.
Although OneDrive has a single username/password authentication system, they handle security slightly differently by sending a security code to a secondary email address when accessing sensitive data like editing your contact information or connecting to your PC for remote access.
On mobile devices, Dropbox requires a 4-digit passcode to gain entry whereas the other providers just require a username/password combination.
For me then, of the three providers I’ve reviewed here today, there isn’t one in particular that stands out head and shoulders above the rest – they all have their advantages. It really depends on your specific requirements; how much storage you need, which other systems you use, security levels etc. And how you answer those questions will determine which one of the big three will be the most suitable cloud storage provider for you.
Priority One – Cloud