Cloud storage services are nothing new. Platforms like Google Drive, iCloud or Dropbox were born years ago. In 2022, with the constant increase in the size of our photos (20 MB for certain high-end smartphones) and the increase in internet speeds, online storage has experienced a significant boost. We’ve tested 15 cloud storage services, with the top four detailed below.
Cloud storage has become an essential tool in our increasingly digital world. With the ability to store and access critical data from any device or location, it is easy to understand why so many people are turning to the cloud for their data storage needs. In this article, we will explore the best cloud storage solutions currently available, considering factors such as cost, security, file size limits and user-friendliness.
What is cloud storage?
A cloud is a storage space on the internet. We are talking about cloud service and online storage service, or even online cloud by misuse of language. “Cloud” means cloud in English, making it possible to save data on a dematerialized space accessible from all devices connected to the Internet.
Before presenting our 4 favourite cloud storage tools, it is important to define what a cloud service is clearly. There are two concepts to understand:
StorageThe synchronizationWith the best online storage services, when you put your files in the Cloud, you will not only store them there but also synchronize your documents (photos, videos, music, etc.) with all your devices.
It is also essential to set your cloud storage space correctly so as not to be fooled. In 2022, still too many people think that files put on the Cloud can then be deleted from the device (computer, smartphone or tablet). While this may be true sometimes, you must be careful with the configurations.
In most cases, the best cloud storage services sync first and foremost by default. They allow you to put a file online to access it from anywhere in an instant. The notion of storage, strictly speaking, then takes on a secondary role but remains very important. With a service like pCloud, for example, you can have your photos taken with your smartphone instantly saved to the Cloud not to occupy your smartphone’s memory.
So much for this very short introduction to cloud storage or online storage. Discover now our four favourite online storage services with the reasons for our choices.
Top 4 Best Cloud Storage in 2023
Here are the four best online storage of the moment:
pCloud kDrive Google Drive OneDriveBelow, we will go into detail about each of the cloud storage services.
pCloud: the best cloud storage service
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, cheap, and secure cloud storage service, pCloud is the best online storage provider you can find. Although it’s not the best known – due to its relative youth – it has nothing to envy the big names like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Indeed, its ease of use makes it an excellent choice for anyone who is not very comfortable with computers. The expert will appreciate its more “advanced” features, such as client-side encryption with “Encryption”, a paid option adding additional security.
Regarding security, we were very satisfied with the solutions implemented by pCloud. In this case, all files are AES 256-bit encrypted, and your data is copied to at least three different servers. With these multiple backups, you will be protected, even in the event of a server failure… you would still have two backups left on other servers.
But what makes pCloud the best cloud storage of 2023 doesn’t stop there. Indeed, pCloud offers excellent transfer speeds. Whether uploading or downloading, you can reach speeds of over 40Mb/s, which is impressive for a service that encrypts data.
Your upload and download speed will largely depend on your internet connection.
Finally, the last argument of choice put forward by pCloud is its pricing. If its monthly or annual offers do not dream, it differs from the lifetime subscription (99 years). You will have the option to pay once for 500 GB, 2 TB or 10 TB of online storage. The prices are respectively 200€, 400€ and 1200€.
If you want to test the best cloud storage of the moment, know that pCloud offers free online storage of 10 GB (expandable to 25 GB with sponsorship and a few quests to validate). You will be able to form your own opinion on our favourite online storage of the moment.
kDrive: the very inexpensive complete cloud
kDrive is another very promising online storage service designed by the Infomaniak web host. The latter offers a complete tool integrating advanced features that are not seen with all providers. If it is ranked in such a good position in this selection of the best clouds, it is also because its prices are very attractive.
For starters, you’ll have access to an easy-to-navigate and functional interface. The application is compatible with PC (Windows, macOS, Linux) and on Android or iOS tablets and smartphones. This is very practical for optimizing synchronization between your devices and always having your files at hand.
Needed, know that importing your existing data from other clouds to kDrive is possible. kDrive offers a collaborative ecosystem allowing multiple members to work on documents online. The office suite integrated into your kDrive space allows you to edit text files, spreadsheets or presentations. These additional elements are particularly suitable for a business or university project.
In addition, to meet the constraints of users who need to share files, kDrive has developed a dropbox. Partners, colleagues and comrades will be able to deposit their files very simply so that you can then find them in your drive.
Of course, the more classic file-sharing options (via sending a link) are present. kDrive is also the assurance that all your data remains safe. Indeed, not only are they exclusively hosted on its servers in Switzerland, but they are also encrypted before being recorded on three media in two different data centres. The risks of espionage and loss are very clearly eliminated.
On this subject, in case of accidental deletion of a file, know that you can restore it from the trash or even recover an old version. The most incredible thing is that with all its features, kDrive offers prices that defy all competition. In addition to a free version with no time limit, the entry-level package with 2 TB is less than €60 per year.
The price of the top-of-the-range subscription, including 6 TB (expandable by an additional 100 TB) costs nearly €240 per year, which is very interesting.
Google Drive: effective but limited
The third online storage service in our ranking and comparison is Google Drive. In 2022, it is no longer necessary to present this internet giant. As soon as you create a YouTube, Gmail or another account, you automatically have access to Google Drive.
Simple to use but quite limited, Google’s online storage service allows quick and easy synchronization of all your files on your different devices. It is both a storage AND a synchronization service, thus allowing you to free up space on your various devices.
Google Drive also allows work collaboration on documents such as Word, Excel or Powerpoint. If you are a student, you have most certainly already had to work with several people at the same time on one of these documents to progress more efficiently in your projects.
When you create a Google Drive account, 15 GB is available for free. To switch to the paid offer, you have to switch to Google One. Offers between 100 GB and 2 TB are then made available at prices ranging from €2 per month to just under €10.
Compared to pCloud or kDrive, we regret the absence of more advanced features, such as the backup of photos and videos from Instagram and Facebook, the import of other Cloud storage services, or client-side encryption for a higher level of security. More pushed. Also, customer support is almost non-existent, a very differentiating point with pCloud, whose customer support responds in less than 24 hours on average.
Finally, in terms of speed, storage in the Google Drive cloud is doing well, with very good speeds that will flirt with those of pCloud. You can easily upload and download your files on this online storage service.
Attractive paid offers Last in our comparison of the best Clouds of 2022 is OneDrive. This service, developed by Microsoft, is very strongly marked by the imprint of its creator. The OneDrive ecosystem is strongly reminiscent of Microsoft, even if you use the service on a Mac. We then find a fairly raw interface with a user experience that is perhaps not pleasant.
However, if we recommend OneDrive in this ranking of the best online storage services, it remains very efficient and quite complete in terms of functionality. You have, for example, a safe where you can put your most precious files, with additional security. It is also possible to share files with relatives and colleagues so that they can download or share more documents.
These functions are, of course, also available from the other three cloud storages in this ranking. If we place it in the fourth position, it is mainly for three reasons. The first is its speed. In the tests that we carried out, it was by far not the one that did the best.
On large files (over 10GB), it was, on average 2-3x slower than pCloud. So, of course, when you upload 5 GB, it doesn’t feel too much… but the situation is different when you upload 2 TB of files. Its second weakness lies in the Microsoft environment, which can displease some people. Also, when we install it, we are immediately invaded by other services that OneDrive is trying to get us to install (Microsoft products, of course). Finally, its pricing remains quite high.
The best is the one with the office packs for 100€ per year with 6 TB of online storage. Here, the free offer is only 5 GB, which is not ideal for discovering the service.
7 criteria to find the best Cloud
Obviously, this ranking of the best Cloud storage of 2022 does not come out of the hat. It is based on many criteria that we have analyzed in detail to find the online storage providers that best meet the needs of Internet users.
Here are the 7 criteria analyzed to develop our comparison of Clouds.
Ease of use
Nothing is worse than having to deal with an unintuitive interface or a complex application to use. Our number one criterion is therefore eased of use. The online storage services in our comparison are all easy to learn and use daily. They are all translated into French so non-English speakers can understand everything without the slightest problem. We made sure that all the steps of uploading, sharing and collaborating with your relatives or colleagues are done easily with the 4 best clouds of 2022.
5 years ago, the Clouds were not so successful. The reason? Too slow upload and download speeds. The situation has changed greatly in 2022 with the arrival of 1 Gbps connections. However, your connection speed isn’t everything. The online storage service must also have high-performance servers to ensure good upload and download speeds. Speed is the second most important criterion in comparing the best online storage. With pCloud and Google Drive, you’ll get excellent transfer speeds, allowing you to upload several hundred GB of files without fear of it taking days.
When putting files in the cloud storage space, you have to make sure that they are safe. Security involves both encryption to protect them, but also multiple backups. Indeed, servers are, like your hard drive, likely to crash one day or another. On average, a disk crashes once every 15 years. So if you have 15 devices, there is a high probability that every year, one of your discs will die.
The same is true with the servers of online storage services. Nothing is infallible. Fortunately, the best clouds offer different backups of your data. At kDrive, for example, everything is copied to three different servers in two locations (to counter a fire in an entire data centre, for example). Also, pCloud offers client-side encryption to prevent anyone (even pCloud admins) from seeing what’s on your cloud.
An online storage service will not only be used to store your files, as we explained at the beginning of this article. Indeed, it will offer you other features that we have also taken into account in this comparison. In this case, the synchronization functions must work well on all devices. Also, the sharing functions must be easily usable. This way, you can send a simple link to your friends so that they can upload the photos of your holidays spent together, all in the same folder, in high quality!
Moreover, pCloud and kDrive allow you to personalize your sharing links (color, image, protection by a password, expiration date), which is to be underlined. Note also that pCloud and kDrive allow you to automatically import all the content on Google Drive or Dropbox to simplify a transfer from one cloud storage platform to another.
Finally, kDrive offers a very practical office suite for collaborating online during group work in school or in business. For example, you can create text documents, spreadsheets or presentations and share them with other users so that everyone can make changes in real-time. Everything is recorded directly on your space. In addition to storage, this excellent cloud, therefore, provides very interesting productivity tools.
Among the criteria considered to make this online storage comparison, we also analyzed customer support. It is important to be able to contact support if you encounter a problem with the service or simply if you have a question.
pCloud and kDrive offer an e-mail address to contact the technical teams. In general, the quality of the answers is there, and we have always obtained returns within 24 hours during our tests. This is the advantage of using European companies. Unfortunately, apart from the first two responders, the other cloud services tested disappoint us a little on this point. No online chat, just a good old contact form.
The pricing structure
We did not forget to analyze the pricing of the different cloud storage services to carry out this comparison. Very often, the prices are around 100€ for a year of subscription with 2 TB of storage.
Where our favourite cloud storage tool stands out with its lifetime offer (99 years). Indeed, the pCloud offers of 500 GB, 2 TB and 10 TB for life are very
attractive in terms of price since you will be able to make them profitable in about three years. When you subscribe to a cloud service, it’s to keep your files for a long time. Having a vision at 15 or 20 years is, therefore, not abnormal.
If you do the math, a lifetime offer that pays off after just three years is beautiful and is one of the reasons why pCloud is, in our opinion, the best cloud of 2022.
The free offer
Finally, the last criterion considered in this ranking of the best clouds was the free offer. We consider it essential to be able to test a service before committing to it for a long period. So yes, pCloud offers a 10-day money-back guarantee and a 30-day trial for kDrive, but the same does not apply to their competitors. In this ranking of the best online storage, we have therefore looked at their free offers. With 10 GB of free storage at pCloud, it stands out again from other solutions. At kDrive, you will have 3 GB free, 15 GB at Google Drive and 5 GB at OneDrive.
Online storage services will be on the rise in 2022. It must be said that they replace physical media by offering more storage space and increased protection of digital data. To save your photos, videos, audio files and office documents in a safe place, we advise you to opt for pCloud, our favorite cloud. It offers optimal security and the best value for money with 500 GB, 2 TB or 10 TB packages suitable for everyone. Dedicated packages for the family comprising five users are also available.
kDrive is also a serious option to go for if you need more storage and need an online collaborative space.