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12 free cloud storage options

There's Dropbox, Box, iCloud, Google Drive and others, but which is right for you?

By , Network World
September 25, 2012 09:53 AM ET

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MORE DROPBOX: Dropbox upgrades security with two-factor authentication

Google Drive

Name: Google Drive

Free cloud storage: 5GB -- Google Docs and files converted to Google Docs do not count against storage limit. 1GB of free photo video storage in Picasa Web Albums, unlimited storage of photos and videos (up to 15-minute videos) in Google+.

Extra storage: 25GB, $2.49/month; 100GB, $4.99/month; 200GB, $9.99/month; 1TB, $49.99/month; 16TB, $799.99/month.

More info: Google Drive allows users to store a lot more files in its cloud for free if the files are Google Docs. In many cases, files can be converted to this format simply by copying them into a Google document. Drive does have some file limits, including 2MB for converted files, or 10MB for non-Google Doc files. Spreadsheets have a 20MB limit, or 256 columns. Google Doc files can be edited in the application, but third-party apps are needed to edit non-Google Doc files, such as Microsoft Word files.

MediaFire

Name: MediaFire

Free cloud storage: 50GB

Extra storage: Pro edition features 250GB for $4.50/month, and Business edition offers 1TB for $49/month.

More info: Startup MediaFire offers a large amount of cloud storage, but it only has Windows, OS X and Linux desktop applications with no mobile apps yet. For $1.50/month, users can get 50GB of storage with no advertisements through the "personal" edition. MediaFire markets its content distribution package heavily. Pro edition allows 500GB/month of content distribution through 500 one-time links per day; enterprise edition allows 4TB/month of distribution with 5,000 links per day. The free edition has 200MB file size limit, while personal has a 1GB file size limit. Pro has a 4GB file size limit and business has a 10GB individual file size limit.

Microsoft SkyDrive

Name: Microsoft SkyDrive

Free cloud storage: 7GB

Extra storage: 20GB, $10/year; 50GB, $25/year; 100GB, $50/year.

More info: Microsoft SkyDrive, which has a Windows 8-style interface, offers users one of the largest initial free storage accounts of the major cloud offerings. It does limit uploads to 300MB files via the Web browser and it has a 2GB limit via the desktop application, which can be run in Windows and OS X. It also supports iOS, Android and Windows phone apps. It includes a "forgot something" feature that allows users to remotely retrieve a file on their PC that has not uploaded to the cloud.

MiMedia

Name: MiMedia

Free cloud storage: 7GB

Extra storage: 100GB, $4.99/month; 500GB, $20/month or $199/year; 1TB, $35/month or $325/year.

More info: MiMedia offers one of the higher amounts of free cloud storage in the market. It bills itself as being a backup repository and cloud-access tool specifically for media, although it works the same with documents. For large uploads, the company will send a hard drive onto which you can upload an initial dump of information, then send it back to the company for uploading to MiMedia's cloud. Files are encrypted during upload transmission but not while stored on MiMedia servers. MiMedia does not yet support Mac OS X. It does have iOS and Android apps.

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