Cloud Computing is the new term introduced among the internet users. It allows the users to store the data on the cloud and run applications from cloud based server using internet web browser without the need to install anything on the client computer. An email service like Gmail and Yahoo Mail is also an example of cloud computing because you use your email account using your web browser without installing any desktop client.
[Image Credits: TechSling]
If you host your data over cloud you can access it anywhere from any device like notebook or a smartphone with an internet connection. As the cloud services are web-based, they work on multiple platforms like Windows, Macintosh or Linux.
Here are few benefits of using cloud storage:
- You don’t need to purchase an extra hard disk drive to store your data. You can simply store it on the cloud.
- Your computer may crash at any time and all of your data will be lost. But if you regularly sync it with cloud storage, your data always remain safe.
- You can access your data files like photos, music files and videos at any time and from any device with internet access.
You can also save or backup your data to the cloud with the following services that provide free cloud storage.
Dropbox is one such cloud service that I use the most. When you sign up for Dropbox you get 2GB of free storage space. Additionally, you will get 250MB of free space (up to 8GB) when your friends join Dropbox through your referral. It stores your data securely as all transmission of file data occurs over an encrypted channel (SSL) and it also keeps a one-month history of your work. So files can be undeleted.
Dropbox works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
SugarSync gives you more space than Dropbox. You get 5GB of free cloud space when you sign up for the free plan. The best feature that I like about SugarSync is the automatic backup option. You can choose it to work in background and automatically backup your files to the cloud without your interference. Other great feature is that all of your files are transferred securely using TLS (Transport Layer Security) and are stored in the cloud in an encrypted format using 128-bit AES
You can download SugarSync mobile apps to sync iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian devices.
Box.net is another cloud service that I use the most. One great feature about Box.net is that you get a share link for your stored files and you can share the files among your friends. I use it to upload my Blogger templates, WordPress themes, thesis skins and other files that I offer for download on this blog. Another great feature is that you can share the folders with collaborators which means other people will be able to access, comment on, share and update all the files on the particular folder.
With a free account, you get 5GB of free space but you can upgrade it to 50GB with paid account.
4. Google Docs
Google Docs allows you to upload your files to the cloud with up to 1024MB storage space however an uploaded file or folder can be up to 1GB in size. If you are using Chrome or Firefox browser then you can simply drag and drop the files to Google Docs. You can also upload the folders directly. It allows you to share files and folders with friends, family members or colleagues.
Google Docs can be used to upload files such as Text documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings, PDF files, Images and Videos. You can also upload other files such as .zip files but they can’t be previewed online.
5. Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon Cloud Drive offers 5GB of free online storage which is enough space to store up to 1000 songs. It can be used to store your music, videos, photos, and documents on Amazon’s secure servers.
The songs purchased from Amazon MP3 Store can be stored directly to Amazon Cloud Drive and you can download it at any time. If 5GB is not sufficient for you then you can buy extra storage space up to 1000GB in size.
6. Microsoft Sky Drive
Sky Drive is a free cloud service by Microsoft. With Sky Drive, you can create, edit, and share Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files online even if you don’t have Microsoft Office installed on your PC. Like Box.net, you can create folders with permissions as public, friends or you.
Its storage limit is 25GB which is higher than all other services listed here but there is a file size limit of 50MB per file.
With Wuala, you get 1 GB of storage for free which is enough space to store around 500 photos or 200 music files.
Wuala is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Mobile.
MiMedia is another best and free cloud storage service with 7GB of free storage. Like SugarSync it also offers automatic backup of your files. It allows you to listen to music files, view photos and videos in a user-friendly environment directly from MiMedia. The files stored with MiMedia can be easily shared with friends and family.
Currently MiMedia app works only on Windows platform and its mobile app is available only for iPhone and iPad.
Syncplicity automatically syncs your files across all your computers and backs up your data. With free account, you will get 2GB of free storage. When you invite your friends to Syncplicity, you will get additional 1GB of free space (up to 3GB extra).
Syncplicity is available for Windows and Mac users. You can also link your Syncplicity account with Google Docs account to synchronize files between your Syncplicity account and your Google Docs account.
With IDrive you get 5 GB of online storage space for free to store your photos, documents and other important data. Like many other online backup solutions, it also store your data securely 128-bit SSL encryption on transfers, 256-bit AES encryption on storage.
If you are a blogger using WordPress, then you can also download IDrive WordPress plugin. When you refer your friends to IDrive, you get 1GB of additional storage space (up to 50GB).
All of the above mentioned services have some features in common like secure transfer, referral program etc. You may also be interested in my other article to share large files using internet with your friends.