iCloud – The choice for AppleiCloud is the name of Apple’s hosting service. iCloud offers 5 GB for free to owners of any Apple device. Compared to other services that is not much, but the 50 GB of space offered for .99 a month is a great deal and the 200 GB for 2.99 or 1000 GB for 9.99 are also great value compared to other services. Another feature that iCloud has is that there are no limits to the types of files you can store, as well, there are no upload limits.
Another feature of iCloud is the simplicity of integration of the service between devices. This is a feature common to Apple products and iCloud is no different. By signing into your Apple ID, you have easy access to your files on the cloud. This means you can create a photo slide show on your iMac and play it on your Apple TV device without much of a headache. Also you can integrate your calendar, email and contacts across devices which saves you the need to juggle devices.
At first blush, it would appear that everyone should choose iCloud for their cloud hosting. The one major problem with iCloud is that it only works on Apple services, which is great if you have just Apple products. If you do not have that luxury. You will still get a lot out of your iCloud service if you just have an iPad, iPhone, iPod or any other individual device, but for the complete flexibility offered by the cloud, you may want a different service.
OpenDrive – Unlimited Space at a Price
OpenDrive offers a cloud service that is built around the potential of unlimited space for paying customers and flexibility between personal and business usage. For 12.95 a month, you can store as much as you want on OpenDrive and for 29.95 a month, branding and other business-friendly services are offered. As well, there is a custom package that, starting at $6 a month, gives you at least 500 GB of space and varying amounts of bandwidth access or allow other users to access your space.
The unlimited storage space that OpenDrive offers comes with a couple of drawbacks. Since it is an independent service, it does not allow you integrate your services across platforms so while you can access your files across platforms, your calendar, email and other personal services do not carry across devices. As well, mobile access is not available on your Android, Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices unless you use your browser, which depending on the devices you own, could reduce your flexibility.
Even with its limitations, OpenDrive is likely your best bet if you need space to share between a few computers as opposed to mobile devices.
Google Drive – Mobile Space for All
Google Drive may lack a desktop app, but otherwise offers one of the most accessible cloud hosting services. No matter your choice of device or operating system, you can access your files on Google Drive. As well, Google Drive allows access to Google Apps that allow you to edit or work with files much more easily on mobile devices than other apps. Another benefit of is that the free space offered is largest of any provider, with users getting 15 GB with options to upgrade at a cost similar to most other providers.
The drawbacks to Google Drive though are that they do not offer unlimited space and after 1 TB, the costs get out of whack in comparison to other services. As well, the lack of ability to stream media and the lack of a standalone desktop app are drawbacks as it requires a web browser to access files on a computer.
If you are looking for just some space with ease of access to view and work on your files on mobile devices, Google Drive is your best choice.
Dropbox – Easy Access for All.
Dropbox may lack the space offered by other services, but it is easily the best choice if you are looking for an easy way to share files between friends or colleagues. Dropbox offers only a paltry 2 GB to free users, but the simplicity of file sharing gives it clear advantages especially if you work on collaborative projects. Another advantage that Dropbox has is its standalone app works on all platforms, including Linux.
The ease of sharing with Dropbox is offset by its limitations of the free space offered, as well, it has no tiers below 1 TB for 9.99, which means that unless you need a lot of space or really need the collaborative sharing, other services might be better values for you.
While its lack of flexibility in offerings can be considered a drawback, Dropbox’s ability to simply and quickly allow you to share files can be quite beneficial.
There is no one perfect cloud service, depending on your needs, budget, platforms and computer savvy what might be right for you will differ from what might be right for me. But with this information, you can go forward and find the best cloud hosting service for you and your needs.