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Using Online Storage - Top Service Offerings

written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/5/2010

If you want to move your files to the Internet, there are many websites offering their basic services for free. In our article we will review the six top free online storage sites and compare their services.

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    Introduction

    Why would you want to move your files to the Internet? Backup? Safety? Sharing? Anywhere access? No matter which one you choose, storing files on the Internet, or cloud storage if you will, will give you all the comfort that I have counted above.

    Although the cloud services are relatively new in people's time, but in the “teenage" period of Internet time, we have seen many companies offering many features, but then closing all their services. One of them is AOL-backed X-Drive, which stopped all its services in January, 2009.

    You might see other services on the Internet offering online storage solutions. Some of them are still not mature enough, such as Microsoft Live Space (you can't create subfolders and there is no file history), and others of them still stand. I have chosen the ones that are still standing in online storage area (as of today, of course), but frankly, I have left out Microsoft Live Space for now.

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    Comparison

    I have taken ADrive, Orbitfiles, Esnips, Box.Net, Humyo and Dropbox for comparison. You can see the comparison and features of the websites below:Online Storage Sites Comparison Encryption 

    Out of all these, Box.Net seems to be more business-oriented than user oriented. Therefore the free option comes with 1 Gigabyte and the professional services are overpriced compared to the other sites. Among these services Orbitfiles offer unlimited space for USD 5 per month and allows uploading of 1 gigabyte files as a filesize limit. This premium plan is unmatched with the other service providers. ADrive offers 50 GB for USD 6.95 per month, Box.Net offers 15 GB for USD 19.95 per month, Humyo offers 100 GB for USD 19.95 and Dropbox offers 50 GB for USD 9.99 per month.

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    Conclusion

    In this picture of free online storage options, the first looks can be deceiving as always. When you upload your files to one provider, it is very hard to move everything to another. When you are choosing your free online storage provider, I recommend you to think about the following:

    • Can I trust this website? What if they announce closing of all their services?
    • Can I host my files on different providers, such as files to ADrive and Pictures to Picasa?
    • What if I want to upgrade to premium services one day?
    • What is my monthly bandwidth for downloading my files?
    • Does the site offer file recovery and allow me to recover my deleted/changed files?
    • What is the maximum file size that I can upload?
    • Are they any additional benefits?

    You may also be wondering about the security issues, but I can assure you that the companies know what they are doing and have their means to provide security. My only advice is to keep your private photos away from the Internet and your computer; back them up to an external hard disk or CD/DVDs. You would not want your very personal photos to be available on a file hosting site whatever the reason.