Cloud storage is something ever more useful and ever more popular, but there's also a ton to choose from.
Fortunately, most also have free trials, and any storage provider worth its salt is going to give you a few gigabytes of space for free anyway to try to get you to stick around.
Let's take a look at a few of the major cloud storage providers and see how pricing stacks up. We'll leave it up to you to pick your favorite, but this should give a good idea of what you'll pay, as of today.
It's worth noting, of course, that most cloud storage providers also give the opportunity to earn free space, either by spamming your friends with referral requests, or as part of a promotion with another company. Dropbox, for example, will give you up to 16GB free through various activities, including getting your buddies to sign up.
It's very much possible still to get enough cloud storage to suit your needs without spending a penny. So long as your needs are within certain boundaries.
Also, there are usually corporate pricing options, which may get you a buttload of space at your boss' expense, so it's worth asking about that, too. And services like Box have options for multiple users.
What follows here, however, is a breakdown of what it costs across some of the big players to get yourself a personal account. Each of these supports Windows Phone.
Article updated October 2016 ensuring pricing is up to date.
Dropbox is one of the staples of the cloud storage game and a name that most will be familiar with. Sadly it has one of the weakest free tiers you'll find anywhere, but you can bump that without charge by referring other people to sign up. One of the added bonuses to Dropbox is that many apps hook into it, meaning it's more than just your files that can live there. But be prepared for the fact you'll probably have to pay to get the most from it. But at 1TB for $9.99 it's no more expensive than Google Drive and you're getting decent value from it.
- 2GB - Free
- 1TB - $9.99/month
Microsoft's cloud storage offers a very compelling product at a decent price, as paying for 1TB you also get an Office 365 personal subscription. This allows you one install of Microsoft Office on a Mac or PC, use on a tablet or phone and some bundled Skype minutes. Not everyone will want or need this, but it does offer something the competition does not.
Microsoft doesn't offer the most when it comes to free storage, but its advantages start to shine through as you look for more in the paid tiers. While the prices below are monthly rates, it's possible to pre-pay should you go for the Office 365 options and save a little by buying yearly.
- 5GB - Free
- 50GB - $1.99/month
- 1TB - $6.99/month (Office 365 personal, one user
- 1TB - $9.99/month (Office 365 home, five users)
Box is probably more of a business tool than something you'll entrust your personal cloud files to, but it does offer a reasonable free tier along with mobile apps available across platforms. But when you start paying the value for money goes down substantially. 10 bucks a month for 100GB just isn't good enough.
- 10GB - Free
- 100GB - $10/month
If ever there was a red-headed step child of the cloud storage world, Mega would be it. What it promises is ultimate security with end-to-end encryption for your files and a whopping 50GB of free space to fill up when you set up an account.
It also offers a range of "Pro" paid up accounts with varying levels of storage and bandwidth allowances. But when it comes to free storage, nothing else comes close in terms of quantity.
- 50GB - Free
- 200GB - €4.99/month
- 500GB - €9.99/month
- 2TB - €19.99/month
- 4TB - €29.99/month
The bottom line
There's more to consider than just pricing. But, how much you get for how little is probably the first thing you're going to consider. And this should at least help you down that road.
So, what would we recommend? If you're looking at spending absolutely no money then you can't ignore Mega. It won't suit everyone, but if you want the most you can get for absolutely nothing, it's currently untouchable.
When it comes to paying up for more, Microsoft is still offering the best all-round value proposition. 1TB for $6.99 a month is as cheap as you can get from these choices. But throw in the Microsoft Office apps as well and you've got a superb package.
Aside from that, Box is really the only one we can't recommend. Its pricing just doesn't offer good enough value per gigabyte.