Cloud storage will soon be cheaper

Online storage in comparison (2021): 13 cloud services in the test

Online storage under test

You can comfortably share and edit data stored in online services. We have tested all of the major cloud storage systems and choose the test winner in comparison.

 
  1. Google Drive 2. Apple iCloud 3. pCloud 4. Amazon Photos 5. Tresorit 6. Microsoft OneDrive 7. Google Photos 8. Strato HiDrive 9. Dropbox 10. GMX / Web.de Cloud 11. Huawei Mobile Cloud 12. MagentaCloud 13. Samsung Cloud
deals
Storage in the free version
Storage in the free version
15 GB
Storage in the free version
5 GB
Storage in the free version
10 GB
Storage in the free version
5 GB
Storage in the free version
3 GB
Storage in the free version
5 GB
Storage in the free version
15 GB
Storage in the free version
✘ No.
Storage in the free version
2 GB
Storage in the free version
4 GB
Storage in the free version
5 GB
Storage in the free version
3 GB
Storage in the free version
5 GB
positive
  • Edit files together
  • Backup function
  • Basic version with large storage capacity
  • security
  • Inexpensive memory upgrades
  • Unlimited photo storage for Prime members
  • Image management options
  • Many different security mechanisms
  • Support of all common platforms
  • Easily share files
  • Remote deletion in the event of device loss or theft
  • Great price-performance ratio in the Office 365 subscription
  • Version histories can be accessed online
  • Image analysis
  • Easy sharing
  • Up to 3 terabytes of memory on request
  • Protocol diversity and security
  • TÜV-certified German servers
  • (Alexa skill)
  • security
  • Lots of sharing options
  • Additional features of the mobile apps
  • Connection to Microsoft and Google
  • Online office
  • Safe function
  • Access via web browser
  • data backup
  • 25 GB storage for Telekom customers
  • Share links can be protected with a password
  • data backup
  • Free basic version
negative
  • Link sharing with slightly fewer features than competition
  • Office functions are only compatible with Microsoft to a limited extent
  • Most powerful on Apple devices
  • Folder sharing only for recipients with an Apple account
  • Partly confusing operation
  • No collaborative work on documents
  • No classic cloud storage
  • Amazon Drive relics
  • Differences in the range of functions depending on the tariff
  • No joint live editing of files
  • Only 5 GB of free storage
  • Real-time editing delay
  • Partly error messages during upload
  • Upload hooks on iOS
  • Google could gain a lot of (personal) data from image analysis
  • Additional functions quickly become expensive
  • Maue photo management
  • No document editing
  • Not enough free storage
  • Bad price-performance ratio of the plus version
  • No working together in the online office
  • Missing macOS version
  • Comparatively high prices
  • Backup content cannot be specified
  • Missing sharing function
  • Drive folder of no use
  • Bad software
  • Moderate security
  • Minimum contract term
  • Photo functions
  • Drive
  • No access to content outside of the Samsung ecosystem
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Falling prices in (mobile) data transmission make cloud storage attractive and functional: Thanks to these online services, your data can be accessed anywhere on any device and protected against loss with only minimal investment. We have tested the major providers of appropriate Internet storage and compare the best services. But how did we go about it?

How do we test cloud storage?

When testing different clouds, we followed a practical test scheme. This means that we evaluate the various providers as if we wanted to set up a cloud ourselves. How much storage space does the respective service offer, on how many devices can it be accessed and how secure is my data?

This is how we test

Our testers first get an overview of the market and analyze all possible online services. In addition to market-leading providers, smaller representatives are also taken into account. From this multitude of services, the relevant offers from the editor's point of view are individually tested and the test results are compared. In addition, we hold background discussions with developers, representatives and users in order to be able to assess the service of the providers.

From a total of 18 providers, we tested 13 cloud providers using this procedure. In this comparison test, in addition to the winners of the comparison, we also list additional information that you should consider when setting up cloud storage.

What is online storage?

Online storage stores your files on the Internet so that you can access them from anywhere - regardless of the device you are using. Using software or an app, your content can also be automatically synchronized across devices via cloud storage. This is not only practical, but also protects against data loss. In addition, there is usually a limited storage capacity free of charge, capacity expansions are achieved with a monthly or annual subscription.

Data saved in this way is also particularly easy to share with third parties: almost all cloud storage facilities allow you to generate a link that you only have to send using the route of your choice. Recipients can then easily access shared content.

What other functions are there?

Some providers also allow shared documents to be edited together in real time in the browser. They provide their own text editors for this purpose, in which you can not only work on content yourself, but also see live what changes others are making. Other providers, on the other hand, offer exciting functions of photo management in online storage. In our tests, we go into these features and evaluate how well they have been implemented.

Where are your files stored - and are they safe there?

Some interested parties might be uncomfortable with the feeling that their own - often very personal - data from cloud services could be stored "somewhere on the Internet" and potentially used in undesired ways. Some German providers play into this concern by advertising that, unlike their competitors, they are bound by the strict German data protection regulations.

In fact, the same European data protection rules apply to German providers as to non-European providers - because the law is not based on the location of the service provider, but on the customer's location. Microsoft and Google, with their products available in the European Economic Area, are bound by the same rules as Strato and Telekom. Incidentally, the large (US) technology companies often decide to simply apply EU law to their entire global operations anyway, because it is cheaper to follow a uniform (strictest) standard than to adapt products regionally in terms of data protection law.

In principle, all providers are also obliged to save your data on servers that are physically located within the European Economic Area - whether they advertise with it or not. Transfers to areas outside Europe are possible, but only with the prior consent of the EU. The EU will only do this if it has convinced itself that European data protection standards are also complied with in the destination country of the transfer - for example by concluding corresponding agreements with foreign governments.

In addition, almost all providers now rely on modern encryption techniques that protect your data extensively from unauthorized access. So-called AES-256-bit encryption, which is considered to be extremely secure, is usually used here. We go into the security standards of the individual providers separately in our respective test reports. In principle, two-factor authentication is also recommended for logging into your cloud storage. This protects you from compromised login data.

Basically, the risk of data loss due to a defect or loss of your computer is usually many times greater than any security and data protection concerns, provided the cloud storage is used properly.

Is a paid subscription worth it?

In most cases, more data in the cloud also means more advantages: On the computer, synchronization of all relevant data leads to the end of the need for manual backups on USB sticks, hard drives and the like, and on smartphones and tablets, storage bottlenecks can occur Be a thing of the past by moving photos and videos to the cloud. All that remains on the mobile device is a compressed copy. In addition, all synchronized content is always easily accessible from any device.

Anyone who uses cloud services in the form described will soon reach the capacity limit of free offers. With an investment of two to three euros per month, however, you can rent enough capacity from many providers for intensive cloud use. Some providers also activate extended functions in the premium subscription. A corresponding investment can be absolutely worthwhile depending on your own requirements.

However, such a subscription is by no means mandatory. Anyone who restricts synchronization to office documents, for example, can easily get by with the usual five gigabytes of free storage space - and can also enjoy the convenient synchronization of text files, presentations and more between work computer, home PC and Co. But now we come to that our test winners.

The best free offer: Google Drive

Google Drive
Storage capacity and upgrades

Lots of storage for little money

Google Drive fulfills all the core functions of a cloud service and also offers powerful additional features. Google integrates the joint processing of documents into the cloud service in an exemplary manner, and “Photos” scores with the automation of photo management. Thanks to 15 GB of storage space, the service is particularly impressive in the free segment.

  • Edit files together
  • Backup function
  • Basic version with large storage capacity
  • Link sharing with slightly fewer features than competition
  • Office functions are only compatible with Microsoft to a limited extent
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In the free services segment, Google Drive offers the best overall package. With 15 gigabytes, the service offers an above-average storage capacity. Drive also works very solidly and is particularly impressive with its own office suite, in which you can create and edit documents extremely smoothly in real time together with others.

Further details on the offer can be found in the detailed test report or our comparison of free cloud storage.

A subscription is worthwhile here: Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive
Storage capacity and upgrades

Good thanks to the Office package

Anyone who can use a Microsoft Office license will find cloud storage with an excellent price-performance ratio in the Office 365 subscription. However, points are deducted for the almost unusually slow real-time processing of documents with several users and for sporadic errors during file uploads.

  • Great price-performance ratio in the Office 365 subscription
  • Version histories can be accessed online
  • Only 5 GB of free storage
  • Real-time editing delay
  • Partly error messages during upload
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With OneDrive, Microsoft is making full use of its own strengths: The company integrates cloud storage into its own office package. If you need a lot of storage space in the cloud, you will find an excellent price-performance ratio at Microsoft: For 69 euros per year you not only get one terabyte of online storage space, but also an Office 365 subscription including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Co.

A special case: Apple iCloud

Apple iCloud
Storage capacity and upgrades

Mandatory purchase for Apple users

Thanks to the photo library and reliable data backups, iCloud is an ideal addition to iOS and macOS devices. "Drive" is a welcome addition that is now as flexible as the competition from Google. The investment is particularly worthwhile for Apple users.

  • Most powerful on Apple devices
  • Folder sharing only for recipients with an Apple account
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In general, the cloud storage systems presented so far are ideally suited for use on Apple devices. With the iCloud, however, the company offers its own service that complements the iPhone, iPad and Mac in a unique way. No other provider offers you such a seamless connection between your device and the cloud. A look at the iCloud can therefore not harm any Apple customer. In addition: There is nothing wrong with using two cloud services in parallel.

For a particularly high level of security

As already mentioned, cloud storage can generally be regarded as very secure. For some particularly important documents - such as password lists or sensitive business documents - it is understandable that you want to rely on the highest possible level of security. Among other things, the Boxcryptor tool is suitable for this. This is compatible with almost all cloud storage devices and encrypts your data end-to-end before you upload it to the cloud. This creates an extremely strong additional layer of security.

Boxcryptor

To ensure that your data in the cloud is safe from outside access, we recommend using a service such as "Boxcryptor". The software encrypts your data and supports all common cloud storage devices.

We have also tested a number of providers who already have particularly strong end-to-end encryption technologies by default. We were particularly impressed by pCloud and Tresorit. Both offer extremely strong security features that should be sufficient for almost any situation. Both services are also free of charge in the basic version.

Relieve your own computer: These services are also cloud-based

With cloud storage, your files are usually first on your PC and then you upload them to the online storage. With films and series, however, you don't even need to save them on your PC, because providers such as Netflix and Amazon make films available for you to watch in the cloud. But streaming doesn't just work with films.

Music streaming services such as Spotify follow a similar concept. With premium services like Amazon Music HD you don't even have a difference in quality compared to digitizing CDs. Cloud solutions are becoming more and more popular and even video games get support from servers or store the computing power completely in data centers. Google Stadia and Shadow are two game streaming services that you can start using right now.