Welcome to About Cloud Storage. This site that has been set up with the sole aim of helping you find the very best cloud storage solution for your needs.
With the growing popularity of cloud storage services these days it’s becoming ever more difficult to decide not only which is the best cloud storage provider but also which are the most cost effective.
As you’ll find out on this site, deciding on a cloud storage provider can be as complicated as trying to select a mortgage or credit card with a surprising range of different products and pricing models.
In other words making an informed decision about your needs can be rather challenging and of course every competitor claims that they’re the best.
In light of this, About Cloud Storage has been set up to be a useful free guide for anyone currently considering investing in an online backup service. Dive into our wealth of articles, our handy comparison charts and our detailed cloud storage reviews to give you the confidence to make an informed, educated decision about exactly which solution is going to be best for your needs.
What Is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is a way to store important computer files in an off-site location; namely on an online storage company’s server.
While some free solutions are on the market most cloud storage services charge a small monthly fee in order to maintain your account.
These maintenance fees typically go towards backing up and protecting your sensitive personal files as well as developing new cloud storage software to make your experience even more enjoyable and reliable.
In general cloud storage accounts are fully encrypted, with only the account owner having access to the files uploaded. This feature serves to protect your files from prying eyes adding ensure that only you have access to your computer files.
To all intents and purposes, once you have installed your cloud storage software for the first time then using a cloud storage account functions just like saving files to your own hard drive but with a number of additional benefits not found by saving files locally.
The Benefits Of Cloud Storage
Online storage companies have gained significantly in popularity as both unmetered broadband and generous cell phone data plans have become commonplace.
As the speed of Internet connections improves while the cost of accessing the web continue to drop, cloud storage is becoming an ever-more practical solution to many common computing problems.
There are four main benefits that the best cloud storage solutions offer to all their customers which can make your computing experience safer, easier and more enjoyable…
Live Backups Of Files
When you install cloud storage software on your computer your files will be automatically backed up to your account whenever you connect to the Internet. In this way should you ever be unlucky enough to suffer a loss of data either as a result of a computer malfunction, theft or even an unfortunate accident you can feel confident that restoring all your important files can be both quick and simple.
In most cases, the process simply involves downloading another copy of the software they have been using and then clicking the “restore” button whereupon all their files will download once again from the Internet to their computer.
For those who need to back up huge numbers of files, some of the best cloud storage solutions will even send you out a CD Rom or external hard drive containing all your files to save the time it would take to download all these files over the Internet.
However be aware that it’s not just the fact that these files are stored and backed up that is so powerful; they are also updated live. In the past, backing up a computer generally involved saving important files to an external hard drive or a CD Rom; a process that was manual and time-intensive. Every time you created a new document or changed an old one your backup became out-dated.
Because of this issue, backing up your computer to a cloud storage is really the only real practical solution to this common problem. By selecting one of the best cloud storage accounts available you’ll find that the moment you update any file on your computer these changes will be instantly reflected on your backup, meaning that no matter what should happen to your personal computer you can feel confident that a system restore is both simple and worry-free.
Unlimited Storage Space
Every home computer has only a limited amount of memory to store files on.
Memory-intensive files like video and audio can quickly eat through your memory allowance, forcing difficult decisions about which files to keep and which to delete in order to fit everything onto your computer.
In contrast to this, the best cloud storage solutions have virtually unlimited capacity for storage. You simply need to select which account size is most appropriate for your needs and of course you can upgrade your storage account at any time to facilitate new files.
A small number of online backup providers even offer unlimited cloud storage accounts; perfect for those people who don’t want to worry about file size limits.
This means that no longer will you need to make difficult decisions about what files to keep; you can simply upload the lot to your cloud storage account and rest easy. Even better, many of the most popular accounts will even store unlimited versions of each file so that every time you save a document a new version is created. This can be a life-saver if you realize you just made a mistake with a file and saved it over another.
Increased Computer Speed
The way in which file storage can be “outsourced” to your online backup account can also help to keep your computer lean and fast. Since each computer only has so much memory, storing large memory-sucking files in an external location helps to speed up your computer and allow it to focus on everyday operations rather than on document storage.
Access Files From Anywhere
Whilst not all online backup providers offer this service, many of the best cloud storage services enable you to access your files from any Internet-connected device.
This means that even when you’re away from your home or work computer you’ll still be able to easily gain access to your files and a number of software applications will even let you access, modify and save your documents directly from your smart phone. Blackberry and iPhone users are arguably best serviced, though there are options for those with Android and Symbian phones.
How Cloud Storage Software Works
Cloud storage software works on a simple set-and-forget model. Typically after registering with a reliable service provider you will be given access to download their own bespoke software onto your computer. As stated previously, mobile applications may also be available depending on the provider you select.
Once you have installed your cloud storage software some initial setup will be required. While the exact process varies from provider to provider most commonly this involves setting up a unique username and password to access your online storage account, creating some simple “rules” about which folders or file types you would like automatically backed up, and how often you would like these backups to occur.
For the best levels of safety and security it is generally advisable to back up all files – even those of your operating system and software applications if possible rather than just your photos, videos and text documents.
Additionally, whilst continual backup may slow down your computer slightly because the software runs in the background checking for new files and uploading these to your account, it is often a compromise worth making as it ensures that your online backup is always up to date and reflects your latest file changes.
Once this initial setup is complete the cloud storage software will begin to upload all your files to your secure backup area. This initial process may take several hours to several days if you have plenty of files to upload, but once this is done the first time, supplementary uploads take a matter of moments and happen in the background while carrying on your normal computer use.
After the initial installation, setup and the upload of your hard drive contents the hard work is all but over. Simply ensure that you keep paying your monthly bills and all your files will be saved securely for ever more without you needing to take any further action.
The software you’re running will then follow the rules you’ve set, keeping your computer files safe and secure at all times and making backups to any new files you create or existing files tht you modify.
How Much Does Cloud Storage Cost?
The cost of cloud storage differs considerably based on a range of factors such as the size of the storage account that you need, the company that you use and how many computers you would like covered by their system.
Generally the costs of cloud storage are surprisingly reasonable with some of the best cloud storage companies charging as little as $5-10 per month, though discounts are often available when subscribing for longer periods of time (such as paying for 12 months cover upfront rather than paying on a month-by-month basis).
Most companies won’t tie you into a contract and you have little or no commitment so are free to jump from one service to another if you find a better deal. That said, remember that the initial setup process can take considerable time so settling for one of the better accounts initially is a decision worth putting some time and effort into.
How To Select The Best Cloud Storage
Let’s be honest here; there are a lot of different cloud storage and online backup companies about so selecting the best cloud storage solution can be a pretty daunting task at the best of times.
Over the last few years we’ve not only tested dozens of different online backup providers but we’ve also helped a huge range of other people to select a company that they’re happy with and realistically it seems that choosing the best cloud storage account for your needs really comes down to two distinct elements that should be used in combination.
The first of these elements is to get an understanding of what the differences are between the various cloud storage companies. What sets one apart from another? While there are features that many competitors in the market offer, there can also be subtle differences between them that can make each provider more or less suitable for your individual situation.
For example some providers won’t automatically back up videos. Some won’t back up your software or operating system but instead focus purely on individual document backups. Some offer mobile apps, some offer unlimited accounts and so on.
By not only learning about the various features that are on offer, and then making a fair assessment of your own situation then you’ll quickly be able to narrow down the list of potential providers from dozens to just a limited number of providers that seem to offer all the features you’re seeking – at a price that seems reasonable to you.
The second element is really to examine third-party cloud storage reviews, such as the ones we publish from time to time on this site, in order to gain a fair assessment of which providers are really offering the type of support and customer service that you expect.
After all, if you’re trusting a company with your personal files – and they’re your “backup plan” if anything goes wrong with your computer then examining features isn’t enough; you really need to gain first-hand knowledge from people already using their services in order to ensure that they really do deliver on their promises.
By making a fair analysis of the features that are most useful to you, and then comparing these to feature-lists and first-person cloud storage reviews it should become a relatively simple task to make an informed decision about the best cloud storage provider for your own circumstances.