The Best Cloud Services to Store Photos Online: Free & Paid

Published Categorized as Tips & Tricks
cloud storage

Stay on top with leading cloud services to safeguard your valuable photos.

Google Photos, once celebrated for its complimentary, limitless photo uploads, has recently altered its storage model. As of June 1, 2021, the platform introduced a revised policy, ceasing the free unlimited storage privilege. Under this new regime, while pre-existing images remain unaffected, any subsequent uploads will contribute to the 15 GB of free storage provided with each Google account— a quota shared among Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. Given that high-resolution photos consume more space, the allocated 15 GB can be quickly exhausted. For those requiring additional capacity, Google’s subscription-based service, Google One, presents a viable solution.

Fear not! Numerous alternative cloud storage services offer the convenience and security you desire. Let’s explore some of the finest options available:

iCloud: Convenient for Apple Users

As an Apple aficionado, you likely know about iCloud. Though its complimentary 5 GB storage is less than Google’s offering, Apple’s solution is dependable, safeguarding your photos in the cloud. This is invaluable when your phone’s memory is saturated with images and requires space clearance. iCloud syncs your data effortlessly across Apple devices, providing convenience to its users.

Key Features of iCloud:

  • 5 GB of free storage
  • Maximum storage of 2 TB for $9.99 per month
  • No support for RAW file storage
  • Default encryption for all data

OneDrive: Suitable for Microsoft Office Users

Microsoft OneDrive is an ideal choice for users of both Apple and Windows platforms. It enables the creation of photo albums and features an end-to-end encrypted Vault for secure storage of critical files and documents. Although the complimentary tier limits you to five files, an upgrade to the 6 TB plan is available for $1.99 per month.

Key Features of OneDrive:

  • 5 GB of free storage
  • Maximum storage of 6 TB for $99 per year
  • RAW file storage supported
  • AI-powered search function

Flickr: Professionals’ Favorite, Great for Sharing

Flickr is a leading social media platform where both amateur and professional photographers can showcase their best work. While it’s not ideal for storing an entire photo library due to limited private folder options, its ample storage space and social features enable easy sharing with friends or a broader audience. Flickr also displays detailed metadata, such as location, camera specifications, and settings used. Enthusiasts who opt for Flickr Pro enjoy seamless integration with Lightroom and Photoshop.

Key Features of Flickr:

  • Free storage for up to 1,000 photos
  • Unlimited storage for49.99 per year
  • RAW file storage supported
  • Ideal for sharing and displaying photos

Dropbox: Easy to Use and Configure

Prioritizing reliability and trustworthiness, Dropbox stands as a dependable option. The complimentary tier grants 2 GB of storage, but subscribing enhances your capacity to 3 TB for $16.48 monthly, including perks such as 180-day file recovery and watermarking. Dropbox ensures default encryption for your data and facilitates the intuitive management of shared or private folders and albums.

Key Features of Dropbox:

  • 2 GB of free storage
  • Maximum storage of 3 TB for $16.48 per month
  • RAW file storage supported
  • User-friendly interface and robust security

IDrive: Affordable for Large Storage Needs

For those seeking substantial storage without using Flickr, IDrive presents a cost-effective solution. Beyond the complimentary 5 GB, users can upgrade to a 5 TB plan at $74.62 annually. IDrive provides applications for iOS, Android, and Windows platforms, and accommodates RAW image formats. While it doesn’t feature end-to-end encryption akin to Microsoft’s Vault or pCloud, IDrive safeguards data with robust 256-bit encryption during transfer and storage.

Key Features of IDrive:

  • 5 GB of free storage
  • Maximum storage of 10 TB for $74.62 per year
  • RAW file storage supported
  • Affordable pricing for large storage needs

pCloud: E2E Encrypted for Top Security

pCloud distinguishes itself as an exceptionally secure platform, providing comprehensive end-to-end encryption to safeguard your data’s privacy. Offering a free trial with up to 10 GB of storage, pCloud features several subscription options, such as a 500 GB plan for approximately $9.99 per month. Although not tailored exclusively for photo storage, pCloud adeptly handles RAW images, rendering it an ideal solution for professional photographers.

Key Features of pCloud:

  • 10 GB of free storage
  • Maximum storage of 2 TB for around $95 per year
  • RAW file storage supported
  • Top-notch security with end-to-end encryption

Don’t Want to Store Your Images on the Cloud? Get an NAS

Opt for a network-attached storage (NAS) device for a secure and proximate permanent storage solution that remains beyond the reach of third-party providers. NAS integrates with your domestic or corporate network, granting you sovereign command of your data. Despite their modest spatial footprint, NAS devices ensure the safekeeping and ready availability of your photos and documents. The Synology DS220+, for instance, retails at $228 and boasts 32 TB capacity, encryption, backup capabilities, expandable RAM, and a personal multimedia server for streaming your content. Certain NAS models also facilitate remote file access, effectively mirroring cloud services.

Nothing Beats an Encrypted Backup

When selecting a cloud service or physical storage, prioritize the encryption of your files both in transit and at rest. For safeguarding your photos, consider using encrypted services such as pCloud or enabling encryption for online storage. Regular backups are imperative to avert data loss. Strengthen your online file security by establishing robust passwords, employing a password manager, and activating two-factor authentication for enhanced account defense.

Have you tried any of these cloud storage options? Share your experience in the comments below!

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