Google Drive alternatives: the best options compared

On April 24, 2012, Google released the Google Drive storage service, expanding its portfolio to include an in-house solution for storing a wide variety of files in the cloud. Today, more than a billion people worldwide use the Google service – both privately and for business. Find out what makes the cloud application so special, and which other online storage services are a good alternative to Google Drive.

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An overview of the best Google Drive alternatives compared

 

Launched

Server location

Free storage (max.)

Cost for 1-2 TB (monthly)

Google Drive

2012

Worldwide (included in Google Workspace)

15 gigabytes

2 TB: $10

Sync

2013

USA (Canada)

6 gigabytes

2 TB: $7

Dropbox

2008

USA; Germany, Austria, and Japan (for business users)

16 gigabytes

2 TB: $10

Your Secure Cloud

2014

Germany

Not available

1 TB: $50

HiDrive

2019

Germany

Not available

1 TB: $5
2 TB: $20

OneDrive

2007

Worldwide (for Microsoft 365 users in Germany)

5 gigabytes

1 TB: $7 (with Microsoft 365)

pCloud

2013

USA (Texas), Luxemburg

10 gigabytes

2 TB: $7

luckycloud

2017

Germany

Not available

1 TB: $60
2 TB: $100

Status: May 2021

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What makes Google Drive so great?

Google Drive has been a permanent fixture in the ranks of cloud storage for years, which is due to two factors in particular. On the one hand, the Google service convinces with its inexpensive rates for private and business users: If the generous free storage space of 15 gigabytes is not enough for you, you can increase the capacity of your account to 100 gigabytes for around $2 a month. For around $10 a month, you can even get two terabytes, or around 2,000 gigabytes of storage. On the other hand, one of Google Drive’s greatest strengths is its seamless integration into the Google account and the associated direct linking with various other Google apps, such as the Office applications from Google Workspace, formerly G Suite, Gmail, or Google Photos.

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The best Google Drive alternatives in detail

Google Drive has fast established itself as one of the most important cloud solutions for securing files. The service comes installed as standard on most Android devices and is also configured as the preferred solution for saving images and videos. If you don’t want to depend on Google for the storage of your files, then there are many other appealing and high-end alternatives to Google Drive on the cloud storage market. Some of the interesting options have been summarized for you in the below paragraphs.

Sync (sync.com)

The Google Drive alternative Sync is, according to the provider, the “most private and secure cloud storage service on the planet”. To this end, the Sync team relies, among other things, on end-to-end encryption, which, together with native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, ensures end-to-end encryption of the stored data. Regardless of the location of the user or company, compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is always guaranteed. Optionally, users can also set up two-factor authentication to provide additional protection for accessing storage.

As an individual user, you can use Sync free of charge: The Google Drive alternative grants access to five gigabytes of storage space by default, which can be optionally expanded by another gigabyte. The paid versions provide considerably more storage capacity: For example, you get two terabytes for $8 per month. If you want to share the storage with others, for example on a business basis, the “Teams” plans offer the right solution (starting at $5 per month and user).

Advantages Disadvantages
Very fast upload speed No desktop client for Linux systems
Cost-effective plans for private and business users  

Dropbox

Of course, the cloud storage veteran should not be missing in our list of top Google Drive alternatives. Since 2008, Dropbox has been offering its users the option of storing files online to access them anytime and anywhere and to take the strain off their own device. Since its early years, the service has been tailored to synchronizing files between different users – the Dropbox software, for example, makes collaborating on folders a breeze. With “Dropbox Paper”, the classic storage solution now also offers additional features for the digital workplace, such as scheduled meetings and a chat function.

If you start with the free version of Dropbox, you initially only have two gigabytes of storage space at your disposal. However, you can increase your quota in the free edition of this alternative to Google Drive to up to 16 gigabytes via a kind of reward system (refer a friend), which means Dropbox goes beyond what Google offers in this category. More storage is available with the paid plans for individuals (starting at two terabytes for $10 a month) and businesses (starting at five terabytes for $10 per month and user).

A detailed look at and comparison of the two established storage solutions is provided in our article “Dropbox vs. Google Drive”.

Advantages Disadvantages
Team with years of cloud storage experience Dropbox has dealt with some security gaps in the past
Made for shared saving and managing of files from several users Expansion of the standard very small free storage quota (two gigabytes) very costly

Your Secure Cloud

If data security and data protection are more important to you in a Google Drive alternative, then Your Secure Cloud is an interesting option. The cloud service from the German-based Your Secure Cloud GmbH promises maximum protection for your data. For this, the company not only relies on the server location in Germany (ISO-27001 certified), but also on intelligent end-to-end encryption based on a SSL/TLS certificate from Switzerland. Your data is encrypted on the client side (AES-256) as well as on the server at all times. For access, you can either use the simple web interface or the practical desktop clients for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Mobile apps for iOS and Android are also available.

You can test the cloud service Your Secure Cloud as an alternative to Google Drive for 14 days. After that, however, you have to choose one of the paid plans in order to continue using the online storage – the German company does not offer a free basic version like Google Drive or other alternatives. While private users can choose between 10, 50, and 100 gigabytes (approx. $2.50/$5/$8 per month), business customers must either opt for the business plan ($4 per month and user) or request an individualized service package.

Advantages Disadvantages
Server location and company headquarters in Germany No free version available
Customized branding and support for companies Comparably expensive for private users

HiDrive

IONOS offers an interesting alternative to Google Drive with HiDrive, which, among other things, is defined by its server location in Germany. AES-256 encryption, two-factor authentication, and fully automatic backup round off the comprehensive security package offered by the online storage. As is typical for the industry, users can access their data via a cross-platform web application or via a client app. The latter is available for the Windows and Linux desktop systems and for Android and iOS mobile operating systems. If you want to access the storage in a team, you can use the user administration to individually control which user should have which rights.

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HiDrive storage packages are aimed at both private individuals and companies, although a free version is not offered, as is the case with many other Google Drive alternatives. However, those looking for online storage for private use will still get their money’s worth with the Basic offer (100 gigabytes) for $1.50 per month or the Essential package (250 gigabytes) for $3 per month. The latter option even grants up to three different users’ access to the storage. Business plans with much higher storage quotas (from 1 terabyte) for a larger number of users are also available.

Advantages Disadvantages
Server location and company headquarters in Germany No free version available
Very user-friendly (also in terms of shared use of the storage)  

HiDrive Cloud Storage with IONOS!

Based in Europe, HiDrive secures your data in the cloud so you can easily access it from any device!

Highly secure
Shared access
Available anywhere

OneDrive

Back in 2007, software giant Microsoft released its in-house version of a file hosting service – at that time still called SkyDrive. The service, now known as OneDrive, has been one of the most important cloud storage options for years and is one of the most popular Google Drive alternatives worldwide. As with its Google counterpart, the direct link to Office applications also distributed by Microsoft – in this case Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. – plays an important role. So, anyone who works with the Microsoft suite for private or business purposes also has a perfectly integrated storage solution at hand with OneDrive.

OneDrive can be used as a simple storage solution for home use or as comprehensive cloud storage for companies of any size. Private users can choose between the free edition with five gigabytes of storage capacity, subscriptions for individuals (from 100 gigabytes for $2 per month) or the complete package including a full office suite for one to six people (from $7 per month). Microsoft offers paid business plans with a wide range of services and either one terabyte (per user) or unlimited storage for as little as $5 per user and month.

Advantages Disadvantages
Seamless link with the Microsoft Office suite Storage capacity of the free edition with five gigabytes rather modest
Personal safe for sensitive data International server locations

pCloud

According to a statement, pCloud is “Europe’s most secure cloud storage”. Users who choose the Swiss company’s services store their files in an EU-compliant approach on servers in Luxembourg (Texas is also available as an optional server location). During and after transfer to pCloud storage, all data is secured by 256-bit AES encryption. Optionally, an additional client-side protection can be activated with pCloud Encryption, which encrypts files that are already on your local device. Access is available via the industry-standard web app in the browser or using native clients for Windows, macOS, and Linux, as well as the Android and iOS mobile operating systems.

Users of the free pCloud edition initially start with three gigabytes of storage, which can, however, be upgraded to up to ten gigabytes through various steps such as uploading a file or verifying the email address. If that’s not enough, the annual “Premium” plan (500 gigabytes for around $40 per years) and “Premium Plus” (2 terabytes for around $90 per year) subscriptions are available for a fee, and both are also available as “lifetime” solutions. For companies, the storage service also proves to be an excellent alternative to Google Drive: The business tariff (3 users or more) grants access to one terabyte of account storage per user, with costs of around $10 per person per month.

Advantages Disadvantages
Server located in the EU; Swiss data security Storage quota in the standard business package with 1 terabyte not sufficient for every company
Client-side encryption possible  

Google Workspace with IONOS

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Video conferencing
Mobile working
File sharing

luckycloud

The Google Drive alternative luckycloud puts the focus on security and flexibility. For example, the security package relies on 256-bit AES encryption, two-factor authentication, and features such as Remote Wipe, which lets you remotely delete files on lost mobile devices locally. ISO-27001-certified, fail-safe data centers in Germany ensure comprehensive data protection (GDPR-compliance). Flexibility on the user side is ensured by the option of determining or scaling the size of the leased storage individually: The capacity can be increased or decreased in smaller or larger steps at any time, so that in the best-case scenario you do not have to use and pay for superfluous services.

If you are looking for a free alternative to Google Drive, you will not find a suitable solution in luckycloud, because the service is only available to paying users after the 14-day free trial period. The plans for private users start with three gigabytes for $1 per month, but you can adjust the capacities to your individual needs via a slider – for example, you can get 200 gigabytes for around $10. Business and Enterprise plans for teams of up to 10,000 or more users give each user access to 100 gigabytes of storage by default, with $5 and $8 per user per month respectively. In these packages, cloud storage is also supplemented by various additional features such as premium support or user roles.

Advantages Disadvantages
Server location in Germany No free basic version available
Storage capacity can be customized and scaled at any time Comparable expensive for private users

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