Best Free Online Backup



Do you know when the absolute worst time to think about backups is? It’s the moment when the tech support guy tells you your hard drive has died and your data is lost.

The free online backup services will save your files off-site to the cloud. If your hard drive crashes, your files are not lost. Your first line of defense should be an external hard drive to back up your hard drive or a jump drive for your documents.

An online backup provides 24/7 access to your files from any Internet connected computer, smartphone or tablet devices. Data storage in the cloud is one of the quickest means to data archiving and recovery.

One error that the free online backups will not help is recovery of a file a split second after you delete that important presentation or cherished photo. Most free services do not save deleted files but write over the old file.

One possible strategy is to use several free sites. Use one site for photos, a second for general documents and a third site with pre-upload and post-download encryption for your financial documents and other documents you want to keep private.

Read also Requirements to Judge the Online Backup at the end of this page.


Rated Products

There are a number of products and vendors that promise you online data storage and backup. Here are my recommendations:


An online backup with pre-file-transfer encryption and long term reliability

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Files can be located any place on you computer. Does have pre/post file transfer encryption. It has versioning.
Only 5 GB of Storage; Not well known.
Read full review...

Google Drive  

An established and well-known cloud service gives you a large amount of free storage

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
15 GB of Storage; Easy to install and use; Automatically syncs files.
No file encryption; All files have to be in the Google Drive folder.
Read full review...


Access, backup and share files on PC, Mac, Android and iOS

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
25 GB of Online Storage for old subscribers or 7 GB if you are a new subscriber; User files on your hard drive will automatically sync with OneDrive.
No encryption; All files to be synchronized must be located in the OneDrive folder on your PC.
Read full review...


One of the well-known online storage and file sync services

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Quick and light, file syncing between most desktops and mobile devices.
Limited small free storage, folder for syncing must be created.
Read full review...

Other Online Backups

Other online backup services which are not rated:

  • ADrive: After testing for the past month, ADrive meets one of three off-line backup requirements. The storage size is very large at 50 GB. The downside is that it does not sync files. Longevity of the free service needs to be proven.

Dropped from the list:

  • Windows Live Mesh: Microsoft dropped it in favor of OneDrive exclusively.
  • Bee Cloud ceased operation in March 2012.
  • CX: The terms of service has changed, therefore it is no longer free. Existing users can keep their free account with certain condition, but new users have a 15/30 day trials.
  • Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail: not really back up systems.

NB: Do you have a great free online backup solution? If so, then tell us about it in the comments section.


Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:


Requirements to Judge the Online Backup

The requirements to judge the online backup are listed below:

  • Storage Size: More free storage is obviously better. Our photo files are larger and we are taking more photos. This requires more storage.

  • Document Synchronization: Documents and files created or changed need to automatically be uploaded to the Cloud.

  • Long Term Reliability of the Site: Will your files be there available a year from now, five years from now? This is subjective. If I have heard of the service before I became editor of this category or one of our readers makes a compelling argument, the site will be considered reliable.

  • Security: It should be assumed that security is minimal for the free sites. If the files you upload will not be encrypted, there's nothing to stop someone from looking at your files. This includes law enforcement officials who can serve papers from a judge requesting copies of your files. The services I have checked do not have encryption on the fly. Spideroak has pre-egress or pre-internet security. Your files are encrypted before they are uploaded.

  • File Location: Ideally the files should be able to be located any place on your hard drive. Instead many online backup services require a special folder to be created. All your files will have to be stored in that folder. Also, the files will have to be stored on the local drive and copied to the online service.

  • Ease of Use: The service should be menu driven and intuitive when selecting the files and folders to be backed up. These are two primary ways to do this:

    1. The first way is the service creates a folder and all the files in the folder are backed up. OneDrive does it this way. It creates a OneDrive folder and everything in this folder is backed up.

    2. The second way is you select folders or files inside the program. Using Spideroak, a tree of your files and folders is displayed and you select the files/folders to back-up by clicking a check box.


Other Thoughts

While 2 GB seems to be about the standard when this section first started. Now it is hardly enough. 2GB is roughly equivalent to 250,000 text emails, or 300 songs, or 250 pictures. We all have more the 250 pictures and will run out of space using only a 2 GB of storage.

Since this web site is all about free software, etc., I suggest using two online backup services. Use the sites with pre file transfer encryption for your important documents such as tax returns, then use OneDrive for photos. OneDrive has 7 GB. If you were lucky enough to have had OneDrive before they changed their service, you may have 25 GB of storage.

Besides the storage capacity, the ability to quickly get your data and long term service are other key factors to consider. Some of the above recommendations do not have proven track records but well known companies are likely able to provide long term service for you. Your data should be available and controllable by you. Being able to move your data from one provider to another or even duplicate it amongst providers for redundant backups are also key considerations when choosing a cloud storage solution. The first four suggestions above offer quick accessibility and easy exporting of the data so that you can take to another provider should the need occur.

Finally, regardless of the method or type of backup, whether online, disk to disk, imaging, CD / DVD copying, or floppies (hopefully not!), having a recent backup of your data will ensure that you never have to face that dreaded split second after your data gets ruined.



This software category is in need of an editor. If you would like to give something back to the freeware community by taking it over, check out this page for more details. You can then contact us from that page or by clicking here.

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Dropbox is now limited to three devices.
There is no indication that your files have NOT been backed up - for whatever reason.

Just got word from the people at Mozy that Mozy Home (free) will be discontinued by the company owner (Carbonite) effective 15 April 2019 and on that date free accounts will be deleted.

Confirming that Mozy is gone forever. Former Mozy customers were given the opportunity to purchase Carbonite storage at a discount back in April 2019. Mozy should be removed from the article on next revision.

With the increasingly cheap(er) prices of drives these days, I fail to see the the point of backing up to "The Cloud" (which is a sales pitch term aimed at city slickers prospecting for gold in them thar hilz, the cloud has always been there) when you could dig a hole in your backyard to put them in and they'd be safer than anyplace in "The Cloud". For the "Cloud Traveler" that's never home and needs the automated safety and security offered by the "Company's" backup solution, you can bet your ex-wife will dig a hole for you ... for free.
What, you say your still married,
get your girlfriend to do it then.

For me, a true backup solution is one that fully satisfies your "File Location" criterion by letting me back up files and folders in place rather than forcing me to dump them into the backup application's dedicated virtual black hole. I am amazed at how many online articles on online backup fail even to mention this criterion. Online storage is not the same thing as online backup. When you get an editor for this category, perhaps he or she could take a look at Syncplicity (10GB free) and Memopal (3GB free).

References to SpiderOak are outdated. As far as I can tell, there is no free option: just a "free" 2GB 60-day trial. See:

Thank you for pointing this out. The article is currently in need of an editor.

pCloud is another great service with Unlimited File Size,Unlimited Upload and Download Speed.

This looks pretty good ... standard storage space is 10Gb which can rise to a maximum of 20Gb for free accounts by jumping through the usual hoops (install desktop client, like on FB, recruit other users, etc etc).

I like the site ... for me, general site navigation and media playback are noticeably smoother than they are on Mediafire and DL/UL speeds seem fast.

I wouldn't trust it yet with anything important but for general file sharing etc it certainly looks like a keeper.

Thanks for the post.

I may have missed it but, is there a reason SPEED is not factored in to the equation. I just uploaded a 2+GB file to mediafire and got 2.1-2.6MB/s upload speed which maxed my connection out - D - 25MB/s and
U - 2.5MB/s. It actually surprised me being a free 12GB
storage and an upload size of 20GB per file, with a free account you must log in 1 time per year to keep your files from being deleted.

Since June 2014 OneDrive has been giving 15 GB free on signup. Also, Wuala doesn't appear to be free anymore.

You should put MEGA on the list. You get 50gb of free storage and it is encrypted. You can also access from any device, at any time.


Thanks for the article and for updating it! (BTW, you should remove Wuala as it's not free anymore).
I just want to *warn* all users about free clouds! Remember, clouds are volatile!
I started using these cloud programs years ago (march 2011 with SugarSync and a bit earlier with DropBox). It was awesome as a new tool. Very handy when you need to sync several PCs (or devices), need to have your data available all the time, and so on. I’ve recommended tens of people (friends and clients) to them spreading the word. Some of my referrals even went commercial.
But humans tend to be greedy. And humans tend to be unethical. I’m not generalizing, it’s a nature fact! I was naïve and thought that any company that offer you something free will maintain the free product. Wrong! Chances are that if you pick a small company, they will stab you in the back in the worst manner and the worst time. SugarSync did that and removed free accounts and instead they moved you to a 90 days trial. They even hid that in the small letters so you mistakenly thought “it’s free”. So I ran away and looked for an alternative: Wuala. I thought "Hey, this is a LaCie company! They’re based on Switzerland! They must be trustworthy”. Wrong again! First they removed the possibility to create NEW free accounts and maintained the existing free ones. So I thought “I was right, this is a good company you can put your files on”. And then, again, removed the EXISTING free accounts, so I have to move again before Dec 31.
Come on guys! Again? Please! Be serious! Don’t offer for free something if you plan to change it! That’s macabre! Let me say two more things from these guys: SugarSync told me in a mail “Making this change is something we’ve planned for a while. It will allow us to serve you better and add services and features that will help SugarSync users get more from the service”. What??? “[…]something we’ve planned for a while”? When? When you started offering “free”? I think that the word isn’t “free” but “demo”, or “test”, or something that denote a time lapse! Another bit: “[…] serve you better […]” you say? I’m a free user and not a client. You won’t “serve” me because I’m not going to stay here! And “Thanks again for your interest and support. We look forward to serving you even better as we take the next step”. They should change that to “Thanks again for making us big. Now GO AWAY you filthy rat! Don’t come any closer to my servers! Go grab some free bytes somewhere else!”
Wuala told me “From the time we created Wuala in 2007, the number of free cloud storage providers has continued to grow. As a result of this evolution and increasing costs, we are today announcing that Wuala will focus on paid accounts and enterprise level storage services to be able to keep our service running”. You are THAT bad at doing math? You didn’t calculate the cost for the free users? Come on! Don’t lie to us! And “Thank you for your understanding and for using Wuala”. I can’t figure this “understanding” word. Is it a mistake? Is it “forgiveness”?
Now, let’s cool down and think two or three seconds, no more, no less. Don’t cheat. I’m going to ask you a question and leave you without answer, so fill the dots.
“How responsible (I will take care of your data in order not to lose it), ethical (I will not change the contract between us in a way it will harm you charging you 10 bucks today and 100 tomorrow when you depend on us) and trustworthy (I will not share your data) is a company that axe the free accounts in this manner?”
Okay, maybe these are lots of dots and you don’t need that many!
Now the real question. Let’s leave sarcasm and anger here.
What can I do? Big names (Google, MS and if you are gentle, Dropbox) won’t let you sync a folder outside theirs (sure, you can trick them, but maybe next version won’t allow you, like MS did; or maybe you can move all your files to their beloved folder… well, no, maybe that’s not the way things *should* be). Mega… Kim Dotcom you say? Some small company and pray? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
PS: imagine what could happen if Google (or MS, or Yahoo) suddenly ban all free users!
PS2: is there any place to put a complaint?

BOX. . .

Which actually predates the more famous dropbox, but isn't as well known because it has always concentrated on corporate customers, not domestic consumers.

I'd never heard of it until I did some work for one of the largest US corporations around. . . and discovered, they used box for cloud storage after an evaluation of its security / date protection.

That was three or four years ago. I signed up for a free home-user account (at that time, 15Gb, though it's less than that now due to demands on its server space)and have been a happy bunny ever since. Box rarely if ever gets a mention in any comparative evaluations so here's the upside and downside of a free account:

* UPSIDE: maximum storage allowed: 10Gb

* DOWNSIDE: maximum single upload size allowed with free account: 250Mb.

For me, that's no problem: I upload folders with personal and financial information in encrypted pdf form as well as batches of digital photographs from the family home album. I *don't* save videos to my Box account because (a)I've no interest in doing so -- my home videos are backed up locally to external drive(s) and (b) Box's 250Mb limit rules out video uploading.

I have never had a single problem with Box over the years and at no time have had any worries about the level of security it affords to its users -- domestic, and big corporates alike. Finally. . .

Anything that keeps me clear of monolithic private data harvesters like Google, Microsoft and Amazon suits me fine. Apart from resenting their ultimately unhealthy dominance, I won't use 'em (nor Dropbox) for the same reason that I've never used Internet Explorer: if someone is going to spend time and effort trying to burglarise something, they'll direct their criminal efforts to stuff which has the potential to yield the most treasure (data)because it is numerically the most popular in usage.

The website is very informative and also explains its synching facility. (Disclaimer: I don't have the slightest connection with box other than as a satisfied free user.)

The purpose of my comment is to possibly save someone making the same mistakes I did. If I had done the maths in the first place, I would have saved myself all the shopping around just by testing upload speeds on my data connection first.
I am a home user, and was looking for free cloud back up with a generous quota to sync my 100Gb music collection to (I only use lossless formats, and files are huge). I have an ADSL 2+ internet service with reasonable speed. After trying out several, and even being gifted 300Gb by one company, and being given permission to open 2 free accounts by another, I realised, belatedly, and after a few trial runs, that uploading it all would take many days non-stop, and in the case of the 300Gb gift, 100Gb would take a couple of weeks at the rate that application ran on my computer. Syncing after that would be painfully slow due to the size of the files. I was using the option to use full bandwidth.
I was wanting to avoid using an external drive, but have given up and started looking into free Synch tools to use with one.
A note about a mistake that can be made with Mega...I tried out both Megasync, and iDrivesync, to sync between devices, and these were both fast and efficient, and I was able to see files on other devices very quickly,with smaller, normal sized files. I made a mistake in Mega, and deleted files on my phone app, and these were all simultaneously deleted in the source folder on my computer too! And the instructions on Mega's help page for how to recover accidentally deleted files didn't work.Thankfully,I had other back up on a hard drive.

there is a difference between backup and "dropbox" or other sync folders.

a dropbox is used as a network folder - which you can delete files
a backup is used to backup - where you cannot delete backup files

I use as my sync folder for sharing / deleting , and playing around.

and using your free 50giga for syncing stuff with

{Moderator's note: Mention and price with link to commercial service deleted}

I like 'KISS' and in fact live by it.
I would prefer a service that does nothing in/to my computer -
- No shadow folders
- No syncing
- No installing
- No anything else

Ideally one would just use our browser to upload/download.
I could live with an installed program, if all it does is upload/download (but still no special/shadow/sync/ folders required).


I suggest checking out Onedrive. They have a new promotion where you can increase your storage to 100 GB. Normally I do not like promotions because you have to recommend your friends and family. This one is different. It still has the recommend to friends feature but you can build up reward points by using the Bing search.

To get additional 100 GB you need 100 reward points. By signing up, Microsoft give you 20 points. Then you can obtain up to 15 point per day by using Bing.

I am not sure you want to keep your tax return on Bing, but it would be great for backing up family photos.

Good info kyengineer. This offer for 100 GB of OneDrive storage maybe be available in US only according to this article. The storage is for one year and after which any unused storage will vanish but existing files won't be deleted, as noted from this article.

I am doing an article for school about online storage...we have to choose one free and one paid and discuss the features and differences of each. I was researching Spideroak. I was surprised how you discussed that it only offers 2 GB of free space so if someone wants to securely store more than 2 GB the service isn't for them, but that you are using it because you were able to increase your storage by entering several limited time promotions. Why didn't you mention the refer-a-friend program? Spideroak has a refer-a-friend program so the free account gives you 2 GB of storage, but for each friend you refer you and that friend get 1 GB of storage and you can get up to 10 GB free through the refer-a-friend program. So that means you can get up to 12 GB of storage.

Free is free as in what the base product provides or what might be obtained from periodic offers. When getting more than this has strings attached, then it is not free. MC - Site Manager.

This article seems heavily outdated, so I wanted to bring light to some other free online backup services.

First, there is Mega. As in the Megaupload guys. Mega allows for a whopping 50gb of cloud storage space. There is end-to-end encryption, and if you lose your password, it's lost forever. Very secure. See what you guys think.

There is also Mediafire, which has been around for quite a few years now. You can get 10gb, and there is also a desktop app which makes the whole process more convenient. They also have mobile apps, so you can connect with multiple devices.

Then there is Surdoc, which offers 100gb of cloud storage space. Wow. They also have mobile apps, and encrypt the files, although I'm not sure of the specifics with that. offers 100gb as well, and also claims to provide some type of security with your files.

And lastly, offers 15gb of cloud storage space. They offer shareable storage space between different users and everything is syncable. They use Barracuda's cloud storage servers, which may provide extra security.

I hope this helps with updating the article. I would be very curious to know if the ones who offer more would come out ahead, or if the ones who offer less can compenstate for a lack of space with a competent user experience.

As the former editor, a count of free online backup sites was well over 30. It's great to list new services, but before I would recommend them, I tested the service in a virtual machine. I ran into a few services that did not work well.

If you have used any of there services perhaps you could write a review that can be incorporated into this site.

I would recommend checking
They have 10GB free storage space, apps for all mobile platforms, support symlinks to be able to sync any folder from your PC and with the (Android) mobile app you can easily choose which files or folders to sync for offline use.
After SugarSync is not free anymore, Box is my choice no.1

Fred Langa recently did an article about using a pre-encryption tool combined with your existing combination of online storage for a secure online backup.

Boxcryptor is free for basic, non-commercial use (encrypts the file but not the file name at that level). The only gotcha I ran into after install is it requires .NET4, something I've tried to avoid adding.

(and you REALLY have to safely store your password - it is not recoverable)

Theres a few others I saw that only work with Dropbox. These 2 work with the big ones that create a local virtual drive.

SugarSync as of late has changed it's stance about the 5GB free accounts. They are now all on a 90 day trial basis. I think you should update the review as soon as possible.

Also thanks for this review it helped me choose an alternative to SugarSync in the form of SpiderOak. ;)

Hey thanks for the update. I will remove it from the list.

That's worth knowing, cheers. I've had a Sugarsync account for a couple of years but stopped using it in favour of Dropbox and Googledrive. I'll close the Sugarsync one then , if they're no longer freebies.

Re- Comodo. I did give theirs a spin ... if you install cDrive it creates a virtual drive in My Computer and does indeed sync on-line without using any local hard drive space. Pretty handy to know but not something I think I'll personally find much use for.

@kyengineer, I can't help wondering about your comment that 250 pictures fill 2Gb of drive space.. is this an error?

what about , it is from comodo. I think it should be listed here...thanks