Flash back to me three years ago: I was nearing zero on phone storage. To free up space, I deleted an old photo for each new one I took. But I didn’t have to do that. If I had made the most of the storage I had and knew where to find it free, I could have relished in lavish amounts of digital storage.
One can never get enough space. Here are some ways you can score free or inexpensive online storage.
A Google account gets you 15 gigabytes of storage free. In past years, Google offered 2 GBs for free if you performed a quick security check. Fingers crossed they’ll offer the bonus again.
If you don’t mind switching between Gmail accounts, you can score 15 GB each time you open a new one. If you find yourself needing more real estate on the cloud, it’s $1.99 a month for 100 GB, $9.99 a month for a terabyte or $99.99 a month for 10 TB.
Dropbox’s free basic account gives you 2 GB of free storage. Sign up for a subscription, and it’s $9.99 a month for 1 TB of storage, which is on par with Google pricing. If you get friends to sign up for Dropbox, you get 500 MB of free storage for each referral and 1 GB if you have a paid account.
You get 5 GB of free storage with an account. Need more storage? You can buy 50 GB for 99 cents a month, 200 GB for $2.99 a month or 2 TB for $9.99 a month.
You can get 5 GB of free cloud storage for having an Amazon account. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get unlimited photo storage on top of the free storage. You can pay $11.99 a year for 100 GB of storage. If you're a Prime member, photos don’t count toward those 100 GB.)
With Box, a file-sharing service that lets you manage content on the cloud, you get 10 GB of free storage with an individual plan.
If you have a Microsoft OneDrive account, you get 5 GB gratis. If you want more, it’s $69.99 a year (which breaks down to a little more than $6 a month) for the single-user version of Office 365, which comes with 1 TB of storage. The home edition gives five users 1 TB each for $99.99 a year.
Now that you know where to find free or cheap cloud storage, how can you make the most of it? Here are a few pointers:
Come up with a simple system
If you can spare the cloud space, store files in multiple locations. But if you need to be more careful with your resources, allocate certain types of files to different spaces. For instance, use your iCloud to store your photos and videos, and Google Drive for your documents, spreadsheets and slideshows. I have separate Gmail accounts for work and personal files.
It takes time to come up with a basic system and adjust your storage settings, but it’ll save you unnecessary hassle down the line.
Go through your files every so often
It’s not a fun, but to free up space you’ll want to occasionally go through your files. Skip playing Candy Crush for the evening, or be like me and go through old photos during a layover at the airport.
Look for new freebies
You can also try scouring for apps that help you score free storage (although there may be some sort of catch, like clicking on offers), as well as bonus incentives or referral codes.
By cobbling together free cloud storage, you’ll be able to save on your tech needs.