It has been awhile since I have written a post about alternatives to Dropbox so I thought it might be a good time to take another look at the competition that has heated up around cloud storage. Looking back through the archives there was a post in 2011 looking at a few of the alternatives out there and then in 2013 there is a 10 Free Cloud Storage Options More Secure than Dropbox but the cloud storage market has certainly exploded since then with many more Dropbox alternatives with just as many features.
There are many reasons why Dropbox has been, and continues to be, a leader in cloud storage. Partly because of timing, they were one of, if not the first to launch with a very easy to use service and had the jump on everyone else. Second, Dropbox is easy to use. There are few cloud storage services as easy as Dropbox. Third, Dropbox has become integrated with many popular applications and even more importantly many mobile applications make it easy to keep your data in sync between all your devices with Dropbox. Unfortunately all of that easy comes at a cost with Dropbox, the lack of private encryption. Yes Dropbox connects using SSL to transfer your files and stores your files in their storage using 256-bit AES encryption, but Dropbox holds the keys to the encryption meaning it is possible for someone at Dropbox to look at your files. For this reason I will break this article up into two sections. One that focuses on Dropbox alternatives that focus on strong encryption and those that are more just a replacement for Dropbox with out the focus on a strong local encryption before transferring data to the cloud.
Top 10 Dropbox Alternatives with Strong Encryption
There is a reason SpiderOak is often mentioned on the Dropbox alternatives lists, they have always had a focus on strong encryption and zero-knowledge. It says something when a person like NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden comes out and says use SpiderOak, if any one on the planet needs a service with strong encryption it would be him. SpiderOak has strong encryption, and the service has gotten easier to use over the years and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. They also have mobile apps for accessing your files on your mobile device but last time I opened it on one of my devices it still lacks any kinds of ability to sync your mobile data to your account. This lack of mobile sync and upload is where SpiderOak and Dropbox differ a great deal and it can be a big deal breaker for many people. Costing $12.00/month or $129/year for 1TB SpiderOak is certainly worth taking a look at.
Sync is a Canadian company based in Ontario and also offers zero-knowledge. They have Windows and Mac desktop clients and have recently launched iOS and Android apps. The mobile apps allow you to access and upload files to your account. You can get a 500GB account for $49.00/year. They also offer a 5GB free account with a referral plan to earn more free space.
Based in Hungary, Tresorit offers 3GB for free and plans starting $12.50/month for a 100GB of storage. Business plans offer 1TB (1000GB) for $25.00/month. Like the other services above they offer zero-knowledge and desktop apps for Windows and Mac. They have mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry. The mobile (well Android does anyway) apps can upload photos and sync to your desktop similar to how Dropbox works.
MEGA keeps growing despite PayPal recently cutting them off for payments. They have also expanded with Windows, Mac and Linux desktop clients and mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry. No matter what you think of Kim Dotcom, MEGA is becoming a cloud storage service that people like and use as a Dropbox alternative. The fact that they offer 50GB for free probably helps. The service has grown quickly since it launched and they offer encryption for all files. Paid plans start with 500GB for 9.99€/month.
pCloud is one of the services that will make both of the Dropbox alternatives list. The default pCloud does not offer encryption but they also offer pCloud Crypto that offers client side encryption and zero-knowledge. pCloud Crypto is only available for pCloud users, so you need to have a pCloud account first. pCloud offers a free account and paid accounts starting at 500GB for $4.99/month or $47.99/year. You can even pay with Bitcoin if you prefer.
Note: Wuala has announced it is closing. See this post for more information.
Wuala has been around for awhile, but I never get around to reviewing them. They are definitely a service worth taking some time to look at if you want a secure sync option. They offer local encryption and store parts of your files on different servers.
CloudBerry software puts security at the top of the list. CloudBerry Box is no different, allowing you to sync data between your computers. You might be limited to Windows computers and you will have to bring your own cloud storage account at Amazon S3 for example but CloudBerry Box will help you stay secure and in sync.
TeamDrive is a service that is often mentioned as a secure alternative to Dropbox with good reasons. They offer end-to-end encryption for your files and you can sync them with Windows, Mac and Linux desktop clients as well as iOS and Android mobile devices.
I combined BitTorrent Sync and Syncthing just because they are very similar in what they do. If you want to keep your data secure don’t upload it to servers you don’t know or trust. By using BitTorrent Sync / Syncthing you can create your own little cloud using your own hardware fairly easily. Considerably easier than OwnCloud in my opinion.
One of the best ways to keep your data safe is to host it yourself. OwnCloud lets you do just that by downloading and installing the software on your own hardware you can control it all. Might not be the easiest route for all people but for those that like running your own servers this is a great option.
Top 10 Dropbox Alternatives
If you are not as concerned about how your data is stored or already encrypt all your data before you upload it to the cloud then these are the services that that you should seriously look at if you want to move away from Dropbox.
If you use other Google services and / or have an Android phone Google Drive integrates nicely with all of the things you are probably already doing. You can even use your Google Drive space to securely backup (yes you heard me correctly securely backup), stream music and if you are not happy with the default Google Drive client you have other options for a desktop client if you like.
OneDrive from Microsoft has gotten considerably better over the years and the fact that it integrates with Windows so well makes it easy to use and a serious alternative to Dropbox, at least on Windows. The service also offers integration with Office and can easily replace most of the features of Dropbox.
SugarSync is still one of my favorite sync services. The options on how to sync and backup are excellent. The mobile app is still excellent and can do more than Dropbox in many ways.
Box seems to be more business oriented than many of the other services on this list but you can get personal accounts and the pricing is not to bad. The number of apps they have available certainly makes it worth trying and taking a look as a Dropbox alternative.
Amazon Cloud Drive might not be a full competitor to Dropbox yet, the keyword there is yet. Offering unlimited space and some better clients will make Amazon Cloud Drive a serious threat to Dropboxs domination of cloud storage.
Copy by Barracuda is an excellent Dropbox alternative. In fact I often use Copy myself to store photos. They offer Windows and Mac sync apps and the mobile apps are well done. They also offer a referral plan similar to Dropbox for free users to gain more space. At one time it was an unlimited referral plan but they have now placed a limit on how much free space you can earn. I believe it is 25GB.
pCloud offers both a more standard cloud storage option plus the more encrypted version I talked about above. The service is easy to use and one of a few you can use Bitcoin with to pay for your account.
Dump Truck by Golden Frog made a splash a few years ago at SXSW in Austin. The service is makes a big deal out of the fact that Dropbox uses Amazon for storage while Dump Truck uses only storage and servers that they own. Aside from that there might not be a lot of difference how your files are stored, but if you want an alternative to Dropbox they are worth a look.
IDrive offers a sync service along with the backup service and if you want backup and sync it is certainly worth looking at.
You don’t hear much about the Carbonite Sync and Share service. It used to be called Carbonitee Currents, but got a name change and seemed to fade into the background. It is really quite good and does a good job of syncing your recent files across your devices. It is a little different than Dropbox but if you already have Carbonite or want backup and sync this nice little add on from Carbonite is worth trying.
If you are looking for an alternative to Dropbox because you are tired of of their service, are running out of space or you just don’t trust them you certainly have many good options to still keep your files in sync across devices. If you want to make sure your files stay private I also encourage you to take a look at the post How To NSA Proof Your Cloud Storage and Backup.
What is your favorite Dropbox alternative and why? Let us all know in the comments.