The Good, Bad and Ugly of Free Online Storage

Many companies offer free cloud storage to consumers as a way to let them try out their service prior to buying. For users with limited storage needs (only a few GB), these zero-cost solutions are sometimes all they need. Should you decide to follow this approach, however, it's crucial that you know about the limitations it gives you in the long run.

What are Some of the Disadvantages of Free Cloud Storage?

Since free online storage services earn most of their income from larger clients who buy storage on the very same network system of virtual servers utilized by their free customers, they often place several limitations on free usage.

Storage Limit

Whether a service provider sets a relatively large storage limit (ADrive gives free users 50GB) or a lower one (a lot of companies limit non-paying accounts to just 1GB), free online storage services will usually set a cap on how much space you may use. By decreasing the amount of space offered, these companies hope to entice free users to upgrade to standard, paying service levels after impressing them with the quality of their service.

Limited File Sizes

To control the volume of space allocated to free customers, some companies will set limitations on file sizes that may be kept on their servers. The scope in allowable file sizes is quite large, running from a mere 2GB up to file sizes that would take up the free account's full allotted space.

Whereas file size limits are the standard for the majority of free online storage services, it is possible to find providers that buck the trend. Other companies do not have this limitation.

Required Use of Access Portals

For an additional security step, some providers force their free clients to use a web portal to gain access to their account. Therefore, rather than accessing your saved data through a desktop client, you will be forced to log in through a web page to use your files.

Advertisements Shown on Your Portal Pages

Another possible drawback to using free storage is that service providers frequently place advertisements on clients' web portal pages. By making money with this page, the provider is able to generate revenue to offset the cost of service to free customers. The drawback to the user is only cosmetic, but might be a problem for some.

Absence of Dedicated Customer Support

Probably the most significant disadvantage to being a non-paying client is that you simply do not receive the same level of product support as standard customers. Consequently they are, essentially, on their own in addressing data loss or other issues that may arise using the storage service.

Pros of Free Online Storage

Aside from the cost advantage (it’s hard to beat something that is free), free cloud storage providers also give consumers something that is very rare in the world today - the opportunity to try out the actual product prior to purchasing it. If your file storage requirements are small enough, you will still get to take advantage of the same benefits as standard users. When your personal or business storage requirements increase in the future, you will have a good idea of which company's service can best satisfy them.