Unless you’ve been snug under a rock for the last few years, you’d have heard about a little something called cloud storage.
And what’s there not to like? Cloud storage lets you access files from anywhere, across multiple devices. You’re protected from harddrive failure. You can share files in seconds.
No wonder so many businesses and individuals are switching over.
Best Cloud Storage UK
BUT, as the industry’s grown, so have your options. Picking the right cloud storage provider out of hundreds can now be a mental minefield.
For many people, picking a provider based on price seems obvious. But it’s an easy mistake. Sure, price matters, but it definitely isn’t the most important factor you need to look at!
What’s more, being based in the UK means there are a couple of special things that need to factor into your decision. GDPR compliance, for example.
So whether you’re making the leap to cloud or you’re looking to upgrade your current service, we here at Bitcatcha are here to help.
After plenty of research, we’ve identified the 7 best cloud storage for UK-based users.
Let’s do this.
At the title of this article, the first question you might be asking is… does location really matter?
After all, we’re talking about the cloud right? That floating, formless technological marvel, where being location-independent is kind of the point – right? You’re telling me my location still makes a difference?
Well – simple answer, yes. Location still matters.
Why? Because context matters. And in the context of the UK, there are two big things that you need to be aware of – the implications of GDPR, and the proximity of your cloud storage provider’s data centers to the UK.
Let’s get into the meat of this.
What on earth is GDPR?
In short, it stands for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It’s a set of standards that applies to anyone in the EU.
And whilst Brexit is now underway, GDPR still applies to Britain until the end of the transition period in December 2020.
2022 Update: We wrote the first version of this article whilst Brexit was still underway. After the UK left the EU, GDPR has been retained in domestic law as the ‘UK GDPR’.
GDPR exists to hold businesses more accountable for the personal data they collect.
If you’re not a business owner, and are just interested in cloud storage for your own personal use – know that it’s still ABSOLUTELY in your best interests to find a cloud storage provider that’s GDPR compliant. This means they are taking your privacy, and security very seriously. (OK, now feel free to skim-read to the next section).
But if you’re a business owner looking for a cloud solution – listen close! It’s imperative you’re GDPR compliant.
Under GDPR you’re expected to keep data secure, or suffer hefty fines for failure to comply, or serious data breaches. (Read up the specifics of GDPR here).
The best cloud storage providers can help by…
Not only are you protecting your customers, you’re also protecting yourself.
Funny enough, the demands of GDPR have helped push more companies to forgo physical hard drives (that are easily damaged or stolen), in favour of cloud storage.
However, it’s not enough to simply hop on to the cloud bandwagon and call it a day. The cloud can still be vulnerable. It opens the possibility that you and your customer’s data might be stored outside the country, so you need to take greater responsibility for it.
In short, you need to make sure that your cloud storage provider supports your own GDPR compliance.
TLDR; It’s not enough to switch to any old cloud storage provider. How capable they are in upholding your security & privacy is HUGELY important for those in the UK.
Got it? On to our next point.
Whilst it’s easy to think of the cloud as this intangible thing, it’s very much grounded in the real world. Your data still needs to be stored in a physical location – a data center.
These days, many cloud storage providers use multiple datacenters around the world. And the location of these servers has implications for your user experience.
Generally speaking, the closer their servers are to where you live, the faster your upload and download speeds. And the quicker you’ll be able to backup or access your files.
So, the closer a cloud storage provider’s data centers to the UK, the faster speeds you should enjoy. Assuming you have access to a decent internet connection.
That said, we don’t want to totally limit ourselves to only cloud storage providers with European datacenters, as we’d be eliminating a lot of fantastic options.
So, we’re also looking at providers with features that let you optimise the speed of uploads/downloads, which should help offset latency.
Aside from security and server location, there are a bunch of other important features we’ve come to expect from an excellent cloud storage provider.
So now we have an idea of what we’re looking for – let’s get right into which services best fit the bill.
We’ve thrown in a mix of conventional cloud storage providers and those who also specialise in online backup.
We use an exchange rate of 1 GBP to 1.25 USD for all prices listed.
Starting off with our #1 pick – Sync.com.
The reason we think it’s the best pick for British users is because its focus is absolutely on security.
Formed in 2011. Its founders wanted to create a storage solution that put user privacy first – an approach that’s served 750,000 users so far!
Simple – Sync offers users one of the most secure cloud experiences you can ask for.
All files uploaded in Sync are protected with end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption and enjoy zero-knowledge privacy.
For context – most cloud storage have terms that let their employees access and share files stored on the server. Not Sync – only you as the account owner control the data key. Since files are encrypted at source, you’re much safer from sketchy marketing schemes, malicious employees, legal data handovers, and data breaches.
More than that, Sync doesn’t allow for third-party access. You won’t be able to integrate third-party apps, but if security is your priority then this is great news. They also offer 2FA.
And whilst they aren’t based in the EU, Sync is based in a country who’s equally stringent on privacy – Canada. So, Sync is fully compliant with global data standards such as GDPR, PIPEDA and more. No wonder they’re so popular with small businesses!
They’re flair for security also extends to file sharing. It’s super easy to share files and folders of any size to non-Sync users. PLUS you’re armed with an arsenal of features to keep these files out of the wrong hands. From zero-knowledge encryption on file shares, to setting notifications for link activity
Sign up for an instant 5GB of free storage, or opt for one of their paid business or personal plans. They have varying levels of storage space and users per account.
Check out our complete Sync.com review for more information!
Next to top our list is pCloud. A relative newcomer, pCloud’s quickly proved themselves a strong solution for personal and business users.
Don’t just take our word for it – ask Uber, Airbnb or Instagram! pCloud has a pretty stellar list of clients.
pCloud is perfect for UK users because it also offers top-notch data security – one that gives Sync a run for its money! Quite literally.
pCloud also uses zero-knowledge AES 256 for max protection. Its client-side encryption service is called pCloud Crypto and it encrypts files before they’re sent for storage.
pCloud users also enjoy a great data recovery system. They store 5 separate copies of every uploaded file in 3 different locations at their secure data center facility – so you can rest easy knowing you won’t ever lose a file again! pCloud Rewind also helps track your file history for 30 days so you can easily rewind to a previous version.
You know what else we REALLY love? It offers fantastic value! You can opt for monthly payments, or – best of all- a lifetime plan – saving you £103.50 in 5 years if you pay for the Premium Plus 2TB lifetime plan.
Lifetime memberships are very rare in the industry, and is perfect if you think you’ll be a long-term cloud user. You won’t need to worry about subscription renewals again!
Plus, a respectable company like pCloud is bound to be around for a long, LONG time.
Pick between its Premium or Premium Plus plans – each offering different storage and download traffic space.
You can also get the same benefits on a permanent basis for an affordable one-time payment of £140 and £280 respectively.
Backblaze’s stats sure are pretty impressive. It’s won a bunch of awards, including #1 cloud backup service by About.com.
The numbers sound great too, as they’ve supposedly stored over 800 Petabytes & recovered over 45 billion files, to date.
We feel like its tagline speaks for itself: ‘Cloud storage that’s astonishingly easy and low-cost’.
And it seems to walk the talk. Backblaze offers the perfect mix of great value and no-frills functionality, all without sacrificing any of that good stuff we’ve come to expect.
Best of all – it offers unlimited backup! It’s a breeze to use and very affordable, especially as it is unlimited for one computer. Besides your computer, you can also backup external hard drives.
In all, Backblaze really is a great contender for UK users.
Their pricing plan is as straightforward as it gets.
Find out more in our review on Backblaze.
Next on the list is CrashPlan. This one’s been geared at small business owners and it comes with plenty of the bells and whistles needed to backup, restore and protect data on a daily basis.
Sure, CrashPlan is a pretty well-rounded solution. It offers secure cloud storage for a very straightforward price.
But it’s biggest competing point is that it offers unlimited backup for cheaps. Most cloud storage providers cap your data at a certain point when being backed up, which can be a pain for those businesses with a huge amount of files. But CrashPlan really lets you do unlimited backup – the only catch being you’re limited to backing up just one computer.
On top of this, they do offer some solid security. We’re talking 24/7 surveillance of files and facilities to keep your files safe, versioning, backup systems and extensive failsafe measure built in.
You also have the option to set up private encryption to fully secure your files. It doesn’t come as default but is easily set up by tweaking your security settings.
So, that’s unlimited cheap backup that stays safe. Sounds pretty good to us!
No need to worry about tiers and numbers. It’s a simple £8.00/month per computer, for unlimited backup.
Need we say more?
A household name, Dropbox pretty much set the standards for cloud storage back in the day.
It unsurprisingly offers great speeds and is as simple as it gets to use, though it doesn’t quite offer the same standard of security as those we’ve seen on our list so far.
Dropbox is unquestionably one of the best options around for those wanting to use the cloud alongside collaborative or productivity features.
Dropbox integrates Office Online, which means you can simply use it to create a Word, PowerPoint or Excel file directly in your Dropbox folders. You can edit documents after you upload them, too.
They’ve also got a native note-taking app called Dropbox Paper that also lets you embed media files. Plus an app called Showcase that lets you share your files on a professional-looking page – it’s a pretty sweet touch.
We also really appreciate its user interface. It’s friendly and non-intimidating for even beginners. Do full-text searches through your files (including docs scanned with the mobile app!), view your photos quickly, and play music and videos by streaming directly – though its audio-player is arguably a bit basic.
You have an option to pay either monthly installments, or a lump sum of a yearly fee.
The below is the yearly rate. If you prefer the regular payments, it hops up to £8.00 a month for 2TB.
Icedrive is also a very strong new contender in the cloud storage field, aimed at both individuals and businesses. It’s still an unpolished diamond of sorts – missing some functions from other providers on our list, but also bringing some unique features to the table. 2022 Update: Icedrive has since added many of them! See below for details.
We found it a little hard to pick out our favourite thing – we’re torn between two big pluses.
Firstly you just can’t beat 10GB of free space. 10 whopping gigs!
Secondly, and just as impressive, Icedrive utilises revolutionary desktop software.
Basically, they let you access and manage your cloud storage space as if it were a physical hard disk or USB stick you’ve plugged in.
They’ve replicated what they call a ‘native OS feel’, to mimic the user experience of editing, uploading, deleting and opening files that are offline. Thanks to their smart caching system, it doesn’t gobble up bandwidth or time syncing .
This is awesome because you can access your online files from your computer without syncing them first. Just install the app and your files are at your fingertips.
We think the Pro IceDrive plan is perfect for homeusers and small businesses, as it comes with 1TB of monthly storage for a modest £3.33.
Read our in-depth Icedrive review for more details!
Not to be confused with the above, IDrive has been around a heck of a lot longer – since 1995! And with age often comes wisdom – PCMag named it one of the Best Cloud Storage and File-sharing Services for 2019.
Though perhaps not the easiest to use, IDrive still makes our list thanks to its many features, decent pricing and very advanced restoration features.
Their website is a little confusing as it seems to list a huge amount of products, but we sifted our way through and ended up being huge fans anyway.
Easy – their restoration and backup scheduling options!
Which makes sense, since IDrive’s focus seems to be mostly on sparing you the devastation of hard drive failure. They offer a mixed bag of options, including:
They also use ‘true archiving’. Which, in simple terms, means that even if you delete a file on your computer, it will be kept safe in the cloud unless you choose to manually get rid of it.
On top of this, IDrive also provides backup for an unlimited number of devices, including external hard drive backup. So you can really be pretty damn sure that your precious files aren’t going anytime soon.
We personally like the sound of the 2TB IDrive Personal plan. It’s a sound storage amount for personal use, which can be used across unlimited computers.
The ‘best’ solution is always going to depend on your individual needs.
But if you’re based in the UK, file security and GDPR compliance should definitely be at the top of your list.
In all, let’s recap our top 3 cloud storage providers: