Free alternatives to Google Drive or Dropbox?

Is there free alternatives to Dropbox or Google Drive? The ones I’m using are and Pcloud. But I don’t know if they’re the best in terms of privacy. Nextcloud and Tahoe-LAFS are open-source software, but they require me to pay for my private server.

Have a look at nextcloud

Since the business of nextcloud is not harvesting your data and metadata, they rely on the more traditional monthly fee. Sad to say privacy isnt free, its actually more expensive these days.

You can still use Google if you are short on cash, just use cryptomator to encrypt your files prior to sending.

Or just use nextcloud if your space requirement isnt too big. BTW, make sure end to end encryption is used on the server itself. Not all nextcloud hosting are the same.


I don’t use lots of space for cloud storage, that’s why I’m looking for free ones. I only store text documents and HTML bookmark files. Is Nextcloud free if my file sizes are less than 3GB? From what I’ve read, it is not free, but a free trial. In other words, after a certain period, I need to pay. Or did I miss something here?

I did apply for a nextcloud account with a swiss based server once, more for testing than actual usage but i recalled it wasnt a timed trial, more like a free low capacity tier.

I also couldnt recall if the server had server side encryption or if the files were actually end to end encrypted. I think the servers advertise this feature at the nextcloud homepage where you would sign up. I tried to deploy a nextcloud server once and i recall that the file encryption were an experimental feature.

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The thing with cloud storage services is that your content is likely not encrypted and can be read by one with access to that server. Even if you consider everyone working at whatever company to be ethical about your data, their servers could be compromised by an attacker who would then be able to read your data from it.

Running servers is expensive and the “free” business model we are so used to is based on data collection that funds the running costs. Because of this there are few options to get what you are looking for:

  1. Host your own cloud server NextCloud.
  2. Encrypt your files before uploading them with Cryptomator.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and you should consider which one works better for your use case. Since they both require a bit of technical knowledge I think it’s best if you research a little on your own. Personally I like to encrypt my files before uploading them anywhere, although this is inconvenient if you need quick access to them.

There are other services that claim to be privacy-friendly but you have to trust them because you essentially have no way to verify such claims. ProtonMail has recently released ProtonDrive for registered users (currently in beta) and may be a good option in the future, so keep an eye on them. If you need storage for pictures specifically you can look at Google Photos Alternatives.


Was most probably Woelkli :

They are an excellent Nextcloud provider (but also one of/the most expensive) and have a free account option which, if I remember correctly, gives you 1Gb of storage. Also a little tip here : if you plan to sign-in for a free Woelkli account then instead of creating the account form their website use the official Nextcloud app from a mobile device instead -> open the app -> select “I’m new to Nextcloud, I need to create a new account with an official provider” -> browse the list of providers given for Woelkli, create your account for free… and then you’ll get 2Go of storage for free instead of the normal 1Go :slight_smile:
That was a promotion back some years ago where Woelkli would give 2Go for free instead of 1 when creating the account from the Nextcloud app. It was not advertised and I found out only after contacting their support and asking why does my account has 2Go when normally it should have only 1 ?
I don’t know if this increase in storage still exists today … but I would not be surprised it still does.

In terms of really really cheap Nextcloud provider (not free but almost), have a look at Hetzner :
They are not as good as Woelkli, they are not “official” Nextcloud provider (unless it changed recently ?) meaning they are not listed in the provider list given by Nextcloud app when you want to create a new account… but it doesn’t change anything in terms of functiuon. My personal experience with their support was not great (but I’ve read others had good ones so it may be just me) and at the end of the day you have to trust them for your data (as all providers). But they are very well known, they are in business since a long time and have a very good reputation and are known for the best prices for Nextcloud.

Otherwise if you have an unused PC laying around (could be a RaspBerry Pi or anything else) you can just host your own Nextcloud server with something like NextCloudPI :
It’s damn easy to setup : you just install Debian on any PC (which is very easy, plenty of tutorials on internet to follow in case you are lost) that you want to dedicate for that, open terminal, copy/paste 1 line and it takes care of configuring everything for you, assist you to register your owm DDNS to access your Nextcloud from outside your house, setup CertBot, setup automatic backups on an external drive, etc… and at the end it just works. Totally free as you are your own provider.
Other options exisits, such as DietPi for example : but I’ve found NextCloudPi to be the easiest to setup and use. And also it integrates the setup for eveything in terms of good basic security (Fail2Ban, Certbot, etc…) where with DietPi you would have to install them separately and it may cause issues with the install of 1 thing breaking the other one and vice versa (that was my experience but it was also some years ago… today it may be more mature and more stable).

Basically at the end of the day self hosting may well be the best option : you are in total control of your data, you control your backups, you choose how much storage you want, etc.

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I’m using paid versions of Tresorit for share drive and Cryptee for photos and notes. You can store files on Crytpee as well. I like them both. Syncing across devices fairly simple.

Tresorit is €11/mo. But Cryptee starts at €3/mo for like 10GB. I think they even have a free account, but i dont remeber how much space. So if you don’t need much space, that might be OK.

I have to get the apk for Tresorit through Aurora, which I’m not really happy about. I can’t guarantee absence of backdoors, so I don’t keep any PII or PHI on it (nor would I on any network drive anyway). You can also use the webtool. It also has many slick features too that i enjoy. Based in Switzerland.

Cryptee is fully through web access. But the functionality is pretty decent and getting better. Based in Estonia.

Both are E2EE.

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You can get up to 8GB for free on Nextcloud, that’s what I’m using.

Did you sign up for Tab Digital?
Screenshot from 2021-02-09 11-54-21

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In my opinion, everything that is on cloud and not encrypted, will leak eventually :smiley: So it might be ok to use it for personal collection of books, music, some office documents, etc. But important stuff (personal photos, documents…) should always be uploaded encrypted. Until Nextcloud E2EE is ready for everyday use, I would advise to use Cryptomator for that.

I would say Nextcloud is the best cloud storage options, compared to most popular ones (dropbox, onedrive, google drive, box…) So many great options, many interesting apps, providers are friendly and respect users’ privacy, easy to manage if you have admin account (multiple users, group folders).

I still use Nextcloud (paid, external provider) as a 2nd cloud storage, Tresorit (paid option) is still my primary one, due to E2EE. But as soon as Nextcloud improve E2EE, I will migrate completely. Maybe even sooner, if I decide to use Cryptomator in the meantime.


Yes, that’s the biggest storage you can get for free.

How long did you use Tab.Digital? How many months? The reason I asked is because I want to know whether it is really free or free trial.

Its free, there’s no trial and they haven’t charged anything from me.

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Encrypted Cloud Storage Services FOR FREE:

2 GB: Internxt
5 GB: Sync
8 GB: (Nextcloud)
50 GB: Mega
250 GB: Keybase

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A couple things regarding MEGA. You get 50gb at first but after a month it drops to 15gb. Also, with free accounts you’re throttled.

I was previously on a paid Pro I account, but decided to drop it as the company is almost entirely owned by a Chinese company.

OP, my opinions of MEGA aside, I’d recommend avoiding cloud storage for anything sensitive.


I use mega free for films and tv series since 2016 and i have still 50gb. You have an upload limit, but if you change your ip, you will restart the upload counter

Nextcloud is not encrypted like the others (E2EE). Even server-side encryption doesn’t mean much. It was meant for external drives.

Keybase is not standard cloud storage, but it works well. Though I deleted account after Zoom purchase. Tresorit offers 2GB. Unlike Sync, it has Linux client. But IMHO, Sync .com is the best option if 5GB is ok for you and you use Windows or Mac. It’s not FOSS, it’s based in Canada, but for private documents should do the job

Yeah, the 50gb used to be permanent, but a couple years ago they changed their policy so that new accounts start with 50gb, but will drop down to 15gb. All accounts created prior to that switch are grandfathered in. Once I stopped paying for the “Pro I” account, I was switched back to 50gb. I have another account I created recently and it dropped me to 15gb after a month. I don’t necessarily blame them, they’re a company and they need to make money and 50gb is already pretty generous.