What are mobile storage services

Dropbox & Co .: Free online storage services in comparison

Whether Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive - there is hardly a way around the cloud these days: documents and images in particular can be conveniently uploaded and shared with friends. Another advantage is that users can access the files from any device. There are now numerous online storage providers that only differ at second glance.

The agony of choice

Access your own data in the online storage from anywhere
@ Sergej-Khackimullin---Fotolia.com There is no single best provider. It depends much more on what the user wants. Those who measure according to their own criteria are also most likely to find the right service. The main factors can be divided into five areas: free storage space, costs for the top-up, desktop applications and apps, usability and data protection. This is where the differences between the individual providers become apparent.

The majority of the services allow access to the online storage both via the web browser and via your own apps and programs for various operating systems. The software generally makes operation more convenient, as the online storage is displayed as a virtual drive - and files can be uploaded and downloaded simply by moving them to a folder.

Anyone who uses an operating system for which no software client is available should look for a provider who also offers access via the WebDAV interface. With this, the online storage can also be integrated as a virtual drive. However, more convenient functions of the apps, such as generating sharing URLs using the context menu, are not available in this way.


Above all, Dropbox scores with a high level of usability. The service can be operated easily via the browser version as well as via the desktop application. There are also apps for the operating systems of popular smartphones and tablets. The programming interface (API) also enables developers to link their services to the cloud. This gives users the opportunity to expand the range of functions. In particular, this makes the automation of recurring work processes very easy. At two gigabytes at the start, the free storage space is quite small. However, users have the option of adding more storage space for free by referring friends, completing the tutorial or automatically synchronizing photos from their smartphone. For 9.99 euros a month there is 1 TB of storage space. If you book 12 months straight away, you pay 99 euros per year.

Google Drive

This is where other services such as Google Drive or Mega show their strengths: Google offers its users 15 GB, which includes Gmail. If you want 100 GB of storage space, you only have to pay $ 1.99 a month. Owners of an Android device usually also have a GMail account, as the operating system belongs to Google, and accordingly already have access to Drive. Registration is already done for many users. The service is particularly suitable for collaboration, as several users can work on one file at the same time. The synchronization takes place in real time.


Kim Schmitz, alias Kim Dotcom, provides customers of his Mega 50 GB service free of charge. At a price of 9.99 euros per month, there are 500 gigabytes - but customers can only pay via PayPal. If the contract is concluded for a period of 12 months, the 500 GB are available for 90 euros. On the positive side, the end-to-end encryption should be noted, which guarantees the protection of the files. Critics find it annoying that the general terms and conditions and data protection provisions are only available in English. In addition, the server locations are unknown. There is a German language version for the application itself.


The French company LaCie, which operates the cloud service Wuala [link removed], also attaches great importance to data protection. As with Mega, the software encrypts all files before they are uploaded so that employees cannot see the files. Since the servers are located exclusively in Switzerland, Germany and France, the high data protection standards are adhered to. Environmentally conscious users are also happy: The provider ensures that all servers are operated 100 percent with green electricity. But the Swiss pay for this convenience. The free offer has now been discontinued, 99 cents per month are due for five gigabytes. 50 gigabytes cost 5.99 euros per month, the quota can be expanded to up to two terabytes.

Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft has also discovered the cloud as a source of income and initially launched Skydrive. Because of trademark problems with the British Sky Broadcasting Group, the service is now called OneDrive. Office 365 is already linked to the cloud, customers receive 1 terabyte of storage space free of charge for each of the five possible Office users. New OneDrive users initially have to be content with 15 gigabytes, but they also get a slimmed-down Office version in the cloud. A free expansion of up to 23 gigabytes is possible by referring friends and automatically saving photos. Microsoft is offering 100 gigabytes for 23.88 euros per year. When it comes to data protection, however, the Microsoft cloud cannot score: The data is not stored on the servers in encrypted form, which means that Microsoft could in principle access it. In addition, there is the American data protection law, which is much laxer than the European one.

On the second page you will find three online storage services based and located in Germany as well as the price / performance winner in this comparison.