3 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Families and Students

Dropbox has been a market leader in cloud storage for a while, but now there are others in the spotlight.
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Created: 8/26/2019

Although Dropbox has been a leader in the cloud storage space for the better part of a decade, it has let users down by raising its prices, limiting the number of devices for free accounts, and numerous data breaches.

The good news is that there are many Dropbox alternatives out there that allow users to store photos, media files, and documents in a secure way. Of course, finding the right cloud storage provider for your specific needs can be a daunting task.

In this article, we’ll take a look at three of the best alternatives to Dropbox – pCloud, Google Drive, and OneDrive – to help you find the right tool for your specific needs.

Best Dropbox Alternatives: pCloud, Google Drive, and OneDrive

Here, we’ll introduce you to three Dropbox alternatives and highlight the standout features on offer with each cloud storage provider to help you make an informed decision.

1: pCloud

With pCloud you get personal storage space on the cloud where you can store your photos, videos, music, files, and documents. It comes with an easy-to-use interface that’s incredibly easy to get the hang of.

Key Features

pCloud’s Cloud Crypto allows you to encrypt your data with client-side encryption. What this means is that your files will be encrypted before they are sent to the pCloud servers. pCloud has a zero-knowledge policy which means that no one will be able to access your data, including pCloud themselves.

3 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Families and Students
Source: Softonic 

Aside from a super-secure cloud storage solution, you can also leverage its embedded audio player which lets you stream directly from your cloud storage account. This is incredibly useful for anyone who listens to a lot of music or podcasts on the go. Regardless of where you save your music files, you can easily access them from pCloud’s Audio tab.

With pCloud Rewind, you can recollect images, videos, documents, and shared data from the last 30 days – even if it’s been modified or sent to the trash. What’s more is that you can view all changes made to files and restore (or download) an older versions of your files in a single click. This is great for students who need to keep several backups of assignments and projects and may need to restore older versions (for example, coding or design projects) occasionally.

3 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Families and Students
Source: Original

pCloud allows you to synchronize any folder without restricting you to a file size limit. More importantly - pCloud treats all its users to unlimited download/upload speed, including Free users. This is a feature that’s essential to have for most users in search of a Dropbox alternative, considering Dropbox caps your bandwidth when downloading/uploading files based on your subscription plan.

After you’ve uploaded your content to pCloud, you can easily access the latest version of your files directly through your desktop, phone, or pCloud’s web app. Technically speaking, you could store high-quality vacation footage and the entire family’s birthday videos in the cloud without having to worry about file size limits.

pCloud also lets you share files with friends and family in three different ways: direct links, upload links, and invite to folder. For the direct link option, all you have to do is hover your mouse over the files and folders you want to share and click the Share button. Alternatively, you can generate a sharing link to share specific files with friends and family or let other pCloud users access files stored on your account using the invite to folder method.

One of the neat features on offer with pCloud is that it can automatically upload photos, videos, and other data from your smartphone to your pCloud storage. This way, you can easily free up space on your phone and still having access to your files at all times.

pCloud Plans and Pricing

Here’s what you can expect to get with pCloud’s Lifetime Plan:

3 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Families and Students
Source: pCloud
  • Premium 500 GB for a one-time payment of $175
  • Premium Plus 2 TB for a one-time payment of $350

If you’re looking for a cloud storage plan for the entire family, pCloud gives you the option to opt for the Family Plan instead.

3 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Families and Students
Source: pCloud

The 2 TB Family plan lets you add up to five users and gives you all the features you’d get with Premium Plus.

As written in Softonic, for families who frequently use cloud storage for various purposes such as uploading images from family trips, organizing school materials on the cloud, and other individual use-cases that require a good amount of space - this lifetime package for families is an offer that other cloud storage solutions currently don’t have.

2: Google Drive

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and the rock has no internet access), you’ve at least heard of Google Drive. It’s by far the most popular cloud storage platform in the world and has close to a billion users.

Key Features

Google Drive’s file sharing and storage features are some of the most intuitive in the cloud storage space. To share a folder or file, all you have to do is generate and copy paste the link in your email or message board. It also lets you grant file editing permissions by allowing others to view, comment, or edit the documents you share with them.

3 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Families and Students
Source: Google Developers

Google Drive gives you access to lots of built-in apps including Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets, and Google Photos. With Google Photos you can free up storage space on your smartphone, organize photos, and quickly access them from any device. Plus, with Google Photos you can find exactly what you’re looking for simply by typing in what the photo contains. For example, if you wanted to see all the photos of your cat you’d search for cat or if you wanted to see photos from your friends’ birthday party, you might search for cake.

You can clear up storage space in Google Drive by deleting large files that you no longer need. This is pretty straightforward; all you have to do is move the files to Trash and then delete them permanently. Alternatively, you can choose to upgrade your plan and buy more storage space for your files.

Google Drive supports integration with a wide range of third-party apps and tools. It also has a plethora of add-ons that you can use to supercharge its core functionality. However, these features are overkill for most consumers. It also comes with a desktop app that allows you to synchronize and upload files directly from your desktop and access them from any device.

Google Drive Plans and Pricing

Google Drive gives you 10 GB of free space that can be expanded to 15 GB by completing your registration. Here’s a quick look at the paid plans on offer with Google Drive:

3 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Families and Students
Source: Google One
  • 100 GB costs $1.99 per month
  • 200 GB costs $2.99 per month
  • 2 TB costs $9.99 per month
  • 10 TB costs $99.99 per month
  • 20 TB costs $199.99 per month
  • 30 TB costs $299.99 per month

3: OneDrive

OneDrive is an online cloud storage solution from Microsoft that offers integration with Microsoft’s Office 365.

This allows users to easily access Word, Powerpoint, and Excel documents directly from their OneDrive account. OneDrive also supports integration with Facebook, lets you create camera roll backups automatically, and create and share email slideshows.

Key Features

One Drive offers B2B-oriented features such as multifactor authentication, built-in compliance standards, and auditing and reporting capabilities which aren’t particularly intuitive for regular consumers.

Office 365 for OneDrive enables users to create, edit, upload, and share Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and OneNote files directly from their web browser.  You can also see the version history of Office documents saved in OneDrive.

3 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Families and Students
Source: Microsoft 

OneDrive lets you share images, Office 365 documents, and files and folders with other users. Everything you store in OneDrive is private until you choose to share it with others. Plus, whenever you want, you’ll be able to restrict sharing permissions by granting (or revoking) editing rights or setting an expiration date and passwords.

One of the standout features on offer with OneDrive is that it lets you use your mobile phone to scan and store paper documents, receipts, business cards, or whiteboard notes directly to your OneDrive account. This is especially useful for students that might need to quickly take a snapshot of their classroom whiteboard after lectures and save it for later.

OneDrive Plans and Pricing

Here are the Personal pricing plans on offer with OneDrive:

3 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Families and Students
Source: OneDrive
  • OneDrive Basic 5 GB plan is available for free. It lets you sync files, gives you access to mobile apps, and offers Files On-Demand so you can save storage space on your computer.
  • OneDrive 100 GB plan costs $1.99 per month. It offers data synchronization, mobile apps, and lets you access all of your files from the cloud.
  • Office 365 Personal plan gives you 1 TB storage space in addition to premium OneDrive features for $69.99 per year.
  • Office 365 Home plan gives you 6 TB space for 6 users for $99 per year.


Cloud storage platforms enable you to share files in a secure way, reduce storage expenses, and improve collaboration. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when deciding which Dropbox alternative to go with:

If you’re looking for a secure cloud storage provider with cost-effective plans for the entire family, we’d recommend going with pCloud. With pCloud, you can rest assured that your data will always be safe while enjoying the neat features it comes with such as the built-in audio player and unlimited bandwidth.

However, if you’re looking for a simple, familiar cloud storage solution that focuses on file sharing and collaboration, go for Google Drive. It’s especially useful for students who don’t require any fancy features and simply wish to store their files.

And if you’re in the market for a more “businessy” cloud storage provider that lets you set passwords and expiration dates on the files you share, then OneDrive is the right option for you. You’ll also be able to free up storage space on your computer by using its Files On-Demand feature.

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