02/13/2015 10:00 EST | Updated 04/15/2015 05:59 EDT

Free cloud storage online: Where to get more gigabytes

Many Google users were pleased to hear this week that they could get an extra 2 gigabytes of free storage space on Google Drive by doing a security checkup, bringing their total to 17 GB. Want more?

There are lots of other ways to get free storage – and bonus free storage – in the cloud.

Many popular services have popped up in recent years offering users the ability to store, access and share their files over the internet.

Compared to storing the files on your device itself, cloud storage offers the convenience of:

- Being able to access the same files from any device.

- Having a backup copy of your files if a device fails.

- Easy sharing of photos, videos and documents with specific people.

However, storing your files in the cloud does come with risks, since the files are in the control of a company, rather than yourself.

Many services don't encrypt the stored files. That means they may be vulnerable if a hacker attacks the cloud server or if governments or law enforcement demand access. Someone could also gain access to your files by stealing your login information, as happened to the nude photos stored on iCloud by actress Jennifer Lawrence. You can sometimes expose your files by failing to properly manage your privacy settings.

That said, most of us have reasons to store at least some of our files in the cloud.

Here's a look at some of the most popular free cloud storage services available to Canadians, and some of the ways you can get extra storage out of them.


Free storage: 2 GB

Maximum file size: None from desktop and mobile apps, 10 GB for uploads through website

Security: Encryption during transfer and storage using SSL and AES-256-bit encryption, respectively.

Ways to get extra storage:

- Get 125 MB for following Dropbox on Twitter.

- Get 125 MB for writing a line in a form about why you love Dropbox.

- Get 125 MB for connecting your Twitter account. 

- Get 125 MB to connecting your Facebook account (125 MB)

- Get 500 MB for each friend you refer, up to 16 GB.

- Get 1 GB for downloading Dropbox's  Mailbox app and signing in with your Dropbox account.

Cost of additional storage: 1 TB for $10.99/month, unlimited for $17/month

Amazon Cloud Drive

Free storage: 5 GB

Maximum file size: 2 GB

Security: 128 bit RC4 encryption during transfer

Ways to get extra free storage:

- Amazon Prime members get unlimited photo storage

Cost of additional storage: $10/year ($0.83/month) for each additional 20 GB up to 1000 GB

ICloud Drive

Free storage: 5 GB

Maximum file size: 15 GB

​Security: SSL and minimum of 128-bit AES encryption during transfer and storage, respectively.

Ways to get extra free storage:

- Your purchased music, apps, books, TV shows, and My Photo Stream don't count against your 5 GB of free storage.

Cost of additional storage: 20 GB for $0.99/month, 200 GB for $3.99/month, 1 TB for $19.99/month

Google Drive

Free storage: 15 GB

Maximum file size: 5 TB

​Security: SSL encryption during transfer

Ways to get extra free storage:

- Get an extra 2 GB by doing a security check by Feb. 17.

- Google documents, including sheets, presentations, etc. don't count against your storage space.

Cost of additional storage: $1.99/month for 100 GB, $9.99/month for 1TB

Microsoft OneDrive

Free storage: 15 GB

Maximum file size: 10 GB

Security: PFS encryption during transfer when accessing OneDrive through, mobile OneDrive application and sync clients,

Ways to get extra free storage:

- Office 365 users get 1 TB of OneDrive storage.

- Get 3 GB of extra storage by backing up your camera roll

- Get  500 MB for each friend your refer, up to a maximum of 5 GB

Cost of additional storage: $1.99/month for 100 GB, $6.99month for 1 TB


Free storage: 50 GB

Maximum file size: 2 GB for free plan, 16 GB for paid

Security: Encryption during transfer using SSL

Ways to get extra free storage: 60-day free trial for premium plans.

Cost of additional storage: $2.50/month or $25 per year for each 100 GB up to 10 TB

Of course, if that still isn't enough online storage space for you and you don't want to pay for more, there's an easy way to get double the amount of storage from just about any service – sign up for a second account.