The Internet is one the most effective places for file safekeeping nowadays. The biggest advantage is how it allows users to access their files from anywhere and at anytime if they are hosted online. All you need is a stable connection to the world wide web.
Technically, a file hosting service is an Internet service designed specifically for hosting a user’s files. It allows you to upload your files online, save them there and access them using another computer, smartphone, tablet, or any similar device. It can be accessed by the same user who uploaded it as well as any other users who have been given the authorization to access it.
Because of how this technology has proven to be so useful in the past few years, a plethora of file hosting services have sprouted like mushrooms after a rainy day. Finding the most secure one might prove to be easier said than done. To help you out with this dilemma, we have reviewed the more popular ones and present them here with a summary of what they have to offer. This will help you in choosing the best one based on your needs.
Below are the best secure file hosting services available today for you to check out further.
- Also check out our roundup of the best cloud storage
Launched in New Zealand by Kim Dotcom in 2013, MEGA currently has more than 160 million registered users across the globe. It offers end-to-end encrypted service with its free and paid accounts.
Its servers are located in secure facilities across Europe, which has been determined to be adequately protected as per GDPR Article 45. It is governed by the law and arbitration of the New Zealand government. Your files are not stored in nor available from the US.
The individual account from MEGA is a free plan that initially offered storage of 50GB, which was the highest ever available. Recently though, this was modified to 15GB permanent storage for free and 35GB bonus storage given if you sign up for an account that expires after 30 days. Additional storage is available upon completion of different actions such as inviting a friend to join or installing the MEGA client, to name a few.
There are four different Professional accounts with varying amounts of storage and transfer quota vis-a-vis a monthly fee. You need to create an individual account before you get to the upgrade option. You are paying for the storage with every account, but numerous add-ons are available with each account. The business account, on the other hand, comes with numerous other services that are useful for multiple users.
In terms of security, your data is encrypted with keys that are known to you only. When the data is resting, it is protected with AES-128 encryption and when in transit, a layer of TLS encryption is added. Even though it is not using the more powerful encryption version, you can be assured that today’s fastest computers will take more centuries to crack AES-128.
File sharing is easy and convenient as you can simply generate a link to the file and share this with anyone you like. An added security feature to this is how you can add a security key to the link, which you can provide to your desired recipient only.
MEGA also comes with useful features such as the business account’s MEGAdrop, which lets your contacts outside of your organization upload files to a folder in your account. They don’t even need a MEGA account themselves. It also has a built-in chat system equipped with user-controlled end-to-end encryption for secure chat content.
The downside to the service is the fact that it is not open source, and it has no chat or phone support. It does not have any published third-party audits or tests, too.
Started in 2005, 4shared aims to provide free high-quality services in file hosting and sharing. It is run by a team of specialists in marketing, programming, and web design. It allows the upload, storage, and download of documents, music, photos, videos, and other types of files.
It is one of the best options when it comes to storage size. It offers 15GB storage and 2GB maximum upload file size at completely zero cost. It stores your files on its high-speed servers, which are removed together with your free account if you do not access your account for 180 days.
When you create an account with 4shared, you become a registered user and can upload files and create folders in your virtual drive. This drive is accessible to you from any Internet-connected device with the use of an email and password. Registration is easy, free, and quick. A premium account does exist for a price of $9.95 per month with 100GB storage and 100GB maximum upload file size plus additional features like SSL data encryption, direct links for download, and in-app text file editing.
4shared highlights how seriously it values secure services by investing in hardware, software, and data security. Its onsite security includes over 100 fixed, 360-degree, 10X zoom cameras, zoned access, biometric hand scanners at different levels, and customer IDC access among others. Your data resides in servers protected by multiple firewalls, accessible through the application server only. 128-bit encryption secures your username, passwords, and similar confidential information. All data are backed up methodically and regularly. You can even add password protection to your file folders.
File sharing is a piece of cake. You can share any files uploaded on 4shared by giving your intended recipients the access link. You can also make your files available for the public or keep them private by setting up a password. Your folder files can be set to have varied access permission.
4shared is your best option considering the features it has to offer for no cost at all. The only downside is if you require additional storage. Even its premium version cannot cut it out for you if you intend to store more than 100GB.
You can store your files on Google Drive, which is integrated with the Google ecosystem. It automatically gives you 15GB of storage without letting you spend a single penny. Probably the best thing about Google Drive is its continuous sync feature and its services that promote easy and convenient collaboration.
Uploading, viewing, sharing, and editing files on Google Drive are available for all the files uploaded on your drive. The initial free storage includes files that you upload even when the folder belongs to another user. If you require more storage for your files, you can opt for an upgrade that costs $1.99 monthly, which allows you to add family members and access Google experts. Another plan has 200GB storage and a 30% discount on Google Store while the other one comes with 2TB storage and a 10% discount on Google Store.
In terms of security, you can rest assured that your files remain private until you share them. Once you upload a file on Google Drive, it is kept in Google’s data centers. In case your device gets broken or lost, all your files that have been uploaded on Google Drive can be accessed using other devices as long as you have the credentials to your account.
Any files that you store in Google Drive can be shared with your contacts. When you share them, you can also allow the recipients to make changes or add comments to the file. If you want to keep the file intact, you simply have to set it on Comment Only access.
Real-time syncing of files on Google Drive allows for convenience in collaborating with colleagues and project partners. The ability to edit the files online is also a great feature that other file hosting services do not offer.
The only drawback with Google Drive is the limitation on its storage. It does not offer unlimited capacity.
A built-in feature of every Apple device is iCloud. It provides users free 5GB storage. Naturally, this is a hosting service that appeals mostly to users of Apple products. The files uploaded on iCloud Drive can be accessed through the iOS’ Files app and Mac’s Finder app.
Any modifications on the file in the drive are automatically updated on all the devices with access to the said drive and file. The same works for phone numbers, Safari bookmarks, and similar information saved in your Apple devices are also updated across your different devices.
If you want to add more storage, there are paid options that come with 50GB, 200GB, and even 2TB. Add-ons include 24/7 phone support, automatic back-up, and two-factor authentication for all types of iCloud drive accounts.
Your file’s security on iCloud Drive is of the same level as when you store them on any other remote servers. The data travels to your computers and other devices with a secure sockets layer via WebDAV, IMAP, and HTTP. It is stored with encryption on Apple’s servers. When retrieving information from your Apple mobile devices, authentication rockets are generated without the need to transmit a password.
The best thing about iCloud Drive is how convenient it is to use if you are an Apple device user. It is found to be very user-friendly, and because of how popular Apple, it is preferred by many.
File sharing is easy peasy between iCloud users. Files and folders can be shared, viewed, and edited by any user authorized by the owner.
One of the biggest limitations of iCloud Drive is how you cannot share your files with non-Apple users. It also does not have any unlimited storage options, and some features of the service are not available if you are not using an Apple device. This makes the service great for Apple users only.
A part of Microsoft Office’s web version, OneDrive was launched in August 2007. It gives users the ability to store, share and sync data and files across their Internet-hooked devices. Initially termed Sky Drive, it was renamed OneDrive when reintroduced in 2014.
There are two plans available for individual use. The Basic service costs nothing and comes with 5GB storage plus advanced sync, real-time collaboration, and version history features. The Standalone service, on the other hand, has all of the Basic plan’s features coupled with 100GB storage for the price of $1.99 monthly. For businesses, there are two plans equipped with useful tools for business operations such as applying certain policies for content sharing as well as revoking user access at any time. Business Plan 1 comes with 1TB storage at $5 per month while Business Plan 2 is equipped with unlimited storage at $10 monthly.
Security-wise, OneDrive has invested in numerous processes and systems that lessen the risk of a data breach. It employs strict access control systems and powerful security monitoring systems. Data in transit has protection from transport layer security encryption. Connections through HTTP are not allowed and are redirected to HTTPS instead to ensure that secure access only is allowed. Data at rest has physical, network, and content protection along with application security. Data centers are accessible to a very limited few. Firewalls are in place to keep away unauthorized access. Every file at rest is encrypted with a distinctive AES256 key.
Sharing documents and files on Microsoft OneDrive allows viewing and editing if the owner permits to do so. Sharing can be done by inviting the recipient via email or generating a link to the file and sending it to the intended contact.
It is recommended for Microsoft users to opt for the Microsoft 365 Suite as it comes with more value since it incorporates applications deemed basic in working on your computer such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, to name a few. It is undoubtedly more expensive though
Considering how Microsoft is one of the biggest names in this specific arm of modern technology, there is much expectation from its file hosting service. It is a relief that the brand does live up to its name with its top-quality product. The only disadvantage if you choose this provider is the absence of live chat support when things go awry.
Operated by Dropbox Inc, an American company from San Francisco California, Dropbox offers a file hosting service. It was developed by MIT students in 2007 and is considered to be one of the most valued startups across the globe.
Dropbox has three plans available for teams. Its standard plan comes with 5TB storage coupled with a 180-day version history or file recovery, two-factor authentication, and watermarking. The advanced plan is equipped with unlimited storage along with device approvals, tiered admin roles, and viewer history as additional features. Upgrading to the enterprise plan involves 24/7 phone support and advanced training.
Your files that are uploaded and hosted on Dropbox are applied with the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard while at rest and Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security encryption while traveling. The service’s application and infrastructure are tested regularly to eliminate any vulnerabilities and potential risks as well as to continuously improve its defense against possible attacks.
The features available with Dropbox include client software, cloud storage, file synchronization, and a personal cloud. It allows file and folder sharing without a hassle. All you need to do is generate the link to the file you wish to share and send it to your contact. The recipient does not require a Dropbox account to access what you share. This can be done on your computer and even on a tablet or mobile phone. Probably the best thing is the fact that there is no limit to the size of the files you wish to share. You can send files that are as large as your own cloud storage space.
The advantage of using Dropbox is how the service entails reliable security practices in place and even offers a money-back guarantee. It is one of the most well-known names when it comes to file hosting, which comes with a certain amount of trust and comfort on your part that you are getting the most secure service out there.
Choosing the best secure file hosting service
Hosting your files online is the trend nowadays. There is no need to keep physical storage for your documents if there is a better way for file safekeeping. File hosting is easy and convenient. It is safe and secure. It also usually comes with file sharing and several features, so collaborating on projects is made easier while still well-protected.
While you can set up your own software and manage your own remote server for keeping your files, the option to utilize a file hosting service comes with numerous benefits. You can upload your files to a cloud-based storage system. You do not have to think about the storage system and deal with its upkeep. All you need to do is move the files to the storage managed by the provider, and everything works as it is supposed to.
In addition, you can download the service app on any of your devices, and all your files are synced automatically across all your systems. You also get to manage the sharing options and permissions for your files and folders, so you still have the authority to control your files’ privacy.
- We've also highlighted the best secure file transfer solutions