5 Great Sites to Back Up Your Digital Files

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — It doesn’t take much to declare a new holiday (just ask the creators of National Jelly Bean day and Raptor Month), but recently, a group of consumers decided to add one more to the list: World Backup Day. The quasi-holiday, which took place on March 31, is meant to encourage anyone with a computer to back up their files so they don’t turn into an April Fool (their tagline, not ours) should their computer crash in the following weeks.

While the holiday may be random, it’s something MainStreet can certainly get behind, given the time and money you can lose if you forget to regularly back up your projects and important files. There are many options that one can turn to for this, ranging from USB sticks to external hard drives, many of which can cost hundreds of dollars. Instead, we’ve rounded up some of the best websites that effectively do the same thing by letting users store their files online through a secure cloud-computing network. These sites are quick and easy to use, and best of all, most are free. At least up to a point.

Dropbox

Dropbox is one of the leaders in the cloud storage space and is a fantastic tool to back up your important documents and even share media files with friends. Users get 2 GB of storage space for free, which they can use to upload anything from Microsoft Word documents to music files and pictures. You can then create folders to share with other users on the site if you’re looking for a quick way to transfer files. If 2 GB isn’t enough, the site offers a 50 GB account for $99 a year and, for those with even bigger storage needs, a 100 GB account for $199 a year. But for the average consumer, 2 GB can go a long way for storing work projects, uploading photos and occasionally sharing music or video files with friends.

Skydrive

Skydrive, from Microsoft, has been around since 2007 but it still gives many of the newer storage services a run for their money. The service gives users a generous 25 GB of storage for free, lets them upload photos and videos, and incorporates Microsoft Office features so users can create new Word and PowerPoint documents and save them online. The major downside of Skydrive is that it is intended to work mainly with Microsoft products – specifically on the Windows phone and through Internet Explorer – and is clumsy or non-existent on other platforms. Still, if you are a Microsoft user, then this is a great option.

Amazon Cloud Drive

For those who are mainly interested in finding a place to upload their music and also access it on multiple devices, Amazon’s new Cloud Drive service may be your best bet as of now (other companies like Apple are rumored to be testing similar services which could rival this one down the road.) Amazon’s online storage feature lets users upload and listen to 5 GB of music files for free, and up to 20 GB if the user purchases an MP3 album from the site. With that much space, it’s nearly possible to have one’s entire music collection backed up and available at any time.

Box.net

Like the Cloud Drive, Box.net offers 5 GB of storage space free of charge with additional add-ons available, but even the free option has its perks. Users can upload any kind of file, as long as it’s less than 25 MB in size (so presumably, not a big movie file) and can access the files from the iPhone through an app. Users can even share links to files they’ve uploaded by using other sites like LinkedIn, if they need to send a presentation or resume, for example.

SugarSync

Unlike the other sites on the list, SugarSync has no free model (save for a 30-day trial period), but what it lacks in price, it makes up for in convenience. The service lets users upload files from any platform (Mac or PC) and access their files from mobile devices (iPhone and Android phones). What’s more, the service has some unique extra features like automatically backing up the past five versions of a file so you can undo changes and creating multi-user accounts for businesses to be able to share and collaborate on documents. Storage options start at 30 GB, which costs $50 a year and goes all the way up to a massive 250 GB option that costs $250 a year.

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