Cloud storage services offer a minimum amount of free space to everyone who signs up, but you can often get more. You can upgrade your cloud drive with gigabytes and gigabytes of free space in a few easy steps, often just by referring friends to your service of choice.
The free space you can get using these methods doesn’t expire. You’ll have the space forever – or at least until the service decides to take it away or close its doors. For maximum free space, use multiple services and rack up free space with each. You could have over 100GB of free space if you took advantage of all the offers here.
Dropbox starts you out at 2GB of free space, but generously allows you to earn over 20GB more without spending a dime. Consult Dropbox’s Get more space page for a list of ways you can land some more free space.
- Refer Friends: Refer friends to Dropbox and you’ll get an additional 500MB of free space every time someone creates an account after following your referral link. You can earn a maximum of 16GB this way.
- Camera Upload: Enable the Camera Upload feature on your phone or computer to automatically upload photos you take to Dropbox. If you do, you’ll get up to 3GB of free space.
- Social Media: You can earn 125MB each for connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts to Dropbox, following Dropbox on Twitter, and giving Dropbox your feedback.
- Take the Tour: If you never took the getting started tour when you created a Dropbox account, you can take it now for a free 250MB of space.
- Participate in Scavenger Hunts and Beta Tests: Dropbox has run “Dropquest” scavenger hunts where users can earn free space by solving puzzles (or just looking up a walkthrough online). They’ve also given away 5GB of space to users who participated in beta testing new features. Keep your eyes peeled for future scavenger hunts, beta tests, other events, and new features.
Microsoft’s SkyDrive doesn’t offer a referral program or another way to earn free space at the moment. However, it does come with 7GB of space by default – more than Google Drive and Dropbox offer.
- Be a Past SkyDrive User: If you used SkyDrive before its relaunch on April 22, 2012, you can upgrade your SkyDrive account from 7GB to 25GB. If you have an older Microsoft account that you once used SkyDrive on, check if it has 25GB of space available.
Google Drive doesn’t have any sort of referral program, so you can’t get additional free space. You’re stuck with the standard 5GB unless you want to pay for additional storage. However, some files aren’t counted to your space limit.
- Use Google Docs: Files you store in Google Docs format (documents, spreadsheets, and presentations) don’t count towards your storage limit. If you have any documents in other formats, such as Office or OpenDocument formats, convert them to Docs files and you’ll free up some space.
- Manage Your Photos: Your 5GB of space is actually shared between your Google Drive and Google+ Photos (formerly Picasa Web Albums). However, photos and videos under a certain size aren’t counted towards your storage limits. In other words, you can store an unlimited number of these photos and videos for free. Google has more information about the types of photos and videos that you can store for free. To get more space, try shrinking or deleting some photos.
- Buy a Chromebook: Chromebooks come with a sizable bonus amount of Google Drive storage space. It’s not quite free – you have to buy a Chromebook – but if you’re so inclined, you can get a free 100GB of Google Drive space for two years by purchasing the $249 Samsung Series 3 Chromebook. That’s a $120 value – almost half the price of the Chromebook itself. You could also get 1TB of space for three years by purchasing a Chromebook Pixel for $1,300 – it’s actually cheaper to get the storage by buying the Pixel than by purchasing the storage alone. However, if you’re purchasing a Chromebook Pixel, you probably don’t care about money (sorry Google, but the Pixel is just too expensive for what it offers).
Ubuntu One includes 5GB of storage space for all accounts. Like Dropbox, Ubuntu One offers a referral program.
- Refer Friends: You can get an additional 500 MB for each person you refer, up to a maximum of an additional 20GB. That’s a total of 25GB you can get for free. Log into your account on the Ubuntu One website to get your referral link.
Box currently only offers 5GB of space for free, but they’ve offered some huge amounts of free storage in the past. Box has given away 50GB free to iOS and Android users who downloaded the Box iOS or Android app. Box has also offered 25GB free to users that downloaded the desktop PC synchronization app. However, these deals are no longer available. If you snagged a deal while it was available, you’ll still have that massive 50GB (or 25GB) of free space.
If you’re a Box user craving more free space, stay tuned for future deals – you just may pick up 50GB of space and put the other services here to shame in raw numbers. However, Box is a more limited service and restricts files you can store to 250MB each. It’s not as flexible as other services, so that 50GB will be more difficult to use.
Other cloud storage service providers like SugarSync may offer their own referral programs and other ways you can earn free storage space. Check your provider’s website for more information if you’re using another service.
How much free storage space have you earned? Leave a comment and compare your accomplishments!
Image Credit: Google