Cloud Storage

How Much Cloud Storage Do I Need


by Joe

So you finally decided to stop living in the Middle Ages and opt for cloud storage?

Jokes aside, nowadays, that’s the smartest decision when it comes to data protection.

All your photos and documents will be safe, and you won’t have to worry about losing your external hard drive or your laptop being stolen ever again.

Don’t even get started with me on the Chromebook that has literally no storage for anything.

However, here comes the question.

How much cloud storage do I need? Read on to find out!

How Much Storage Should I Opt For?

The amount of storage you’ll need greatly depends on what you’ll be using it for.

Are you just an average consumer who needs a little extra space for their photos, music, and documents, or you’re a professional, who constantly backs up large files?

Those are a few of the questions you’ll have to ask yourself before making your choice.

 The good thing is, unlike physical hardware, cloud storage plans are usually upgradable.

That means you can start with an entry-level plan to see if it’ll suit your needs and purchase more storage if necessary.

Should I Get Extra Cloud Space From the Get-Go?

Well, not really.

If you are coming from a physical drive, you probably have the mindset of “opt for the largest storage you can afford.”

That’s normal because back in the day, you couldn’t just add 2 TB of space with the click of a button.

However, as I already mentioned, cloud services are pretty flexible.

You can always upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your subscription, so there is no need to waste your money on a 1 TB plan when in reality you only use 20 GB.

That being said, if your job requires offloading large amounts of files on a regular basis, you might want to consider one of your provider’s up-scaled options.

How to Calculate the Optimal Amount of Cloud Storage to Start With

Go Through Your Files, and Check Their Sizes.

Yes, as annoying as it may be, you’ll have to look through the files on your computer/phone and roughly calculate how much space they take up.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, I recommend organizing everything you’d like to back up into folders (e.g., Pictures, Movies, Music, University Projects, Work, etc.) Trust me; that will make your life so much easier!

Once you have a rough estimate, add a few gigs just in case, and voilà; you have the minimal storage plan that should be enough to start with.

Determine What Type of Files You Are Most Likely to Back Up

The type of files you choose to back up/offload to a cloud is basically what is going to determine how much storage you’ll need.


Generally, documents require very little space. If you only need to back up your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. files, a 5–10 GB plan should be more than enough.

Just for reference, it’s estimated that 1GB of storage equals:

  • About 64,782 pages in Word
  • Roughly 165,791 pages in Spreadsheet
  • An average of 17,552 pages in PowerPoint.

In fact, granted you’ll only store your documents, you may not even have to spend a dime on your plan. Most providers give you a few gigs of free storage upon creating your account.

However, keep in mind that file sizes may differ if you use specialized software.

Therefore, always check how much space your current work takes up to make sure you opt for the right plan.


Photos are a bit tricky, as their size will depend on the file format you choose to store them in.

For example, if you are a professional photographer seeking cloud storage for photos, the chances are you are shooting in RAW (meaning you take uncompressed versions of the pictures).

Those will take considerably more space (approximately 20 MB) than images taken on a smartphone, stored as JPEGs (around 2–6 MB).

And if you’re just a casual shooter that needs only storage for all the photos.  Google photos might be the answer for you.


Usually, audio files (in an MP3 format) come to an average of 3.5 MB. Multiply that by the number of songs you have, and you should end up with a rough estimate of how much cloud storage you’ll need for them.

That said, uncompressed audio files, such as WAV, AIFF, etc., are much bigger in size.

Those formats are mostly used by professionals, though.

You might want to find out if the music cloud storage comes with a built-in player for your audio if you need to live to stream them.


As you may already know, video files take up the most space.

One minute of 4K video can end up being anywhere from 350 MB to about 2 GB!

However, if money is no concern, I definitely recommend purchasing a larger storage plan and offloading your favorite movies and videos to a cloud.

Thus, you can access them from anywhere on any device, which is a huge plus.

Do Your Research

Nowadays, there are hundreds of cloud storage providers out there.

We even manage to gather 30+ free cloud storage from our own research.

In fact, they are so many that finding the perfect one can seem impossible.

But don’t let that discourage you.

Just compare a handful of the most reputable ones — Google DriveiCloudpCloudMega, etc. — and determine which one will best suit your needs.

Final Thoughts

At first, cloud storage may seem daunting to some.

All your precious pictures and documents are stored on a server somewhere far from you.

But worry not; once you get into the habit of offloading everything to the cloud, you’ll never want to look at a physical drive again.

In doing so, you’ll need the most secure cloud storage as well to safeguard them from all those prying eyes.

I hope this article helped you answer the question of how much cloud storage you need and provided some useful information.

Quick Recommendation: 

For a starter, Icedrive is definately worth checking out. Starting from just $1.67/mo for 150GB and nothing beats them as of now. Read our full review on Icedrive here.

Love to take things apart and kind of a habit. When he is not breaking things, he usually sits in front of his computer and start browsing the web.