Why pay for a private, secure Cloud Storage providers for GNU/Linux in 2020?

A few loved GNU/Linux since the advent of GNU/Linux with help of Free Software Foundation. This OS was all about freedom of choice. It has been popular on server systems along with BSD for years but since last few decades, it has been the primary OS for millions of people around the globe on personal computers thanks to the plethora of options for desktop environment and package managers. An average user of GNU/Linux today is not a pro user or a geek any more who love to do things the command line way. It is best to discuss and share some secure Cloud Storage providers that works out of the box for most users and not just pro users who prefer to host their own online services.

What would you call secure and private in 2020?

Most of the online cloud storage or drive services today use secure protocols to transmit your data to their servers from your GNU/Linux PC over TLS encrypted connections. What really matters is what happens when it finally reaches their servers? Is your data really private? Whether your provider is mining your data or processing it? Is client-side encryption a solution? Should we trust the provider or their software? Two things that matter the most is, reliable end-to-end or client-side encryption and jurisdiction of the provider and its storage servers.

One other aspect is the payment method, which might not be relevant to some consumers. That being so, if your provider is willing to accept Bitcoin or cash or any other crypto-currency or any other form of payment which cannot be directly linked to you without an investigation if used with caution is a good sign while signing up for a provider.

Lastly, jurisdictions like US or UK where cloud providers are forced to hand over data with enacted laws in place must be avoided.

Why not go for free cloud storage provider?

While some free cloud storage services have offered us excellent services by putting in all efforts. No company however big or small can sustain such operations, not like their is an unlimited tap of resources from heavens. Everything from storage, electricity, backups, engineers, staff, support, whatnot cost money. One fine day your free cloud storage drive would seize to exist. A fine example of such incident is closure of an excellent free cloud storage service for GNU/Linux community called Copy by Barracuda dated May 1, 2016.

There is also a grave danger of data privacy when you are not paying for your product. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Period. Companies offer free tier for trying out their services for a while mostly, so, if you are serious about cloud storage, kindly pay for your cloud services.

Best Cloud storage or drive providers for GNU/Linux OS

1. OwnCloud.online – from the maker of open-source file sync, share and content collaboration solution OwnCloud

Company Jurisdiction – Germany

Data hosted in Germany exclusively

This online cloud storage service is hosted in Germany using a made in Germany software by a German company. It is an official service by the makers of open-source OwnCloud server software. A user is offered dedicated storage and user space for privacy and security. Being managed and hosted by the developers of OwnCloud software company itself, it is the most updated and state-of-the-art managed hosting solution for OwnCloud software.

“ownCloud.online acts according to the Zero-Knowledge-Principle: only you and the recipient have access to the decrypted data.”

A free trial of 14 days is available with storage limited to 10GB. Cloud Office Suite for documents, tables and presentations is available too. It is a complete collaboration tool and not just a file storage and sync solution. If you do not like the slick web client version a dedicated desktop client can be downloaded for your favourite GNU/Linux distribution. Support for secure Webdav protocol also comes in handy to add your cloud storage as a network drive in your File Manager for better integration.

It is 100% GDPR compliant and ISO27001 certified. Other features that are worth mentioning is End-to-End encryption, 2-factor authentication, professional support, open-source code and licensing.

A dedicated instance with your personal encrypted user space with backups and advanced legal protection will cost you just 15 EUR a month for 500GB of storage when paid annually. Team accounts are also available.

This German private cloud storage solution also accepts Bitcoin along with other traditional payment methods.

2. CozyCloud

Company Jurisdiction – France

Data hosted with OVH – France exclusively

A smart personal cloud to gather all your data. It is not a collaboration tool. It is a fun to use set of personal web utilities viz. Cozy Drive, Cozy Pass, Notes and Banks.

Cozy Cloud, a French company has developed smart hub or home that offers cloud storage solution and much more to avail management or organization of personal data.

Drive offers a robust solution to sync, share your files and photos. Although it is a French only option as of yet, but Cozy Store offers a slick way to automatically fetch and import your data in a smart way including bills, contacts, health refunds, photos from more than 100 available providers from Cozy Store. It is a surely a smart way to collect, store and sync all your data.

Although web client is one of the fastest and most responsive in the industry. You can always download the desktop application for GNU/Linux supported on multiple distributions. How can you be smart with using a secure password manager in 2020?

Cozy Cloud has it all, a new dedicated password manager called Cozy Pass is now available with your smart cloud. It supports all the essential features of a modern password manager and comes with a dedicated standalone mobile apps for iOS and Android. It is based on the proven secure and open protocol of Bitwarden with ready to use browser extensions for Mozilla and Chrome.

It is 100% GDPR compliant and open source. Other features that are worth mentioning is two-factor authentication, professional support.

A 5GB account of Cozy Cloud is available for free of cost to all. With 1TB storage space available at a nominal rate of 9.98 EUR a month only. It is decent price given the smart personal cloud services plus you are supporting an open source company that cares for your privacy and security.

Sadly, the lack of Bitcoin payment, client-side encryption and not forgetting no open protocol support like Webdav can be irksome for a few consumers. But you can always encrypt the sensitive files before uploading them.

3. Jottacloud

Company Jurisdiction – Norway

Data hosted and stored in Norway exclusively

Jottacloud is a small Norwegian cloud storage service with a big heart for private individuals and business run by a company called Jotta. It is file sync, share, storage service that now comes with Microsoft Online office solution to let you edit your Word, PowerPoint or Excel documents.

Choice of opting for Microsoft Online office doesn’t align with privacy in the first place. Jotta could have done better with OnlyOffice instead. But it lets you disable or disconnect Microsoft Office from your JottaCloud and also promises to not send any files without your consent to Microsoft’s servers. It might be a good solution for Microsoft Office lovers since they get to edit files for free without having to pay for a subscription as a user of JottaCloud.

It is a plain and simple solution to keep your files and photos safe in a jurisdiction with strongest privacy laws in the world. This service flaunt being hosted in Norway by a Norwegian company a lot. Although there is no client-side or storage encryption available at all. It is recommended to encrypt any critical files before uploading them to Jottacloud regardless of the privacy guarantee it offers to technically disable them from reading your files.

Jottacloud Home is an interesting featuring where you get to buy subscriptions for your family like how Apple’s iCloud is with family sharing. You can share it with up to 5 people in the family while retaining individual separate accounts with own data therein. It is a cost effective way to back up files, media or documents for a family.

JottaCloud keeps last five version of any file for File Version history. It keeps files for 30 days to be able to recovery them if required from Trash.

Photo Album sharing with friends and family is available. Original photos and videos without any modification to quality or size is stored as is. Privacy comes first with Jottacloud and any store of data processing is avoided without exclusive consent of a subscriber. It is 100% GDPR compliant.

Web interface is simple and fast. A command line Jottacloud Tool called jotta-cli is developed and released by Jotta. It supports automatic folder backup, archive files, custom scan interval etc. RPM and Debian packages or binaries are readily available for GNU/Linux.

This command line tool has also been released for FreeBSD, which is a real good thing in terms of OS support.

Other features worth mentioning are two-factor authentication, phone & chat support.

While a basic 5GB storage account is offered free of cost without any compromise, you have to verify your phone number before sharing files. Personal unlimited account with absolutely no restrictions up to 5TB of storage is what you need to grab, when paid yearly two months are free. So, you get 5TB of storage for 6.25 EUR a month when paid annually in Norway with Online office suite by Microsoft included in the package. It costs you 1.25 EUR/TB/month. It is a steal.

JottaCloud Home accounts are even better when shared with 5 people. The popular Home 5TB plan at 135 EUR a year makes it a good deal.

Lack of bitcoin payment and no client-side encryption even in the official command line tool is not cool. That being so, rclone has written instructions to make it work with their software. Official support for rclone like how Koofr.eu does would certainly attract more pro users.

4. kDrive

Company Jurisdiction – Switzerland

Data stored with own TIER 3+ datacenters in Geneva, Switzerland

Infomaniak’s kDrive is one of the most secure and privay-oriented cloud storage solution for individuals and SMEs developed and hosted in Switzerland. Infomaniak is an independent company with its own datacenters in Switzerland. It is ISO27001, ISO50001, ISO14001 certified with 100% GDPR compliance.

It is a true privacy friendly cloud storage provider with a human readable privacy policy. Your data is encrypted. Backups and data replication is taken seriously with kDrive, it backs up your data on at least three media and in two data centres. File history/versions and recovery options are there to avail recovery of an old version immediately, this feature is available for a minimum of 60 days / 100 versions.

Other than being a Cloud storage solution, it is also a fully featured online office suite with OnlyOffice hosting included in the price. You do not have to waste any more money on purchasing Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions.

One click-tools to migrate from existing services like Google Drive, Dropbox available to help you move from privacy-violating proprietary services.

Although there is no built-in client side encryption as of now, but possibility to encrypt folders with your own password will be added soon.

It is a vanilla file sync, share and office suite all-in-one package developed and hosted in Switzerland with one of the strongest data protection and privacy laws in the world. The web client is amazing with built-in office suite and all.

You can still download kdrive desktop application in AppImage format for GNU/Linux that comes with amazing options like Network Proxy and bandwidth upload/download related settings.

Other worth mentioning features are customer support over chat, phone included with all plans. Also, secure WebDav protocol support helps a lot of users on GNU/Linux and other unix-like OS etc.

This company has offered privacy solutions for people working from home during COVID pandemic like SwissTransfer or Jitsi Meet based Video conference instance. Further, it is also offering a 90-days free trial without linking your card or any payment source for kDrive during this pandemic.

At 4.99 EUR a month when paid annually for 2TB of personal storage with open source Onlyoffice hosting included, it is one of the cheapest cloud storage solution hosted in Switzerland given the privacy-oriented setup with redundant backups and own data centers. Additional discount available for 2 or 3 years of pre-paid subscriptions.

You do not get to use bitcoin to pay here, but direct transfer via IBAN is there along with Paypal and Credit cards.

5. Koofr

Company Jurisdiction – Slovenia

Data stored across secure data centers in Germany, European Union

Koofr is a safe place to store,sync and share files from a small European nation called Slovenia. It is where the headquarters or office of the company are at but the data is stored in data centers across the European Union.

It is claimed to be a simple service to sync, store, organize your files using web client, mobile or desktop apps with secure WebDav protocol support being actively promoted. Support for WebDav is a blessing owing to rclone application which lets you deploy client-encryption before uploading your files to cloud storage service. Koofr seem to be actively recommending it. This helps us ignore lack of client-side data encryption with web, desktop or mobile apps as of now. There is a robust server-side encryption in place as per Koofr.

There are no file type or size limits even for the free account. Two way synchronization of files and folder is also made available using desktop application for GNU/Linux. Yes, there is a dedicated application for GNU/Linux before you ask. It works flawlessly in our tests. It also offers proxy support just in case.

Basic file sharing settings is in place. With Koofr you can also unify existing cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox and Onedrive to into built-in search engine. Anything from Chrome or Firefox web browsers can be directly saved to Koofr using browser extension and add-on respectively.

With local Places/Folders using desktop apps you can only make available files and folders when that specific PC or system is online. For paid accounts, you get to recover deleted files from Trash within 30-days. File versions is there too, you can see up to five previous versions of any file.

Koofr hosts your data with ISO27001 certified data centers only. Also, is 100% GDPR compliant. Data replication is taken care of. Koofr’s automated system ensures each file ends up in at least three physically separate locations.

Additionally, there is a Koofr EXP or Koofr Experiences program, which introduces new features to be deployed with Koofr over the time, currently has utilities like duplicate file finder and space usage. It is only available for paid users as of yet.

Other worth mentioning features are two-factor authentication, unlimited devices, branding, customer support over Twitter and Reddit other than regular email support is included with all paid plans.

A free 2GB account is there for all without any cost. But other who need more space or paid features, there is a plan for almost everyone out there. I like how they offer small plans as small as 10GB of storage at a nominal rate of 0.5 EUR a month only with upgrade to 10TB storage space.

Lack of bitcoin payment is not cool, absence of online office suite might make it less attractive for a few users.

Conclusion

With tough competition at price per TB, it is only the speed and additional features that is going to help a cloud storage provider stand out. From the above list, my personal choice is kDrive from Infomaniak in Switzerland. It is an independent Swiss company with own data centers and affordable pricing for Solo users or private individuals.

What do you think? Did you find your favorite here? Or do you have something else that you would love to recommend? Thanks for reading!

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