Best Cloud Storage Services for Architects and Designers in 2023

By Jon Henning •  Updated: 04/24/22 •  12 min read

It’s 2023 and you’re a busy architect, a designer, or a digital creator. Your files are your lifeblood — they contain the ideas, plans, and blueprints that make you successful. But what do you do if something happens to your computer? What if it crashes, or gets stolen? Suddenly all of your hard work is gone…

Unless you have a backup plan!

In this article, we will discuss 5 of the best cloud storage services for architects, designers, and digital creators in 2023.

But before we dive deep in the world of cloud storage, I’ll save you some time and share my 3 preferred cloud storage services right here:


⭐ Best Overall


👨‍🎓 Best for Students

Amazon S3

👔 Best for Websites

If you’re reading this, you might already have a general idea of what cloud storage systems are. In this article, we’re going to dive a bit deeper to look at reasons why you should use one for your file system. I wrote a post about how to create a hybridized file system using multiple hard drives, so a cloud storage system will be the next level for creating a robust backup plan for all of your design files.

What is Cloud Storage?

Definition of cloud storage for architects and designers

Cloud storage is a virtual storage infrastructure that users can access remotely over a network — typically the internet. Data is stored in servers or large datacenters, in a physical place in the world. Cloud service providers manage the data that is transferred via the cloud, and these services help to eliminate the need to buy, manage and maintain in-house storage infrastructure.

When choosing a cloud storage provider, it’s important to consider the following:

Based on these criteria, we’re going to look at 5 popular cloud storage service providers that are commonly used in.

This list serves to provide my experience of using each of these services so that you can make an informed decision on choosing the cloud storage service that will best suit your needs.

Best Cloud Storage Services for Architects and Designers

Google Drive

Key Features

✔️ Desktop version available to auto synchronize files
✔️ Direct integration with other Google Services
✔️ Compatible with most popular apps and websites
✔️ Edit basic files online using Google Sheets, Slides, and Docs

The free version of Google drive will provide you with 15GB of data straight out of the gate, which is often plenty of storage for a small architectural design project.

If you’re looking to expand the 15GB storage limit, Google is now offering an integration service called “Google One”, which allows you to manage your Google Drive storage and even back up your phone’s data. Here’s a quick breakdown of pricing and storage capacity:

💰 Google Drive Pricing

⭐ Free Storage: 15GB

➤ “Basic” Package: 100GB | $1.99/mo
➤ “Standard” Package: 200GB | $2.99/mo
➤ “Premium” Package: 2TB | $9.99/mo

Each service offers the option to prepay annually, which can net savings of up to 17%.

Current Price Guide

You can install the desktop version of Drive, which integrates directly with your file storage system on your computer — whether you are using Windows or Mac. This is an important feature, because it allows your files to automatically synchronize to the cloud.

Jon’s Take on Google Drive
Google Drive Best Cloud Storage Services for Architects and Designers

In my experience, Google Drive is a great service and I love how it integrates with other Google services, like Google Sheets and Google Keep. Google Drive is an extension of the entire suite of services that Google has to offer, so it’s a safe bet to use for your cloud storage needs.

Apple iCloud Drive (iCloud+)

Key Features

✔️ Desktop Version to enable automatic backups
✔️ Seamless Integration with all Apple products
✔️ Secure encrypted data

The second service is iCloud. If you are using an Apple computer for your design and drafting work, this should be a no-brainer. Although currently iCloud is not supported on Android devices, you can use it on Windows computers.

💰 iCloud+ Pricing

⭐ Free Storage: 5GB

➤Package #1: 50GB | $0.99/mo
➤ Package #2: 200GB | $3.99/mo
➤ Package #3: 1TB | $9.99/mo

Through Apple’s service, here are the current price packages:

Current Price Guide
Jon’s Take on iCloud
iCloud Best Cloud Storage Services for Architects and Designers

If you use Apple products in your design workflow, using iCloud is a no-brainer. In fact, it’s essentially built into your device.


Key Features

✔️ Desktop Version to enable automatic backups
✔️ Dropbox Scan on mobile app
✔️ Scalability to use for teams/large projects
✔️ Smart Sync to choose which files/folders to synchronize to local hard drive

The third service on the list is Dropbox. Dropbox is a great option for those who are looking for an easy-to-use cloud storage service. I mentioned before that I’ve been using Dropbox now for over 10 years, and I believe that it is an exceptional cloud storage service.

The selling point for me is that my files effortlessly sync to my PC without me having to think about it, thanks to Dropbox’s Smart Sync service.

Similar to other cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox has a web portal by which you can drag and drop files to upload them to the cloud. Additionally, you can download Dropbox to your PC or Mac, creating a “local” server of sorts on your own device.

By downloading Dropbox to your PC or Mac, you can specify a location on your internal hard drive that serves as your “Dropbox” folder. Within that folder, anything that you have on Dropbox (through the web client) can be synced automatically to your computer drive.

💰 Dropbox Pricing

⭐ Free Storage: 2GB

➤ “Plus” Plan (1 user): 2TB | $9.99/mo
➤ “Family” Plan (6 users): 2TB | $16.99/mo
➤ “Professional + eSign” Plan (1 user): 3TB | $24.99/mo

Through Dropbox’s service, here are the current price packages:

Current Price Guide
Here’s How I Use Dropbox in My Design Workflow

I create a Dropbox folder and work on projects directly through that folder. Whenever I save a Revit model to my hard drive, it automatically gets pushed to the cloud through the Dropbox sync service (assuming that I am connected to the internet).

I click “save” once, and my file is saved both locally AND in the cloud. Redundancy with ease, and now I can sleep better at night. The only caveat with this approach though is that whatever storage size you have on your Dropbox, you should try to have a comparable hard drive size in your computer.

For example, if you have 1TB of Dropbox storage, try to get a 1TB hard drive (or larger). Right now, I have 3TB of Dropbox space, but I only have a 2TB hard drive in my laptop.

Thanks to Dropbox’s “Smart Sync” feature, I can simply select which folders I want to sync to my hard drive on this computer. I love this ability because I can choose to sync my “CADD” folder to my rendering machine, and my “Web Design” folder to my personal laptop. Without having to think, both machines are separately synchronizing files back to the Dropbox cloud.

Dropbox prices are competitive for what the service offers at each tier. I’ve found that 2TB is plenty of space for everything that I need, and it’s good to know that I can easily upgrade as my storage needs grow.

Jon’s Take on Dropbox
Dropbox Best Cloud Storage Services for Architects and Designers

I have been using Dropbox consistently for over 10 years. You’ll see me using it a lot on my Youtube channel and in my various software tutorials. Dropbox has helped me avoid literally thousands of hours of data loss, and it has always been my go-to cloud storage service to use.

Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service)

Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service)

✔️ Object-based Storage; prices based on data used
✔️ Cheapest prices available from all cloud storage services
✔️ Scalability — perfect for growing businesses
✔️ Massive storage options — over 500TB (500,000 gigabytes)

The fourth service on the list is Amazon S3. S3 stands for “Simple Storage Service”, and is an “object storage service” aimed toward more tech-savvy, business folks.

Customers using S3 are typically looking for the ability to scale their storage needs as their business grows. Coincidentally, Amazon S3 users range from small scale independent businesses, to commercial industries. Users can “store and retrieve any amount of data at any time, from anywhere”, according to Amazon’s website. This means that data sizes won’t be limited to file system constraints (for example, Dropbox can only store single-file sizes up to 50GB), so you can throw anything you’ve got into Amazon S3 and rest-assured that it will be accessible.

Additionally, S3 users are looking for cost-effective, long-term storage solutions. Amazon focuses on data-availability — or in other words, any data that you store through Amazon’s S3 service will be accessible to you at all times. Amazon claims that S3 is designed for 99.99999999999% (11 9’s) of durability, and they have millions of customers who are using their cloud storage service for these types of long-term solutions.

💰 Amazon S3 Pricing

⭐ Free Storage: 5GB

➤ “S3 Standard ” Package: 50TB/mo | $0.023 per GB
➤ “S3 Standard – Infrequent Access” Package: $0.01 per GB
➤ “S3 Standard – Glacier Deep Archive” Package: $0.00099 per GB

Through Amazon’s service, here are the current price packages:

Current Price Guide

Above all, Amazon S3 offers some of the best prices on this entire list. Rather than charging based on a top-down system, they charge based on the data you upload. As of now, they charge a tiny value of $0.023 per GB (less than 2 cents per GB!) which can help save you a ton of money if you have large storage needs.

Jon’s Take on Amazon S3
Amazon S3 Best Cloud Storage Services for Architects and Designers

If you’re tech-savvy and want to save A LOT of money on a Cloud Service, Amazon S3 is a fantastic place to keep your data. Also, I recommend you think about using Amazon S3 if you have an huge archive of data to back-up — we’re talking terabytes of data.


Key Features

✔️ Desktop version available to auto synchronize files
✔️ System Backups — Back up folders from your computer to pCloud, securely. Keep and recover old versions in up to 1 year.
✔️ pCloud Crypto — Protect your important information using end-to-end encryption
✔️ Extended File History — Recover old file versions and files from the Trash from up to 1 year ago
✔️ Direct Invitations — Invite friends and colleagues directly to view and edit files in any folder in your pCloud Drive by simply right-clicking it

🔒 The Most Secure Cloud Storage Service

If file security is your priority, pCloud is a fantastic option to choose. This service integrates an end-to-end encryption technique, which the company has named “pCloud Crypto”. This form of encryption is extremely secure, and pCloud is confident in their ability to keep your files protected.

They are so confident in their encryption service that they actually invite professional hackers to try to infiltrate their service, and for any hacker that is successful, pCloud will reward them $100,000!

Read more about the pCloud hacking challenge, here!

The basic plan gives you 5GB of storage to start, but you can invite people to join pCloud and easily unlock more space.

💰 pCloud Pricing

⭐ Free Storage: 5GB

➤ “Premium” Package (one-time fee): 500GB | $175
➤ “Premium” Package: 500GB | $49.99/year
➤ “Premium Plus” Package (one-time fee): 2TB | $350 one-time fee
➤ “Premium Plus” Package: 2TB | $99.99/year

pCloud offers a variety of services — from annual recurring payment plans to their unique lifetime plans:

Current Price Guide

One of the coolest features of pCloud is that they offer one-time payment plans that allows you to use the service for life. Unlike some of the other services mentioned above, you can save a ton of cash in the long-run if you opt to purchase a lifetime plan.

Jon’s Take on pCloud
pCloud S3 Best Cloud Storage Services for Architects and Designers

If you’re wanting to break out from the mainstream options I mentioned above, definitely check out pCloud and see if it’s something that you’d like to recommend to your network. It’s hard to beat peace-of-mind when it comes to file security, and pCloud certainly delivers on that front. The one-time payment structure is also great, because you won’t have to worry about repeat payments in the future.

Final Thoughts: Storage vs. Price

In conclusion, I suggest shooting to have at least 1TB of cloud storage available for your design projects. 2TB+ would be optimal however, especially if you’re following along with my hybridized file storage system setup.

Data shown represents the “Premium” tier for each service. This chart does not show Amazon S3, since it is a uniquely priced service.

pCloud is a great choice based on the price/storage comparison. To be honest, I’m actually integrating my files over to pCloud right now as I write this.

I will continue to use Dropbox and Google Drive as my primary “mainstream” cloud storage system — since many people already use these services, it makes it easier to share files with friends and colleagues.

If you’re wanting to break out from the mainstream options I mentioned above, definitely check out pCloud and see if it’s something that you’d like to recommend to your network. It’s hard to beat peace-of-mind when it comes to file security, and pCloud certainly delivers on that front.

That being said, what are your thoughts on these cloud storage services? Have you used any of these before? Let me know in the comments below!

Jon Henning

Hi, I'm Jon. I write about emerging technology in architecture, engineering and design, and I want to help you push boundaries with the latest tech trends in the AEC industry.

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