Common Free Tools to Build Your Own Cloud Storage

These days, having cloud storage has become a necessity, especially if you need to store large amounts of data. We’re spoilt for choice with what’s available out there to help back up important data, like Dropbox, Google Drive,... However, they share one major drawback: they have limited storage space. And, at the end of the day, they’re still a third party you have to trust with your data. But why take the risk when there’s a better solution?

Thanks to a growing number of generous and innovative developers, we can now make our own cloud storage. These solutions forego the use of a third-party server, making sure that all your data is kept private.

Here are common tools to create your own cloud. All of which offer unlimited storage, and a few other features third-party cloud storage don’t possess. 

Bittorrent Sync

Bittorrent Sync previously as a way to transfer large files anonymously but did you know that you can also use it to create your personal Cloud? All you need to do is configure a folder to act as a drop-off point so you can sync all your files on all your devices running Bittorrent Sync.

Seafile, another open source solution, sells itself as a file syncing and online collaboration tool. You have the option of using its cloud service, or set up self-hosted servers. For the latter, there are two kinds: Open Source and Business ($25 per user per year). The application features a rich online file editor, version control, multi-platform file syncing and more.

PClouds a personal cloud solution that makes sharing files between OS X and iOS a breeze. The program recently entered beta and it requires you to sign up to its beta program but it looks to be a solid, easy to use app to create a personal cloud within the Apple ecosystem, bypassing iTunes. It also has a simple file management app for mobile devices. There are plans to build for other OSes.

Similar to OwnCloud, the aim of Cozy is to give you a way to maintain your own data using your own web apps. In the developers own words, "Cozy allows you to turn your server in a kind of personal Google App Engine." The developers encourage users to develop it further, hoping to connect many different services and utilities to it.

An incredibly versatile tool, ownCloud is a free, open source application that lets you build more than a Dropbox replacement to dump your data. Along with data storage, the app comes with a number of other features such as a way to manage your calendar, to-do lists, a document editing tool and many more. You can get OwnCloud installed with the instructions found here.

AeroFS is an open source app that is aimed at corporate users, offering collaboration tools as part of their package. They also offer a free version for personal use, which supports up to 3 users. The service prides itself on its fast syncing speeds, with no limit on the data transferred. All you need to do is to install the AeroFS client into the device you want to put in your sync circle.

Similar to SparkleShare and obvious from its name, git-annex also uses git to manage files but "without checking the file contents into git". What this means is that it is more suitable for larger files that git is used to handling. The app is mainly in command line but for those who aren’t keen on this, there is an easy-to-use alternative version.

SparkleShare uses git in order to maintain all your data. This means that you will get full version history of your files as well as the other good stuff that comes with git. This is an excellent solution if you have documents that require going through a lot of changes. It may not do so well with very large files though.