Yes, MEGA does offer a generous free cloud storage plan with 20GB of space. However, its paid subscription plans provide less storage for higher prices compared to some competitors. This article will dive into the pros, cons, features, and alternatives to help you decide if MEGA‘s free or paid plans are right for your needs.
MEGA‘s free plan gives you 20GB of encrypted cloud storage
The basic MEGA free account provides 20GB of secure cloud storage for your files and folders. Here‘s an overview of what you get with a free MEGA membership:
20GB storage space – This gives you room for photos, videos, documents, and more. It‘s a very competitive amount compared to other free plans.
End-to-end encryption – MEGA encrypts your files locally before they reach MEGA‘s servers. This prevents anyone from accessing your data without your keys.
File sync & backup – You can sync folders across devices and access files from MEGA‘s mobile and desktop apps.
File sharing – Share individual files or entire folders privately with password protection and expiring links.
Version history – Restore previous versions of files from MEGA‘s built-in trash and versioning system.
While 20GB of free encrypted cloud storage is generous, you may eventually need more space. That‘s when MEGA starts to get pricey…
MEGA‘s paid plans offer less storage for the price
Once you exceed the 20GB limit, MEGA requires upgrading to a paid Pro plan to get more cloud storage. Here‘s how MEGA‘s paid plans and pricing compare to Google Drive:
As you can see, MEGA‘s paid plans offer less storage than Google Drive at each price point. MEGA maxes out at 8TB for $34.89/month. Google One goes up to 30TB for $149.99/month.
Other competitors like Dropbox and iCloud offer 2TB plans for around $10/month, undercutting MEGA as well.
The verdict? MEGA‘s free storage is great, but its paid plans are expensive if you need expanded capacity. For sheer volume, look to Google Drive or Dropbox.
Security experts have mixed opinions on MEGA‘s privacy
MEGA promotes its security and privacy heavily in its marketing. The company states that your data is protected by end-to-end encryption that makes it inaccessible even to MEGA itself. This encryption happens entirely client-side before your data reaches MEGA‘s servers.
This approach prevents the risky scenario of unencrypted data sitting on a company‘s servers vulnerable to hacking. MEGA also allows you to control sharing with passwords, expirations dates, and link revocation.
However, security researchers have identified some potential risks in MEGA‘s architecture:
- Password recovery flaws could allow account access without your consent.
- Encryption keys are managed by MEGA rather than users themselves.
- The browser-based encryption code has not been fully audited.
Cybersecurity firm Duo Labs said MEGA made "critical mistakes" in its encryption setup.
Overall, MEGA does provide substantially better security than something like Dropbox or Google Drive. But there are still unanswered questions around MEGA‘s privacy claims for experts.
When is MEGA‘s security most necessary?
While MEGA may not be bulletproof to all security researchers, its end-to-end encryption does offer sufficient protection for many common threat models:
Journalists & activists who want to prevent government surveillance of sensitive documents can benefit from MEGA.
Businesses dealing with financial data, customer info, or intellectual property need hard-to-crack encryption like MEGA provides.
People living under repressive regimes can use MEGA to store censored content without fear of discovery.
For these use cases, MEGA‘s emphasis on privacy is a critical feature compared to mainstream cloud providers. Users who need true zero-knowledge encryption are willing to sacrifice some storage volume and price.
MEGA‘s interface caters to the tech crowd over simplicity
In my experience as a long-time MEGA user, its interface and tools cater more to technical users compared to something like Dropbox. Setting up and managing your MEGA account requires comfort with encryption keys and security concepts.
The web and desktop interfaces have lots of toggles, advanced sharing settings, and shortcuts that appeal to techies. But non-technical users may find it overwhelming compared to Dropbox‘s simplicity.
MEGA lacks some of the intuitive file previews, commenting tools, and collaboration options that competing services offer. The focus is firmly on robust security over usability.
Account recovery can be tricky with MEGA‘s encryption
Something to keep in mind with MEGA is that the encryption that protects your data can also lock you out. If you ever lose access to your account or forget your password, MEGA has limited options to help you recover access.
Without your encryption keys, your data is all but lost. MEGA does offer a master key option for account recovery, but enabling this reduces your security.
Losing access to a Dropbox or Google Drive account is inconvenient but can usually be resolved with customer support. With MEGA, you‘re far more dependent on not losing your login credentials and keys.
How does MEGA‘s mobile experience compare?
MEGA offers mobile apps for iOS and Android to access your encrypted storage on the go. The experience is similar to the desktop and web interfaces with a focus on function over flash.
In my testing, here‘s how MEGA stacks up to the competition in mobile:
Auto-upload: Dropbox and Google Photos automatically back up camera photos. MEGA lacks this automated option.
Sharing: MEGA provides fine-tuned sharing settings, but sharing directly from mobile is easier with Dropbox.
Organization: Tagging and finding files is better in Google Drive compared to MEGA‘s dated interface.
Previews: Dropbox enables instant previews of files without downloading them. MEGA is weaker here.
MEGA‘s mobile DNA favors security and control over quick previews and content discovery. The sync and backup functions work fine, but the overall experience feels dated next to its peers.
Can MEGA realistically compete with tech giants?
MEGA faces an uphill battle as a small privacy-focused player competing against the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox. Each of these rivals offers more seamless integration with their broader ecosystems.
For example, iCloud storage integrates with iMessage, Photos, and other Apple services. Google Drive likewise ties directly into Gmail, Docs, Photos, etc.
MEGA operates as a standalone encrypted silo without deep ties into a larger platform. While it was founded in 2013 by Kim Dotcom of Megaupload fame, MEGA lacks the resources of Big Tech.
Unless you are absolutely committed to hardcore encryption, the unified convenience of an iCloud or Google Drive tips the scales for mainstream consumers. MEGA‘s niche is the security die-hards.
The bottom line: who should choose MEGA?
Given its limitations around price, storage, and usability, here‘s my take on ideal MEGA users:
- Privacy fundamentalists who think most big tech storage is unsafe
- Journalists, activists, and whistleblowers dealing with sensitive data
- Businesses that demand client-side encryption for regulatory compliance
- Technically adept users comfortable managing encryption keys
- Families and individuals seeking unlimited photo storage
- Enterprise teams that need extensive collaboration capabilities
- Users who want simple file previews without syncing/downloading
- People at high risk of losing passwords and access credentials
At the end of the day, MEGA carves out a niche by prioritizing privacy and security above all else. If you just want simple, unlimited storage, go Google or Apple. But if data encryption is critical, MEGA delivers.