Maps and Tables

by Alphonse Eylenburg
eylenburg.github.io

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Comparison of Cloud, Sync & Email services

There are many people out there who have decided to pursue the noble goal of a Techxodus. This means:

  1. Independence: using software that is not made or controlled by Big Tech monopolists (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Meta, Amazon), who together have almost unchecked control about people's digital lives. See also Techxodus Wiki
  2. Freedom: only using free and open source software, i.e. software published under a copyleft or permissive license. If the developer ever becomes evil, it will be possible to fork the software. The fact that Konqueror was published under the GPL forced Apple and Google to publish the source code for their browser engines (WebKit and Blink) - thus enabling "good" forks (Brave, Ungoogled-Chromium) of "bad" software (Chrome). See also FSF Directory
  3. Privacy: using software that respects the user's privacy. For example, a service that allows anonymous sign-up or offers end-to-end encryption of all user data. A closed source software can by definition not be trusted to respect the users privacy, because there is no way of really knowing what's going on in the background. See also PrivacyTools or PrivacyGuides
  4. Openness: using software that relies on open standards, thereby avoiding vendor lock-in. For example, an email provider should be compatible with any email client running on any operating system.
  5. Neutrality: using software that can censor information or ban users, and that is ideally developed by a politically neutral entity. For example, an end-to-end encrypted messenger can't censor messages because it can't even read the messages in the first place, and a federated messenger can't ban users because there is no central server that has control over who is using the messenger.

In some cases it's easy. For example, replace your browser with Firefox - it is free software, it can be configured to respect your privacy, and it is not made by a Big Tech company nor based on their product (i.e., Chromium). Or you can use Brave Search as your search engine - it does not track its users, and it is based on its own search index (unlike DuckDuckGo and Startpage, which mostly use the Bing and Google index, respectively).

In other cases, it's almost impossible. When it comes to mobile operating systems, there are only two options: iOS made by Apple (Big Tech, not private, not open source), and Android made by Google (Big Tech, even less private, only partially open source). Symbian or BlackBerry OS are long dead. GNU/Linux exists for phones (e.g. Sailfish OS, Ubuntu Touch, postmarketOS) but is not generally available preinstalled and lacks the most important mobile apps, and is hence not yet suitable as a daily driver for 99% of people.

In some cases there might be alternatives, but they're simply inferior. OpenStreetMaps is alright, but it can't measure up to Google Maps. LibreOffice Calc is a decent product, but can't compete with Microsoft Excel.

Here, I am looking at cloud services, which includes file sync, PIM (addressbook, calendar, to-do list, and notes), as well as email hosting (which often integrates PIM services). The Big Three - Apple, Google, and Microsoft - really offer a complete package, where the individual services are working well together and offer a very convenient cloud service to users. I have set out to see whether a Techxodus is possible, and whether there is an email + file sync + PIM provider out there that ticks all the boxes: independence from Big Tech, no vendor lock-in, free and open source software, no politics, and great privacy, ideally by means of end-to-end encryption which would make it impossible for the service provider (or anyone else, like the police) to read the user data.

Click here to see an older version of this comparison with more information, up to date as of beginning 2022 but will not be updated anymore.

Comparison of Cloud, Sync & Email services

Source: eylenburg.github.io

Last updated: April 2022

General information File sync Addressbook, Calendar & Tasks Email Pricing (single user, annual price in EUR)
Mail storage File storage
Product Developer Juris­diction Soft­ware li­cense Offered for self-hosting? Data encryp­ted at rest? End-to-end encryp­tion? WebDAV (or other APIfor inte­gration in 3rd-party apps)? Edit files in browser? Share files & folders? Two-way sync with Desktop?Windows, macOS, and Linux Two-way sync with Android?Only Android considered as iOS does not allow third-party apps to have full file system access or background sync (and iCloud does not support two-way sync). End-to-end encryp­tion? Has all three? CardDAV & CalDAV support? Zero access encryp­tion? IMAP support? ≥5 GB ≥15 GB ≥100 GB ≥1 TB Comment
Apple iCloud Apple Inc. Big Tech PRISM Woke 🇺🇸
USA
Proprie­tary No Emails only in transit No No Yes (Apple iWork) Yes No Linux support No No Yes Yes No Yes free
(5 GB)
€12
(50 GB)
€36
(200 GB)
€120
(2 TB)
Can be shared with up to 6 people
Box Box, Inc. Woke 🇺🇸
USA
Proprie­tary No Yes No API Yes (Microsoft Office Online) Yes Linux via 3rd party appssuch as GoodSync via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync €108
(100 GB)
€486
(unlimited)only available for Team subscription with 3 users minimum
Unlimited plan shows price for 3 users (minimum amount).
Dropbox Box, Inc. Woke 🇺🇸
USA
Proprie­tary No Yes No API Yes (Microsoft Office Online) Yes Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync €120
(2 TB)
Family plan also available.
ecloud1 e.foundation Non-Profit 🇫🇷
France
Free Yes Yes No WebDAV Yes (OnlyOffice) Yes Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes Yes No Yes €20
(20 GB)
€60
(128 GB)
€130
(1 TB)
Self-hosted cost: either hardware upfront costs (~€50 for RaspPi + ~€50 for 1 TB HDD) or ~€60 p.a. for cheap VPS (e.g. 1 TB at AlphaVPS)
Etesync Etesync Ltd. 🇬🇧
UK
Free Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (via EteSync Bridge) Hosted by EteSync developers: €21 p.a.;
Self-hosted cost: either hardware upfront costs (~€50 for RaspPi) or ~€12 p.a. for cheap VPS
Fastmail Fastmail Pty Ltd 🇦🇺
Australia
Proprie­tary No Yes No WebDAV (and FTP) No (but can manage files in browser) No (only team members) via 3rd party appssuch as FreeFileSync or GoodSync via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes, but tasks missing on website Yes No Yes €44
(30 GB)additional 10 GB for files
€160
(100 GB)additional 200 GB for emails
Filen Filen Cloud Dienste UG 🇩🇪
Germany
Proprie­tary but source avai­lable (clients) No Yes Yes No (not compatible with E2EE) No (but can manage files in browser) Yes Yes No €12
(100 GB)
€90
(2 TB)
Lifetime purchase options also available.
fruux fruux GmbH 🇩🇪
Germany
Proprie­tarybut mostly based on open source projects (sabre/dav) No
alternative: Baikal (also by fruux GmbH)
Yes No Yes Yes Free for syncing two devices, otherwise €40 p.a.
Google One
Google Drive &
GMail etc.
Alphabet Inc. Big Tech PRISM Woke Evil 🇺🇸
USA
Proprie­tary No Yes No API Yes (Google Docs Editors) Yes Linux via 3rd party appssuch as insync, FreeFileSync, or GoodSync Android via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes Yes, except tasks (own API) No Yes free
(15 GB)
€20
(100 GB)
€100
(2 TB)
Can be shared with up to 6 people
GMX/Mail.com United Inter­net AG Woke 🇩🇪
Germany
Proprie­tary No In transit only No WebDAV (and FTP) Yes (GMX Online Office)based on LibreOffice Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FreeFileSync or GoodSync via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes, but tasks missing on website Yes No Yes free
(65 GB)
€24
(100 GB)additional 65 GB for emails
€179
(1 TB)additional 65 GB for emails
Icedrive ID Cloud Services Ltd. 🇬🇧
UK
Proprie­tary No Yes Yes (limited)optional "encrypted folder" with limited features, e.g. no WebDAV WebDAV (not for E2EE files) No (but can manage files in browser) Yes Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync €22
(150 GB)
€50
(1 TB)
Lifetime purchase options also available.
Infomaniak
kDrive &
Workspace
Infomaniak Network SA 🇨🇭
Switzerland
Clients are free No Yes No WebDAV Yes (Infomaniak Office)based on OnlyOffice Yes Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes Yes No Yes free
(20 GB)
€60
(2 TB)
Family plan also available
Internxt Drive Internxt Universal Technolo­gies SL 🇪🇸
Spain
Free No Yes Yes No (not compatible with E2EE) No (but can manage files in browser) Yes Yes No €42
(100 GB)
€108
(2 TB)
Lifetime purchase options also available.
Kolab Now Apheleia IT AG 🇨🇭
Switzerland
Free Yes In transit only No WebDAV Yes (Collabora Office) Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FreeFileSync or GoodSync via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes Yes No Yes €120
(5 GB)only email (without files, calendar etc.) for €57 p.a.
€142
(15 GB)
€385
(100 GB)
Mailbox.org Heinlein Hosting GmbH 🇩🇪
Germany
Mostly free (mostly based on Open-Xchange) No
alternative: Open-Xchange
Yes No WebDAV Yes (OX Office) Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FreeFileSync or GoodSync via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes Yes Yes Yes (needs PGP support in client)To use encrypted mail (zero access encryption), the user will need to decrypt them on the local device, e.g. using Thunderbird, or the OpenKeychain app on Android €36
(10 GB)
€46
(15 GB)
€121
(100 GB)also includes 10 GB mail storage
€538
(1 TB)also includes 25 GB mail storage
Mailfence ContactOffice Group SA 🇧🇪
Belgium
Proprie­tary No Yes No WebDAV Yes (Contact Office) Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FreeFileSync or GoodSync via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No No tasks Yes Yes Yes (needs PGP support in client)To use encrypted mail (zero access encryption), the user will need to decrypt them on the local device, e.g. using Thunderbird, or the OpenKeychain app on Android €30
(5 GB)also includes 12 GB for files
€90
(20 GB)also includes 24 GB for files
max. 70 GB (€300)
Mega Mega Ltd. 🇳🇿
New Zealand
Proprie­tary but source avai­lable (clients) No Yes Yes API, also WebDAV server via MegaCMD No (but can manage files in browser) Yes Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync €50
(400 GB)
€100
(2 TB)
Microsoft 365
OneDrive &
Outlook.com
Microsoft Corp. Big Tech PRISM Woke 🇺🇸
USA
Proprie­tary No Yes No API Yes (Microsoft Office Online) Yes Linux via 3rd party appssuch as insync, FreeFileSync, or GoodSync via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes Uses MS Exchange instead No Yes free
(15 GB)
€24
(100 GB)
€69
(1 TB)Mail storage also upgraded from 15 GB to 50 GB
Family plan also available. 1 TB plan includes Microsoft Office Online.
Nextcloud
(various
hosters)
Nextcloud GmbH 🇩🇪
Germany
Free Yes Yes Yes (limited)optional "encrypted folder" with limited features, e.g. no access in browser WebDAV (not for E2EE files) Yes (Nextcloud Officebased on Collabora Office and othersOnlyOffice, Collabora Office, Hancom Office, Microsoft Office Online) Yes Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes Yes Hetzner Storage Share:
Ionos Managed Nextcloud:
Hosting.de Managed Nextcloud:
Owncube (single user):
€41
€72
€59
€15
€113
€108
€119
€50
Can be shared by multiple users. Self-hosted cost: either hardware upfront costs (~€50 for RaspPi + ~€50 for 1 TB HDD) or ~€60 p.a. for cheap VPS (e.g. 1 TB at AlphaVPS)
Nordlocker Nordsec Ltd. 🇵🇦
Panama
Proprie­tary No Yes Yes (claimed)encryption cannot be verified as apps are closed source No (not compatible with E2EE) No (but can manage files in browser) No (only with other Nordlocker users) No Linux support No €34
(500 GB)
€85
(2 TB)
pCloud pCloud AG 🇨🇭
Switzerland
Proprie­tary No Yes Yes (limited) (claimed)optional "encrypted folder" with limited features, e.g. no sync or sharing; encryption cannot be verified as apps are closed source API No (but can manage files in browser) Yes (except E2EE files) Yes (except E2EE files) via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync €50
(500 GB)
€100
(2 TB)
Family plan and lifetime purchase options also available.
Posteo Posteo e.K. Non-Corporate 🇩🇪
Germany
Free No Yes Yes (temporarily encrypted)The data will be temporarily decrypted whenever modifications are made, e.g. in the browser or via an app using CalDAV Yes, but tasks missing on website Yes Yes (temporarily decrypted)emails are temporarily decrypted when accessing them, e.g. via browser or an IMAP client Yes €21
(5 GB)
€51
(15 GB)
ProtonMail
+ Calendar
+ Drive
Proton Technolo­gies AG 🇨🇭
Switzerland
Clients are free No Yes Yes No (not compatible with E2EE) No (but can manage files in browser) Yes No No Yes No tasks No Yes Desktop onlyWindows, macOS, Linux (via Proton­Mail Bridge) €48
(5 GB)
€168
(15 GB)
max. 20 GB (€228)
Radicale
(self-hosted)
Kozea Commu­nity Non-Corporate Non-Profit 🇫🇷
France
Free Yes In transit only No Yes Yes Self-hosted cost: either hardware upfront costs (~€50 for RaspPi) or ~€12 p.a. for cheap VPS
Runbox Runbox Solutions As 🇳🇴
Norway
Free No In transit only No FTP No (but can manage files in browser) No via 3rd party appssuch as FreeFileSync or GoodSync via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No No tasks Yes No Yes €30
(10 GB)additional 1 GB for files
€40
(25 GB)additional 2 GB for files
€825
(100 GB)additional 50 GB for emails
Seafile
(various
hosters)
Seafile Ltd. 🇨🇳
China
Free Yes Yes Yes (limited)optional "encrypted libraries" with limited features, e.g. no WebDAV; furthermore, if encrypted libraries are accessed through a web browser, the server will receive the password and store it for one hour. WebDAV (not for E2EE files) & API Yes (Only­Office or Colla­bora Office)If E2EE files are accessed through a web browser, the server will receive the password and store it for one hour. Yes Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync Single user prices:
Luckycloud:
YourSecureCloud:

€86
€96

€426
€600
Self-hosted cost: either hardware upfront costs (~€50 for RaspPi + ~€50 for 1 TB HDD) or ~€60 p.a. for cheap VPS (e.g. 1 TB at AlphaVPS)
StartMail StartMail B.V. 🇳🇱
Netherlands
Proprie­tary No Yes No Neither calendar nor tasks No Yes (temporarily decrypted)emails are temporarily decrypted when accessing them, e.g. via browser or an IMAP client Yes €53
(10 GB)
Sync.com Sync.com, Inc. 🇨🇦
Canada
Proprie­tary No Yes Yes (claimed)encryption cannot be verified as apps are closed source No (not compatible with E2EE) Yes (Microsoft Office Online)Files will be temporarily decrypted Yes No Linux support No €85
(2 TB)
Syncthing
(P2P sync)
Syncthing Foundation Non-Corporate Non-Profit 🇸🇪
Sweden
Free Yes depends on setupAlways encrypted in transit. By default Syncthing syncs files directly between device without using a server. It is up to you whether you encrypt your devices's storage or not. n/a (server­less) n/a (server­less) but possibleYou could set up one always-on device as a "server" which then makes the files available via WebDAV like a normal cloud server No No Yes (even on Unix)Official supported are: FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, DragonflyBSD, Illumos, and Solaris Yes Self-hosted server cost: either hardware upfront costs (~€50 for RaspPi + ~€50 for 1 TB HDD) or ~€60 p.a. for cheap VPS (e.g. 1 TB at AlphaVPS)
Tresorit Tresorit AG 🇨🇭
Switzerland
Proprie­tary No Yes Yes (claimed)encryption cannot be verified as apps are closed source No (not compatible with E2EE) No (but can manage files in browser) Yes Yes No €100
(500 GB)
€240
(2.5 TB)
Tutanota Tutao GmbH 🇩🇪
Germany
Clients are free No Yes Yes No tasks No Yes No €36
(11 GB)
€132
(101 GB)
Wölkli1
Cloud &
Mail
oriented.net LLC 🇨🇭
Switzerland
Free No Yes No WebDAV Yes (Only­Office or Colla­bora Office) Yes Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes Yes Yes Yes (needs PGP support in client)To use encrypted mail (zero access encryption), the user will need to decrypt them on the local device, e.g. using Thunderbird, or the OpenKeychain app on Android €206
(5 GB)
€401
(200 GB)
Family plan also offered. Cloud and Mail have to be purchased separately.
Yahoo Mail Yahoo, Inc. PRISM Woke  
🇺🇸
USA
 
Proprie­tary No In transit only No Yes Yes No Yes free
(1 TB)
Yandex
Disk &
Mail
Yandex N.V. 🇳🇱
Netherlands
🇷🇺
Russia
Proprie­tary No Yes No WebDAV Yes (Microsoft Office Online) Yes Yes via 3rd party appssuch as FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes Yes No Yes free
(unlimited)
€18
(100 GB)
€89
(1 TB)
Zoho
Workspace
Zoho Corp. 🇮🇳
India
🇺🇸
USA
Proprie­tary No Yes No API Yes (Zoho Office) Yes Yes Notheoretically possible via 3rd party tools using Zoho's API but currently not supported by either FolderSync or AutoSync No Yes Yes, except tasks No Yes €117
(30 GB)Minimum 3 users who will get 30 GB each.
€117
(100 GB)Minimum 3 users who can share 100 GB.
€223
(1 TB)Minimum 3 users who can share 1 TB.
Prices shown are for three users (team plans).
1: File cloud and sync based on Nextcloud

So, what's the conclusion?

There are multiple possibilities. Below I have set up five strategies how to manage your cloud setup.

Strategy 1: Don't bother and stay in the Big Tech ecosystem. At least it's comfortable and just works.

All these companies offer the whole spectrum of sync and cloud services - files, mail, and PIM. You will get spied on, your data will be sold to advertisers, you will be locked into the ecosystem with no easy way to migrate your data, and you will have to use a proprietary operating system, but you also will be happy, because everything just works and is well integrated with each other. If you're using a Mac and an iPhone, going with iCloud is an obvious choice. If you need Microsoft Office you might as well use the 1 TB OneDrive you get for free with it (besides, I have to admit that Microsoft's family subscription is great value for money, especially if you buy it for half price from Amazon). It takes a strong will to opt out.

Strategy 2: Use a different one-stop solution, but one that claims to respect your privacy

These companies claim to respect your privacy, not scan your data, and not sell your data to advertisers. That's probably good enough for most people who don't want to be spied on and don't want to support the Big Tech monopolists, but also don't really need end-to-end encryption or protect their data from the government. Keep in mind that these companies can claim to not read your data, but there's nothing technically stopping them from it. If you do need or want that extra protection to keep your data safe from anyone's eyes, then you need to either get end-to-end encryption for all your services or you need to self-host at home.

Strategy 3: End-to-end encryption (E2EE) for everything

Strategy 3a: E2EE one-stop solutions

Sadly, there is only one provider out there that offers a combination of mail hosting, calendar/contacts, and file cloud with all items fully end-to-end encrypted. That one provider is Proton Technologies. Unfortunately, while ProtonMail is a great and mature product, the other offerings (ProtonCalendar and ProtonDrive) are still very immature and can't yet compete with the more specialised providers.

Strategy 3b: combination of multiple E2EE services

For encrypted mail there are many options, so you can choose whatever you like. ProtonMail is often recommended as the best one, but there are many other good ones. For encrypted calendars and contacts, the only good option is EteSync. Posteo is an interesting alternative to both ProtonMail and EteSync, because it supports zero access encryption for not only email, but also contacts and calendars. Finally, there are several files clouds with end-to-end encryption, but only Mega and Filen have open source clients and support Linux. Of the two, Mega is the slightly superior choice as it has an API to integrate with other applications (e.g. FolderSync support for Android), and you can even set up WebDAV if you want.

Strategy 4: Self-host

Self-hosting means taking full control of your data. Keep in mind that you should ideally self-host at home, on your own server. Renting a VPS might be easier, but in the end your hoster can still read your data if they really want to (or are forced by the government). However, self-hosting also has a number of downsides: software updates going wrong, home Internet going down, hardware problems, taking care of backups, ...