So Long, Free SugarSync

One useful online storage service goes paid-only.

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While there are plenty of free online storage services to choose from, SugarSync stood out for one reason: It let you choose any folder on your computer to back up to the cloud automatically.

Unfortunately, the free ride is coming to an end. On February 8 of next year, SugarSync will switch to a paid-only model, killing off its free 5 GB plan. SugarSync’s paid plans start at $7.49 per month or $75 per year for 60 GB of storage. Existing users won’t get to keep their free plans, but SugarSync is offering a 75-percent discount on its basic plan if you sign up by December 16.

Unlike SugarSync, other storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive make you create a separate folder on your computer for the files you want to store online. You can’t, for instance, back up a specific album in your Photos directory without copying and pasting it into the separate folder. SugarSync is unique because it doesn’t force you to rearrange the way your files are organized.

As a SugarSync user, I’m not too miffed about the switch to paid-only. An inherent risk of free online services is that they might go away someday, and I knew that going in. Online storage services rely on having a critical mass of free users, in hopes that some of them will convert to paid plans, but SugarSync was always an underdog, so the freemium business model probably wasn’t feasible.

Still, I won’t be paying to continue the service. The only thing I used SugarSync for was backing up my Word documents and notes. For that I can get by using SkyDrive instead, especially since Windows 8.1 makes it easy to treat SkyDrive as your default documents folder. It’s not ideal, but at least it’s still free.