File Size Limits For Cloud Storage Explained

Sometimes cloud storage companies decide that not all files can be uploaded. They put limits on file sizes and other attributes in order to save space and speed. How does this affect you, the customer? Well, it depends on what data you are looking to backup.


Backing up documents is the most essential document to back up. This is because most people have important contracts, financial information, and ownership records in the form of a document. The good news is, if you are backing up documents, these are easy to store online. The reason is that they are the smallest types of files. A full 50,000 word book manuscript is only 353 Kilobytes. File size limitations start at around 4GB’s depending on the company.

Files Over 4GB

It’s when you start backing up media like pictures and video that the online data backup companies start to become restrictive. Most pictures are under 1MB, but with better cameras becoming more available and cheaper, people can snap pictures as large as 10 megapixels which averages out to be around 2.2Megabytes per image. This adds up when you have hundreds of photos.

Video is a whole other animal. A 43 second clip filmed at 1080p using a .MOV container (Apple Quicktime) will be around 134.3 MB’s. This could be a video from a concert, your kids first time riding a bike, or maybe someone videotaping you propose to your girlfriend. Meaning, it’s important to you.

In cases like this where you want to preserve media of significant size, you are going to want a company that has no file upload limit.

Why Companies Use A File Upload Limit

The first reason is because your information is being stored on their server it can slow down the server significantly. Simply because it takes a long time to upload larger files. Second, large files take up space on company’s server that they want to save for someone who also pays to backup their data (This is referred to as ‘Fair Usage’). The third reason is less noble. Some companies simply restrict the file upload size in order to decrease the load of traffic to their servers overall, thus bringing down their overhead costs.


Decide what your priorities are. Do you need to upload lots of video, music and images? Maybe it’s best to go with a premium subscription to online backup. If you only need to backup documents and a few other files, you can stick with more budget-friendly option. Always ask the company about it directly.

Companies & file size limits:

ZipCloud – 5GB’s

Carbonite – 4GB’s

Mozy – 4GB’s

BackBlaze – 9GB’s