Best answer: If you use Google Drive for a home-based or small business, are a student, or have a hobby, such as photography, that requires a lot of online storage, then it's best to bump up your storage space a bit. But the amount of free space you get with a basic account may be tapped out even if you use Google Drive for personal use, too, so go ahead and invest in some storage space and give yourself a safe buffer. Price vary depending on your country.

What you get with a basic account

A free Google Drive account gives you 15GB of online storage space. This is shared among all Google's programs including Gmail, Docs and Photos. This means all the messages in your Gmail inbox, plus the files saved in Drive folders, chip away from that 15GB of space. For a lot of people, this is plenty of space to keep a few personal documents, photos, and email messages saved for later, but there are times when more space is definitely warranted, and even necessary.

Do you need more space?

One situation where more online space is needed is when using Google Drive to save a substantial number of digital images. If you sync your Google Drive to your phone's camera, you can upload pictures taken with your camera to your Google Photo files, which is a great way to keep your images in one place and free up space on your devices.

However, because images are much larger than a document or email message files, they will gobble up 15GB pretty quickly. If you're a photography junkie than you'll definitely need some extra space. If you use photography for work, it's probably even mandatory.

Google Drive storage

For students, especially college students, Google Drive is invaluable. It's a great place to keep all your research notes, essays and projects together. This lets you reference old assignments, notes, and ideas throughout your college career. From Drive, you can also share editing access to teachers and study groups or submit finished homework from right within Drive. With four, or more, years of college, students need a good amount of space. Google offers several packages that fit within a student's budget.

If you run a home-based business, whether you have an Etsy store or freelance, having more than 15GB of online storage is needed. With purchase orders, contracts, shipping tracking, price sheets, and invoices, plus all the messages coming through Gmail, a paid Drive account would be helpful. Google has several packages that make it easy to step up as your need and budget grows, so you don't have to feel trapped with an expense that's hard to pay while working on your bottom line.

Additional storage packages and pricing

Google Drive has six different storage upgrade packages available ranging from 100GB to 30TB of space. Each one is paid through a monthly or yearly subscription, meaning you need to continue to pay the subscription so you don't lose files saved beyond the 15GB of the basic, free plan.

Google recommends its 100GB tier for most people. Prices vary via country, but this costs $2 per month, or $20 a year, which is very reasonable for nearly 600% more storage. All Google's paid plans let you add family members to your account so they, too, can use the storage space, and access Google Experts, specialty tech support personnel that will help you set up and maneuver through all that Google Drive has to offer. Paid Google Drive accounts also tap you into a few extra perks including Google Play and special hotel and travel rates.

Other packages available include 200GB for $3 per month and 2TB for $10 per month. For between $100 and $300 per month, you can pay for between 10TB and 30TB of space, although most people won't need that much.

Upgrade your Drive space now

Our pick

Google Drive

Lots of storage for lots of files

The smallest plan for more Google Drive storage is $20 for 100GB of space. You can pay more to get more including $100 for 1TB and $3,600 for 30TB. All paid plans include access to Google Plan and perks like hotel discounts.