Store Files in Google Cloud Storage for 'Free'

My wife and I have a lot of photos and files. From digital books, newborns photos, to family videos and moments, everything is stored both at Google Drive and at my MBP SSD. I don't install the Google Drive app since we don't change the files a lot. My SSD is only 250 GB in size. Minus the OSX system, iMovie libraries, Xcode, and Age of Empires 2 HD, there is not much left for our photos and videos. I get 17 GB from Google Drive. That does not help much since we have way more than that to store.


The price of external storage is decreasing. But I believe that someday people will tend to save their files online using third-party services like Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, Google Drive or similar services. That is because of a faster internet connection, and also the cost per GB is much cheaper. Rather than buying the expensive 1 TB of storage, I love to wait until the price is drop. Also, you probably do not use 100% of the external storage capacity.

There are 2 main reasons why I love Google Cloud Storage. First, it is a product from Google. Second, you can use it 'free of charge'. Google Cloud Platform offers $300 credit to spend in 12 months. The focus of this article is how to use the credits into our free service of storage. Let's take a look at how we can optimize the $25 budget a month.

Pricing Components

Before we continue, we had to know the main components for the cost. Cloud Storage pricing is based on :

  1. Data storage: this is how much GB we use to store our data a month.
  2. Network usage: access and move the data will cost more.
  3. Operations usage: such as retrieving or list the files. An operation is an action that makes changes or retrieves information about a bucket or objects.
  4. Retrieval and early deletion fees: this section is only applicable for data in the Nearline Storage or Coldline Storage (more on that soon).

Bear in mind that after 12 months or the $300 credits is over, we can still use the GCP under the Google Cloud Platform Free Tier. Simply put, there will be no charge at all if you use the GCP services for regular usage. As for the Storage, the rules are:

  • 5 GB-months of regional storage
  • 5,000 class A operations, 50,000 class B operations
  • etc. (sorry, there is subject to change, please refer the FAQ on GCP websites)

Apply for Google Cloud Free Trial

You can apply for the free trial using this link: After sign in, you need to input your credit card details. Don't be worry, we will not be charged unless we allow Google to do so.

Activate Google Cloud Storage and Create a Bucket

After we have successfully applied to the free trial, we will start to create our very first "bucket". Think a bucket as a container to store and organize our data. Once a bucket is created, it can not be renamed. You need to use a globally unique name. The only way we can rename it is to delete and create the new one. We can also use our domain or website name such as For simplicity, we just want to use one and only one bucket.

create a bucket in google cloud storage

For storage class and location, I choose Coldline in Singapore, since it is the cheapest combination available.

The storage class circumscribes the usage and price of our bucket. "Coldline" means I will only use the bucket to back up my data and infrequently access it. For more details about the storage class (Standard, Nearline, or Coldline) comparison, refer to this page:

Simple Pricing Example

Let's assume that we have 1000 GB in size. We save it for 2 months and 10 days in Coldline storage class. Strorage charges are prorated.

$0.005(per GB per month) * 1000 (GB) * 70/60(months) = $11.667 (or about IDR 170,000)

Let's assume that we only use it normally, so we don't calculate the cost of operations, network usage, etc. It is dead cheap, compared to the new external storage.

And, that's pretty much it.

Now we can solely upload folders or files, create a folder, and manage everything just like other storage services. I hope this article gives you an idea to make something bigger than free storage.


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