pCloud Cloud Storage Review
pCloud is a cloud storage service that gives you space to store all of your favorite music, videos, photos, as well as work and personal documents. pCloud gives you the ability to access your important files anywhere in the world, anytime you want. One of the things we like most about pCloud is the easy ability to share your files with family, friends, or co-workers.
Here's a quick run-down of the features:
- Easily send and receive files to friends or co-workers using sharable download and upload links
- Unbeatable upload and download speeds (80 mb per second upload speed)
- Secure data transfer via TSL/SSL protocol
- Client side encryption with easy to user interface.
- Access to your files from a web browser or your mobile phone
Founded in 2013, pCloud has already garnered over 3 million users in just three years. The company’s servers are based in Switzerland. Though the company was founded in Bulgaria, and its main competitors are Dropbox and Copy. Tunio Zafer is the founder and the CEO of pCloud.
Who Should Use pCloud?
Initially, the cloud storage and syncing service used to offer only 10 GB of storage space for free. This has now been increased to 20 GB. The free storage space makes pCloud an excellent alternative for personal users.
While Google Drive and Dropbox offer 15 GB and 5 GB free storage space respectively, pCloud’s 20 GB with high encryption is of course way more useful. And the fact that it has both syncing and sharing capabilities makes it even more powerful. It can also backup data from Facebook and Instagram.
pCloud can also be a great cloud service for business users since its servers are based in Switzerland and there is no way the NSA can go through your data. On top of that, there is also private encryption and the key always stays with the user. Though it’s a premium service and users need to pay extra for it, if your data is important and critical, it doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile.
- 20 GB free storage
- File Sync
- File Sharing
- File versioning
- No file size limit
- Private encryption
- Limit collaboration
- & more...
Syncing & Sharing
pCloud has a desktop app for Windows, Mac and Linux. Most of the desktop app features can also be accessed directly through its website. The interface is clean and easily accessible. Folders and files can be uploaded manually by the user. Once uploaded, all the shared and audio files are put together in one section and the rest of the files in another section.
When it comes to sharing folders, there are an array of options available. Users can invite others to view and edit folders, download and upload files as well. Though we were a little disappointed to see that there is no way to only allow other recipients to only view the data. When you give someone access to view the files, you also give them access to edit the files as well. At the same time, if more than one recipients have access to a single file, then they can only work on the file one by one to avoid any versioning issues. This could again create a problem for users who are looking for real-time collaboration. At the same time, if one user is editing a file, then all the other users would have to sit back and wait for that user to close the file.
A special feature in pCloud is that it provides upload links to other users. In Dropbox and Google Drive, users need to create a shared folder so that others can upload files, but with pCloud, there is no need to give them that special access.
As we mentioned, users can backup data from their Facebook and Instagram account as well. This way you can back up all those precious pictures that were directly uploaded on social media. But do remember that for using this feature you would have to give your passwords to pCloud.
There is also no bandwidth throttling from pCloud which means it uses your entire internet speed. We did notice in our tests that the upload and download speed were impressive, and it was almost as good as Dropbox.
Coming to the restoration part, you can either download a single file or a bunch of files together. There is also a single button to restore all the data uploaded to your account. There is an option to back up WordPress websites to pCloud as well.
To provide reliable cloud storage, pCloud duplicates all its data into three servers across the world so that even if the first two servers fail, the third server is still up and running.
Apart from that, pCloud also provides automated backups, file archiving and incremental backups.
Privacy & Security
Security is one of the strongest suits of pCloud. The online cloud service understands that their file syncing competitors are strong and popular and that is why they are trying to provide all those features their competitors can’t.
pCloud is one of the few syncing services which provides both server side and local side encryption. To set you own encryption key, you need to subscribe to their Crypto plan. It costs $3.99 per month, in addition to the other plans you have taken. There is also a 14-day trial period to give pCloud Crypto a test run. Though services like JustCloud already offer private encryption as a standard feature and not as a premium one.
There is a 256-bit encryption used when the data is at rest, and the service uses TLS encryption when the data is being transferred.
Web & Mobile App
pCloud’s web app has almost all the functionalities of its desktop app. It automatically divides your uploaded files into separate folders like documents, images, music and videos. There is also an option to take backup from your Facebook, Instagram, Picassa and even Dropbox.
The last part is especially interesting since users can move all their Dropbox data directly through the cloud to cloud transfer without having to upload and download the contents.
Mobile apps are available for both Android and iOS. Both the apps have several features including automatic uploads of media files, backing up all the mobile data and setting a unique password for accessing the apps.
Pricing and Plans
pCloud offers 10 GB storage space to every new user, and this can be extended to 20 GB by referring the service to your friends. If you are interested in extending the storage space, then you can get 500 GB for $3.99 and 1 TB for $7.99.
As we mentioned in the Security section, private encryption is offered as premium service for which the users need to pay $3.99 extra every month. Even without the local side encryption data is well protected in Switzerland servers but the Crypto service can be taken by business users to be extra careful.
What's It Missing?
While the cloud service claims to have real-time collaboration, it fails to provide that. The only way to collaborate is by sharing folders. But, there is another folder that comes your way when you share folders among other recipients.
There is no way to only allow users to view files and not edit them. Also, only one user can edit a file at a time. This could create a huge problem when there are a lot of team members working on the same project.
They do provide private encryption as a premium feature, but the fact is many other cloud storage services already offer it as a free feature.
- Free Storage: 20 GB
- Free Trial: No
- System: Windows, Mac and Linux
- Price: Starting at $3.99/month
- Mobile Apps: iOS and Android
- Synchronization: Yes
- Free External HD Backup: Yes
- Continuous Backup: Yes
- Incremental Backup: Yes
- Backup Scheduling: No
- Bare Metal Backup: No
- Exclude File Extensions for Backup: No
- Network Drives: No
- Bandwidth Throttling: Yes
- Web Access: Yes
- HIPAA Compliant: No
- File Size Limit: No limit
- Included Machines: Unlimited
- File Sharing: Yes
- Multiple Accounts: No
- Share Photo Albums: Yes
- Music Streaming: No
- Folder Collaboration: Yes
- Outlook Backup: Yes
- Local Encryption: 256-bit
- Server Side Encryption: 256-bit
- Keeps deleted files: Unlimited
- File Versioning: 180 versions of the file