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pCloud Review – Everything You Need To Know

pcloud logo

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

About pCloud

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.

file security made simple

Who Should Use pCloud? 

what is 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.

personal cloud storage

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.​


Features: 

  • 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.

login screen

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.

welcome screen

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.

drive screen

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.

synced folders

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.

encrypt in the cloud

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.

app sync

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.

pcloud price options

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.


9 Total Score
pCloud

pCloud has a lot of features that make it an attractive option for both advanced and novice users. With pCloud, you can sync an unlimited number of files with an unlimited number of devices and then access them from anywhere in the world. The only downside of pCloud is that you have to pay extra ($3.99 per month) if you want their Crypto client-side encryption. This is a useful feature that prevents someone from accessing your files in case your device is lost or stolen.

Ease of Use
9
Data Security
10
Mobile Access
9
Storage Amount
10
Speed
8.5
Pricing
9
PROS
  • 80 MB/sec upload speed
  • Secure data transfer
  • Up to 2 TB of storage space
  • Free 20 GB of storage
CONS
  • Client side encryption is an extra fee

Tech Specs: 

Specifications

  • Free Storage: 20 GB
  • Free Trial: No
  • System: Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Price: Starting at $3.99/month

Mobile

  • Mobile Apps: iOS and Android

Backup Features

  • 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

Sharing/Collaboration

  • File Sharing: Yes
  • Multiple Accounts: No
  • Share Photo Albums: Yes
  • Music Streaming: No
  • Folder Collaboration: Yes
  • Outlook Backup: Yes

Security

  • Local Encryption: 256-bit
  • Server Side Encryption: 256-bit
  • Keeps deleted files: Unlimited
  • File Versioning: 180 versions of the file
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7 Comments
  1. Reply
    Lynn August 14, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    This is like Dropbox but so much better. For starters 20 GB of free storage is an amazing offer when most give you 5 GB free maximum! The interface and login is very similar to Dropbox so making the switch is super easy. This is a great cloud service for personal use. The lack of being able to have a lot of people editing files at once means I cannot use it for team work projects. All of my kids have free accounts for school.

  2. Reply
    Franklin August 14, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    This is more affordable than a lot of other providers. 500 GB is a lot if you are mostly streaming anyway. $4 per month is a good deal for those that just want some basic storage and security. Unlimited time to retrieve deleted files is a major perk for a service that costs so little. Sometimes I do need to save some larger files and PCloud doesn’t have any file size limits.

  3. Reply
    Blake August 14, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    I use PCloud for my home and my business. The plan rates are fantastic and well within even a tight budget. Sometimes employees would accidentally delete files and I could not get them back. With PCloud I can always get deleted files. I use my home account mostly for photo back up and sharing. Overall a great deal that I will continue to use in the future.

  4. Reply
    Leroy August 14, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    By using Pcloud I don’t have to pay for storage anymore. 20 GB is plenty for me to back up personal documents. All my entertainment is streamed. I was paying for a service and canceled that because I don’t need it anymore. This appears to be a secure server and I can retrieve files quickly. Being able to get deleted files is nice as well.

  5. Reply
    Carlton August 14, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Pcloud really offers it all. I can sync files easily, retrieve deleted docs, and share my photos. All this for less than $5!? The download and upload speeds are great and since I was a Dropbox user before, it was nice to find something better that seems to be based on the same interface or platform. I have the 1TB plan and it is all the storage I am going to ever need.

  6. Reply
    Addie Brown August 14, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    This is the best service for those of us with several kids in school. I am a stickler for them backing up papers and projects after one lost something and got an F on a major report. This is a very affordable service. We have a few free accounts for the kids and then a larger home account we all use. I love how similar this is to Dropbox because I did not want to have to learn a more complicated storage system.

  7. Reply
    Sadie August 14, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    PCloud is great for those that want to back up big files. I was so disappointed with my previous cloud storage because it had a measly 1 GB file size limit. 20 GB is a lot of free storage but the 1 TB plan is the way to go if you want an all in one cloud back up solution. If you love to share pics then this is the service you should use. Cheaper than a lot of services that is for sure.

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