Basecamp Review

Basecamp is a solid, powerful service that does what it has to, but lacks the pizzazz of its competitors. That said, its pricing is decent, so if getting the job done is what you need, it may be the project management tool for you. Check out our full Basecamp review for all the details.

Nicole Brooks
By Nicole Brooks (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2020-04-22T07:54:01+00:00
Starts from $ 9900 per month
Free plan available (All Plans)

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Basecamp is an all-in-one solution for project management. You won’t be just sorting tasks and production releases on this software, but managing teams, communicating with employees and clients, and even storing your files. If you want to know if it’s right for you, stick with us during this Basecamp review.

Although Basecamp has a solid background with more than 15 years of experience, there’s a glut of project management software in the field today. In this Basecamp software review we’ll go over its features and usability for your team’s sake, and its pricing and security for your company’s sake. Finally, we’ll give you our recommendation on whether Basecamp is worth trying.

Basecamp hasn’t made our list of best project management software in the past, but its lightning-fast support and affordable price for large teams may earn it a spot once it irons out some of the pain points and missing features. Check out our review of monday.com to see an example of what Basecamp can aspire to.

However, Basecamp does have a lot of strengths and isn’t a bad choice, especially for larger teams. If it sounds interesting, get its 30-day free trial to test it out without any commitment.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Fast, personal support
  • Cheap for teams larger than about a dozen people
  • Strong commitment to privacy & security
  • Wizards & video tutorials for ease of use

Weaknesses:

  • Limited task list functionality
  • Expensive for small teams

Alternatives for Basecamp

Features

80 % – Good

Basecamp works well as a comprehensive solution. It can host your chat communications, your file storage, your to-do list and even your calendar. If you fully utilize the features that Basecamp offers, you’ll need very few other programs to manage your business, projects or team as you work online.

Each team or project has access to a series of applications. At the most basic project management level, you have to-do lists for your tasks. Each item in a list can be assigned to a team member and given a due date. Time tracking is also available

You can also host multiple lists and archive the ones you no longer need. If you’d like, you can even make them look like cards instead of lists, similar to a Trello board (read our Trello article).

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These lists are the core of most project management software, but for Basecamp this is just one of a host of features that all work together in one place. We’d like to see more emphasis on this feature in a project management software, as managing tasks is probably where your employees will be spending most of their time.

Basecamp is great on project management, but it falters on task management. If you’re not sure of the difference, check out our article on task management vs project management

On the communication front, every team and project has both a message board and a “campfire,” essentially a quick-chat tool. These seem straightforward, but they really shine when you have a client looking at your project, as well.

By default, everything posted in a project is private. However, you can set the privacy of any individual message or list so the client can get your tasks, messages and progress. This is a great way to both stay in touch with clients within a project and not show them exactly how the sausage is made.

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Projects vs Teams

Basecamp splits its software into two interrelated but different sections: projects and teams. This gives you a lot of flexibility on assigning users to tasks, controlling their visibility and combining teams in interesting ways.

Each team has its own subpage, with the same applications that are available for project use, such as cloud storage and a list of tasks. These teams are centered around departments in a company. For example, you may have one for the scheduling team, one for accounting and one for technical writing.

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When creating a project, you can add any user from any team, since a project may need input from multiple departments. Projects can also contain clients, who can see only what the project administrator allows them to.

Desktop and Mobile Applications

Basecamp is primarily a web-based application. The website itself is very clean and mobile-friendly, and you will even get notifications through your browser when you have updates to look at. However, we used Basecamp’s desktop application and mobile apps, if you’d like to take that route instead.

Its desktop application is almost identical to its website when it comes to layout. It does have some interesting perks, though. For example, if you use multiple Basecamp accounts, you can quickly switch between them. There are even shortcuts to get to certain pages, such as your recent projects, tasks or home page.

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The mobile app has a few quick tools that make it worth using. It will keep track of what you’ve recently visited, which is a great feature if you’re part of a large company but need to access only one or two parts.

You also have a variety of quick tools, such as file sharing. Rather than having to find the team or project, you simply click the “upload files” button and choose where the file belongs from a list.

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Basecamp is great to use on any of these platforms. Each comes with its own advantages, but all the options are cohesive enough that you won’t get lost if you switch from the website to an application. The apps are all high-quality additions to the website.

Basecamp Features Overview

  • Management Features

    • Tasks
    • Subtasks
    • Dependency management
    • Custom backgrounds
    • Other customization options
    • Unlimited Team size limit
    • 500 GB Storage space
  • General

    • Credit Card
    • Accepts cryptocurrency
    • iOS, Android
    • Free Trial
  • Security

    • Two-factor authentication
    • AES-256 Encryption
    • SOC certification
  • Support

    • Live chat
    • Email / Contact form
    • Phone support

Pricing

90 % – Excellent

Basecamp is very straightforward with its pricing. It doesn’t have a series of tiers, each one more expensive than the next with limited users. Instead, you get only two options: Basecamp Personal or Basecamp Business.

Basecamp 3 Personal
  • Three projects, 20 users, 1GB storage space, no extra features
Basecamp 3 Business
  • Unlimited projects and users, 500GB storage space

Basecamp Personal is its free tier, and it’s very limited. It includes a few users and projects, but you don’t get company HQ, clients or teams. The limited storage space means that this tier is really only good for very light use, unless you combine it with one of the best cloud storage options out there.

Basecamp 3 Pricing Details

Basecamp Business essentially offers unlimited amounts of almost everything. There’s no limit at all on users or projects. It’s expensive, though. Coming in at nearly $100 per month, it outstrips competitors such as Wrike (read our Wrike article for more details).

The high price may be worth it if your business is large. Many other project management programs raise the price with the user count; although the prices initially seem affordable, the costs mount as you continue to add users. For an example of this type of pricing, check out our Podio review.

Basecamp may be unaffordable for a company with just a few employees. However, it only takes about half a dozen employees before it becomes more cost efficient than its competitor Asana. (You can check out how it stacks up to Basecamp in our Asana article).

If you need to manage more than 10 employees, Basecamp is by far the most affordable option. If you have fewer employees than that, though, it becomes more cost-effective to get a service with a per-user cost. 

Although its free version falls short of the best free project management software, Basecamp does offer a full 30-day free trial of its business tier. You can test out the features to see if your team members can make good use of them with no commitment.

User-Friendliness

90 % – Excellent

Basecamp shines when it comes to its user-friendliness. Although there are a huge number of features, each one is easy to find and use. Its commitment to guiding you through each feature really boosts its usability, as well.

Once you sign up and create your company within the software, you’ll be led through a setup wizard. The site will ask you a few questions about your business  and projects in order to set up the company page in a useful way.

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We can tell that Basecamp has spent a lot of time on the tutorial process. It’s aware of how many options and views it has, so it includes a large number of wizards and training videos to help you navigate it all.

Once you’ve answered the setup questions, you’re thrown into your company’s main page.

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The layout is clean and easy, making it fast and intuitive to find the tasks and projects you need. This is in contrast to some competitors, such as LeanKit, but check out our LeanKit article to see how it stacks up in other ways.

As soon as you try to add or edit one of the default teams or projects, Basecamp offers to help you with a wizard. For example, to set up a team, the wizard will ask you about team deadlines and if you need file sharing, and even draft you a kickoff message.

Basecamp does have a lot of nesting, which can make things difficult. For example, each team can have a to-do list that’s shared among all team members. Each project can also have a to-do list. This confusion can lead to things being mixed up, posted in the wrong places or becoming difficult to find.

Basecamp avoids getting too complex by including a breadcrumb navigational structure. This list of links at the top of every nested page is a great way to avoid getting lost in the various subpages.

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As an all-in-one solution, Basecamp is always going to struggle a bit in usability. With this many features, it’s inevitable that some of them have to be hidden, or that some may be difficult to find or use. We do think it does a good job at minimizing these pain points, though, between its tutorials, wizards and sample projects.

Security & Privacy

95 % – Excellent

Basecamp does a lot on the security and privacy front. Its privacy policy includes both what information the company collects and why it’s collecting it, with each piece of information in big, bold letters. It’s not trying to hide what information is used, which is reassuring.

One measure of a privacy-forward company today is how it handles Europe’s GDPR and California’s Consumer Privacy Act. Both of these regulations implement a wide variety of privacy restrictions that are great for consumers, but apply only to those living in either Europe or California.

This can be handled by companies in a few ways. A company may simply not do business in those areas or only offer those protections to as few people as it’s legally required to.

Basecamp goes beyond both of those options, and it is compliant with GDPR and CCPA for all of its users, everywhere. It even goes on to list all the rights that the users have based on this compliance, which isn’t required but is appreciated.

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However, the most impressive part of Basecamp’s security is its blog, Signal v. Noise, which is run by the founders of the company. Like many other companies, this blog often announces new products or changes in its service.

Basecamp Security Updates

It also announces every security update for Basecamp. When it removed all trackers from its website — including the popular Google Analytics tool — they blogged about it. When its two-factor authentication was upgraded to a soft token, there was a blog about that, too.

Even when Basecamp was attacked by hackers using stolen passwords, the next day the CTO wrote a blog explaining exactly what had happened and how many accounts were compromised.

In this case, every one of the compromised accounts were those of people who used the same password in multiple places. This isn’t Basecamp’s fault, as the company can’t control whether your password was used elsewhere.

The best way to protect yourself from these kinds of breaches is to use a great password manager and unique passwords (here’s a roundup of the best password managers).

We weren’t able to find any evidence that Basecamp’s security has been breached. It has been attacked multiple times with lists of stolen passwords and DDoS — distributed denial of service — strikes, but it has both reacted well to the problems and been proactive in improving its security over time.

Service & Support

85 % – Very Good

Basecamp really wants to make it as easy as possible to access customer support. Every single page features a question mark in the bottom-right corner with a few important articles and a search bar tied into its knowledgebase. You can even send an email directly from the pop-up.

We did find it confusing that there was no link directly to the Basecamp support page in this box. Every article is hosted within the box, so you can see only so much of it at once. 

It also doesn’t support navigation using your browser’s “back” and “forward” buttons. The only way to move backward is to click the small gray “x” slightly below a different “x” that will close the box entirely, and there is no way to go forward. 

On the plus side, it does save your location in the guides when you change pages or close the box, which is convenient if you’re trying to use it to resolve an issue. The articles can also be popped out into a new tab if necessary.

We couldn’t actually find a link to the support page from our dashboard at all, which isn’t ideal. When you navigate manually to the page, it will suggest that you sign in, which then dumps you back into your dashboard.

Basecamp has a regularly updated “time to response” measurement on the support page. This is a great touch, so you know whether to wait for a response or move on to something else until they have time to get back to you.

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A Personal Touch

Once you reach Basecamp’s support, it’s both personal and in depth. The company offers free live classes on how to use the software, complete with a Q&A. The marketing team representatives are active on Twitter for support and general discussion about the software.

We sent in a question about Basecamp’s software to test the support estimates. At the time, support promised a response within 34 minutes. Basecamp replied just over an hour later. Not quite the estimated reply time, but the response time is so fast that it doesn’t matter too much.

Basecamp’s support has a lot of great parts. However, it could improve its limited options to contact them and lack of 24/7 support. Its support could be top-notch if it could build on its great guides and personal assistance by adding phone support, like TeamGantt does (read our TeamGantt review).

We’d also really like an official ticketing system. You can’t sign in on the support page, so all tickets are tracked through your email inbox. This can be confusing, especially as Basecamp doesn’t send a confirmation email when you submit a question.

The Verdict

Basecamp is a solid choice when it comes to project management software, especially if you’re looking to simplify your workflow. When your chats, files, progress meetings and even client interactions are hosted on the same platform, you can focus on the work that really matters without worrying.

Its commitment to privacy is also impressive, especially among its competitors. When you’re loading all your sensitive data into a project management tool, it’s important to be able to trust that it’s taking the proper precautions.

We do wish that it had more support options, such as phone support or even live chat. Its website can also be difficult to navigate at times, although this makes sense because there are so many features packed in, with limited space to store them all.

Overall, Basecamp is secure, robust and affordable if your team is larger. What do you think of this Basecamp review? Do you use Basecamp, and have you had good or bad experiences? Let us know in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading.

Basecamp FAQ

  • Is Basecamp Any Good?

    Basecamp is a great software for project management. It condenses chats, tasks, projects, teams, files and even clients into one deceptively simple package. Although it’s a bit more expensive for smaller teams, it’s a good choice.

  • What Is Basecamp Used For?

    The main purpose of Basecamp is project management. By putting every piece of information related to a project into the website, you always know exactly where it is and can work without interruptions. It also doubles as a communication platform among projects and teams.The main purpose of Basecamp is project management. By putting every piece of information related to a project into the website, you always know exactly where it is and can work without interruptions. It also doubles as a communication platform among projects and teams.

  • Why Is Basecamp so Popular?

    Basecamp’s affordable price for larger teams and user-friendliness make it a very popular choice. It’s also popular due to its all-in-one approach. Rather than having five programs that do slightly different things -- such as cloud storage and chatting -- it’s all stored in the same place.

  • Is Basecamp a CRM?

    It is not a customer relationship management tool. However, many CRM platforms smoothly integrate with Basecamp. The Highrise CRM is an example of one that will integrate well with Basecamp, as it is made by the same company.

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