Boxcryptor is a popular, free encryption application that allows you to easily sync your encrypted files with more than 30 cloud storage, EFSS and online backup providers. Unlike most free encryption software, which is usually subpar in security or difficult to use, Boxcryptor provides its full protection for as many files as you want.
In this Boxcryptor review, we’re going to examine the free and paid plans to determine if they’re worth your time. After signing up and encrypting some files, we’re here to give you our thoughts on its features, pricing, ease of use, security and more.
Given its free plan, Boxcryptor is easily among the best encryption software. Its paid service isn’t bad, either, allowing you to integrate with as many cloud storage services as you’d like. That said, there are some strange pricing restrictions in place and no refund policy, so we recommend trying out a free plan first to make sure Boxcryptor is right for you.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Supports 30+ cloud storage services
- Easy to use
- Free plan available
- Portable app available
- Sharing with non-Boxcryptor users
- RSA key management
- Extensive user guides
- No monthly billing
- Direct support only for paying users
- No refund policy
Boxcryptor is mostly focused on cloud storage, allowing you to easily encrypt, edit and decrypt files with more than 30 cloud storage providers, many of them among our best free cloud storage services. However, it can also encrypt local files.
With a premium plan, you can add as many locations as you want, allowing you to encrypt network-attached storage, USB drives, entire disks, WebDAV locations and more.
Additionally, Boxcryptor supports on-the-fly encryption. Instead of encrypting an entire folder, each file within the folder is encrypted separately. That allows you to easily decrypt a single file and edit it without having to decrypt, and thus reencrypt, the entire folder.
Because of this approach, you won’t have to manually encrypt many, if any, files. Boxcrytor allows you to set attributes through a folder hierarchy, which applies to encryption and sharing options. For example, if you add a file to a folder that’s already encrypted and set to be shared with a collaborator, the new file will automatically be encrypted and shared.
Boxcryptor Android, iOS and Portable
One of Boxcryptor’s greatest features is that it offers mobile applications. Although most services support Windows and macOS — and some even Linux, as you can see in our VeraCrypt review — very few work with iOS and Android. Boxcryptor not only supports these mobile platforms, but provides the full functionality of the desktop application.
You can view, edit and encrypt files on your Android or iOS device. Furthermore, all of the cloud storage services that are supported on the desktop application work with mobile, too, meaning you can take your encrypted documents on the go.
Additionally, Boxcryptor offers a portable application. This app doesn’t require an installation, so you can take it to any Windows, macOS or Linux machine and access your encrypted files. All you need to remember is your username and password. Boxcryptor will do the background work, gathering your encrypted files from the cloud.
Whisply and Boxcryptor
The company behind Boxcryptor, Secomba GmbH, developed Whisply to help Boxcryptor users share files. Whisply is a service that offers end-to-end encryption and allows you to share those files with non-Boxcryptor users. Whisply supports sending files through OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive, though more support will be added in the future.
Creating a Whisply link is simple. In your Boxcryptor folder, all you need to do is right-click the file or folder you want to share and generate a link.
Premium subscribers will be able to set sharing options, such as a one-time download and link expiration, and anyone can set multiple layers of protection. You can either just send the link, send the link plus a four-digit PIN or send the link plus a custom password.
Whisply is great, but it’s not perfect. Currently, it’s limited to 1GB, no matter how many files you have. Considering the free Boxcryptor plan allows anyone to decrypt any amount of data, that’s probably the better option. That said, Whisply is available if you want it.
Boxcryptor Features Overview
- Devices: Unlimited
- File size limit: Unlimited
- File extension restrictions: No
- Cloud storage integration: 30+ services, including Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive
- Payment methods: Credit card, PayPal
- Refund policy: No
- User forum
- Live chat: No
- Phone support: Enterprise only
- Email support
- 24/7 support: No
- Encryption: AES-256, RSA-4096
- Sharing encryption: RSA
- Master password hashing: 5,000 iterations of PBKDF2 with HMACSHA512
Boxcryptor sets the standard for encryption-software pricing, sticking slightly above AxCrypt and slightly below NordLocker (read our AxCrypt review and NordLocker review). That said, it imposes some strange limitations on pricing. Personal users are forced into an annual contract without the option to get a refund.
The product page makes clear that “there is no limited cancelation period.” If you purchase a plan and decide Boxcryptor isn’t for you, your license will continue until the renewal date. Then your account will be downgraded to a free plan.
Although Boxcryptor is technically cheaper than an encryption service such as NordLocker, the math gets messy. It may be more feasible to pay NordLocker’s $8 per month, although Boxcryptor’s $48 per year is a better deal. Even if $50 is no big deal to you, the option for monthly payment should be present, as should a refund policy.
In addition to the personal plan, there’s a business plan, though it’s not suited for multiple users. Instead, it’s licensed for commercial use, whereas personal and free plans are not. If you want to cover multiple users, you’ll need to purchase a team plan, which is available in one- and three-year durations.
No matter how many users you need, the price is $8 per month per user if you purchase three years, and $10 per month per user if you purchase one year. Boxcryptor requires a minimum of five users and can accommodate up to 50. However, there aren’t tiered discounts for adding more users.
If you’re looking for more features or need single sign-on capability, you can contact the Boxcryptor sales team for enterprise plans.
The key that puts Boxcryptor’s pricing in the right context is its free plan. For all the talk of pricing, most users will land here. Boxcryptor’s free plan offers unlimited encryption for private, non-commercial use. It restricts the service in other areas, though.
Namely, you don’t have access to email support, the Whisply integration doesn’t have as many features as a paid plan, you can only use your account on two devices and you can only sync with one cloud storage provider. That may seem like a lot, but in practice, it hardly makes a difference.
Boxcryptor’s free plan allows a single user to install and use the service on, say, a computer and phone. Considering most users won’t have multiple cloud storage licenses, that restriction really doesn’t matter. The only hurdle you’ll have to get over is relying on the community if you run into any issues (read the “support” section for more on that).
Boxcryptor implements the best in security when it comes to encrypting your files. Everything starts with your master password, which Boxcryptor has zero-knowledge of. That means Boxcryptor never sees nor stores your master password. Like our best password managers, though, if you forget your master password, you’re out of luck.
Instead, Boxcryptor stores a password hash (read our description of encryption to learn more about that). Your password is hashed using 5,000 iterations of PBKDF2 with HMACSHA512 and salted. When you sign in, the password you entered is hashed locally, sent to Boxcryptor and checked against the database.
This approach, which is seen with nearly all encryption services, poses issues if you don’t have an internet connection. Thankfully, Boxcryptor allows offline authentication. You can create a key export that can be used to decrypt your files without connecting to Boxcryptor’s servers. Even if the service were to shut down, your key export would still work.
With that out of the way, it’s time to get into the dirt. Boxcryptor uses AES and RSA as its base algorithms. AES-256 is used to encrypt the files and folders on your machine, and a pair of RSA-4096 keys is used for key management.
The process works like this: You have a public and private RSA-4096 key, which are tied together. A key generated from your master password is used to encrypt your private key, which is what you need to decrypt your files.
Once you enter your password, the private key unlocks, which pairs with the public key. Since the RSA key pair is used to encrypt your AES keys, you can then decrypt your files.
Using RSA can make the decryption process take slightly longer, but it usually doesn’t make a difference on modern systems. We’re happy to see the use of RSA for key management instead of ECC, considering the NSA’s concerns surrounding elliptical-curve cryptography.
Ease of Use
Setting up Boxcryptor is simple. You can download the application right away, even without signing up for an account, but it’s better to get your credentials out of the way first. From the home page, click the “pricing” tab, then choose the plan you want.
After that, you’ll sign up for an account. As mentioned, Boxcryptor is a zero-knowledge service, meaning it doesn’t know your master password. You’ll set your password on the signup page, so we recommend generating and storing it using a password manager, such as Dashlane (read our Dashlane review).
Finally, Boxcryptor will recommend the installer you need based on the OS you’re using. If you need a different installer or want to install the application on multiple systems, you can find all of them on the “downloads” page.
Before getting to the application, we want to point out the dashboard. Although you don’t need to use the dashboard, it’s filled with resources.
You can view and upgrade your plan, refer new users for free months of a premium membership, view your trusted devices, view your browsing sessions and turn on two-factor authentication. Boxcryptor supports the best 2FA apps, as well as security keys.
The most important option is a key export, though. As mentioned, Boxcrytor does not store your password, so if you lose it, you’re out of luck. There isn’t a recovery code for personal plans, either, so make sure you keep it safe.
The installer runs itself, outside of asking if you want to send anonymous usage statistics. On Windows, the installer was able to close and reopen Windows Explorer, meaning you don’t need to restart. After finishing, the application will send you on a short tour, then close.
Encrypting Files and Folders
Although Boxcryptor has a user interface, you’ll mostly encrypt files using Windows Explorer. When installing, Boxcryptor actually mounts a virtual drive, so your files and folders will show up as a hard drive alongside your others.
Additionally, Boxcryptor will automatically detect and file any cloud storage folders you have on your machine. In our case, OneDrive was picked up right away (read our OneDrive review).
Before going nuts with encrypting, though, you’ll want to open the Boxcryptor application. This is where you can view your connected cloud services, as well as connect new ones. Although Boxcryptor detects cloud storage services on your system, you’ll still have to link them by signing in with your credentials.
Once they’re linked, you can encrypt files in any way you see fit, though the easiest way is to drag your files into the Boxcryptor virtual drive. You can’t drag them into the root of the drive, though. When linking your accounts, you can enable the cloud storage services you want, which will then show up in your Boxcryptor folder. Those folders act as separate vaults for your files.
Encryption happens automatically for each new file or folder you add to any of your cloud services. You’ll know that a file or folder is encrypted by a solid green square at the bottom of the file or folder, as well as an “_encrypted” suffix. If you already have files stored in your cloud storage service, you can manually encrypt them.
Our 205MB test folder encrypted quickly, though not as fast as NordLocker. That makes sense given that Boxcryptor is using a larger RSA-4096 key. Even so, the process was fairly quick, taking just a few seconds.
File Sharing & Storage
As mentioned, Boxcryptor’s claim to fame is its direct integration with more than 30 cloud storage services. All the big dogs are accounted for, with Boxcryptor supporting Dropbox, Google Drive, SpiderOak One and iCloud. It also supports a handful of EFSS providers, including Egnyte, Box and OneDrive for Business.
The enterprise integrations are the best of the lot. Although Boxcryptor supports popular personal cloud storage brands, there are a few that it’s missing. Namely, it doesn’t integrate with Sync.com or pCloud (read our Sync.com review and pCloud review). That said, you can always manually add these locations.
For sharing, Boxcryptor allows you to give access to any user that has a Boxcryptor account. It’s recommended, however, that you don’t directly share the encrypted folder.
Rather, Boxcryptor suggests you take the encrypted folder and place it inside of an unencrypted folder with your cloud storage service. Then you can add a Boxcryptor user to that unencrypted folder.
The beauty of sharing with Boxcryptor is that it’s free. As long as the recipient is content receiving access over a single cloud storage service, they can sign up for a free account and access the encrypted content, no matter the size.
Boxcryptor Business Groups
Boxcryptor’s enterprise-focused service comes with additional sharing and user-management options. All of the users on a team account can be managed by the administrator from a central admin panel. Additionally, the admin can track the activities of users, enforce security policies and reset user passwords.
For large teams, group management will be more feasible. You can put users into groups, giving certain groups higher levels of access while restricting others. Furthermore, you can set who can view and/or edit certain folders, meaning some users can access a file for reference while others can directly edit it.
Groups don’t need to sync, either. When adding or removing a user from a group, there’s nothing that happens with your cloud storage service. Rather, the permission is either added or revoked locally and on Boxcryptor’s servers, meaning you can add and remove users almost instantaneously.
One of the main reasons to pay for Boxcryptor is for its support. If you’re using a free plan, you’re limited to community help and the extensive user guides offered by Boxcryptor. Between the two, you shouldn’t have any issues getting set up. However, troubleshooting may pose some problems.
That said, the community is active. At the time of writing, most threads have at least one response, with some of them receiving responses from support agents. The forum isn’t the most consistent support method — many issues were just echoed by commenters — but it’s an option for free users nonetheless.
If you don’t mind some reading, the Boxcryptor user guides are an excellent resource. These aren’t just basic installation instructions. Rather, Boxcryptor goes into detail about each platform it supports, even covering common issues. For most users, the user guides will be enough to solve problems.
Paying users can ask questions through email, with business subscribers receiving higher priority. That said, email support is only in German and English, and personal subscribers will be lowered in the queue. If you need more support options, the enterprise plans offer phone support and a dedicated account manager.
Boxcryptor sets the standard for encryption software. Its free plan is generous, and although we’re not fans of the pricing restrictions, the price isn’t bad, overall. Furthermore, Boxcryptor is easy to use and seamlessly integrates with most major cloud storage services, despite missing a few options.
With a free plan in place, there’s no reason not to give Boxcryptor a try. Make sure to let us know about your experience if you sign up for an account and, as always, thanks for reading.
How to Use Boxcryptor with Google Drive
When you install Boxcryptor, it will automatically search your machine for cloud storage services. If you already have Google Drive installed, all you need to do is open the Boxcryptor application and link your Google account by entering your email and password.
How Does Boxcryptor Work?
Boxcryptor integrates with more than 30 cloud storage platforms to encrypt the files you store in the cloud. The files you sync with your cloud storage service are encrypted locally and replaced on the service’s servers, adding an extra layer of security.
What Is Boxcryptor?
Boxcryptor is a file encryption service that allows you to encrypt files in the cloud. It works alongside your cloud storage service, syncing your files in an encrypted format, rather than leaving them out in the open.