Picking the right cloud storage provider can be a difficult and time-consuming task given all the options out there. Comparing two storage providers often involves scouring through separate websites trying to identify the differences. For this reason we’ve created this Icedrive vs Sync.com comparison to help you choose between these two services.
Although we’ll be comparing the similarities and differences between each service here, those who are looking for a more in-depth analysis of each should head over to our Icedrive review and our Sync.com review, where we get into the nitty-gritty of each provider’s strengths and weaknesses.
Sync.com has long been our top pick for the best cloud storage, but with Icedrive’s recent arrival on the scene, there’s a chance this might change. So without further ado, it’s time to pit our reigning champion against the new kid on the block and see which one comes out ahead.
The Cloud Battle: Icedrive vs Sync.com
In this battle we’ll be putting our two contestants through six rounds, awarding a point for each one. The rounds are focused on features, pricing, usability, file syncing and sharing, speed, and finally security and privacy.
Since there’s an even number of rounds, we might end up with a tie, in which case we’ll award the overall win based on how convincingly the providers won their rounds.
We’ll start our cloud storage battle by taking a look at features. Although file syncing and sharing are obviously the two biggest ones for any cloud storage provider, their importance means that we have a separate round for this kind of functionality. For now we’ll focus on what else the two contenders bring to the table.
Starting with Icedrive, one of the best included features is the file preview system. You can stream media files, such as videos and photos, directly from the cloud without downloading the file, which is impressive given that the files are encrypted. You can also view documents, including Office and PDF files, directly from storage, and even edit code.
Unfortunately, there are no collaboration tools included with Icedrive. So although you can share a file with other people and they can view it without actually downloading anything, they won’t be able to make changes, add new files or contribute in any way to what’s stored in Icedrive.
Another important factor for cloud storage providers is versioning and deleted-file retention. Not only does this protect against accidental changes or deletion of files, it also guards against ransomware attacks, as it allows you to easily roll files back to their previous state.
Icedrive keeps an unlimited record of all previous file versions and retains your deleted files forever in the trash section. The old versions don’t take up any of your storage space, but the deleted files do.
Moving on to Sync.com, our reigning cloud storage champion offers a more robust set of features. Files are synced between your device and the cloud, and you can enable selective sync to save bandwidth or local storage space by syncing only the files you want. Sharing is also excellent, with a multitude of optional settings that you can enable for any shared files.
Although Sync.com’s versioning isn’t as strong as Icedrive’s unlimited past versions, it’s still very good. Depending on the plan, you can roll files back 30, 180 or 365 days, which will be more than enough, in most cases.
Like Icedrive, you can preview certain types of files, including Office documents, PDFs and images. Furthermore, you can invite other people to collaborate on folders, which gives them permission to add new files or edit the ones that are already there.
Although this isn’t enough to make Sync.com the best cloud storage for collaboration, it’s still quite a bit more than what Icedrive can offer you.
Finally, although we’ll cover this in greater depth in our “security and privacy” round, we should mention that both providers encrypt your files on the cloud and offer a separate vault with zero-knowledge encryption (also known as client-side encryption). This means that any files placed here can only be decrypted by the user personally.
In summary, Sync.com’s more robust collaboration and sharing functionality gives it an edge in terms of features, meaning it takes the first point in our comparison. That’s not to say Icedrive is far behind. Plus, it’s a brand new service, and we’re confident that — given some time — it’ll catch up to the competition in this regard.
For many — if not most — users, pricing is the most important factor when considering what cloud storage service to choose. After all, lots of advanced features or unbreakable security can only go so far if you have to pay out the nose for it, especially if all you’re looking for is a simple and easy way to sync your files across devices.
Digging into it then, both cloud storage providers are very reasonably priced. Icedrive offers three paid plans called Lite, Pro and Pro+. These provide 150GB, 1TB and 5TB of storage priced at $19.99, $49.99 and $179.99 per year, respectively. Monthly billing is also available for the Pro and Pro+ plans at a price of $4.99 and $17.99 per month.
- Bandwidth limit: 3GB
- Storage: 10 GB
- Bandwidth limit: 250GB
- Storage: 150 GB
- Bandwidth limit: 2TB
- Storage: 1000 GB
One unique aspect of Icedrive’s pricing is that you can opt for a lifetime subscription for any of these plans. If you choose this option, you pay a one-time fee of $59, $149 or $499 for perpetual access to your allotted storage. There’s a monthly bandwidth cap for these lifetime plans, though, limiting your monthly transfers to 250GB, 2TB or 8TB.
Sync.com, on the other hand, offers four plans for personal users and three plans intended for businesses. Because we’re comparing the services from a personal-use perspective, we’ll focus on the former.
The plans provide 200GB, 2TB, 3TB and 4TB of storage and cost $60, $96, $120 and $180 per year, respectively. There’s no option for monthly billing or lifetime versions, like Icedrive has.
- Storage: 5 GB
- Storage: 200 GB
- Storage: 2000 GB
- Storage: 3000 GB
- Storage: 4000 GB
- Price per user
- Storage: 1000 GB
- Price per user
- Storage: 4000 GB
- Price per user
- Storage: 10000 GB
In terms of free storage, Icedrive has the edge, as it offers 10GB free storage on signup, compared to Sync.com’s 5GB. When you combine this with the slightly cheaper pricing and the option for lifetime plans, it means that Icedrive wins this round, bringing the total score to 1-1.
No matter how many features that come with cloud storage apps, they’re not going to be much help unless the program is easy to use. In this regard, both Icedrive and Sync.com are similar in their approach. The two cloud storage providers mostly consist of folders placed within your regular file structure, with a relatively bare-bones settings panel to go along with it.
The core part of Icedrive is its “virtual drive” application, which links your computer to your cloud storage and comes with a basic settings panel. This allows you to get an overview of your cloud storage, set up sync folders, see any ongoing transfers and change some basic settings like thumbnails and cache size.
If you want to perform more advanced operations on your files located on the cloud, you’ll want to use the web dashboard for either service. Icedrive also comes with a so-called “portable client,” which is essentially the exact same as the web dashboard but installed directly on your computer so you don’t have to go through a web browser.
Overall, Icedrive’s interface feels much cleaner and more responsive than Sync.com’s. The lack of a proper desktop dashboard is a big problem for the latter, as using the system tray icon for everything is a frustrating experience that often forces you to use the web dashboard instead.
This is made worse by the (frankly) ugly look of the Sync.com’s system tray menus. The whole thing feels at least 10 years old, and weird design flaws — like not being able to see the entire progress bar by default for files being uploaded — makes it difficult to track exactly how the file sync is going.
Icedrive, on the other hand, presents an exceptionally clean and well-designed interface, which it probably owes to the fact that the whole service is brand new. The “transfers” menu especially stands out, as it makes it very easy to gauge how your uploads and downloads are going without having to navigate through multiple tiny windows.
Although Sync.com’s web dashboard is far better than its desktop client, it could still use some work. It’s by no means difficult to use, but it’s also not going to win any prizes for aesthetics, especially when compared to Icedrive’s sleek web dashboard.
As we noted in our review, usability is one of Sync.com’s greatest weaknesses, while for Icedrive it’s the exact opposite. This makes this round an easy win for our up-and-coming challenger, bringing our overall score to 2-1, placing Icedrive in the lead as we hit the halfway point of our comparison.
4. File Syncing & Sharing
File syncing and sharing is the bread and butter of any cloud storage service, as they’re the two main reasons you’d subscribe to one over an online backup service like IDrive or Backblaze. That’s why we separate these two core features from the rest and give them their own round in this comparison.
Although both of our contenders allow you to sync files between devices in real-time, there’s a key difference between them. Where Icedrive lets you designate any folder on your device as a sync folder, Sync.com forces you to place it all within its dedicated folder, which can be a huge pain if you already have a well-organized file structure that you’re used to.
Adding additional “sync pairs” as Icedrive calls them is incredibly easy, as all you need to do is tell the client what folder you want synced and to what location on your cloud storage you want to send it to.
If you’re low on local storage space, Icedrive also sets up a virtual drive on your device where you can place files and folders. Anything you place here won’t take up any space on your local device, but you also won’t have access to them if you’re not connected to the internet.
This is great if you’re low on disk space on your device, but it’s less than ideal if you find yourself without an internet connection and need access to something you placed in your Icedrive storage.
That said, actually placing your files in storage is incredibly simple with either service. All you need to do is simply drag the files you want to upload to your Sync folder or your Icedrive folder, and they’ll be automatically uploaded. If you wish to remove something to free up storage space, it’s the same process as deleting any other file on your device.
Unfortunately for Icedrive, placing files into encrypted storage is far easier with Sync.com. With the former, you’ll have to log into the web dashboard and upload the files or folders manually, while the latter provides a handy context menu option called “send to vault” when you right-click any file on your system.
With file sync covered, we’ll move on to file sharing. For Icedrive, this comes in two forms. First, you can create a public link that can be accessed by anyone or — if you want it to be a little more secure — anyone who has the password.
In addition to the password protection, you can also set an expiration date for the link, which makes it unusable after a certain amount of time.
It’s worth noting that both the password protection and expiry dates are limited to premium accounts, meaning you won’t get access to these features if you’re on the free plan.
If you don’t want to manually share the link with another person, you can share a file directly via email. If the person you’re sharing with has an Icedrive account, this will make the file accessible through their dashboard; otherwise it will automatically create a public link and email it to the other person.
The biggest thing missing from Icedrive’s file sharing is the ability to create links for entire folders. This means that if you want to share multiple files, you have to go through the trouble of creating a link for or emailing each file individually, which can be a giant hassle.
Sync.com, on the other hand, has a much more robust set of file sharing features. Like Icedrive, you can create a link (or email one automatically) with password protection and expiry dates. The password protection is available to free accounts, but the expiry date setting isn’t.
Furthermore, premium users can also enable email notifications for when someone accesses your shared file, set individual download limits, enable preview-only mode (meaning they can’t download the file itself) and see detailed statistics on how your file is being accessed.
You can also set up file requests, meaning each person has to manually request access to the file before they can download it.
Unlike Icedrive, Sync.com also lets you share entire folders with other people. This comes with the same functionality as sharing files, and you can also invite other users to collaborate on the folder; meaning they can edit and create new files within it.
One significant problem with both services is that neither utilize block-level file copying. This means that if you change a small part of a larger file, the software will still reupload the whole thing, wasting system resources, bandwidth and time.
To sum this round up, Sync.com gets another point here because it has better sharing capabilities and makes it much easier to upload files to encrypted storage, despite forcing you to sync everything from a single folder. This brings the overall score to 2-2 as we move on to our final two rounds.
Depending on what you need cloud storage for, speed can be an incredibly important factor. If you need to restore a critical file that’s been damaged on your local system, or share something that someone else needs as quickly as possible, it’s important that your cloud storage provider takes advantage of every bit of your connection bandwidth.
To test this, we uploaded a 1.1GB folder to each provider’s storage twice and then downloaded it twice. Then we averaged the results to see which one came out on top. For the purposes of these tests, we were using a connection from Tirana, Albania, with an upload and download speed of 50Mbps and 10Mbps, respectively.
It’s worth noting that the physical location of the actual servers plays into the speed results. Icedrive’s servers are located in the UK, which means they’re significantly closer to our testing location, which gives it a bit of an unfair advantage in this comparison.
|First attempt:||Second attempt:||Average:|
As you can see from these results, Icedrive comes out ahead. It’s difficult to say how much of this is due to our closer proximity to its servers when compared to Sync.com.
Despite that, we’ll still give this one to Icedrive, even if it’s by a potentially narrow margin once you account for server location. That leaves Icedrive in the lead with a score of 3-2 as we proceed to the final round.
6. Security & Privacy
With security and privacy, there’s very little difference between our two providers. Without a doubt, encryption is the most important aspect, and the services take a different approach that nonetheless boils down to the same end-result for the user.
Sync.com uses the traditional AES 256-bit encryption. Icedrive, on the other hand, uses the less common and less well-known Twofish protocol, which in theory should provide slightly stronger protection because hackers and cybercriminals are less familiar with this protocol. It hardly matters, though, as both standards are considered essentially unbreakable.
Both providers use TLS to protect your files from man-in-the-middle attacks while in transit, and both offer two-factor-authentication to make sure no one can get into your account, even if they get their hands on your password.
In terms of privacy, both are zero-knowledge services. This means that they use client-side encryption, so that only you can decrypt your files. Even if the companies are served a subpoena by a judge, they won’t be able to decrypt your data, making it useless to anyone who wants to know what’s in your cloud storage.
Despite the lack of servers in the EU, both services comply with GDPR when dealing with European users.
Although these countries certainly don’t have the strongest digital privacy laws in the world, they’re much better than the U.S., which is often the default option for data storage. Both Canada and the UK are part of the Five Eyes spy network, though, meaning that they share intelligence with each other as well as the three other members (Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.).
Besides these similarities, Canada — and thus Sync.com — has much better privacy protections than the UK. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (or PIPEDA, for short) protects against all sorts of privacy violations.
Meanwhile the UK — where Icedrive is based — has gone the opposite direction in recent years with the passage of the Investigatory Powers Act in 2016, which gives the British government wide-ranging surveillance powers.
This isn’t a huge problem for Icedrive, though, as enabling private encryption makes it impossible for government agencies to peek at your data anyway. However, it’s still a minor difference between the two in an area where they’re otherwise pretty much identical. Because of this, Sync.com narrowly takes the victory in this round, bringing our final score to 3-3.
The Verdict: Sync.com vs Icedrive
With that our comparison is over, and we’re left with a 3-3 tie. This is a fantastic result for Icedrive, being the new arrival on the scene, but we think Sync.com has a slight edge owing to the categories it won. At the end of the day, the most important thing about a cloud storage service is how well it does file syncing and sharing, which was a round that Sync.com won.
For that reason, Sync.com is our overall winner of this comparison. However, given how close most of the rounds were — not to mention the tied score — which one is better for you will depend entirely on your priorities. If advanced sharing functionality is less important to you than pricing and a clean interface, then Icedrive is the better option for you.
Overall Winner: Sync.com
Although it couldn’t quite dethrone Sync.com, Icedrive still did extremely well for such a new service. We’ve done comparisons with other popular cloud storage services, as well, so check out our Icedrive vs pCloud, MEGA, Tresorit and Google Drive articles to see how it does compared to some providers that we don’t rank quite as highly as Sync.com.
We’ve also compared Sync.com with several other cloud storage providers, such as in our Sync.com vs pCloud and Sync.com vs MEGA battles.
What did you think of our comparison? Do you agree that Sync.com is just barely the better service, or do you think we were too hard on the newcomer? Perhaps we missed an important factor that you’ve noticed? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.
What Is the Best Online Cloud Storage for Free: Icedrive vs Sync.com?
Icedrive offers more free cloud storage than Sync.com does. With Icedrive, you get 10GB free storage when you sign up; you get only 5GB of free storage with Sync.com.
What Is Icedrive?
Icedrive is a promising cloud storage newcomer (started in 2019) focused on privacy and security. It has a sleek interface, provides 10GB of free storage and offers zero-knowledge encryption.
Which Is Better, Sync.com or Icedrive?
Although Sync.com and Icedrive tie in this matchup, Sync.com wins the cloud storage battle due to its file syncing and sharing capabilities.