IDrive e2 Review
Although not particularly suitable for personal use, IaaS providers are a great way to manage your business’ data and share files throughout your company and organization. As we’ll see in this IDrive e2 review, this relatively new contender on the IaaS scene is definitely worth considering if you don’t need much in the way of advanced integrations.
IDrive e2 is a relatively fresh entry on the IaaS scene looking to set itself apart from the pack by offering cheap storage at a set price, as well as an easy-to-use service that doesn’t complicate things with too many bells and whistles. If you’re interested in a cheap IaaS provider without too much of a learning curve, then this IDrive e2 review will give you all the info you need.
- IDrive e2 is a IaaS solution focused on ease of use and low storage prices, much like Backblaze B2.
- You can pay for IDrive e2 storage either on a per gigabyte basis or at a set rate per month.
- IDrive e2 focuses on simplicity, and as such doesn’t have the wealth of advanced features and tools of the likes of Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure.
- IDrive e2 is built with the Amazon S3 API and is compatible with a long list of third-party backup clients.
The most important thing to understand about IDrive e2 is that it’s not a traditional piece of online backup or cloud storage software.
Whereas the normal IDrive (check out our IDrive review) is an online backup service focused on continuous data protection for personal users and businesses, IDrive e2 is more complicated and designed to interact with other software through what is known as “buckets.”
Since IaaS is generally more complicated and jargon-heavy than regular cloud storage, you might want to check out our guide to cloud terminology before continuing. That said, if you’re already familiar with more complicated IaaS alternatives, we doubt there’s anything in this review that will be confusing.
Yes, IDrive e2 is a reliable service that guarantees an uptime of 99.9%.
In general, IDrive e2 will not slow down your computer. That said, depending on your machine’s specs, you might experience some slowdown while a backup is in progress.
Yes, IDrive e2 is safe. IDrive is one of the best cloud backup services and although e2 is new on the scene, it supports both encryption and 2FA.
If you’re looking for a cheap and simple IaaS provider, then yes. However, if you don’t need the functionality of the S3 API, then IDrive’s business plans are a better choice.
Updated to remove IDrive’s discontinued free plan.
IDrive e2 Alternatives
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IDrive e2 Review: Strengths & Weaknesses
- Easy to use
- Works with Amazon S3 API
- 9 servers in two countries
- No advanced backup features
Much like Backblaze B2, IDrive e2 takes a simple approach to IaaS, eschewing the complicated interfaces and features of services like Google Cloud in favor of a more streamlined approach that doesn’t confuse the user with a steep learning curve and tons of advanced features.
Instead of designing its own API to interact with third-party integrations, IDrive e2 is built on the Amazon S3 API, meaning that any client compatible with Amazon’s IaaS solution will also work with IDrive’s.
Because of this, there’s not a whole lot you can actually do within the IDrive e2 web dashboard itself. The dashboard lets you manage buckets and access keys, which is what you’ll need in order to hook your e2 storage up to a backup client like Duplicati or CloudBerry (read our CloudBerry backup review).
The buckets have a few settings that you can adjust, such as default encryption, object locking, versioning and whether your files are private or public. Public buckets aren’t available on the free plan, and the encryption setting is on the server side, meaning it’s not zero-knowledge (though this isn’t something that IaaS providers generally offer anyway).
The object lock setting restricts users from modifying any of the data in the bucket, whereas turning on versioning means that IDrive e2 will make and keep a copy of files in the bucket anytime you change or delete them. However, be aware that this will consume additional storage space, as IDrive will hold onto these files forever unless you manually delete them.
In order to let other software such as backup clients or hosting services access your storage buckets, you’ll need an access key. Rather than displaying the secret key directly in the dashboard, the key pair is automatically downloaded to your device once they’re generated.
Each key can be assigned permissions, allowing integrations to read and write data, or restricting them to just reading or writing. You can also choose what buckets and data regions the access key can reach by selecting individual ones or letting it read across all the data stored on your account.
Since IaaS is focused on business users, you can add multiple people and accounts to your IDrive e2 dashboard. You can add unlimited users to the dashboard and set permissions for them on an individual basis. This includes which buckets they can access and what kind of read and write permissions they have.
Finally, IDrive e2 provides a detailed set of activity logs that monitors all activity on your account. You can monitor the logs directly in the dashboard, which allows you to search and filter the activity, or you can download the recorded activity as a PDF.
All in all, though IDrive e2 doesn’t have the sheer number of tools and features of more advanced competitors like Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure, it doesn’t seem like it was ever meant to compete on that level anyway.
Instead, e2 focuses on providing IaaS storage in as simple a way as possible, which is great if all you need is a centralized S3-compatible storage space.
Most IaaS providers charge you based on the amount of storage you’re using and the number of transactions you perform, and IDrive e2’s monthly plan is no different, costing $0.004 per gigabyte stored.
This is far cheaper than major competitors like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure or Amazon S3, and slightly cheaper than Backblaze B2, which is among the cheapest IaaS providers out there.
In addition to the monthly plan, IDrive e2 also offers yearly plans with a fixed amount of storage at a set price. This is highly unusual for IaaS solutions, and whether or not it pays off will depend largely on how much storage you intend to actively use.
If you do opt for one of these plans, it’s worth noting that IDrive e2 won’t stop you from uploading more than your limit, but instead will charge you an extra fee of $0.004 per gigabyte per month.
The set storage plans range from 1TB to a whopping 200TB, and the first year you subscribe is heavily discounted at 90% off. That means that you can get 1TB of storage for as little as $4 for the entire first year, though after that the price will bump back up to $40. Still, even without the discount, this is incredibly inexpensive for the amount of storage you’re getting.
IDrive e2 Fees
IaaS providers also charge for downloads and uploads (known in the industry as “egress” and “ingress”). Notably, IDrive offers unlimited ingress (meaning uploads) and only charges for egress after a certain threshold.
Users can download a total of three times their total storage per month free of charge, but any transactions that exceed this limit will be billed at $0.01 per gigabyte of data downloaded.
|Storage:||Per Month||Per Year|
|Gigabytes||$0.004 per GB||NA|
Ease of Use 95%
As we already mentioned in the first section of this review, IDrive e2 has a very gentle learning curve, which makes it clear that ease of use and accessibility are the primary selling points of the service.
IDrive e2 Web Client
With many IaaS providers, the first time you log in to your dashboard can be an overwhelming experience, but this isn’t the case with IDrive e2. The first thing you’re asked to do is choose a geographic location for your data and create your first bucket.
Once you’ve selected a data center and created your first bucket, you’re pretty much good to go. The layout of the web interface is fairly self-explanatory, with menus for your buckets, access keys, users and activity logs.
To access the files you’ve stored on IDrive e2, you can either open the bucket directly in the web app and download the files or you can connect your bucket to a third-party client like CloudBerry using an access key.
Compatible Backup Clients
Since IDrive e2 is based on the S3 API, most third-party backup clients are compatible with the service. This includes some of our favorites like CloudBerry and Duplicati, as well as server backup options like Synology or QNAP, which allow you to directly backup your external NAS devices.
Many of these clients offer mobile apps for both iOS and Android, meaning that you can upload files directly from your device to your e2 storage.
That said, there’s no native mobile app (just like there’s no native desktop client), so IDrive e2 relies entirely on the functionality of the third-party client and whether or not it has mobile device compatibility. For example, CloudBerry offers both Android and iOS apps, but Duplicati doesn’t.
Server Network & Speed 90%
When you first set up IDrive e2, you have the option of choosing what geographical location to store your data in. Which option you should choose mostly comes down to speed and performance, as the locations are all in the U.S., with the exception of one in Ireland.
As for speed, we tested the service using CloudBerry’s backup client on a virtual machine located in Dublin, Ireland.
Our testing environment has an internet connection speed of roughly 1 Gbit/s, but in order to get the most stable and realistic results, we’ve throttled this down to 100 Mbit/s in both directions. With this speed, we expect both uploads and downloads to take just under seven minutes as we used a 5GB folder for our testing.
|First attempt:||Second attempt:||Average:|
As you can see, these transfer speeds are excellent, and are nearly identical to our test results for the personal version of IDrive (read our fastest online backup article for more). Both uploads and downloads were incredibly fast and vastly outperformed Backblaze B2, which is the most comparable service on the market in terms of price and functionality.
Security & Privacy 90%
If you’re going to trust a backup service with important and potentially confidential files, it’s important that the company makes every effort to keep your data safe not only from outside access but also from the company itself.
Since IaaS providers rely on third-party clients, they don’t have much to offer in terms of security. You can enable two-factor authentication through TOTP, which means that most authenticator apps that support this protocol are compatible.
IDrive specifically mentions compatibility with Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator and Duo Mobile, but any TOTP-compatible authenticator app or device should work.
IDrive e2 Online Backup Encryption
While in transit, your files are secured using TLS. IDrive encourages users to use their own client-side encryption before uploading files, whether that’s through dedicated encryption software like Cryptomator or backup clients that support it such as CloudBerry. That said, you can enable server-side encryption, which uses the AES 256-bit protocol.
As we mentioned earlier, the encryption included with IDrive e2 isn’t zero knowledge. That means that instead of a private key that only you have access to, the data is encrypted on the server, which theoretically allows IDrive to decrypt and read your files.
However, this is standard with IaaS providers, as we can’t think of a single one that offers a private encryption key option out of the box. Because they’re hooked up to a third-party application, IaaS solutions don’t have the capability of performing client-side encryption, because there is no client.
Additionally, IaaS solutions are frequently used to host websites. It wouldn’t make sense to encrypt this data with zero knowledge, because the website and its users need to access it.
That said, most third-party backup clients such as CloudBerry allow for client-side encryption (aka zero knowledge) regardless of what online backup providers you’re hooking it up to.
Hacking isn’t the only way that a malicious actor could gain access to your data. Since servers are real objects that exist in the physical world, they need to be protected from unauthorized direct access or accidental damage.
To accomplish this, IDrive equips its data centers with a range of security measures ranging from security breach alarms to temperature control systems.
This is pretty much the same as every other backup or cloud storage service, and IDrive further states that they don’t share this data with any outside parties except when compelled to by law.
This final caveat is also completely standard, and turning on client-side encryption in your backup client will make it a moot point anyway, as not even IDrive will be able to see the contents of your files.
In terms of regulatory compliance, e2 complies with GDPR for users who are based or operate in the EU, and also support its customers in complying with other regulations such as HIPAA. The service is also fully compliant with the EU-U.S. privacy shield regulations, regardless of where in the world your company operates.
IDrive e2 has several different options for you to contact support. The easiest way to do so would be to use the live chat function through IDrive’s website. This chat is open 24/7 and in our experience the customer support agents we reached out to through the chat were helpful and quick to respond.
You can also get support via email by submitting a ticket, though this won’t be as fast. IDrive generally answers ticket requests within 24 hours, but due to the nature of the communication it can be a lot more hit and miss in terms of getting a useful response.
Finally, there’s also phone support. However, there’s only a U.K. and U.S. number available, meaning that if you’re located outside of these two countries it might not be possible to call.
With that we’ve reached the end of our IDrive e2 review. Although it’s a relatively recent entry to the world of IaaS providers, it’s already easily on par with the likes of Backblaze B2. It doesn’t have all the tools and integrations of more advanced services, but it’s clearly attempting to carve a niche out for itself as a cheap and accessible alternative.
What did you think of our review? Do you agree that IDrive e2 is an excellent choice for those looking for a cheap and easy-to-use IaaS provider, or do you think that the lack of advanced tools makes it a poor alternative to a more advanced service or traditional data backup service? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading.