5 Best pCloud Alternative Options in 2023
With many of our cloud storage articles, we rate pCloud highly, as it offers great cloud features, strong security and excellent privacy. However, many of pCloud’s best features -- pCloud Crypto and extended file history -- come at additional costs, even on paid personal and family plans. Since pCloud can get expensive, we decided to look at the best pCloud alternative options.
There’s a lot to like about pCloud, and we consistently rate it highly, as seen on our list of the best cloud storage services. pCloud has excellent file-sharing and sync capabilities.
Additionally, it’s easy to use, comes with a dedicated tab for audio files, and has great out-of-the-box security and privacy. However, pCloud can get expensive, even when purchasing a lifetime plan, mainly due to added fees, which could entice users to consider a pCloud alternative.
Key Takeaways: The Best Alternatives to pCloud
- pCloud has strong privacy and security, but charges extra for private encryption, even with paid plans.
- Sync.com and MEGA have zero-knowledge encryption for all plans, including free ones.
- Icedrive offers excellent security and a private encryption folder with its paid plans.
- OneDrive and Dropbox are excellent options for collaboration and productivity.
pCloud charges extra for some important features that come standard (even on free accounts) with its competitors. These paid features increase file versioning or privacy and security with extended file history and pCloud Crypto. Most paid plans with pCloud do not include either of these additions.
Sync.com positions itself as a strong competitor to pCloud, as it offers zero-knowledge encryption for all accounts. However, as our article will detail, it’s far from the only option. If pCloud is too cost prohibitive, or you want some of the same features for one fee, read on to see what we think are the best pCloud alternatives.
pCloud offers excellent value on both its free and paid plans. However, to get private encryption and extended file history, you’ll need to purchase some add-ons, which can make pCloud cost-prohibitive.
pCloud charges extra for zero-knowledge encryption with pCloud Crypto (which is not included with personal or family plans). Additionally, to get better file history, you’ll need to purchase the extended file history add-on, which is also not included with personal or family plans.
pCloud and Dropbox both offer excellent cloud features and strong security. Dropbox has more third-party integrations than pCloud. It’s great for collaboration and productivity, and is a solid pCloud alternative. However, pCloud has better privacy — especially with pCloud Crypto, where you can safely and securely store sensitive and confidential information.
Top pCloud Alternatives
1TB – Unlimited GB$6 / month(All Plans)
150GB – 10TB$1.67 / month(save 39%)(All Plans) 14-days money-back guarantee
2TB – Unlimited GB$9.06 / month(save 16%)(All Plans)
100GB – Unlimited GB$1.67 / month(save 16%)(All Plans)
2TB – 5TB$9.99 / month(save 16%)(All Plans)
What Makes the Best pCloud Alternative?
Ideally, we’d like a cloud storage service that offers true zero-knowledge encryption, easy file sharing and robust file versioning. Our list of the best pCloud alternatives focuses on cloud storage services that offer the most features for free accounts or affordable paid plans.
- Sync.com — Zero-knowledge encryption for all accounts; affordable plans
- Icedrive — Strong security and 10GB of free storage
- MEGA — Offers 20GB of free cloud storage and private encryption
- OneDrive — Seamless Microsoft Office 365 integration
- Dropbox — Excellent file sharing with plenty of native and third-party apps
Paying extra for private encryption, which is what the paid add-on pCloud Crypto enables, is one of the more frustrating elements of pCloud. pCloud offers affordable personal plans, as our pCloud review highlights, but that cost quickly goes up when you add pCloud Crypto or extended file history, both of which are nearly essential to get the best from pCloud.
Sync.com and MEGA both offer zero-knowledge encryption for all accounts, including free ones. Additionally, MEGA has the most generous free account, with 20GB of storage. Icedrive puts user privacy first and is one of the most secure cloud storage services.
OneDrive and Dropbox offer feature-rich cloud storage options and position themselves as good pCloud alternatives. Both have strong native apps and plenty of third-party integrations. None of the pCloud alternatives are perfect. However, each has a few compelling reasons for consideration.
The 5 Best pCloud Alternatives for Cloud Storage
Sync.com tops our list as the best pCloud alternative, as it offers zero-knowledge encryption, excellent file sharing and robust file versioning. A free account has 5GB of storage, with the option of affordable paid plans if you need more storage capacity.
More details about Sync.com:
- Pricing: $8 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: sync.com
- Private encryption on all accounts
- Easy file sharing
- Affordable plans
- Slower speeds
- Few third-party applications
A significant benefit of Sync.com comes from having zero-knowledge encryption on all accounts, free or paid. Working in conjunction with private encryption, Sync.com protects your data while at rest using 256-bit AES encryption, while employing TLS protocol for data in transit. These privacy and security features make a free Sync.com account an exceptional value.
File versioning with Sync.com is 30 days on a free account, though you can increase it up to a year with certain paid plans. Additionally, all paid accounts have account rewind, which lets you roll back to a previous date in the event of ransomware. Sync.com also integrates with Microsoft Office for file creation and editing.
Sync.com Vault Backup
Sync.com’s vault functions as a dedicated online-only backup for the files that aren’t part of your account. As such, items uploaded to the vault won’t synchronize across your account. The vault feature isn’t a true cloud backup (check out our article to learn the difference between cloud backup and storage), but it’s a useful space-saving feature nonetheless.
Sync.com offers a free account with 5GB of cloud storage space. Paid plans are affordable, such as the Pro Solo Basic plan with 2TB for $8 per month, billed annually at $96. All new plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Check out our Sync.com review to learn more.
- Price per user
- Price per user
- Unlimited GB
More details about Icedrive:
- Pricing: $4.17 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: icedrive.net
- Great privacy & security
- Fast speeds
- Pleasing user interface
- Basic file sharing
- Not great for collaboration
- No third-party integrations
Icedrive cloud storage is a secure alternative to pCloud with strict adherence to user privacy. Based in the United Kingdom, Icedrive maintains GDPR compliance and is upfront about how it uses your data. Similar to pCloud, Icedrive has an encryption folder. However, it’s unlocked with a paid plan rather than being a stand-alone paid add-on as with pCloud.
Icedrive’s file versioning is limited compared to other options on this list. Free accounts have three versions of a file, accessible for 15 days. Paid accounts see these numbers increased to 10 file versions, available for 180 days.
Integrated Desktop Applications
For Windows users, the virtual drive functions like an additional document management system. Folders or files you upload to the virtual drive help free up storage on your computer. The virtual drive works similar to an extension of your Icedrive account while letting you work on your documents as if they were on your computer.
For Mac or Linux users, the desktop application doesn’t have the same functionality. The desktop app is little more than a localized clone of your account. However, with the desktop app, you can alter your stored data location or change the path of your download folder.
A basic Icedrive account comes with a generous 10GB of free storage, positioning it as a strong pCloud alternative. You can get a paid storage plan with 1TB of storage for $49.99 per year or $4.17 monthly. Icedrive also offers lifetime plans similar to pCloud. New plans with Icedrive have a 14-day money-back guarantee. Check out our Icedrive review to learn more.
- Bandwidth limit: 3GB
- Bandwidth limit: 250GB
- Bandwidth limit: 2TB
- Bandwidth limit: 8TB
More details about MEGA:
- Pricing: $9.06 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: mega.io
- Generous 20GB free storage
- Private encryption
- Secure file sharing
- Expensive paid plans
- Average speeds
- Poor collaboration
Like Sync.com, MEGA has zero-knowledge encryption as a standard feature on all accounts, including its free plan. MEGA secures your data at rest with 256-bit AES encryption and uses TLS/SSL protocols for your data transfers. Since MEGA does not have access to your login information, it’s upfront that you’re on your own if you lose your password. However, whatever you store on your MEGA account is truly private, making it a great pCloud alternative.
MEGA limits the number of file versions available per file to 100. However, depending on how often you update a given file, the number of versions could exceed 100, and it’s not necessarily the most recent 100 versions of a file. MEGA uses an internal algorithm to manage file versions. Within the desktop app, there’s an option to enable file versioning, although you can’t set the number of file versions to keep.
Unless you use a chat app like WhatsApp (check out our WhatsApp tips and tricks article) that gives you settings to protect your data, it’s probable that your instant message history is unsecured. MEGA seeks to provide its users with an alternative to unsecure chat apps with secure chat with end-to-end encryption.
MEGA’s secure chat encrypts all of the instant messages and video calls you have with other MEGA account holders. You can even share files securely within the app, which adds some collaborative functionality. Most chat apps aren’t secure or private. Using the secure chat app with other MEGA users ensures your conversations remain confidential.
MEGA offers the most extensive free storage plan at 20GB, which you can easily expand to 35GB for a year by completing some basic tasks. MEGA’s Pro I plan has 2TB for $108.69 per year or $9.06 paid monthly. Other plan options have 8TB, or even 16TB, if needed. MEGA does not offer any lifetime subscriptions. Check out our MEGA review to learn more.
- File transfer: 2TB (Monthly plan) 24TB (yearly plan)
- File transfer: (monthly plan) 96TB (yearly plan)
- File transfer: 16TB (monthly plan) 192TB (yearly plan)
- Price per user (minimum 3)
- Unlimited GB
More details about OneDrive:
- Pricing: $5.83 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: onedrive.com
- Strong collaboration features
- Office 365 integration
- Privacy concerns
- Frustrating customer support
- Poor file versioning
One of OneDrive’s biggest issues is the lack of zero-knowledge encryption. It is not offered on any plan, and there isn’t a stand-alone paid option either. The personal vault may seem like a viable alternative, but it’s not truly private encryption, as it only uses two-factor authentication to secure data stored there.
For security, OneDrive has AES-256 encryption and TLS/SSL encryption protocols for data at rest and in transit.
File versioning with Microsoft OneDrive offers a limited experience. Personal accounts have the latest 25 versions available, accessible for 30 days on paid plans. Any deleted files in the recycle bin automatically get deleted within 30 days. The only flexibility with file versioning comes with work or student accounts set up by an administrator.
Microsoft Office Integration
This may come as little surprise, but OneDrive and Microsoft Office integrate seamlessly. Free accounts have access to the web versions of popular Office apps like Word or Powerpoint. Paid plans get access to ad-free Microsoft Office apps. The more expensive plans gain increased access to these apps’ desktop or mobile versions.
Additionally, it’s easy to share files within a OneDrive account or directly with the respective Office apps. No matter the OneDrive account, working with and sharing between Office apps happens seamlessly. If you’re already invested with Microsoft apps, OneDrive makes a solid pCloud alternative.
A free OneDrive account comes with 5GB of storage. Opting for a paid plan starts with Microsoft 365 Basic (you can’t just purchase additional OneDrive storage space). The Microsoft 365 Personal plan has 1TB of storage for $69.99 per year or $5.83 per month. To learn more, check out our OneDrive review.
- Comes with Office 365 Personal
- Comes with Office 365 Home
- Price per user
- Price per user
- Unlimited GB
- Price per user
More details about Dropbox:
- Pricing: $9.99 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: dropbox.com
- Great third-party integrations
- Good native apps
- Strong collaboration tools
- No private encryption
- Pricey paid plans
Dropbox has many of the security features required for protecting your data, much like the other cloud storage providers on this list. It uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data at rest and TLS/SSL protocols to stop man-in-the-middle attacks when you upload or download your files. However, zero-knowledge encryption is not a standard feature on a Dropbox personal account.
With the recent purchase of Boxcryptor, Dropbox has indicated that private encryption will be coming to Dropbox Business. Whether the original Dropbox will enjoy the same benefit is still being determined.
File versioning with Dropbox depends on your account. Dropbox Basic, Plus and Family plans have 30 days of file versioning, though higher-tier paid plans increase that number to 365 days. In terms of collaboration, Dropbox offers great flexibility, as it integrates with both Microsoft Office and Google Workspace apps, alongside a slew of other third-party integrations.
Selective File Synchronization
File synchronization remains one of Dropbox’s best features. With selective sync, you determine which files or folders get synced with your account and which ones are omitted. Another option is called smart sync, or online-only sync. This setting lets you identify files or folders to keep on your Dropbox account only, which frees up space on your hard drive.
Additionally, Dropbox supports block-level syncing, which only syncs changes made to a file rather than the entire file all over again. Dropbox ranks highly as a fast cloud storage service.
Dropbox’s free plan, at 2GB, is only enough to try the service, and you’ll need one of Dropbox’s paid plans to make it a viable alternative to pCloud. Paid plans start at $119.88 per year or $9.99 per month for 2TB of storage. Our Dropbox review and Dropbox pricing guide go into more detail.
- 1 user
- 1 user
- 1 user
- 1 user
- 3 users minimum
- 3 users minimum
Our list of the best pCloud alternatives isn’t exhaustive, as there are certainly some other cloud storage services that deserve a mention. Two such providers are Google Drive and IDrive.
From a productivity and collaboration standpoint, Google Drive is a solid pCloud alternative. Its host of native apps included in Google Workspace are widely used and integrate seamlessly with a Google Drive account. It comes with 15GB of free storage and is easy-to-use straight away.
Google Drive falters with its privacy, which simply can’t compete with pCloud. Google isn’t shy about letting you know that it monitors your activity and usage. Additionally, there’s no way to enable private encryption on a standard Google Drive account, meaning your data isn’t totally protected from unauthorized access.
IDrive brings plenty of cloud features to its cloud backup services. It’s an easy-to-use service with strong security and privacy. IDrive’s free account has 10GB of storage each for your backup and drive. Its affordable paid plans have many different storage amounts to meet most customers’ needs.
Ultimately, IDrive is a cloud backup service, and tops our list as the best online backup service. This also means it’s not a true cloud storage provider. Even with the ability to share files and some collaboration functionality, IDrive isn’t the best direct alternative to pCloud. However, if you’re looking for a cloud backup service with private encryption, it’s worth checking out.
pCloud brings a lot to the table and remains a popular cloud storage service. However, it isn’t perfect. For those who want private encryption without the added fees, Sync.com and MEGA are excellent alternatives. Icedrive brings strong security and an encryption folder with its plaid plans. OneDrive and Dropbox are great for their performance, productivity and collaboration.
What is your experience with pCloud or any of the alternative options? Did you leave pCloud for one of our alternatives? Did we miss any great alternatives to pCloud? Let us know in the comments section below and thank you for reading.