ElephantDrive Review

ElephantDrive is far from the best online backup service we’ve looked at, but it does have some features that make it stand out. If you’re looking for a backup solution that’s a little different from the mainstream providers, read this ElephantDrive review to learn more about it.

Branko VlajinRobin Barber
By Branko Vlajin (Writer) & Robin Barber (Assistant Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-10-10T13:56:51+00:00
Starts from $ 833 per month for 15000 GB
Free plan available Save 17 % (All Plans)

There’s no question that ElephantDrive will keep your files safe, and it has some great features, including zero-knowledge encryption and a customizable retention period for deleted files. However, as you’ll see in this ElephantDrive review, it also has some serious issues — mainly its slow download speeds, high price and poor customer support.  

Key Takeaways: 

  • ElephantDrive is a decent backup service that can do all the basics and some extras.
  • It’s a secure service as long as you enable zero-knowledge encryption.
  • You can backup and restore any file on almost any device with ElephantDrive. 

One of the things that makes ElephantDrive unique is that it offers a number of cloud storage functions. This includes some basic file sharing and the ability to sync files between your desktop, laptop and mobile. 

ElephantDrive also works well with more complex devices. In addition to compatibility with computers and mobile, it can also support a network attached storage (NAS) device or a Windows server. This makes ElephantDrive a decent service if you use many different devices and need some syncing and sharing features.

  • 10/06/2021 Facts checked

    Cloudwards.net updated this article to reflect changes and updates to this service.

  • ElephantDrive is an online backup provider. It can be used to store your data on a remote server, so your files will be safe even if you damage your computer.

  • ElephantDrive is a decent backup provider. It’s a little expensive and is lacking in some areas, but it can still protect your data from physical threats and isn’t a massive danger to your privacy.

  • Yes, ElephantDrive has a free plan. However, as it only has 2GB of storage space, you won’t be protecting much of your data with it.

Alternatives for ElephantDrive

Strengths & Weaknesses

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Wide range of supported devices
  • Syncing & sharing features
  • Variable file retention period

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Limited customer support
  • Mediocre download speeds
  • No main control center

Features

85 % – Very Good

ElephantDrive isn’t the most feature-rich online backup service available, but what it has is appealing and definitely sets it apart from most of the other providers out there. However, if you’re looking for something with a wider variety of features, you should check out our Acronis review to see what it can do. 

All of ElephantDrive’s plans will let you backup a handful of devices, and those devices can be almost anything. There are apps for Windows, MacOS, Android and iPhone, and command-line support for Linux. You can also use it to backup external hard drives, servers or NAS devices.

If you like to have more control over your backups, there’s a backup scheduler, speed throttler and various encryption options. You can even choose different options for each folder, so you can keep your important files safe with a continuous backup and update everything else overnight.

Share Files and Folders With ElephantDrive 

Elephant Drive review share folders
ElephantDrive lets you share folders with other users.

Cloud storage and online backups are different, although terms like “cloud backup” and hybrid services make it easy to get confused. ElephantDrive is one provider that bridges the gap between the two.

This isn’t something new — read our IDrive review for another provider that blurs the lines — but being able to wrap your online backup and cloud storage into one service can be very useful. It can even save you the cost of a second service.

You can sync files between computers with ElephantDrive’s “everywhere” folder. This folder is found on every device that has the app installed and contains a local copy of whatever is inside it. 

ElephantDrive also lets you share your files, either by creating a link or sharing the folder. The files need to be synced to ElephantDrive first, but then you can share them by selecting the file, creating a link and giving the link to someone.

These syncing and sharing features aren’t exactly on the same level as the best cloud storage providers like Sync.com — read our full Sync.com review here — but if you also need the backup features, it’s not the worst option out there.

ElephantDrive Versioning

Elephant Drive versioning
You can keep old versions of your files for as long as you want.

Another rare feature that ElephantDrive offers is unlimited file retention and versioning. Although the extra files will take up space on your account, you can select how long each version will stay after it’s deleted or updated. 

Unlimited file retention can be especially useful if you’re working on a long-term project and want to be able to recover files from the beginning, or if you’re unable to access one of your devices for a long period of time. 

You still have to consider the cost of storing all that extra data, but since you can determine how long files are kept and delete old files on the ElephantDrive website, it’s easy to trim it down when necessary.

ElephantDrive Features Overview

Backup
Backup Scheduler
Continuous Backup
Incremental Backup
Image-Based Backup
External Drive Backup
NAS Backup
Server Backup
Hybrid Backup
Mobile Device Backup
Unlimited Backup
Unlimited Devices
Speed Throttling
Block-Level File Copying
Multithreaded Backup
Restore
Courier Recovery Service
Browser Access
Mobile App Access
Versioning
Deleted File Retention
Security
Private Encryption
At-Rest Encryption
In-Transit EncryptionSSL 128-bit
Encryption ProtocolAES 256-bit
Two-Factor Authentication
Hardened Data Centers
Proxy Server Settings
HIPPA Compliant
Support
24/7 Support
Live Chat Support
Telephone Support
Email Support
User Forum
Knowledgebase
Misc
File Sharing
Device Sync
Free Trial 30

Pricing

45 % – Poor

Each of ElephantDrive’s paid plans comes with 1TB of storage space. You do have the option to expand the amount of storage, but it ends up being rather expensive. 

Even on the Home plan, each additional terabyte costs $10 — the same amount pCloud charges for 2TB (read our full pCloud review here). The ability to expand your storage is definitely useful, but it doesn’t take long to rack up a monthly bill equivalent to that of an unlimited plan. 

Elephant Drive pricing
ElephantDrive is definitely one of the more expensive providers we’ve seen.

Although this pricing is disappointing, at least there are some good reasons to go for the more expensive plans. The main one is the increased storage cap — 15TB on the Home plan, 50TB on the Business plan and unlimited on the Enterprise plan.

In addition to an increase in the amount of storage, you’ll see an increase in the maximum file size to 10GB, 25GB and 200GB, respectively. The number of devices you can use also increases to 10 on the Home plan, 25 on the Business plan and 100 on the Enterprise plan. 

You can also get better customer support with the more expensive plans. However, if customer support is what you’re after, you may just be better off looking elsewhere, as we’ll explain later on.

Lite
  • : 2 GB
Enterprise
  • : 1TB upwards (30 per month per TB)
  • : Unlimited GB

ElephantDrive Lite

Hidden in a small link next to the other options is the ElephantDrive Lite plan. This is a free account, with 2GB of file storage space. You probably won’t be backing up your entire desktop to it, but it’s not far from being one of the better free cloud storage services.

However, if you are using this free plan, you should remember that deleted files and previous versions of your files will take up a lot of extra space. The ability to choose how long deleted files are kept is great when you need to restore them, but the fact that they take up storage space is a major issue for Lite plan users.

Ease of Use

75 % – Good

Although ElephantDrive comes with a free trial, you’ll have to enter some payment details up front to use it. If you don’t want to provide your credit card information before you try it, you’ll be stuck with the 2GB version. However, other than this annoying extra step, ElephantDrive is pretty easy to use. 

Download the client for your operating system, and during the setup phase it’ll show you where the new ElephantDrive folder is located. It will then walk you through setting up some initial backups for your desktop, music, pictures and documents folders.

Elephant Drive set up backups
ElephantDrive will walk you through making your first backups.

The main window is accessible by clicking on an icon in the system tray. When you create a backup, you’ll get a new window with tabs for all the major settings. This gives you some control over your backup without making it hard to use.

However, some parts of the interface could be improved — such as being able to type in a specific length for file retention and versioning, rather than being forced to use the tiny arrows to increase it day by day.

Elephant Drive file archives
ElephantDrive’s file retention settings can be a pain to change.

You can also move folders and files into the “everywhere” folder to save them to ElephantDrive’s servers without creating a full backup. This is also great for moving files across devices or syncing your computers.

While these windows and folders are perfectly functional, ElephantDrive lacks a true control center. To access your account preferences, a detailed status of your downloads or see how full your storage is, you’ll have to look across three different windows. You also can’t change the default settings, so you’ll have to set schedules and specify how long you want to retain deleted files for each backup.

File Backup & Restoration

80 % – Good

There are three ways to backup a file through ElephantDrive. This is a little more complex than some other solutions, but if you can remember which way does what, each method can be very useful.

It’s worth noting that ElephantDrive can backup basically any file and folder with all three of these methods. If you have enough storage space, you can even backup your whole computer with the first method. 

If you want to backup files on a schedule, set exclusions for certain file types, or use another of the other optional features ElephantDrive offers, you should choose to create a backup. You can find this in the “actions” section when you select the system tray icon, and it will save these files in the “devices” section on ElephantDrive’s website.

Elephant Drive manage backups
You can manage and edit your backups at any time.

The second way to backup a file is to move it into the backup folder. This works in the same way as the first method, but effectively returns the settings to their defaults and continuously updates the files. It’s an easier way to make a backup, but it won’t work for folders that can’t be moved or if you want to retain your existing file structure.

Finally, you can choose to backup your data with the “everywhere” folder. This allows you to share files with other accounts or sync them with other devices. Although this can be very useful if you are using multiple devices, remember that all of those devices will keep a local copy of everything inside this folder. This can easily fill up your phone if you use the mobile app. 

In order to restore your files, you can either download them directly or initiate the “restore job” function. Both can be done through the website or the vault, found by clicking “access your files” in the system tray menu. The only difference between the two is that the restore job option will continue after a shutdown.

Elephant Drive restore job
A restore job will continue even if your computer shuts down part way through.

We did have some trouble with the restoration process during our testing. By default, files you’ve deleted from your computer won’t be restored, and you have to manually type in the file path if you’re using your browser. This made the process feel a little slow and confusing until we got used to it.   

Speed

70 % – Decent

Regardless of why you need the backup, speed is always going to be important. Ideally, the backup speed should be as close to your network speed as possible, but  it can take longer because of overhead, such as encryption. 

We ran the test from the U.K., connected to ElephantDrive’s U.S. servers. We sent a 1GB folder with a download speed of around 35 Mbps and an upload speed of around 7.5 Mbps. With these speeds, we would expect around an 18-minute upload and a four-minute download. 

First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
Upload time22:2620:5721:41
Download time29:4329:5129:47

As you can see, the upload speeds were pretty reasonable, taking about 25 percent longer than the network speed would suggest. However, the download speeds were appalling, taking longer than the uploads despite almost five times the bandwidth.

This slow download speed was consistent between the desktop app and the website. Since there’s also no option for a physical data recovery — read our Backblaze review to see a provider that can ship an external hard drive to you — it’s probably not the best idea to rely on ElephantDrive if you’ll need to get your files back quickly.

Security & Privacy

85 % – Very Good

There are two aspects to keeping your data safe: privacy and security. The first is a question of how many people can look at your data and how well you can control who gets to look. The best way to judge a company on this is with their privacy policy.

ElephantDrive’s privacy policy is clear and to the point. It will still share some of your personal data with certain third parties, but overall it’s fairly average. Most of the time your data is used to enhance or audit the service, and the company says it will ask for permission if any extra data needs to be taken.

On the other hand, ElephantDrive’s security isn’t so simple. For most cloud backup services, zero-knowledge encryption — sometimes called private or end-to-end encryption — is the main way it keeps your data secure. However, for ElephantDrive, this is completely optional and off by default.

Elephant Drive encryption settings
You can choose who holds your encryption keys in the preferences window.

Even if you don’t enable private encryption, your data will be protected by AES 256-bit encryption at rest and 128-bit TLS encryption in transit. This is fine for keeping your data away from cybercriminals, but it won’t stop the U.S. government if they decide to subpoena your data using laws like the PATRIOT act.

Ultimately, we would like to see zero-knowledge encryption become the default. However, as long as you turn it on, your data is no more at risk than it is with most other providers.

Customer Service

60 % – Fair

If something goes wrong with ElephantDrive, your best chance to find an answer is with its knowledgebase. There are hundreds of questions separated into different sections, and there’s an effective search function to find what you’re looking for.

ElephantDrive customer service knowledgebase
ElephantDrive has a great knowledgebase, but its support lacks in other areas.

However, if the answer isn’t in this knowledgebase, you’ll have to request help via email. Business and Enterprise users do get access to phone support as well, which is a nice extra, but the addition of live chat and a user forum would be even better.

The email support was quick and friendly, responding within hours of our initial message. However, after we sent over some screenshots of the issue and other details, the support representative said that they would open an internal ticket and the issue was never actually resolved.

The Verdict

Ultimately, if you’re looking for a fast or cheap service, ElephantDrive isn’t for you. However, if its particular set of features sounds appealing, there’s a 30-day free trial you can try. This will let you test it out, upload and restore some files, set up a few backups and more.

If ElephantDrive isn’t quite right for you, you should check out some of the top online backup providers. You might also want to check out some cloud storage services, if you’ve been sharing files via ElephantDrive and want a dedicated provider — we think the top cloud storage service is Sync.com, followed closely by pCloud.  

Have you tried out ElephantDrive before? Did you like it? Was there anything we missed in our review? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

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12 thoughts on “ElephantDrive”

  1. Contrary to the review I find ElephantDrive particularly easy to use. I have used a lot of online backup services until I found one that satisfied all my needs. Here is the problem: if you’re looking for a service that provides file sharing and sync, mostly they are limited in storage space (no unlimited version available), if you’re looking for unlimited storage you can’t backup your NAS (which is essential to me).

    I think I have found a good compromise with ElephantDrive, though it is not an unlimited online backup provider it offers all the features I need to backup both of my computers and sync files across my work and home PC.

    File sharing is still in beta (as of June 2013) thus I’m still carefully using it and not relying 100% on it. However, file sync works great, especially compared to services like IDrive or iCloud. Mostly I backup photos and videos and store a lot of media files on my NAS as I’m using a SSD in my main machines where I don’t want to have a lot of writing cycles on to prevent damage.

    I wasn’t sure if ElephantDrive was perfect for me that’s why I tried it for free and later signed up for one of the paid plans (250GB for 19,95 per month). Yes there are cheaper alternatives but I find ElephantDrive to be very reliable and that’s important to me.

    Reply
  2. i was looking for a backup of my files (at the time around 70GB). i’m a musician – so i experiment a lot with my own recordings, samples, etc…… most of it is garbage, but sometimes there is a gem that i definately want to keep or sell. in 2009 i had a terrible data crash, all my files gone and i swore i would never be without a backup again, yet 1 year later i couldnt do it anymore, or i forgot it so i was looking for a more automated solution and finally came across cloud backup. first i signed up with mozy but it was terribly slow and scheduling didn’t work out the way i wanted. elephantdrive seemed like a good option (i dont need unlimited online backup) but i wanted t create muliple types of backups: one for my personal files and one for my music. and i wanted to be able set different schedules. overall I’m happy with elephantdrive though it is ugly as hell, if you compare it with other slick services. yet what counts is quality and elephantdrive has not let me down so far.

    Reply
  3. Here were my requirements for a cloud storage service: I have 3 Macbooks (two are mine and one for my wife). Of course, I want to backup that data as easy as possible, don’t need much bells and whistles. Overall, it’s not that much data, I guess about 150GB or so but it could increase in future. Also, I own an IPAD and and IPHONE. So the company should allow me to view my files on those devices. Thankfully, Elehpantdrive just released their app for these devices that when I decided to make the switch as I was unahppy with my previous service (dropbox –> no real backup feature).

    Though elephant is a little expensive i think It gives me a good return on investment as i can be sure to always have access to my data. I have not yet tried to sync files, no share files but as I understand elephantdrive can do that too. But its certainly not the only software which can do that so if you’re particularly looking for that you may look at sugarsync or dropbox. I’ve also heard SpiderOak is good but I didnt try it.

    So long – Peter

    Reply
  4. I have installed, tried, and compared over 50 cloud storage services with my focus being on file sync and accessibility across all of my devices (half a dozen desktop PCs, 2 laptops, an Android tablet, and an Android phone). Absolutely mandatory features include an Android app (obviously), easy to use, near-zero maintenance required or pestering to deal with, instant access from all devices (meaning I can opt to keep some or all files sync’d to local copies on each device, including Android), automatic intelligent handling of version conflicts, and client-side encryption of ALL my data before it ever leaves any of my devices. So far in my use of ElephantDrive, they seem to have gotten most or all of the above pretty well covered. But one more thing that is absolutely essential, and ElephantDrive doesn’t presently have (as far as I’m aware of) is the ability to edit files that are downloaded to Android devices and then automatically upload those modified files back to the cloud. This is an absolute deal-breaker, unfortunately. To store Gigs upon Gigs of information in “the cloud” but have read-only access to it from our amazing modern smartphones is completely pointless to me. I need the ability to productively work on my files via my Android phone and tablet, and my cloud solution MUST make that simple, easy, and/or automatic.

    Reply
  5. I’ve got an uncommon set up – Windows desktop, Mac laptop, and two different home NAS devices (both made by QNAP), so I looked at several different option. There were many different combinations that could work, but only a few services could backup all of the devices and none were easy to set up for the storage boxes except for ElephantDrive.

    The only challenge was making sure everything was running – I’m paranoid and at first I didn’t think things were getting backed up. I think the initial reporting must be slow and the little check marks don’t appear on the NAS – I docked them a star in “ease of use” and “software” for this. Once I got past that, everything has been great and I’ve been taking advantage of some of the sharing tools as well.

    Reply
  6. DO NOT USE THIS SOFTWARE!

    It is garbage! i have lost thousands of dollars worth of data to this pretend backup solution. After repeated stalls and only warning emails a week after the stalling of the backups happened that told me my data was being backed up. I asked, they replied they were updating their end which sometimes does this.
    This happened 4 times and after my complaint to them they simply switched off the warning email.
    If anyone wants their data safe do not use elephant drive! Also after repeated complaints, its been days and still no response. Thanks elephant drive, you’ve blank me.

    Worst and most unreliable backup system I’ve ever used.
    Use something else!

    Reply
    1. Firstly I would like to bring my apologies to you. Secondly, I’m one of QA engineers working for ED. Nathan, can you give me a bit more info what exact issue you have been facing so long time? Any logs would be perfect.

      Regards,
      ED team

      Reply
  7. I’ve use elephant Drive for 2 Years. It was easy to set up. The service worked well. However, recently I got a really bad virus that literally compromised all my data on my machine. I asked ED support FOR HELP. I left emails and Voice mails by phone too.–pleading for their assistance on my dilemma ! It took 4 days for them to help me restore my data to an earlier point in time…. It took 2 days for them to make contact with me and another 2 days to do something that should have taken them 15 minutes. Their customer service is awful !! They don’t have enough people to man the ship!! One more thing if you are still reading. I had the option turned on to keep multiple file versions. Guess what I didn’t have at the time of data restore– You guessed it for some reason they said a flag wasn’t set exactly right and therefore I DID NOT have the multiple file versions that I expected to have! Another let down. If customer service is important to you, THEN Elephant Drive is not the right company to provide your backup service. Choose carefully, I hope this helps some of you

    Reply
  8. I had an elephant drive account up until about a year and a half ago when I cancelled it. I was more than a little surprised when I got a bill from them last month for 99.50. I filed a complaint with the charge company and elephant drive responded that the account was still active and I still had 31 gig worth of files in their system. This is fraud plain an simple. I have an email from them dated a year and a half ago confirming the cancellation

    Reply
  9. Beware of Elephant drive. We backed up our entire organisation from a synology drive – about 80GB. One day I saw that it silently stopped working because there were more data backed up than our limit (1TB) ! After some back and forth with the support (and four hours of work by our tech guy (me,-))) They said all was ok. Two days later the same happened again. It then turned out, they knew all along that there was a bug in the synology client.
    I expect to be informed when something goes wrong with my backup. But I sure expect to be informed when there’s a bug in my backup client. And I definitely expect to be informed, when they know they have a problem and I ask about it.
    Elephant drive? Never again.

    Reply
  10. Elephant Drive is TERRIBLE! I contacted customer support, exchanged several emails over a week and problem still not solved. It’s promise of “everywhere” drive, where you can access/synch your files on mulitiple computers does not work! My laptop is not getting the files on the cloud. After installing and reinstalling the software as asked to do by Tech support, the guy had the guts to say that I am “confused” about its functionalities. Terrible customer service. This is on top of the fact that “sharing” the folder does not work either!

    Reply
  11. I agree that Elephant Drive is sadly lacking in support. I have put up with dual versions in my NAS for over a year now and still no updates from ED! I am just seconds from cancelling my account and switching to a company that cares about customer support and product quality. Maybe someone at ED will see this and do something – but I doubt it.

    Reply
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