ElephantDrive
Visit ElephantDrive
Overall Rating 73%Decent
Features
70%Decent
Pricing
60%Fair
Ease of Use
80%Good
File Backup & Restoration
80%Good
Speed
80%Good
Security & Privacy Policy
60%Fair
Customer Service
80%Good

ElephantDrive Review

ElephantDrive is a backup, sync and file-sharing platform that offers good functionality, but at a high price and with some worrisome bugs. Though we don’t recommend it entirely without reservation, on the whole it is a good service that offers something for everybody.

Read on to find out more about ElephantDrive’s ups and down and see how it compares to our other best cloud backup services. If you’d rather give the service a test drive of your own, you can also signup for 2GB of free online backup by visiting ElephantDrive.

Also, check out our video review of ElephantDrive below if you’d like the bullet points of this review.

ElephantDrive Review - Online Backup And File Sync For Your Data

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Strengths & Weaknesses

ElephantDrive has more strengths than weaknesses. It lets you backup unlimited devices for no extra charge, has broad platform support and is easy to use. The biggest downsides are the low file-size limits and a price that exceeds that of competitors like BackBlaze, CrashPlan and IDrive.

Features

70% – Decent

Spec-for-spec, ElephantDrive doesn’t offer many features when laid side by side with other backup services in our best cloud storage comparison. It’s feature set is more subtle.

Starting with the good stuff, ElephantDrive is more than just a backup program: It can be used to sync your devices, too. If you need near real-time access to the same content from multiple devices, you’ll want a sync solution like this. There’s no device limit on a single account, either. If this is a winning feature for you, but you dislike ElephantDrive’s price, check out our IDrive review for a cheaper alternative.

ElephantDrive clients are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. In addition to your computers and mobile devices, it can also backup NAS devices. Backup services like Keepit charge extra for NAS and Windows Server support (for details on that, check out our Keepit review). For ElephantDrive, that’s all included in the cost of your subscription.

That’s the good news; let’s talk downsides. ElephantDrive imposes upload limits on file size: 2GB for Pro plans and 15GB for business plans. This is a pretty tight ceiling for home users especially, considering 4K movies can easily exceed 2GB.  

Additionally, ElephantDrive doesn’t let you restore from is desktop client. You have to use the web browser, which itself has a rather alarming bug that I’ll touch on later in this review.

Pricing

60% – Fair

ElephantDrive offers three subscription plans.


PlanFreeProBusiness
Price Plan
Freemonthly
$ 9 95monthly
$ 99 95yearly
$ 39 95monthly
$ 399 95yearly
Storage 2 1000 2000
Details

100MB max file size.

2GB file size limit.

25GB file size limit.


The most basic is ElephantDrive Lite, which gives you 2GB of backup for free. That’s not much at all, though, especially when companies like pCloud offer up to 20GB of free storage (check out our top five providers with large free service plans for more information).

You can, however, expand that 2GB via ElephantDrive’s referral program. You get an extra 250MB for each person that uses your referral link to sign up. It’s helpful, but you’ll need 72 people to sign up before you can match what you get with pCloud (for more information on this, check out our pCloud review).

For most individual consumers, an upgrade to ElephantDrive Pro will be necessary. $9.95 a month gives you 1TB of backup. You can expand that for an additional $9.95 per terabyte per month up to 10TB. After that, you’ll need to contact ElephantDrive to purchase more.

A Business plan gives users 2TB of storage for $39.95 per month. Business plan subscribers also get a larger file size limit (15GB) and a direct line to ElephantDrive in case issues arise.

If you pay for an annual Pro or Business subscription, ElephantDrive gives you two months for free.

ElephantDrive doesn’t offer an unlimited plan. Granted, 1TB is enough for most people to backup their files, but competitors like Backblaze and Carbonite offer unlimited backup. Granted, those services also restrict users to backing up a single device, leaving consumers to pick between unlimited backup or unlimited devices, like with IDrive vs Carbonite.

Ease of Use

80% – Good

Setting up ElephantDrive is pretty straightforward: you only need an email address and password to get an account. Once your account is created, download the client for your operating system and install it.

During setup, ElephantDrive asks if you want to create a backup of common folders like your desktop or documents folder. Afterward, it creates a couple of folders on your main drive and runs a skippable tutorial that will walk you through the basics.

There are a few different ways to backup and sync files, the most straightforward being directly through your operating system. Basically, you drag and drop your files into the folders that ElephantDrive creates, then wait for the upload to finish. However, you can also backup from your phone or browser.

The browser experience is clean. When you open your account, there’s a folder hierarchy that gives the typical settings of downloading, renaming, etc. However, a quick tour will show some complex options to suit the app to your needs. The website is simple enough for most people to navigate, but complex enough for techies to do some heavy lifting.

The mobile app will backup photos and contacts from your phone, but that’s it. A couple of sliders control those backups. Other than that, you can also access photos, audio files and video files stored online.

ElephantDrive is convenient for those who want to setup a backup and forget about it. That being said, a look around our online backup reviews shows there are plenty of services like that. What makes ElephantDrive stand out is how many tweakable settings there are for people who want them.

File Backup & Restoration

80% – Good

There isn’t a set way to run backups with ElephantDrive. The way that it teaches you during the tutorial is to drag and drop files into the two folders the application creates on your main drive.

There’s a folder for backup and a folder for synchronization, but they both do the same thing. If you don’t want to use those folders, you can right-click on any folder in your file system and back it up directly.

Folders will show a blue sync symbol as they’re uploading and a green checkmark when completed. Everything operates in the background, which, for most people, is a plus. Strangely, from the desktop client, only folders can be backed up. If you want to backup individual files, you’ll need to upload from ElephantDrive’s web client directly

ElephantDrive doesn’t have any restrictions on file types that I could detect. I backed up Pro Tools sessions, Adobe Premiere Pro projects and Kontakt instruments without any issues. That last file type is rare enough that it stumps Windows, so it looks like ElephantDrive can handle just about anything.

Right-clicking on stored content lets you copy shareable links that can be password protected, as well as view archived and previous versions of your files.

Changing settings for your backup isn’t so straightforward. There’s no application window that opens. While the client runs, it lives in the taskbar and you have to right click on the ElephantDrive taskbar icon to manage preferences

From there, you can set exclusions for your backups if you want to backup an entire drive short of a few folders. You can set restrictive parameters for files created before a particular date, files that exceed a set size and certain file types.

Critically, you can also setup how often backups run. You can schedule them daily, weekly, monthly or even continuously. Set to continuous, ElephantDrive updated my backups every one to three minutes on average

There are a few more options for archiving and versioning your files. The defaults give a month of time before older versions are deleted, but you can change that to however long you want. File versions take up space on your account, so remember that if you want to keep files around for longer than 30 days.

Unfortunately, restoration isn’t as clear as backup. In fact, I couldn’t find any options that allow restoration from the desktop. All restoration is done through ElephantDrive’s website.

From the website, there are two options to restore files. One is to download a folder and the other is to restore a folder. Choose “download” and Windows Explorer opens to let you choose where to save the file.

Restoration, in theory, should restore files to their original location. However, my testing found the feature doesn’t seem to work. I tried restoring a folder and, despite saying that the file would eventually show up, nothing happened. Granted, restoration can be carried out via downloading, but it’s not straightforward. This pointless option knocks the experience down a notch.

ElephantDrive should have trashed one of the options and avoided the confusion. Unfortunately, its inclusion complicates an otherwise simple process.

Speed

80% – Good

In order to gauge just how fast ElephantDrive is, I ran a series of speed tests using a 1GB test folder containing a variety of photos, ebooks and video files.

 First Attempt:Second Attempt:Average:
Upload time:31:2224:2128:11
Download time:6:117:026:56

ElephantDrive is one of the fastest backup services out there based on my tests. You can find my Internet speeds below for a bit of perspective.

I did the upload speed tests by right-clicking and uploading through Windows. I also tested the speed uploading to the site separate from what’s recorded in the table above. When doing that, speeds dropped to only a few minutes. There’s no clear explanation as to why, but the tests turned out similarly every time.

However, there’s no way to monitor your transfer. ElephantDrive’s integration into your operating system is convenient for quickly backing up folders, but becomes problematic if there are issues in uploading. There’s no base of operations to give information about transfer speeds, estimated time remaining or how much is being uploaded.

If backup is interfering with system resources, you can limit the bandwidth ElephantDrive uses

I tested uploading while also browsing the Internet and saw no noticeable dip in speed, so in general it doesn’t seem ElephantDrive requires any throttling.

Security & Privacy Policy

60% – Fair

ElephantDrive uses AES-256 bit encryption before files leave your device and a 128-bit SSL channel during transfer. ElephantDrive has some other stuff going on behind the scenes as well to protect your files that would require an article alone. Rest assured, your files are safe.

There are a few options for encryption, too, depending on what you want. By default, encryption is server-side, meaning ElephantDrive holds the key to each of your files. When you download files, it will decrypt that key so you never need to enter a key for access.

If you prefer, you can choose to set your own encryption key. By doing so you’ll be setting up zero-knowledge encryption, which means that ElephantDrive cannot read or scan your content. However, that also means if you forget your password, ElephantDrive can’t reset it and you’ll have lost access to your backup.

You can also opt for no encryption at all to speed backups up. However, we certainly don’t recommend you do this, given the dangers of cybercrime. ElephantDrive doesn’t offer two-factor authentication, so be sure you take steps to create a strong password that’s not easily cracked.

As far as the privacy policy goes, there are a few issues. First off, ElephantDrive combines the information you’ve given with information from third-parties to create a profile. This includes, but isn’t limited to, your name, address, phone number and email address. It stores your credit card information on file as well. It’s encrypted, but nonetheless worrisome.

After logging into the site a few times, ElephantDrive no longer required a password. I didn’t ask Chrome (my browser of choice) to save the password, meaning ElephantDrive saved it to log me in. The extra hassle of reentering my password is worth the security of not having it stored.

As far as access to your data goes, things get a little confusing. The privacy policy states that ElephantDrive will not access your data without consent. That’s not the full story, though. The privacy policy reads:

“ElephantDrive will not monitor, edit, or disclose any information regarding your Vault Data without your permission, except in accordance with this Policy and ours Terms of Service. ElephantDrive may access your account, including Vault Data, to respond to customer requests or in the course of auditing, research and analysis in order to maintain, protect and improve our services.”

The problem is not that the service can access your information; the fact that ElephantDrive is trying to conceal it and can do so is the problem. It’s bad enough that your information can be accessed, but dodging the issue is just adding insult to injury.

There’s even more confusion from there as the privacy policy is pretty vague. It’s long enough, but terms like “appropriate security measures” aren’t very reassuring.

ElephantDrive is based in the U.S., too, and it looks like it will hand your information over to the NSA without a second thought. Here’s how the company judges if something needs to be passed along:

“We have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request, (b) enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations thereof, (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues, or (d) protect against imminent harm to the rights, property or safety of ElephantDrive, its users or the public as required or permitted by law.”

How many more reasons do you need to set your own encryption key?

Customer Service

80% – Good

One of the areas that justify the cost of ElephantDrive is the support it offers. Free plans grant email support as well as the help center that covers most common issues. Reaching out via a support ticket, I received a response in a little over a day.

Stepping up, the Pro plan advertises chat support. However, I couldn’t access the chat or find out the times it’s available. Either ElephantDrive should make this accessible or nix the feature.

Business plan users get a direct line to ElephantDrive. When you sign up, you’re sent a number that you can call in case of issues. We weren’t in a position to try it out, but a look around the web gives the impression it works well enough.

The Verdict

ElephantDrive is one of the more convenient backup solutions available, with some of the best server speeds we’ve seen. The backup process is straightforward, although the bug I encountered with the “restore” feature is troubling.

Issues with the privacy policy are worrisome but unfortunately not uncommon in the world of cloud backup. Bigger issues for many will be that it’s expensive and doesn’t offer unlimited backup space.

Still, most users will find their needs met with the amount of storage ElephantDrive offers and its extra cost may be worth the ease of use.

Do you plan on signing up for ElephantDrive? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.

Features

ElephantDrive Features
ElephantDrive
Free Storage2 GB
Free Trial15 Days
System
  • windows
  • mac
PriceStarts from $ 9.95 per month
Mobile Access
Mobile Apps
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android
Syncronisation
Free External HD Backup
Continuous Backup
Incremental Backup
Backup Scheduling
Bare Metal Backup
Exclude File Extensions for Backup
Network Drives
Bandwidth throttling
Web Access
HIPAA Compliant
File Size Limit1 GB
Included Machines3
File Sharing
Multiple Accounts
Share Photo Albums
Music Streaming
Folder Collaboration
Outlook Backup
Local Encryption256-bit
Server Side Encryption256-bit
Keeps deleted filesUnlimited
File VersioningUnlimited

ElephantDrive Review

A good service with bad privacy

ElephantDrive is a good provider that offers a little of everything but privacy. Read our review for the full picture.
Starts from
$ 9.95 per month
Visit ElephantDrive

10 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.

  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.

  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

  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.

  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.

  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!

    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

  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

  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

  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.

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ElephantDrive Review

A good service with bad privacy

ElephantDrive is a good provider that offers a little of everything but privacy. Read our review for the full picture.
Starts from
$ 9.95 per month
Visit ElephantDrive
Starts from
$ 9.95 per month
Visit ElephantDrive
  • Backup unlimited devices
  • Password-protected sharing
  • Zero-knowledge service
  • NAS & Windows Server
  • Backup to local storage
  • Fast backup speeds
  • A bit pricey
  • 2GB file-size limit
  • No unlimited backup plan
  • Restore feature is buggy
  • Can’t restore from desktop client
ElephantDrive