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.
- 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
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Strengths & Weaknesses
- Zero-knowledge encryption
- Wide range of supported devices
- Syncing & sharing features
- Variable file retention period
- Limited customer support
- Mediocre download speeds
- No main control center
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
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.
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
|External Drive Backup|
|Mobile Device Backup|
|Block-Level File Copying|
|Courier Recovery Service|
|Mobile App Access|
|Deleted File Retention|
|In-Transit Encryption||SSL 128-bit|
|Encryption Protocol||AES 256-bit|
|Hardened Data Centers|
|Proxy Server Settings|
|Live Chat Support|
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.
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.
- : 2GB
- : 1TB up to 15TB ($10 per month per TB)
- : 15TB
- : 1TB up to 50TB ($20 per month per TB)
- : 50TB
- : 1TB upwards (30 per month per TB)
- : Unlimited GB
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:|
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.