Jottacloud is a privacy-oriented Norwegian backup and syncing platform that’s both relatively inexpensive and easy to use. The service isn’t without its issues, though: Jottacloud falls behind the bigger names in cloud backup with inconsistent customer support, no block-level file copying and no private encryption.
Previously, Jottacloud had actually limited its “unlimited” plan to 10TB of storage and told users who exceeded that amount that it would delete their data. However, Jottacloud now claims to be truly unlimited.
While it may not be our first choice, it doesn’t mean that Jottacloud is a bad one. You can sign up for a free 5GB of storage on Jottacloud and try out the service for yourself, or read on to see how it compares to our other best cloud backup services.
- Unlimited backup
- Syncs devices
- Based in Norway
- Great photo backup
- Free 5GB of storage
- Backs up rare file types
- Not zero-knowledge
- Terrible customer support
- Can’t backup individual files
- Can’t backup locally
- No incremental backup
On paper, Jottacloud would seem to offer more than your typical backup service thanks to the inclusion of device synchronization (sync) capabilities. Sync means you can access your photos, video and documents across multiple devices without having to transfer them manually.
Very few backup services also sync files, with IDrive and SpiderOak ONE being perhaps the best known exceptions (read our IDrive review and SpiderOak review for more on this). Sync is traditionally a feature associated with cloud storage rather than cloud backup. If you’re unclear about the difference between the two, read our backup vs storage article to bone up.
Clients are available for all the big platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS and Android; Team Penguin will have to look elsewhere.
Recently, Jottacloud Photos was added to all subscriptions. This add-on app provides an interface specifically tailored to backup media. With Jottacloud Photos, photos and videos aren’t compressed like they are with Dropbox, meaning file previews are higher quality (to find out more on what we think of that service, check out our Dropbox review).
Outside of that, the Jottacloud feature set is mostly comparable to other backup services, including having a backup scheduler to let you run backups overnight. It also supports file versioning so you can roll back unwanted file changes or corruptions.
There are, however, two important features missing, namely a lack of local backup nor zero-knowledge encryption. Neither of these are deal breakers for most, but would be great additions.
Jottacloud has pretty straightforward pricing with four plans total, two of which are free.
$ 9 90monthly
$ 99 00yearly
$ 9 90monthly
$ 99 00yearly
|Storage||5 GB||10000 GB||10 GB||100 GB|
Max. 2 users
$6 per month for each additional 100GB.
Jottacloud has one of the better free plans, particularly for a backup service; Backblaze and CrashPlan don’t offer any free backup at all. However, when it comes to backing up a computer, 5GB won’t get you far.
On top of that, the single-user subscription is roughly twice as much as Backblaze and CrashPlan, both of which also offer unlimited backup. However, neither Backblaze nor CrashPlan offer device synchronization.
Jottacloud subscribers have previously complained they received emails after exceeding 10TB that stated they needed to get below that threshold or their files would be deleted. Curious, we contacted Jottacloud for confirmation and were told that the service no longer punishes subscribers for going over 10TB.
The business subscription is the same price as the individual but with much less space. You get 100GB and each additional 100GB costs $6 per month. The advantage is that you can add multiple users to a single account and get admin tools, like custom reports, to manage them.
Jottacloud is easy to use from signup to file restoration. When signing up, you automatically get a free subscription, which you can upgrade later online.
Backup plans for your computer are setup via a desktop app. A web interface will show you your files but you can’t upload to backup from there. You can, however, upload files to your Jottacloud sync space.
In addition to backup setup, the desktop tool has a settings tab from which you can throttle upload and download speeds, schedule backups and set a proxy.
Restoration is more flexible, letting you restore from the application or through the Jottacloud website. Both function much the same way: just navigate to the file or folder you want to recover, click “restore” and select a location.
In addition to desktop and browser access, Jottacloud also has mobile apps for iOS and Android. The tabs shown in the web interface are the same as those in the mobile apps.
The general Jottacloud approach is straightforward. There’s not a lot to play around with, but there doesn’t need to be. Jottacloud isn’t quite as simple as Backblaze or Carbonite, but less complex than IDrive. Serious techies might be disappointed, but more mainstream users should be pleased.
To create a backup plan, first open the desktop app and click on the backup tab. From there, you can drag and drop folders into the application window or click on “add folder” to use your desktop file explorer. After that, the backup will begin and you can add folders as needed.
The process is smooth, but there are significant limitations in backup plan creation. Only folders can be backed up; you can’t backup an entire drive or individual files. Most backup services we recommend here at Cloudwards.net backup at the file level.
Jottacloud uploaded the folders during testing without any hiccups. I put together some files with extensions like “.jpg-large” and tried uploading them to Jottacloud. To clarify, that file extension is just an image, but has problems opening in Windows. Jottacloud uploaded them with no issues.
At the folder level, you can add exclusions to what gets backed up, but only if those exclusions are folders. There’s no option to exclude specific files or file types like with many other backup tools.
Jottacloud lets you run automatic backups, which are continuous, or you can create a backup schedule.
The scheduler isn’t as customizable as better tools. You can pick what days to run backups on and what time backup starts. That’s at least lets you make sure backups run overnight, when they’re less apt to hog system resources and obstruct your work. Missing options include the ability to stop backup at a certain time and set up notifications.
A bigger issue with Jottacloud is that it doesn’t perform incremental, block-level backups. With incremental backup, when a file changes, only the parts of the file that changed get recopied rather than the entire file. This saves bandwidth. Most other backup services — including Backblaze, IDrive, Carbonite and CrashPlan — backup incrementally.
The restoration process is more flexible than backup, letting you restore both folders and individual files. To download files from the cloud, use the restore tab. Click on “my pc” to bring up the folder hierarchy, tag content to restore, set the restoration path and you’re on your way.
The restoration tab also lets you restore from your Jottacloud trash bin and archive, or restore recently changed files. For simple backups, Jottacloud works fine.
The backup and restoration process is straightforward if you only have a few folders to backup. However, things get difficult fast when lots of folders are added to the list. Also, you can’t create complex backup plans.
Jottacloud’s upload speeds aren’t the fastest we’ve tested at Cloudwards.net, averaging about 10 minutes more to backup a gigabyte of content than other backup services. The upload speeds aren’t horrible, either. Download speeds were less impressive.
|First Attempt:||Second Attempt:||Average:|
The tests above were run with a test folder containing a variety of different file types, including photos, videos and ebooks. Of course, your results will vary based on your Internet speeds and location. You can find my connection speeds below for context.
During my tests with Jottacloud, I sat around 3Mbit/s during upload and 6Mbit/s during download.
There’s no way to be sure, but it appears Jottacloud prioritizes small files over large ones. This will cause backup to stick some towards the end; it’s not a reason for concern.
Jottacloud lets you control bandwidth usage during backup and restore. Unlike ElephantDrive and Keepit, Jottacloud lets backup consume as much bandwidth as it needs (for more details, make sure to read our ElephantDrive review and Keepit review). By default, that usage is set to unlimited, but you can reduce it to as little as 64 Kbit/s.
Speed throttling controls are found via the desktop application settings tab. Click on “bandwidth” to make your changes. From there, you can also set the maximum number of concurrent uploads and downloads.
Jottacloud scrambles content at rest on its servers with AES 256-bit encryption. Files are transferred between your device and the cloud using an SSL channel. All other sensitive information, such as password and credit card information, is secured within an SSL channel.
Jottacloud creates and retains your encryption key and doesn’t support user-generated keys. It’s convenient, but if the servers are breached, your information is at risk. Jottacloud support has informed us that a private encryption feature is in the works but it doesn’t know when it will be available. If you want private encryption and don’t want to wait for Jottacloud to get itself sorted, consider Backblaze, IDrive, Carbonite or CrashPlan.
Jottacloud supports two-factor authentication. With this feature enabled, you’ll be asked to enter a security code in addition to your normal credentials when logging in from an unfamiliar computer. This prevents anyone who might have cracked or stolen your password from access your storage without also having your mobile phone.
Jottacloud is headquartered in Norway, a country with some of the best privacy laws in the world. That means it doesn’t allow ISP spying and isn’t susceptible to U.S. surveillance programs like PRISM.
“When uploading data up with Jottacloud, you send us that data and you also send file system information, including names of files and directories. Jottacloud may also record your IP address when you submit information. Files are encrypted with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) during transfer.”
Jottacloud fails when it comes to providing good product support. The first line of support comes from the help center. However, most people familiar with backup services will find nothing useful there.
The help center, in fact, reads more like a paper-thin FAQ than a full-fledged knowledgebase. Worse, the topics covered mostly respond to questions that most people don’t need answered. This includes things like how to upgrade your account and how to install the application.
Below each help article is a button to submit a request if you still have questions. However, responses from Jottacloud are reportedly inconsistent. Some people report responses received within a day, while others report it taking weeks.
Our own test email to Jottacloud support actually got a reply back within three days, which included Saturday and Sunday. Even if it takes a few days, support should be consistent. Users should have a timeline that they can count on to receive support. With Jottacloud, how long you have to wait is up in the air.
The best way to receive support from Jottacloud is through an invisible forum that isn’t linked to on the main site. The forum is lively and Jottacloud replies to questions regularly. Since the company buried its forum community and otherwise provides subpar customer service suggests it isn’t interested in spending money to improve customer experience.
Jottacloud seems like an attractive service at first glance but many users may be disappointed when they dig deeper. It doesn’t offer private encryption or customer support. You also can’t backup individual files and Jottacloud doesn’t perform incremental backup.
Redeeming aspects include unlimited backup, the ability to sync devices and Norwegian privacy protection. Also, the overall process is pretty user-friendly, even though it’s weak on features compared to better unlimited backup options. See our list of best unlimited backup options for some Jottacloud alternatives.
Do you plan on signing up for Jottacloud? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.