Best solution if free storage is all you want. Great security features. Decent usability and speed, but minor bugs with file sharing.
MEGA.co.nz – A Closer Look
Mega Limited was launched on the first anniversary of Dotcom’s failed file sharing site, Megaupload. In 2012, this internet site was seized and shut down for violating copyright protection laws. The United States Department of Justice maintained that users were sharing pirated data via the site. So far, the case against Dotcom has not come before a judge.
When Mega Limited was launched, over 100,000 users signed up within the first hour. Within the first day, there were a reported 1 million users with an average of 60 uploads being completed each second. At the end of the first three days, Dotcom announced they were successfully transferring over 500 uploads per second.
Despite its seemingly overnight success, there were issues with the service in early days of usage. Slow upload speeds and login problems plagued new users. However, those issues have reportedly been resolved. Although some consumers still have speed issues, which could be due to the amount of files being transferred at one time.
Today, Mega has over 15 million registered users with an average of 350 gigabytes of bandwidth used. The service has also recently announced a secure chat add-on known as Mega Chat, a rival of the popular Skype. This offering is reportedly completely secure and allows users to talk via the computer without fear of outsiders eavesdropping on their conversations.
We decided to take a look and see if the site is as good as it promises because the company boasts the best security in the cloud and offers a whopping 50GB of free storage.
MEGA.co.nz Pricing Plans
$ 4.99 Monthly
$ 49.99 (-17%)
$ 9.99 Monthly
$ 99.99 (-17%)
$ 19.99 Monthly
$ 199.99 (-17%)
$ 29.99 Monthly
$ 299.99 (-17%)
Setting up an account with Mega is simple. All users need is an email address and password to get started. The service is truly free as there is no need to include a credit card during setup. The site informs consumers if their chosen password is strong enough to withstand most brute-force attacks. Weak or very weak choices cannot be saved. A randomly generated master key is provided and can be saved as a text file. This key is required should the password be lost.
Once in the account, it is very easy to navigate. The upload and new folder creation buttons are located along the top. In addition, users can right-click the space and select the same features if they prefer.
In order to share a file, users have to select the document or folder. Once selected, the sharing feature becomes available. Consumers can then choose either a confirmed contact or input an email address of their choosing. Customers set the accessibility of the files and click done. It is very easy. If the recipient is already on the contacts list and they are a Mega user, they will see it next time they log in. If not, the name is added to user contacts and an email is sent, letting the recipient know that a file has been shared and they must have an account in order to view the files.
From the panel, users can also send messages to contacts via the inbox. However, we found it difficult to be able to do this with the contacts we had.
Mega does have a sync client available for customers that prefer to dump files into this folder and have them transfer when the system isn’t using as much bandwidth.
Mega was known mainly for their security. The company utilizes AES encryption protocols to secure files prior to transfer from the user’s computer. The files then remain encrypted during transit and once they are saved on Mega’s servers.
Additionally, Mega does not store passwords or master keys. These are both held by the consumer and cannot be recovered by the company. During initial set up of the account, the user is prompted to create a password. If the password is too weak, easily guessed, the site will not allow it to be saved. There is an indicator underneath the password box that tracks how strong the login information is. Users can use this to determine if their chosen combination will work.
Should a user forget what the password is, the only way to recover it is by having the master key. If it is the first time a user has asked to reset the code, he or she will have an opportunity to save the master encryption key as a text file prior to reset. This combination of letters, numbers, and special symbols is randomly generated at the time of account creation, however, once it is saved, it is not maintained by Mega. Any user that does not have access to this key will not be able to reset the password. Instead, a new account will be created and the information previously saved will remain encrypted and “parked” on the server.
Because the consumer keeps all keys and passwords, it is one of the more secure services on the market. In addition, when a file is shared, the recipient must be a Mega Limited user in order to view the file. No outside links are sent for collaboration unless specifically requested by the owner of the account. In that case, the key must be sent with the link in order for the items to be viewable.
As we said, the collaboration feature is not obvious. Some sites have a share button available even if there are no files in place. In order to work on a document together, the file must first be selected before the option displays on the screen.
When working on a file, it can be open on both screens. However, in our test, we noticed that when our collaboration partner made a change in the shared folder, it was immediately seen on our side but there was no notification of the alteration. We are unsure whether it is because we were noticing connectivity issues or the service expects users to be chatting via their inbox during the process.
We did find that uploading and downloading files and folders were easy. If desired, an entire folder can be chosen to upload instead of just individual documents. This, of course, will take longer to complete. For some reason, when using Firefox to access the site, we noticed that the full file upload feature was not available. This could have simply been a display error with this specific web page as there is an add-on for Firefox.
New folders can be created prior to upload and then documents placed within these newly created folders. Additionally, users can make the file hierarchy later and sort the data once all information has been transferred to the online account.
The sync client is a nice feature that allows users to place files into the downloaded app and then transfer them when the computer is running idle. This can save time and frustration when saving documents to the online storage site.
Mega also has apps for mobile devices including:
The service also has add-on apps for Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Speed is important for many consumers. They have files they need to save and they don’t want to spend all day getting them backed up. When using the file sync client, the system waits until the least amount of bandwidth is being used before transferring files. This is a good thing, because having multiple pages and applications open can slow down the process.
We put Mega to the test, uploading an entire folder that was 3.5 GB while working on other tasks. After an hour of trying to transfer over 1,000 music files, the task was only 4% complete. The upload consistently hung up on the same file. Instead of allowing the song to be skipped and returning to it later, we finally aborted after that one mp3 was attempted for over 40 minutes.
Not only was the upload slow, it made navigating the account very sluggish and hard to accomplish anything. The sync client does make it easier as it doesn’t take up bandwidth while the computer is in use.
Other consumers have had a problem with speed in the past. When the site was new, many users couldn’t upload their files due to connectivity issues. The fastest transfer speeds we saw during our test was 504 KB/s, however, other users are reporting as much as 700KB/s. While we did experience some issues with the large amount we chose to upload, the overall speed is faster than many of the competitors, which top out at 300-400 KB/s.
Other consumers reported that using the Firefox add-on also helps speed uploads and download in the same manner as the sync client. This could be an option for those who have issues like we did with one or two files that seem not to transfer well using the traditional webpage method.
Mega has only a few add-ons that users will be able to take advantage of. For starters, there are mobile apps for all major devices and Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Firefox and Chrome users will be able to batch download files without any size restrictions. It promises to reduce loading times, strengthen security, and improve the download performance of the browser. Firefox consumers have had problems with it freezing during the download and not finalizing. Chrome users have had issues with it disappearing from their add-ons with no warning. However, for both browsers, it does speed upload time as advertised.
Users can also download the Mega Sync client to save time uploading files to their accounts. At this time, this addition is only available for Windows users. However, there are some consumers that have found a workaround to allow it to be used on Linux based systems as well. This client does as advertised and save time on transferring files to their account without the hang-ups that can be experienced on the web browser uploads. Additionally, the Mega Sync client gives users the ability to do the following:
- configure uploading preferences
- establish transfer limits
- even access a summary of the accounts.
Recently, Mega introduced MegaChat, a browser-based voice and video chat app that can be used by Mega account holders. This feature encrypts the conversation so that no one can eavesdrop on the conversation. It is being billed as a secure alternative to Skype, which is owned by Microsoft. This application is still in the beta stage of testing, but it is available for anyone who wishes to give it a try.
MegaChat only allows voice and video chats for now. In the near future, Mega hopes to roll out group video conferences and text messaging. To utilize this application, users just need contacts.
Mega offers some of the best security among cloud storage services, which is what it’s best known for. Allowing users to maintain access to their master encryption keys is the most important feature this cloud storage company could offer. There is no unauthorized access by employees because they do not have access to user passwords or encryption tools. They cannot turn over unsecured files to a third party, even if that entity has legal recourse to access those files.
There are some downfalls. Speed is the big one. We had some problems uploading a large amount of files using the web browser. However, utilizing one of the browser add-ons or the sync client can eliminate some of the issues we encountered during our trial. While we didn’t see great speeds, they were better than some of the competitors when using the web browser upload ability.
Sharing is quick and easy. We liked that users can share with contacts or choose to get a link. However, by getting the link, there is the compromise of security because the encryption key has to be included in the email.
There are other areas that the service could be better. This service offers limited features, which may turn off some consumers. Overall, Mega is a great choice for someone who is interested in having an extremely secure service.
|Free Storage||50 GB|
|Price||Starts from $ 4.99 per month|
|Free External HD Backup|
|Bare Metal Backup|
|Exclude File Extensions for Backup|
|File Size Limit||Unlimited GB|
|Share Photo Albums|
|Server Side Encryption||256-bit|
|Keeps deleted files||Unlimited|