Great Dropbox alternative, for those looking to free up hard drive and additional security.
Last Updated: 17 Feb'17
Here are a couple of interesting cliff notes about pCloud:
- pCloud is a Swiss company. It was founded 2.5 years ago.
- The difference from other clouds is that pCloud DOES NOT take space on your computer.
- pCloud is faster than Dropbox and with Crypto also more secure because of private encryption.
- pCloud offers 10GB Free with the option to make them 20GB if a user makes the bonus steps.
- pCloud can share files and folders even with users that are not pCloud users.
- There is no files size limit.
- pCloud has apps for Windows, OSX, iOS, Android and Linux
- pCloud can sync ANY folder, not just one like Dropbox
- pCloud has a Built-in audio and video players so you can stream music or video
pCloud Review 2017
When it comes to cloud storage providers, pCloud is one that should be considered heavily. Though far from the biggest name on the market, the company has a lot to offer, especially for those who are looking for a simple, easy to use free service. It is a good alternative to those who use Dropbox or Google Drive.
$ 3.99 Monthly
pCloud crypto costs and additional 3,99$ per month if you need client-side encryption.
$ 7.99 Monthly
pCloud crypto costs and additional 3,99$ per month if you need client-side encryption.
pCloud has applications available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. In addition, users can download mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. The company is working on mobile software for Windows phones and Blackberry but they have not been released as of yet. All consumers can enjoy the web portal to access their account at any time.
We’ve reviewed pCloud focusing on:
- Usability, Look and Feel
- File Sharing and Sync
The pCloud interface is clean and easily navigated. The command buttons located along the top make it simple for users to upload, download, and share files or folders.
Users will notice that their files are sorted, in a way. It separates audio and shared data from everything else. Images, videos, and documents are lumped together. Folders can be created in order to organize information stored within.
We found it easy to use and navigate. We especially liked that all the main commands you will want to do are included in the bar at the top. These options include:
- Invite to Folder
- Shared Download Link
- Share Upload Link
- Create Archive
Another feature we found to increase pCloud’s usability is the location of the backup. Here, users can monitor the connections from other accounts such as Facebook and Instagram. Consumers can keep an eye on their synced accounts and applications. From there, new connections can be made.
With the ability to either download files individually or create an archive to restore several files at once, pCloud steps up their service options.
Changing settings is fairly easy. In order to make any necessary changes, users have to click on the gear icon next to their username. Passwords can be updated and plans can be upgraded from there. The active token section tells users what device has been used to recently access the account and when that occurred for those who want to keep an eye on who is logging in.
The settings tab is also another place users can go to link accounts for backup.
Overall, we found the pCloud web interface to be neat and orderly. It is set up to make things easy to find and use. It is user-friendly, and can be used by novice cloud users.
One of the nice things about pCloud is its sharing abilities. There are three main ways to share files.
- Invite to Folder
- Share Download Link
- Share Upload Link
With the Invite to Folder link, users can request coworkers, family, or friends to view the selected file or folder. Those who receive an invitation can also edit files within the web browser.
It is the closest thing to an actual collaboration feature that pCloud gets. However, only one user can be in the file at a time and there is no way to discuss the changes as allowed by true collaboration program. The best way to let others work on a file saved in the cloud is by inviting others to a folder.
The share download link allows users to share a link to download the file or folder in question. The recipient will be able to make changes on their device; however, there would be no way for the owner to see what changes were made.
There are reasons in which a download link would be a better option for those who want to share a document with others. For example, the person or group receiving the information could be the end recipient for the completed information.
Users can also choose to share an upload link. This will allow someone other than the account owner to upload documents to the account. This is useful in order for groups to be able to share documents with one another without having to resort to email.
The biggest downfall of the pCloud’s sharing options is the fact that there is no way to collaborate with others. There are also no real control over whether a person can view and edit or just view a file. If they are invited into the folder, they can edit the documents within. If a link is sent, once the data is downloaded, there is no way to keep it from being changed on the local device. Of course, the original will remain untouched.
Users can also sync files from other locations. Social media accounts can be backed up to keep them from losing any images or important information that is posted. Customers can also download the desktop or mobile application in order to keep information synced to their account.
While it is nice to have the option to backup folders from their desktop or mobile devices, you have to give your credentials to pCloud in order to backup from other areas. This could cause security concerns for some customers.
pCloud offers top tier security measures for their clients. The company utilizes TLS/SSL encryption during transmission from device to the cloud. Information is encrypted while it is being stored on the provider’s servers.
The cloud provider does consider the safety of customer data to be top priority. This is not limited to securing information from potential hackers, but from potential hardware failure as well. pCloud is one of the few services that advertise they keep information stored in not just one location but at least three different sites. These data centers are monitored for added security.
For those who want additional security, there is pCloud Crypto. This premium feature is not available as a part of any one plan. It is an added item with a cost of $3.99 a month. This is in addition to any fees already being paid for service. Users can try it free for 14 days. After this period, the payment method selected at sign up is charged unless canceled in advance.
pCloud Crypto is an additional feature that enables client-side encryption instead of just server-side. The main difference is that users will be in control of the encryption keys, not the company. Files remain encrypted while in storage on the server. For some, this is worth the added cost.
While we do like the fact that data is stored in multiple locations, we see it as a headache to have to pay for the additional security feature. Some of pCloud’s competition is already turning the tide on this and allowing all users to keep their encryption key as a standard feature. It is something we feel the company should consider.
When it comes to speed, pCloud doesn’t hold back. There is no throttling on their part, as the settings are set to unlimited. This means users shouldn’t see a huge slow down when they are uploading or downloading files to and from their account.
That being said, there are some considerations. Not everyone’s internet service provides the same connection speeds. It is also important to note that some will find downloading much faster than uploading. It depends on the connectivity and the congestion in the user’s area.
There were upload problems at busier times of the day, tapping out at only 3.1 Mbps. However, this is not typical and had mostly to do with congestion on the internet highway. Downloading was much faster, tapping out speeds of 30 Mbps.
Of course, if you check the help files, pCloud mentions they don’t put restrictions on the speeds. According to the knowledge base, users can throttle the upload and download usage if they wish. This is good for those who don’t want to use all their bandwidth just to download something.
When we checked this feature out, it was available on the free plan’s web portal. We couldn’t find a speed’s subtab anywhere under the settings tab. That does not mean it doesn’t exist. It could be a premium feature that we simply did not have access to at this time. Users should note this when signing up for service.
Our rating: 90% for making speed throttling a premium feature only.
When it comes to support, pCloud has a dedicated help file in order to help users find the answers that they need. Consumers can ask questions and look for answers to various topics that have already been questioned.
The knowledge base is sorted out into two distinct sections. One is for FAQ Drive, for the mobile and desktop applications that can be used to access and sync user accounts with their devices.
The other Frequently Asked Questions database is for the web application. This section gives detailed instructions on how to perform certain tasks within the web browser.
Other than the knowledge base, which could be considered extensive, although it is still somewhat lacking, the only other way to get assistance is through email. Both free and premium plans have access to the 24/7 email support. Sadly, despite this option being available, it is not the fastest method. Depending on the volume, it could take a day or more for a technician to get back with an answer.
They may not be the fastest but when a response does come from an email technician, they are helpful, courteous, and professional. Unfortunately, there is no live chat or phone service available at this time.
Overall, pCloud isn’t a bad service. The provider made the interface simple to use, which is perfect for those who have never used the cloud before. In addition, the ability to earn additional storage on free accounts is a good idea. Customers can easily double their space without having to pay any money.
The good points continue with their security. TLS/SSL encryption is not bad and having the files duplicated on different servers, even though users don’t see that duplication, is a good idea. The servers they use are just as likely to go out as any other device, it’s all just hardware. Customers will be comforted knowing that should the drive on one server go out, their data is still safe elsewhere and is still accessible while they recover the downed hardware.
Speed is always important to users. They want to know that it is not going to take a week to upload their files or retrieve them from the cloud. The faster, the better, and knowing that pCloud isn’t putting restrictions on the bandwidth is a positive point in their favor. Users may still experience slow upload and download speeds, however, that is due to congestion or internet connectivity.
pCloud is far from perfect. While the service allows users to share their files with others, those who are invited into the folder cannot be restricted from editing files. There is no true collaboration available for business users. This could be a problem for those who need to work together on large files for a project.
In addition, we found that while their security is good, it could be better. Those who want to pay for the additional security can get client-side encryption through pCloud Crypto. Sadly, there is an additional fee required by the company.
Finally, support could be better. While their technicians are courteous, knowledgeable and professional, the fact that you have to email only and then wait a day or more for a reply could leave some users feeling out sorts. The knowledge base does answer many questions, however, it could probably use a little expanding to help cover more topics and lessen client frustration. Live chat or a phone service would also be a good option.
|Free Storage||20 GB|
|Price||Starts from $ 3.99 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|