Woelkli is a secure cloud storage service that puts data security first. It’s based in Switzerland, and its name — spelled as “wölkli” on its website — means “small cloud” in the Swiss-German dialect. Plus, it follows strict Swiss privacy laws, so your files should be safe with the service.
However, its free plan is restrictive, and the paid options are very expensive, especially compared to other security-focused cloud storage options, like pCloud or Sync.com.
Woelkli is based on the open-source Nextcloud platform, which means that all of its source code is freely available. This guarantees that there are no suspicious activities going on under the hood.
It offers a robust sharing experience, with many options to help you customize the way you share files. Plus, you can use it for collaboration, too, because of its native integration with OnlyOffice and the Collabora Online office suites.
Overall, Woelkli is a very capable cloud storage service, with excellent security and some unique features on offer, but all of that comes with a hefty price tag. If any of this has piqued your interest, keep reading our full Woelkli review.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Excellent security
- Great sharing features
- Based in Switzerland
- Open source
- Useful collaboration options
- Expensive paid plans
- 1GB free plan
- Not easy to use
- Document editors are expensive
- Customer support is a paid feature
Alternatives for Woelkli
Despite its focus on security, Woelkli offers many features that many of its security-oriented competitors do not. It has its own encrypted email service, and you can even use it for collaboration via secure communication channels.
It has some nice multimedia features, such as a dedicated player for photos and video files. You can use this player to create photo albums, and opening the player’s sidebar menu lets you share files directly from there.
There is no music player, though, so if you want a good storage solution for your music collection, you can find one on our list of the best cloud services for music.
There is also a very capable note-taking app that’s much better than most of the competition. It has various formatting options, you can add headings and lists, plus you can attach hyperlinks and image files to a note, too.
Productivity and Secure Collaboration Features
Woelkli has several productivity features that set it apart from its competition in the secure cloud storage business. One such feature is the dedicated task scheduling app. There is also a calendar app to help you keep track of your work schedule.
More importantly, Woelkli offers native integration with OnlyOffice and Collabora Online. These two open-source office suites let you edit and create documents in common formats, such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel document formats. Only one of these office suites lets you work with Open Document Format files, though, and that’s Collabora Online.
These two office solutions allow multiple editors to work simultaneously and in real time on a document. Plus, all of that communication is encrypted on a private communication channel. All of the documents you create with OnlyOffice and Collabora Online are stored on Woelkli’s encrypted storage servers in Switzerland, so you know they’re secure.
However, to use these applications with Woelkli, you need to pay a premium of up to $245.43 per month. These plans provide multi-user licenses, though, which explains their high cost. There are cheaper alternatives, such as Google Drive, which has native integration with the G Suite office apps, offering better collaboration but at the cost of your privacy.
Woelkli also has its own encrypted email client. Woelkli Mail offers private encrypted communication, which opens up new routes for collaboration. There is a free version of it that gives you 200MB of encrypted storage for your emails and attachments. The paid plans cost anywhere from $66.53 per year for 1GB of storage, all the way up to $332.67 per year for 10GB.
- : No
- : No
- : No
- : No
- : AES 256-bit
- : No
- : EU
- : No
- : No
- Single-User Plan (free)
- : 1 GB
- Single-User Plan
- : 10 GB
- Single-User Plan
- : 50 GB
- Single-User Plan
- : 200 GB
- Single-User Plan
- : 500 GB
- Multi-User Plan
- : 10 GB
- Multi-User Plan
- : 100 GB
- Multi-User Plan
- : 500 GB
Woelkli’s services are clearly targeted toward companies and businesses that can afford its high prices and can make use of its great feature set. It offers a total of eight individual and multi-user plans.
Its free plan provides so little storage space that it’s hard to recommend, and its paid plans are prohibitively expensive for most individual users. It’s worth mentioning that all of Woelkli’s paid plans are billed annually, so you can’t sign up for a monthly subscription.
The prices on its website are all provided in Swiss francs, with no VAT calculated, but we’ve converted them to U.S. dollars and added the 7.7 percent VAT for you. This means the prices you see in this Woelkli review are what you would pay, although the cost will fluctuate with the exchange rate.
The basic plan, called Level C1, offers 1GB of cloud storage space at no cost, but provides no customer support. Luckily, Woelkli’s pro features are mostly targeted toward multiple users, so if you only want a secure place to store a few sensitive documents, this plan could be right for you. If a killer free plan with plenty of space is what you’re after, pCloud might be more up your alley.
Level CB is the first paid plan, and it offers 10GB of cloud storage for $99.81 per year. Level C2 is the level above that, and it gets you 50GB of storage for a yearly price of $199.62. Level C3 costs $432.51 for 200GB of encrypted cloud storage. Level C4 is the most expensive paid plan for single users, and it costs $765.20 for 500GB of cloud storage.
Cloud Storage Plans for Businesses
Woelkli has three payment tiers for multi-user accounts. The first multi-user plan is the Level C5 plan, and it provides 10GB of storage space at a yearly cost of $443.60. The Level C6 plan costs $554.50 yearly and gets you 100GB of storage. Level C7 is the most expensive paid plan, and it comes with 500GB of cloud storage space for $1,097.90 per year.
Each multi-user paid plan can serve an unlimited number of users. All paid plans come with several exclusive features, such as versioning, a separate bookmarks app, pro versions of its calendar and gallery apps, as well as several business-oriented options.
A paid plan will also give you access to customer service, even though customer support is normally expected of any cloud service.
Although Woelkli offers some attractive options for businesses, it is simply too expensive to recommend to the average user. Sync.com is a cloud storage platform that offers similar security features. Like Woelkli, it comes with only a yearly subscription, but at a much lower price. Plus, Sync.com has a much better free plan, if you’re not willing to pay for more storage space.
Ease of Use
Woelkli has an attractive interface, with a nice, nearly monochrome color palette. The interface is responsive, with some smooth animations and several unique design choices. However, the desktop and mobile apps require a complicated setup, and they aren’t suitable for people who don’t know their way around technology, or for people who just don’t want to bother.
There are three ways to interact with Woelkli. The main way is through its website. The website’s login and signup screen, as well as several menu pages, feature full-page photographs of Swiss landscapes and wildlife, so you’re constantly reminded that your valuable information is kept in the world’s most secure country.
Woelkli’s home page is divided into two sections. The left section is where you’ll find links to your main folder, recent files, favorites, shared links and deleted files. The right section is the main window, where the contents of these tabs are shown. There is a menu bar at the top of the page with icons for Woelkli’s apps, and all of its share functions are hidden away in a sidebar.
Desktop and Mobile Apps
Even though the browser interface is clear and easy to use, the desktop app is another story. You can access Woelkli via the Nextcloud client, and there’s a guide on Woelkli’s website on how to set it up properly. Clearly, though, any app that needs a setup guide isn’t going to be the easiest to work with.
The desktop app syncs all of your cloud-based files to a Woelkli folder on your computer. Plus, you can connect any existing folder on your hard drive to your cloud account for easy synchronization. The app is available on Windows, macOS and Linux.
You can install the mobile app on both your iPhone and Android phone, and it has all of the standard features for a cloud service mobile app. It can upload and download files, and you can set it to automatically backup your photos and videos, too.
Woelkli’s web interface has a few issues, though. There are visual bugs, and the interface sometimes freezes up until you refresh the page. If this is a problem for you, and if both ease of use and privacy are important to you, Icedrive might be a good alternative. You can check out our Icedrive review to learn more about it.
File Sharing & Syncing
Woelkli has some of the best sharing features for a cloud service. Its sharing interface has a unique look. It opens up in a separate sidebar, and if your file is an image, video or PDF document, there will be a preview of your file at the top.
To share a link, you first have to set a password for it, so all your shares are protected. If you’ve shared files via email, a password is generated for you.
One way to share files is to send a sharing link to a fellow Woelkli user via email. If you opt to share a file via email, you can choose to give the other user permissions to edit your file. You can also set an expiration date for the link and leave a note for the recipient.
Another way to share files is by creating a sharing link to the file. Sharing links have similar permission options. You can set expiration dates and leave notes like the previous method, but there are also two extra checkboxes that can enable editing permissions for the recipient of the link or can hide the download option from them.
Syncing files is a little more complicated because the desktop app requires a guided setup. Your computer connects to Woelkli’s servers via the Nextcloud platform. During the setup, Nextcloud creates a Woelkli folder on your computer where your files are synced. You can choose which folders on your account to sync, and you can sync other folders from your hard drive, too.
Once your desktop client is ready, all you have to do to upload files is to add them to your Woelkli folder or any of your other synced folders. Any changes made to your cloud files get synced to these folders. There is no block-level sync, though, so don’t expect fast syncing speeds for your large files.
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Woelkli did pretty well in our speed test, though this may vary for other users. Its servers are based in Switzerland, and its speeds will depend on your computer’s hardware setup as well as how close you are to the servers. We performed our test using a 1GB test file, and our speeds were 6 Mbps for uploads and 32 Mbps for downloads.
The expected time for the upload to finish was 23 minutes and 40 seconds, and Woelkli was relatively fast in comparison, with an average upload time of just under 30 minutes. Downloads were similarly speedy, taking around five and a half minutes on average, only one minute over our expected time of four and a half minutes.
Security is definitely one area where Woelkli shines. Everything on your account is encrypted using your password, including all your files and communication. However, it doesn’t use zero-knowledge encryption, which means Woelkli can potentially decrypt your files, as it can see your password when you log in.
That said, Woelkli never stores your password (and your encryption key), which makes it more secure than services that do. There is a setting that can activate password recovery, but this will give Woelkli access to your password and let it decrypt your files at will.
Even though it’s not fully zero-knowledge, Woelkli comes very close to that level of security if you keep password recovery deactivated (which is the default setting). However, as we said, despite not storing your password, Woelkli can see it during login, which leaves an open end in its security.
It uses the TLS protocol to encrypt your files in transit, and 256-bit AES encryption keeps your files safe at rest. This means that your files are always secure and safe from man-in-the-middle attacks. Paid users also get an antivirus solution in the form of ClamAV, for an added layer of protection.
Communication via Woelkli Mail is also encrypted, which means that your communication can’t be viewed by anyone other than you and the contact you message. Sharing links are also protected with a mandatory password, and you can beef up your login with two-factor authentication, as well.
Because Woelkli is based in Switzerland, it follows strict Swiss internet safety regulations. Swiss laws are the harshest in the world, and it’s very difficult for anyone to gain access to your data, even law enforcement agencies. Plus, Woelkli is GDPR compliant, which means you have oversight over all of your personal data, and you can choose to delete it at any time.
To sum it all up, Woelkli doesn’t collect sensitive data, and your files are protected with a password that Woelkli doesn’t store. Plus, your personal information is protected by strict Swiss laws and the GDPR.
Overall, it’s a very secure and private storage solution.
Woelkli’s customer service is a little disappointing, considering all of its great features. Customer service is available via email and phone, but only during business hours and only for users with a paid plan. So unless you’re a paying customer, you’re on your own.
However, there is an FAQ section available to all users, as well as the Nextcloud user manual and documentation. You can also get help from other users on the Nextcloud forum, though these resources are about the general Nextcloud platform, and not specifically about Woelkli.
Woelkli is an excellent cloud storage option, with plenty of great and unique features, but it is ultimately let down by its high prices. If you’re a security-minded business owner willing to make the investment, it can be a good choice. If you’re a regular user, though, you would have to pay a high price to get anything more than 1GB of storage.
If you’re not willing to pay a premium for cloud storage, you can choose one of the services on our best free cloud storage list. If you’re willing to pay a bit more for security, though, Tresorit can also be a good alternative. You can check out our Tresorit review to find out more about it.
If you have any opinions about Woelkli, we would love to hear them, so leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Thank you for reading this Woelkli review.