This Yandex.Disk review looks at Russia’s take on cloud storage. The platform offers far more than just a space to store files online — a search engine (Russian Google, some might say), maps and an email client are all available. The question is, however, how good is it?
- Yandex.Disk is a less popular cloud storage service worthy of your attention.
- Microsoft Office integration makes it a good option for those working with documents.
- Yandesk.Disk may be a good alternative to Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.
Although Yandex offers plenty of apps for different uses, we’re going to focus primarily on its cloud storage. The good news is that the email, calendar and messenger app are available on Yandex.Disk’s free plan. Yandex also comes with Microsoft Office integration, making it a viable choice for those working with documents.
03/11/2022 Facts checked
Review rewritten to reflect new features and speed times.
Yes. Yandex.Disk offers a free version that comes with 10GB of free cloud storage.
Yandex storage is a basic storage platform that allows you to store your files in the cloud.
Yandex.Disk Review: Alternatives
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Easy to use design
- Unlimited photo storage for smartphone snaps
- Sync folder for desktop
- Microsoft Office integration
- 90-day file retention
- Responsive support team
- 10GB of free storage
- Sharing files a bit complex
- Lack of security transparency
- Ads with a free account
Yandex.Disk has many of the standard features you’d expect from cloud storage services. It’s a happy home for photo and video files, plus documents such as DOC and PDF files — all of which you can access via a web browser, a desktop client and a mobile app.
One stellar feature is unlimited photo and video storage when you store files via the mobile app. This means photos won’t take up any of your allocated storage space. Sadly, this feature isn’t available when backing up files through the desktop or web app.
While a free account allows unlimited photo storage, users need to upgrade to either a Yandex 360 or Yandex.Disk Pro account to get unlimited storage for video.
The Microsoft Office tools integrated into the platform are available on all plans, including the free plan. Users can create Word documents, spreadsheets and presentations, all of which automatically sync across all platforms.
There’s no Google Workspace integration, so if that’s what you’re after, you’ll need to stick with Google Drive (read our full Google Drive review), or one of the third parties that has it integrated, like Dropbox (read our full Dropbox review).
The Yandex.Disk desktop app lets you sync your files via a sync folder. All files placed inside the folder are instantly accessible via the web browser and mobile app.
Frustratingly, when we edited a Word document located in the sync folder, the changes were not automatically reflected in the cloud. Instead, the app generated a duplicate version of the file, which defeats the purpose of automatic sync.
While there’s no selective sync or block-level sync available, Yandex.Disk has an “online-only” feature. This feature ensures that you can access files in the cloud from your desktop without them taking up space on your computer’s hard disk. You also have the option of downloading them should you wish.
Yandex.Disk offers what it calls an “enhanced changelog.” In layman’s terms, this means users on a paid subscription can access older versions of files and deleted files for up to 90 days. Those on a free plan can only access files for 14 days. While 90 days isn’t too bad, other paid cloud storage providers offer anywhere between 180 days and an indefinite amount of time.
Considering it’s one of the lesser-known cloud services, we’re pleasantly surprised with what Yandex.Disk has to offer.
Yandex Disk Features Overview
|Sync Any Folder|
|File Link Sharing|
|Link Expiry Dates|
|Link Download Limits|
|Deleted File Retention|
|Live Chat Support|
Yandex.Disk has four plans, with varying amounts of storage space. Plans begin with 10GB of free storage and go as high as 3TB.
The first paid plan gives you 100GB of storage space for $1.30 per month when paid annually, or $1.60 on a month-to-month payment plan. To access 1TB of storage, you’ll need to pay $6.70 per month when paid annually, or $8 on a month-to-month subscription.
Many cloud storage providers offer better value if you solely need the storage space. For example, 2TB of storage from Sync.com costs $8 on a monthly plan (read our Sync.com review).
The 3TB plan from Yandex.Disk costs $20 per month on an annual plan or $24 on a month-to-month plan. For a similar amount of money, you could turn to MEGA, which offers 8TB of storage for around $22 per month or around $225 for an annual subscription (read our full MEGA review).
Nothing about the pricing from Yandex.Disk is alarming, and there’s certainly a respectable amount of free storage. However, there are other services that offer a better value for the money.
Ease of Use
Yandex.Disk has developed three different apps for its users. All the apps are well designed and offer a pleasant user experience. There are some design flaws, which we’ll cover below.
The first and most apparent bugbear is the presence of ads. Granted, this is only on the free version, but it still slightly diminishes the user experience. If you’re using something like Brave Browser (read our full Brave Browser review), you’ll be spared the ads even when using a free subscription.
It’s not possible to circumnavigate the ads on the iOS app (an Android app is also available), so, you’ll find a few ads along the way while scrolling through your files.
Ad annoyances aside, we particularly enjoyed using the web browser version of Yandex.Disk. It’s clear how to upload files (via a button or drag and drop), and we had no complications when sorting files into folders and creating new folders.
We found the media player to be very responsive. Flicking through photos and opening videos was smooth and without delay, as was listening to MP3s, but it’s not possible to shuffle or sort music files. If you’re looking for the best music player experience, check out pCloud, which has one of the best media players around (read our full pCloud review).
We used the desktop version on macOS. Installation was as simple as any other program in this category. The design and functions are incredibly simplistic, well labeled and easy to navigate.
Files Sharing & Sync
Yandex.Disk offers basic features for sharing files. Users can share files by copying them from the desktop, web or mobile app. There’s no option to set user permissions, password protect links or set download limits.
A pop-up states that you can configure your settings to allow people to edit a file once you’ve shared it with them. However, we couldn’t find this in the settings, nor any mention of it in the knowledgebase. It should only take a few clicks to set user permissions — not a complicated journey through the platform with little to no information to help you.
Syncing files felt quick and responsive. We could access files on all platforms, regardless of which client we used to upload them. The mobile app automatically uploads photos taken and stored on your smartphone, and you can configure the app to do the same for videos. If you don’t wish to upload files automatically, you can turn this off via the user settings.
We tested speed with a 5GB folder of mixed files on a 100 Mbps internet connection. The service displayed good performance for upload and download speed. It wasn’t lightning-fast, but it was quick enough.
Uploads were not as smooth as we would like. The process halted entirely for 30 seconds and showed very high CPU usage. Downloading the folder again displayed the same high CPU usage, but it remained stable and uninterrupted until the download was complete.
|First Attempt:||Second Attempt:||Average:|
Yandex.Disk Performance Compared to Other Cloud Storage Services
Yandex is pretty much on par with the likes of Icedrive (read our Icedrive review) and pCloud in terms of speed. It’s quicker than Sync.com, but that’s because Sync.com prioritizes protecting your personal information rather than speed.
Dropbox is your best option if having the fastest cloud service is essential. However, like Yandex.Disk, you’ll have to be OK with giving up a chunk of your online privacy.
Yandex tells us that TLS encryption is in use when transferring files and that it stores two copies of your files simultaneously in different data centers. There’s no zero-knowledge encryption, opening the door to Yandex and third parties being able to snoop around your files and personal information (see the “privacy” section for more details on the company’s ability to see your data).
Considering Yandex is a Russian company, that gives us real concerns, because the Russian government forces data controllers to collect, store and update Russian citizens’ data using Russian servers. If you want the protection of zero-knowledge encryption, check out our roundup of the best zero-knowledge providers instead.
Two-factor authentication is available to help protect your account from hackers. Rather than being sent a text message, you can log in through a unique one-time password. You’ll need to install the Yandex.Key app and create a pin (which doesn’t change). Then you’ll be able to access your account with your new one-time password.
While we want to trust that the service is secure, the lack of transparency on security and the omission of end-to-end encryption raises red flags, considering Russia’s cybersecurity history.
In addition to accessing your personal information such as email address and phone number, Yandex also snoops around your online activity.
That’s way too much personal information for any company to have. What it does with that information is unclear. We imagine it includes tailoring ads to fall in line with your buying habits at the very least. At the worst, we can see the Russian government tracking users’ data in its effort to control the internet.
Although limited, the customer support offered by Yandex.Disk is impressive. You cannot contact the company via telephone or live chat, so email is your only option if you want to speak to someone.
Free users are told to expect a response within 12 hours, but may need to wait longer. Paid users get access to what Yandex.Disk calls priority support. This means the support team guarantees a response within three hours.
We sent two support requests from a free account. The first response came within three hours, while the second response was received within six hours. There’s also a knowledgebase available that covers more frequently asked questions on how to use the service.
For the most part we were satisfied with the support team, but we wouldn’t call it great service. Some answers to our questions were vague and didn’t help us understand the service better.
Throughout this Yandex.Disk review, we’ve done our very best to champion a lesser-known platform. It has many of the ingredients needed to rise up through the cloud storage ranks, but it must make many improvements.
Security and privacy are on the verge of scary, and its file sharing functionality is disappointing. However, with its robust design, integrated apps and tools for an effective workspace, we’d recommend giving the service a try if you don’t care about Roskomnadzor potentially snooping through your files.
Did you enjoy this Yandex.Disk review? How do you feel about this Russian service? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.