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Yandex Disk Review

Yandex is a Russian company that offers many digital tools, including cloud storage. While it's not mainstream, we were curious to see how it compared to the competition. We put it to the test to see what it's like and now we're ready to share our review.

Dan Ginn
By Dan Ginn (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-03-11T20:00:30+00:00 Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska

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?

Key Takeaways:

  • 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.
  • The company has a poor privacy policy and security, allowing Yandex and third parties, including Roskomnadzor, the Russian government, to see your files if they want to.
  • 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.

However, given the terrible privacy policy and lack of zero-knowledge encryption options, we suggest you look elsewhere for quality cloud storage — unless you don’t care about the company, third parties or the government looking through your files.

  • 03/11/2022 Facts checked

    Review rewritten to reflect new features and speed times.

  • For the most part, the service is safe. However, with a disappointing privacy policy and a lack of transparency on security, we cannot guarantee your files are safe from man-in-the-middle attacks.

  • 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

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    2 TB - 3 TB starts from $9.99 / month (save 17%) (All Plans)

Strengths & Weaknesses

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Terrible privacy policy
  • Sharing files isn’t as easy as it should be
  • Lack of transparency on security
  • Ads with a free account

Features

75 % – Good

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.

unlimited photo storage
Yandex offers unlimited storage for photos and videos without using your allocated storage space.

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).

Sync Folder

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.

yandex sync
A Yandex sync folder is added to your favorites tray after downloading the desktop 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. 

90 day file retention
Paid users can access deleted files and older file versions for up to 90 days.

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
Sync Folder
Block-Level Sync
Selective Sync
Bandwidth management
Sync Any Folder
File Sharing
File Link Sharing
Link Passwords
Link Expiry Dates
Folder Sharing
Folder Permissions
Link Download Limits
Upload Links
Productivity
File Previews
Edit Files
In-App Collaboration
Office Online
Google Docs
Notes App
Media Playback
Mobile Apps
Deleted File Retention
Versioning
WebDAV
Security
At-Rest Encryption
In-Transit Encryption
Encryption Protocol
Zero Knowledge
Two-Factor Authentication
Server LocationEU
Support
24/7 Support
Live Chat Support
Telephone Support
Email Support
User Forum
Knowledgebase
Misc
Free Plan

Pricing

75 % – Good

Yandex.Disk has four plans, with varying amounts of storage space. Plans begin with 10GB of free storage and go as high as 3TB.

yandex paid plans
Yandex offers relatively affordable plans; however, there are more affordable cloud storage options available elsewhere.

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

80 % – Good

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.

yandex mobile app
Yandex offers a solid mobile app, but it’s littered with ads for free users.

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.

file previews
The Yandex web app has smooth and responsive file previews.

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

50 % – Poor

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.

file sharing
Yandex offers limited file sharing functionality, particularly relating to file security.

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. 

Speed

80 % – Good

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.

file uploads
Yandex has pretty decent speeds when it comes to uploading and downloading files.

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:
Upload0:07:150:07:000:07:07
Download0:07:300:07:400:07:35

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.

Security

40 % – Terrible

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.

yandex one time password
Users can log in to their account with a unique one-time password to prevent hackers from accessing their account.

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.

Privacy

40 % – Terrible

Offering a workstation isn’t the only way Yandex is like Google and Microsoft. The company’s privacy policy also makes for disappointing reading.

yandex privacy policy
Yandex lets itself down because of its poor privacy policy.

In addition to accessing your personal information such as email address and phone number, Yandex also snoops around your online activity. 

The company can access data on your purchases, search history, contacts, likes and preferences and phone book data. Worst of all, Yandex’s privacy policy states outright that Yandex can access and read any files you store with the service.

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.

Customer Service

75 % – Good

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.

yandex support
Options are limited when contacting Yandex; however, its response times were satisfactory.

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.

yandex email support
While fast to respond, Yandex’s technical support team didn’t seem the most knowledgeable.

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.

The Verdict

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.

100 GB - 3 TB starts from $1.30 / month (All Plans)
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12 thoughts on “Yandex Disk”

  1. Yandex does indeed have two factor identification for Disk, Mail and I believe it works with all their services. I have been quite impressed with Yandex and I can live with Russia’s Internet laws, can’t be any worse than the NSA and CIA hoovering up everyone’s data. The mail uses DKIM signatures and is encrypted end to end in transit. Honestly, I am really impressed by Yandex.

    Reply
    1. Moment of truth
      Most of Yandex review were made by their own selves .it means that Yandex was faking a lot of reviews.
      All I can say is that they cannot be trusted.
      These were group of hackers that will destroy your life.just like what they did to me.
      So please try to be careful.they are thieves.immoral.
      Please don’t take risk.these kind of people were very dangerous.
      For further question you can contact me anytime.

      Reply
      1. As a point of order: this review was written by us, without influence from Yandex.

        Reply
  2. I use Yandex Disk for cloud storage. So far I’m very impressed with the price, speed and usability. It offers a fast and reliable desk-top client, for me, this is important as a Linux user. Whereas there is not a OneDrive client app out of the box, for Linux. I like the web-app MS Office integration, it’s reliable and works fine.

    Security. I don’t keep bank account or sensitive details on Yandex, simple. I use a VPN anyway.

    Support. I agree it’s terrible, great room for improvement.

    Summary: I’d recommend it, if price is a factor, you are a Linux user and you’re not fussed about the security flaws.

    Reply
    1. Privacy isn’t security. Just because you don’t keep your sensitive information there (who does that on cloud services?). It’s about whether you’ll lose your account and subsequently anything you keep on there like music or photos.

      Also VPNs just make it so that people from a company see what you do online rather than your Internet Provider, it does not stop dubious Russian tech companies from going through your data.

      Hope this clears things up or if I’m wrong please reply.

      Reply
      1. Thanks for that.

        I now use Cryptomator to encrypt files before uploading to Yandex Disk. Works very well.

        I also take a local backup to an external hard drive. So if my account should one day disappear down a black hole, then I have a recovery plan.

        Yandex still doesn’t have an online help community let alone online chat help, which is a bummer. That said, they reply to support queries very quickly by email.

        Lastly, as a Linux user, I’ve found few client apps reliable enough apart from the Dropbox client app for Linux. Insynq and ExpanDrive have proven unreliable. The Yandex Client app, however, has proven reliable for me, and does appear to transfer files at lightning speed.

        Only concern – possible identity theft from photos etc held on Yandex Disk. But I think that no cloud storage system will ever be 100% secure, especially given that upholding the integrity of every account is reliant on the user following best practices.

        Reply
  3. Well, I don’t know, the information you have is old, Yandex provides two-factor authentication for the entire account, not for individual services, the download speed is not even bad, the price policy is interesting, the prices are higher for the dollar market, I don’t know this because of the regulation of the currency level or from – for a higher price for the delivery of content to the client due to the distance of communication lines. And 1tb of rubles can be taken for 209r per month ($ 3.30), 3tb for 625r ($ 9.83), cheaper than others, but when paid in dollars it comes out to $ 8.30 and $ 25 per month. Over time, there are many discounts. Image previews, viewing videos in a browser at 1080p, viewing the contents of archives, downloading individual files from them (agree, not bad), the interface is flexible, and about privacy, worried people generally know how to ensure it, no Yandex employee has the right to view your files, only after the court, we all suddenly became scammers and terrorists, right?), the most important thing is convenience without a headache, even with a free account, their support answered me, longest within 3-4 hours sometimes, very polite, always trying to help. Like Google, they provide unlimited space for photos and videos with autoupload, but unlike them, they do not spoil the quality by compressing photos, this is a plus for me. For the time being, I did not need link control, it sounds good, but it will be needed once a year, and then you can go in, delete a public link or generate a new one. I have been using it myself for a long time, they have a convenient API, personally I prefer it to Sync.

    Reply
  4. I use the free plan of Yandex Disk because 10GB is enough for me. The lack of security is a bit concerning for me, so I decided to encrypt some of the files I upload with NordLocker. Otherwise it suits my needs very well, I can recommend it as a back up for non-essential files.

    Reply
  5. I’ve been using Yandex Disk for years. The Service Package I use is paid (500GB) for my Small Business. So far, I am satisfied with the ease of use and the price. Even though in Indonesia, the syncing speed (Download & Upload) is sometimes quite slow, although sometimes it returns to fast again.

    Reply
  6. I’ve been using Yandex disk for about a week and very impressed. Got my music collection on there and streaming with CloudBeats. Seems very fast songs downloaded in seconds. Also using if for free photo backup on Android.

    I was with Box before but I was getting missing files on uploads. As well Yandex is cheaper £15 for 1TB for a year via there Android app.

    Reply
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