Yandex Disk Review
An opaque service that may or may not encrypt your files, Russia-based Yandex Disk is probably not the provider for you, despite having some nifty features.
Headquartered in Moscow, Yandex positions itself as Russia’s answer to Google. It provides search, maps, a browser and, the subject of this review, a cloud storage solution called Yandex Disk.
However, while the portfolio is ambitious, at least in the case of Yandex Disk, the product itself is half-baked. Sure, Yandex Disk includes some interesting features like Office Online integration, but those features are more than outweighed by big misses like lack of server-side encryption and no option for file versioning (see our cloud storage comparison tool for options for both).
Coupled with the fact that Yandex Disk is headquartered in a country where cybercrime is unchecked and thriving, the end result is a product that we can’t seriously recommend. Instead, we advise you to consider other options in our cloud storage reviews library.
Keep reading to find out where else Yandex Disk goes wrong and where it what few things it gets right. After that, give a our best cloud storage guide a read for a better solution.
- Google Docs integration
- Many third-party apps
- In-app collaborations
- Strong customer support
- Weak file-sharing security
- No private encryption option
- No block-level sync
- Cheaper options
- Multiple plan options
- Office Online integration
- Unlimited photo storage
- No at-rest encryption
- No direct support
- No selective sync
- No file sharing passwords
- No file versioning
Yandex Disk is a cloud storage service. As such, its primary goal is to free hard-disk space by offloading files to the cloud. Like most modern cloud storage services, it can also be used to sync files across devices and share files with others.
Yandex Disk has applications for both Windows and Mac, plus a console client for Linux (see our best cloud storage for Linux guide for a better solution). Mobile apps are offered for both Android and iOS.
By installing the app on your phone, you get unlimited storage for photos and videos, making it a at least a decent cloud storage service for photos, though it doesn’t rank among our picks for the best cloud storage for photographers.
From the web browser, you can automatically preview files, plus stream video and music. Yandex.Disk comes automatically integrated with Office Online, letting you create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.
One rather big miss keeps Yandex Disk from feeling like a complete cloud storage service, and that’s file versioning. Most other tools let you rollback accidental file changes to recover previous files states. Yandex Disk doesn’t, which impacts its value as a collaboration tool.
Yandex is also missing some key security features that we’ll discuss more in our security overview, below. Those include no at-rest encryption or two-factor authentication.
The end result is a service that at first glance appears to offer quite a bit, but when you get right down to it, is missing critical features that are common with most of the competition.
Anyone can use Yandex.Disk for free with 10GB of storage received just for registering. If that’s not enough, several subscription options let you increase your storage space for a reasonable cost.
|Plan||Plan 1||Plan 2||Plan 3|
$ 1 00monthly
$ 10 00yearly
$ 2 00monthly
$ 20 00yearly
$ 10 00monthly
$ 100 00monthly
|Storage||10 GB||200 GB||1000 GB|
We like the inclusion of a 100GB plan for just $2, as many people won’t require the jump to 1TB. The cost itself is in line with Google Drive, which also has $2 100GB and $10 1TB plans. On the other hand, it’s more expensive than some of its fellow underdog storage services. For example, with pCloud, you can get a whole 2TB of space for just $8 a month.
Signing up for Yandex.Disk requires creating a Yandex account. After that, you’ll be awarded with 10GB of free cloud storage and can login into the web GUI, where you can upgrade your storage and download the Yandex.Disk desktop client.
The Yandex.Disk web GUI is reasonably well-designed. You can access files using the navigation options on the right side, which has special sections for photos, screenshots and mail attachments. There are also views for folders you’ve shared, file links that you’ve created, history and trash.
The use of a sync folder greatly enhances ease of use. Following the model popularized by Dropbox, as special, cloud-connected folder is added to your file system. Any files placed in this folder are automatically sent to the cloud. We’ll cover the sync in more detail in the next section of this review.
Yandex has several other technologies besides cloud storage available, and the company makes it easier to access those with links near the top of the web GUI. They include applications for email, calendars, maps and a browser.
Overall, Yandex works pretty much like most other cloud storage services, and getting used to it shouldn’t pose any big problems.
Any file uploaded to Yandex Disk can be shared with others by clicking on it in the web GUI, then copying the shareable link that appears to right.
You can turn links on and off by clicking the toggle beside them. Links can be shared manually, or automatically posted to Facebook, Google+, Twitter or email.
While easy to use, Yandex doesn’t offer options to secure these links like password protection and expiry dates. That means that anybody who gets a hold of a file link can use it to access your content.
If file security is important to you, we’d suggest looking elsewhere, such as Sync.com, probably the most secure cloud storage service when it comes to sharing files. Read our Sync.com review for details on what that service does that makes it so great for worry-free file sharing.
Rather than share files, you can share folders with Yandex Disk, which does provide a bit more security as you can restrict access based on one’s email address. Folders can also be given read-only or write permissions.
Still, the whole sharing approach of Yandex Disk feels rather unsafe, which coupled with the fact that the service is headquartered in Russia and some security issues we’ll detail later, provides a pretty compelling reason to consider other options.
File sync with Yandex works like most other cloud storage service, relying on a sync folder that gets installed in your computer’s file system.
Despite its similar looks, however, Yandex Disk is missing some key sync features, headlined by the absence of an ability to toggle sync off and on for folders. Known as selective sync, this feature lets you free up hard drive space by keeping files just in the cloud, rather than on your computer, too.
A lesser concern is that Yandex Disk doesn’t let you throttle upload and download sync speeds, which, again, most other cloud storage services do.
Up next, we’ll take a look at how efficiently Yandex Disk can can copy files while syncing.
To test the speed at which Yandex Disk can copy files from the computer to the cloud, and the other way around, we conducted a series of simple upload and download tests using a 1GB test folder.
These tests were conducted over a WiFi network with 25 Mbps download speeds and 10 Mbps upload speeds. Our test location was in Southeast Asia.
Here are the results:
|Test One:||Test Two:||Average:|
|Upload:||26.5 minutes||32 minutes||28.25 minutes|
|Download:||11 minutes||11 minutes||11 minutes|
Both upload and download tests resulted in numbers that don’t measure up to most other cloud storage services. For point of reference, Dropbox uploaded the same file in around 15 minutes, and downloaded it in six.
If you’re looking for a fast sync solution, Yandex Disk isn’t what you’re looking for.
Assessing Yandex’s approach to cloud storage security proved a difficult task. The company doesn’t provide any information about whether or not it encrypts files at rest on its servers and we couldn’t get in touch with anyone at the company to find out (see support, next).
As such, its best to assume that your files are not encrypted while stored in the cloud. While unusual, this isn’t unheard of: OneDrive Personal (read our OneDrive review) and Amazon Drive (read our Amazon Drive review) also don’t encrypt files at rest.
However, that doesn’t make it acceptable, especially given the rise in cybercrime in recent years, the fact that much of that cybercrime originates from Russia, the Yandex homebase.
Yandex Disk does mention in an FAQ that files are encrypted while in transit, but doesn’t detail what methods are used. The good news is that Yandex Disk is at least compatible with Boxcryptor, so you can take control of your own privacy if you wish.
Yandex Disk also doesn’t give you the option to enable two-factor authentication, which provides a means of protection in the event that your password is stolen.
We did find mention that Yandex scans all files up to 1GB in size for viruses, so that’s a plus. However, it’s the only one. Until Yandex becomes more transparent about what’s does to protect your files, we advise sticking with a more secure cloud storage option like one of those in our best zero-knowledge cloud storage review.
Yandex provides a searchable support site for Disk and its other products, but no means of contact for direct support. That puts it behind just about every other cloud storage service in terms of support.
Moreover, the support site itself feels rather thin. We tried finding articles, for example, on recovering deleted files, and couldn’t.
Those articles that are available are sparse in content and not likely to be of much help for more advanced issues. That makes the absence of direct support contact even more impactful.
On the surface, the urge to give Yandex Disk a try makes sense. The pricing isn’t terrible, you get unlimited photo uploads from your mobile device and it integrates with Office Online. However, look a little closer, and the blemishes quickly become apparent.
No versioning, no file encryption, no password protection for file shares, no two-factor authentication and no direct support are each alone convincing reasons to consider other options. Taken together, they provide a rock-solid argument against using Yandex Disk to store your files.
We’ll point you once again to our best cloud storage guide for better options. If it’s the 10GB of free Yandex Disk storage that got your attention, our guide to the best free cloud storage plans should provide some nice alternatives.
Think we got it wrong with Yandex Disk? Tell us what we missed in the comments below, and thanks for reading!