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Sync.com vs pCloud: A Zero-Knowledge Battle for 2022

This article compares Sync.com vs pCloud, two cloud storage providers that excel at security. We compare them in eight rounds to help you decide which is right for you.

Dan Ginn
By Dan Ginn (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-06-24T17:31:49+00:00 Facts checked by Eugenie Tiu

pCloud and Sync.com are two of the top cloud storage providers and often rank in the top two spots in our best cloud storage articles. In this Sync.com vs pCloud comparison, we will determine which is the superior cloud storage provider, pitting them against each other in eight different rounds, from features and pricing to speed and security.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sync.com and pCloud are market leaders when it comes to security
  • If you’re looking for a fast cloud service, pCloud is a fantastic choice
  • pCloud also has more features, but most users won’t need them
  • Sync.com edges ahead of pCloud in several categories, earning the overall win

Ultimately, Sync.com pulled ahead to keep the crown as the best cloud storage option, winning in the pricing, ease of use, security, privacy and customer service. 

However, pCloud might be a better option for users concerned about speed, want extra features or prioritize file sharing and syncing abilities. You can read more about each service in our pCloud review and our Sync.com review.

  • 03/25/2022 Facts checked

    Comparison rewritten to reflect new features and performance results.

  • 06/24/2022

    Updated to increase the Teams Standard price.

  • Not much separates the two in terms of quality. However, Sync.com is our pick for the better option overall.

  • Yes. Sync.com comes with zero-knowledge encryption and industry-standard protection for your files. You can also add two-factor authentication to add a step when logging in.

  • pCloud comes with industry-standard protection for files and two-factor authentication, plus offers pCloud crypto as paid add-on encryption. Users can enjoy peace of mind knowing their files are secure.

  • Like Dropbox, Sync.com offers online storage space and a file management platform. Although similar in service, they’re different companies and Sync.com ranks higher in our best cloud storage reviews.

Sync.com vs pCloud: Cloud Storage Platform Comparison Criteria

In this comparison, we’ll break down features beyond basic file storage, plus file sharing and syncing capabilities. We’ll also compare pricing, ease of use, security, privacy, speed and customer support. The service that wins each round earns one point; if the services tie, they both get a point. The service with the most points at the end wins.

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    200 GB - Unlimited GB starts from $5 / month (All Plans)
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    500 GB - 2 TB starts from $4.17 / month (save 16%) (All Plans)

1. Features

pCloud and Sync.com are providers that prioritize security above anything else, both offering zero-knowledge encryption (also known as client-side encryption). Users control their own encryption keys, which gives them peace of mind that nobody else will be able to access their data. We’ll break this down further when we cover security and privacy later in the article.

Productivity Features

If you’re looking for a cloud storage service that excels in productivity, it may be best to look elsewhere. Neither service has a notes app or document creator we’d feel comfortable recommending, and it’s not possible to integrate Google Docs or Office Online with pCloud.

Sync.com does offer Office 365 integration, which lets you upload, open and edit DOCX files, making it easier to work on documents. The downside is you’ll need an Office 365 subscription, which you’ll pay extra for. If that’s what you need, check out our best cloud options for collaboration instead.

sync.com versioning
Sync.com offers file versioning for up to one year on select subscriptions.

File Versioning & Retention

It’s not all bad news if you work with documents. You can use file versioning with each service, which allows you to recover older versions and deleted files. Sync.com stores previous versions automatically, and they don’t take up your storage space.

pCloud allows users to restore their full account to a previous date and time. This process differs from Sync.com, which offers versioning on a file-by-file basis. pCloud also allows users to restore specific files and folders.

Sync.com is more generous with its previous files and deleted file retention. Free users can restore files for up to 30 days (with pCloud, users only get 15 days). Those on Sync.com’s basic plan can go back up to 180 days, and its other plans go up to 12 months back.

On pCloud’s paid plans, users can retain edited or lost files for up to 30 days. If you want extended file history of up to one year, you’ll need to fork out an extra $39 per year.

Sync.com and pCloud are fantastic options for videographers and those handling large files. Users can upload files of any size (the likes of Dropbox have a 2TB limit). Most people won’t need this option, but it’s nice to know it’s there for those who do.

pCloud music player
pClouds comes with an integrated music player, allowing you to create playlists and shuffle your tracks.

As for features, pCloud offers more options. For example, it offers a backup solution called pCloud Backup. It also has pCloud Save, an extension for the Opera, Firefox and Chrome browsers. It allows you to save images from your browser to a pCloud folder.

pCloud also boasts one of the best-integrated media players in the cloud space. Users can listen to their favorite audio files and watch their favorite videos without leaving the platform. If you’re one of the few people not using Spotify, Apple Music or similar, pCloud’s media player will serve you well.

In the end, both pCloud and Sync.com offer similar essential features, but pCloud wins with its extras — although you might need to pay extra for them.

200 GB - Unlimited GB starts from $5 / month (All Plans)500 GB - 2 TB starts from $4.17 / month (All Plans)
Sync.com ReviewpCloud Review
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 ProtocolAES 256-bitAES 256-bit
Zero Knowledge
Two-Factor Authentication
Server LocationCanadaUS
Support
24/7 Support
Live Chat Support
Telephone Support
Email Support
User Forum
Knowledgebase
Misc
Free Plan
Round: Features
Point for pCloud
Visit Sync.com0
Visit pCloud1

2. Pricing

Potential pCloud subscribers have three paid plans to choose from. Those considering Sync.com can choose from five plans.

sync.com pricing
Sync.com offers affordable plans for individual and business users.

One major thing to note is that Sync.com includes zero-knowledge encryption in all of its plans. If you opt for pCloud, you’ll need to pay an extra $3.99 per month to get client-side encryption.

Cheapest Plans

Let’s begin by comparing each service’s most affordable options. To make things easier, we will compare each provider’s annual pricing, although pCloud and Sync.com offer monthly payments and pCloud also offers lifetime plans.

pcloud pricing
Users can pay for pCloud’s premium plans on a monthly, annual or lifetime basis.

pCloud’s cheapest plan costs $4.17 per month for 500 GB (one-year plan). Meanwhile, Sync.com’s cheapest plan costs $5 per month for 200 GB (one-year plan).

When we look at each provider’s 2TB plans, though, things even out a bit. Sync.com charges $96 per year and pCloud asks for $99.99 per year.

Free
  • : 5 GB
Teams Standard
  • : Price per user
  • : 1000 GB
Teams Unlimited
  • : Price per user
  • : Unlimited GB

The above plans target individuals. pCloud’s individual plans top out at 2TB, whereas Sync.com has a 6TB option that costs $240 per year.

Business Plans

Now let’s compare what pCloud and Sync.com offer the business sector. pCloud has only one plan that targets business use. It costs $95.88 per year and must have a minimum of three users, making the upfront cost $287.64. Each user gets 1TB of storage, and unlike the personal plans, it includes a Crypto folder at no extra cost (more on that later in the “security” section).

In comparison, Sync.com offers 1TB of storage per user (minimum of two users) for $72 per year, so $144 to get started. Depending on the type of work your business does, 1TB of storage may not be enough. Thankfully, Sync.com offers another business plan, Teams Unlimited, which costs $180 a year per user and comes with unlimited storage.

Free Storage Space

If you only need a small amount of cloud storage (and don’t want to pay), Sync.com and pCloud have free plans available and both make it onto our list of the best cloud providers for free storage.

pCloud gives its users 10GB of free storage, but they have to work for it. You unlock 2GB of storage after creating an account. To get up to 7GB, users need to verify their email address, upload a file, install the desktop and smartphone apps, and activate “automatic uploads” on their smartphone. This is all standard stuff and worth it for the extra space.

sync.com free account
Sync.com offers 5GB of free storage when you create an account, while pCloud only offers 2GB.

Sync.com is initially more generous with its free plan, offering 5GB of free storage when creating an account. You can unlock an additional 1GB by sharing a file or installing the mobile app. 

To get more space, you’ll need to refer people to each service successfully. pCloud gives users another 3GB for successful invites, and Sync.com offers up to 25GB.

Determining who wins this round is tricky. Each platform offers better value for different plans. However, because of its overall value for larger-storage plans and greater number of options, Sync.com takes the win in this round, bringing the overall score to a 1-1 tie.

Round: Pricing
Point for Sync.com
Visit Sync.com1
Visit pCloud1

3. Ease of Use

Many providers let themselves down by not offering a simple-to-use platform. They overcomplicate their systems, turning away the average user. We’re happy to say both pCloud and Sync.com have developed platforms that are easy to use.

Signing up is a breeze with both. Sync.com only asks for your email address and a password when you sign up for an account. The same is true for pCloud, but it also lets you sign up with a Google, Facebook or Apple account.

sync.com sign up
Sync.com only asks for your email and password when you create an account.

Both Sync.com and pCloud accounts are accessible via desktop, web browser and mobile apps. 

For desktop, pCloud supports macOS, Windows and Linux systems. Sync.com is available on macOS and Windows but not Linux. Both have mobile apps for Android and iOS. Now, let’s see which service outdoes the other in usability.

Desktop UX

After installing the desktop application, pCloud and Sync.com users can manage their cloud storage via a sync folder. An icon is located in the top menu (macOS), which allows you to access your settings and account information.

pcloud for desktop
pCloud for desktop is available for macOS, Windows and Linux.

With each platform, you can drag and drop files or copy and paste them into your sync folder. They’ll begin to sync to your account immediately, and you’ll be able to access them on the different apps.

sync.com desktop
Sync.com’s desktop app exists as a folder titled “Sync” and allows you to add and access files and folders.

Sync.com’s desktop functionality is slightly scaled back compared to pCloud. Most of the options in the settings menu redirect you to the web browser application. With pCloud, you can perform backups and access shared files from your desktop.

Web Browser Apps

Regarding layout and design, Sync.com’s web interface is easier on the eyes. That’s not to say pCloud is a total mess. It’s well-designed, too, but there’s less information to process on Sync.com’s web browser app, making it smoother to navigate.

Sync.com allows users to create Microsoft Office documents. However, it would only allow us to create the document. We couldn’t edit it, nor did it appear in our Sync.com folder on our desktop. To edit documents, users must have an active Office 365 license, which allows them to access documents from the mobile app and desktop.

pcloud web app
pCloud comes with a simple web browser client that’s easy to navigate.

It’s not possible to create documents of any type via pCloud. What you can do is create folders, upload files and access your crypto folder, as well as complete other basic tasks such as sharing folders and files and accessing file previews. You can also listen to your music via the integrated media player.

One downside of both platforms is that it’s not possible to drag and drop files already in the cloud. If you want to move a file to a different folder, you have to navigate through the options with your mouse and select “move.” It’s not the end of the world, but it would be easier to drag files.

That’s the only real issue with the web browser clients. Both platforms give you a pleasant user experience.

Mobile Apps

pCloud and Sync.com have dedicated mobile applications for Android and iOS. All the usual functions are present on both apps, including uploads for photos and videos, as well as file and folder management.

pcloud mobile application
pCloud’s mobile app is available for iOS and Android.

With pCloud you can make your files accessible while you’re offline or without an internet connection. To help you free space on your smartphone, pCloud also prompts users to delete photos and videos uploaded to the cloud.

sync.com-mobile
Like pCloud, Sync.com has a mobile app for iOS and Android.

Although pCloud has a slightly better mobile app, we feel Sync.com has the edge when considering all the apps. The minimal design of its web and desktop apps makes the service easier to use, giving it the win in this round.

Round: Ease of Use
Point for Sync.com
Visit Sync.com2
Visit pCloud1

4. File Sharing & Synchronization

Now let’s tackle file sharing and synchronization, starting with file syncing features. Both pCloud and Sync.com offer a dedicated sync folder for desktop applications. Each folder allows you to add files and folders that will automatically upload to the cloud and be accessible across multiple devices.

pCloud begins to move ahead of Sync.com by offering block-level sync. This means files are updated in small chunks when edited, leading to faster performance. pCloud also allows you to sync any folder on your computer, whereas Sync.com only lets you upload folders that you add to the dedicated Sync folder.

Both services include bandwidth management for better performance when syncing files and selective sync, which allows you to choose which files you want to sync.

Share-a-file-with-sync.com
Sync.com automatically adds encryption to files and folders you share.

Sharing Files

pCloud and Sync.com offer almost identical performance when sharing files and protecting your data. Link passwords, expiry dates and permissions for folder sharing are present with each service. Sync.com has a slight advantage as it also allows users to set download limits for files and folders.

Sync.com’s premium sync feature is called the “vault.” If you store files in the vault via the web browser, they won’t appear in your dedicated sync folder on your desktop. Sync.com does this to limit the ability to access the files should someone hack into your computer.

This isn’t unique, though. For example, OneDrive offers files on demand, which allows you to see your files from your desktop and only uses local storage when the files are downloaded (read our OneDrive review).

Again, this section is exceptionally close. However, because pCloud offers better performance features, such as block-level sync, it scores this round’s win, again tying the score 2-2.

Round: File Sharing & Synchronization
Point for pCloud
Visit Sync.com2
Visit pCloud2

5. Speed

While most of this head-to-head has been close, the services couldn’t be farther apart when it comes to speed. When testing each service, we uploaded a 5GB folder full of different file types on a 100 Mbps connection for both uploads and downloads.

Upload and download speeds are where Sync.com falls short in this comparison. There was inconsistency with upload times. Our first upload took nine minutes and 48 seconds, while our second attempt took almost double that amount of time — averaging just over 14 minutes to upload the 5GB folder.

Sync.com:First AttemptSecond AttemptAverage
Upload time09:4818:3014:09
Download time15:1115:0315:07

Sync.com’s download speeds were more consistent but still slow, averaging just over 15 minutes. While the speeds are not the worst we’ve seen, it’s definitely not the best speeds we’ve seen, and it casts a slight gray cloud over an otherwise bright service. 

In comparison, pCloud’s upload speed was impressive. It took an average of eight minutes and 12 seconds to get our folder in the cloud. Download speed was fast and consistent, averaging only six minutes and 42 seconds to get our files back on our computer.

pCloud:First AttemptSecond AttemptAverage
Upload time08:5507:308:12
Download time06:4106:4306:42

If you handle large files like MP4s, Sync.com may not meet your expectations for speed. pCloud, on the other hand, will upload your files faster and won’t put much pressure on your computer’s resources. 

Pcloud upload manager
pCloud offers fast upload and download speeds. The same can’t be said for Sync.com

In this portion of the head-to-head, pCloud crossed the finish line long ago and Sync.com is still trying to catch up.

Round: Speed
Point for pCloud
Visit Sync.com2
Visit pCloud3

6. Security

Both services take security seriously, ensuring users have total control over their data and encryption keys with zero-knowledge security.

Both platforms use industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption to protect your files, in transit and at rest. Both use TLS to protect your files from man-in-the-middle attacks, as well. Users can also activate two-factor authentication to add an extra step when logging into their account.

Zero-Knowledge Encryption

One downside of zero-knowledge encryption is if you forget your password, most providers won’t be able to reset it, meaning you’ll lose all your files. However, Sync.com has come up with methods to make sure that doesn’t happen. Users can reset their password via the desktop app or email.

You have to activate this feature, which will give Sync.com access to your password, reducing the intended impact of client-side encryption.

pCloud crypto
While pCloud is a zero-knowledge provider, users must pay extra to get zero-knowledge protection.

pCloud’s take on zero knowledge is different. While Sync.com includes it in the subscription, pCloud users must pay an extra $3.99 for the protection. The service calls it pCloud Crypto and allows you to only protect your most important files within a special folder.

If you don’t pay the extra fee, your account will have server-side encryption, meaning pCloud staff may be able to access your data. Unlike Sync.com, there’s also no option to reset your password with pCloud Crypto, so if you lose your login details, you won’t be able to access your files.

Because pCloud makes users pay extra to remove server-side encryption, Sync.com takes the win in this section, bringing the score to 3-3.

Round: Security
Point for Sync.com
Visit Sync.com3
Visit pCloud3

7. Privacy

User privacy is of the utmost importance. While the likes of Google Drive enjoy delving into user data and online activity (read our Google Drive review), other services have realized there’s consumer demand for stronger, more transparent privacy policies.

Privacy policies tend to be full of detailed information that can be difficult to interpret. That’s not the case with Sync.com, as it has one of the clearest policies we’ve seen in the space, and pCloud’s policy isn’t far behind.

sync.com privacy
Sync.com’s privacy policy is transparent and avoids jargon, making it easy to interpret for most users.

Each service states it will track users’ IP addresses and access times. pCloud also tracks its users’ device information and browser type.

In terms of sharing user information, neither service will give your details to third parties unless requested by law enforcement. 

pCloud has servers in the United States and in Switzerland, but you’ll need to choose one location when you sign up and you can’t change it later. The U.S. servers fall under the Patriot Act, which means pCloud must grant access to user accounts should the request come from U.S. authorities.

Sync.com bases its servers in Canada. This means your data falls under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, which is intended to protect your data. The company also adheres to the strict GDPR regulations for its European users. 

For its server location and clear privacy policy, Sync.com takes this round, pulling it ahead of pCloud as we enter the final round.

Round: Privacy
Point for Sync.com
Visit Sync.com4
Visit pCloud3

8. Customer Support

Not much separates these services in customer support, although Sync.com offers a slightly better experience.

Both services have a help center and FAQ section on their website for standard questions and issues. Sync.com covers everything from setting up an account to more technical support when using the apps. pCloud’s help center is equally extensive.

Sync.com doesn’t provide telephone support to its customers, nor is there a live chat feature. That’s problematic for anyone needing an immediate response, especially when the only route to the support team is through a contact form.

Pcloud support
pCloud has a basic contact form to help resolve issues. Otherwise, its customer support is lacking.

To its credit, Sync.com responded to our queries within an hour, and the response we received gave us all the information we required. When using a contact form for pCloud, we found response times inconsistent. However, we were satisfied with the response to our query.

Like Sync.com, pCloud lacks live chat support. There is a telephone number for immediate support, though. The only downside is the support team works on Swiss time. If you’re calling from the American continent, you’ll have to be available during Swiss working hours, which isn’t always ideal. For its responsiveness and detail, Sync.com takes this round and the overall win in this comparison with a final score of 5-3.

Round: Customer Support
Point for Sync.com
Visit Sync.com5
Visit pCloud3

The Verdict

Whether it’s for personal, professional or business use, pCloud and Sync.com will give you much of what you need. They’re not collaboration kings, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

They’re both exceptionally secure and champion protecting user files and information. Sync.com is only better in this area because it offers end-to-end encryption on all its plans without charging extra.

pCloud definitely has more features. We like that it’s trying to offer something different, but most of its extra features — like the media player — target only a small number of users. They’re nice features to have, but not needed. pCloud also offers better file sync and share options, plus is way faster, so there are still plenty of reasons to consider this excellent provider.

However, Sync.com took the win in five of the eight rounds, including security, privacy, ease of use, pricing and customer support. After considering all the criteria of an exemplary cloud storage solution, this battle is over with Sync.com as our winner.

Which of the two providers is your favorite? If you disagree with our winner, we’d love to hear why. Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.