What Is pCloud Crypto & How Does It Work? A 2020 Guide

By Ben Haines
— Last Updated:
2020-06-09T21:17:08+00:00


pCloud is packed full of features at an affordable price and is consistently ranked as one of the best cloud providers on the market (here’s more information on the rest). One of its features that stands out is pCloud Crypto.

It’s something that you won’t find included with alternatives like Dropbox or Google Drive (see our pCloud vs Dropbox piece for a side-by-side comparison), but it’s critical for ensuring that your files and personal information are kept safe from prying eyes.

In this article, we cover what pCloud Crypto is all about, how it works and how it helps keep your files secure.

What Is pCloud Crypto?

pCloud Crypto is an add-on that provides you with client-side encryption, which enables you to encrypt your files before they’re uploaded to pCloud’s servers. This means that no one except you will be able to see what data you’re storing on pCloud, not even the service itself. You can pick and choose which files you want to keep private by moving them into your Crypto folder.


How Does pCloud Crypto Work?

Because Crypto is an add-on, you have to purchase it on top of your normal pCloud storage plan. This add-on costs $4.99 per month, but that’s reduced to $3.99 if you pay for a year in advance. A pCloud Crypto Lifetime plan is available, too, which can be bought for a one-time payment of $125 (read our guide to pCloud’s Lifetime plans).

If you’d like to take this feature for a spin and see how it compares to something like Cryptomator, all new pCloud accounts are eligible for a 14-day trial. Just log in to your account and look for the “crypto” area.

pCloud-Crypto-Folder-(Add-on)

Once you’ve set up pCloud Crypto, a folder named “crypto folder” will appear in your pCloud virtual drive. Just move the files that you want to be locked with client-side encryption into this folder. pCloud Drive does the rest. 

pCloud-Crypto-Folder-in-File-Explorer

Whenever you launch pCloud Drive or attempt to access this encrypted folder via the web interface, you’ll be asked for your “Crypto pass.” You cannot access anything you’ve moved into this encrypted area without first providing this passphrase.

Even though you could encrypt everything by putting it all inside your Crypto folder, it’s great that you can use pCloud to store encrypted and unencrypted files in the same cloud storage account without any fuss.

Crypto-Folder-Locked-(Web-Interface)

Files that are outside of your Crypto folder will not be encrypted on your computer with your Crypto pass. This data will continue to be handled normally by pCloud, which means that they’ll be encrypted in-transit and at-rest with AES 256-bit.

How Secure Is pCloud Crypto?

pCloud is a cloud storage provider that respects your privacy. When you set up pCloud Crypto for the first time, you’ll be asked to set up your Crypto pass. This is a passphrase that’s chosen by you and won’t be stored by pCloud. 

pCloud-Setup-Crypto-Pass

This is sometimes referred to as zero-knowledge encryption, which simply means that no one except for you can unlock your files. Once you’ve encrypted your data, not even pCloud will be able to see what you’re storing on its servers.

You’ll need to keep that passphrase safe, though, because even you won’t be able to access your files if you lose it and you won’t be able to create a new one. pCloud’s help center or administrators won’t be able to help you, either. 

Final Thoughts

pCloud Crypto is a simple, easy-to-use and valuable add-on that allows you to protect sensitive data or personal information with high-end security. It’s no surprise that pCloud is ranked as one of the most secure cloud storage providers on Cloudwards.net.

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This article has covered just one of pCloud’s features. You can read a broader examination of this cloud storage provider and how it works in our pCloud review, or check out our piece on pCloud Transfer. 

Let us know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below. Thanks for reading.