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pCloud cloud storage review

IT proportal 2020-08-18 18:42:56

Swiss cloud storage platform pCloud doesn’t have the name recognition of major competitors like Google Drive or Dropbox. But on a wide range of fronts, pCloud beats these established cloud storage providers at the very service they helped to popularize.

pCloud has a seamless user interface that enables you to easily view your files in the cloud, whether you’re working on desktop or mobile. Plus, it’s one of the only cloud storage platforms we’ve seen that truly emphasizes security. End-to-end file encryption is standard for business users and inexpensive for individuals

Unfortunately, pCloud hasn’t mastered cloud collaboration yet. The platform makes sharing simple, but there are no built-in office tools for simultaneous editing.

Is pCloud the best cloud storage provider for your needs? We’ll dive into a full review of this service to help you decide.

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pCloud is a Switzerland-based cloud storage provider.  (Image credit: pCloud)

Features

The first thing that stands out about pCloud is the platform’s focus on security. All of your files are encrypted with 256-bit AES when they’re sitting on the company’s servers. For even more protection, you can activate pCloud Crypto. This is a zero-knowledge, end-to-end encryption system that locks down your files before they even leave your computer. The encryption key lives on your computer rather than on pCloud’s servers, so it’s virtually impossible for your data to be stolen during upload or download.

pCloud also has a few other tricks up its sleeve to protect your data. Every time you upload a file, it’s automatically copied to five different data centers to insure against single points of failure. In addition, you can turn on file versioning to keep old versions of documents and other projects for up to 30 days. We wish this time limit was longer, but it’s enough to enable you to preserve a file history when working on shared documents.

File sharing is another plus for pCloud. We found that it’s easy to create and share download links for any file in your cloud storage space. You can secure any download link with a password and expiration date, as well as track all of your shared files and remove download privileges at any time.

pCloud enables you to create file sharing links with passwords and expiration dates.  (Image credit: pCloud)

That said, the one area where pCloud falls short of its better-known competitors is in collaboration. This cloud service doesn’t have its own office suite for editing documents or spreadsheets, and there’s no way to lock a shared file while you’re in the process of editing it. You also can’t easily see who has made what changes without simply reverting to an older version of the file. So, you’ll need to be careful about managing files when using pCloud for team projects. 

One of the best things about pCloud is that your files are incredibly easy to access in the cloud. With the pCloud web interface and mobile app, you can preview and stream most common media files without downloading them.

For example, the web client includes built-in audio and video players that let you stream right from your cloud account. You can even create playlists for your music just like you would with a desktop-based library.

pCloud’s web interface includes a built-in audio player that you can use to create playlists.  (Image credit: pCloud)

We also loved the photo viewer and editor. You can put together slideshows of your images and easily share them with friends and family. Or, you can crop, resize, and retouch photos inside your pCloud account without downloading them to your device. If you frequently share photos to Facebook or Instagram, you can also connect pCloud to your social media accounts to have those images synced to your cloud storage space. 


Pricing 

pCloud starts off all new users with 10 GB of cloud storage for free. For more space, you can pay $3.99 per month for 500 GB or $7.99 per month for 2 TB. If you want to activate pCloud Crypto, the end-to-end encryption tool, it’ll cost an additional $47.88 per year.

Notably, pCloud also offers a lifetime pricing option for individual users. The 500 GB plan costs $175, the 2 TB plan costs $350, and pCloud Crypto costs $125.

pCloud offers lifetime plans for 500 GB or 2 TB of storage.  (Image credit: pCloud)

For business users, pCloud offers a single Business plan option that gives each user 1 TB of cloud storage and costs $7.99 per user per month. Notably, pCloud Crypto comes standard with the Business plan.

Families and small businesses may be able to take advantage of pCloud’s Family plan, which offers 2 TB of total space shared across up to five accounts. The Family plan is only available as a lifetime option for $500 and does not include pCloud Crypto.

Interface 

The pCloud desktop app can be run on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. The way that the software runs on your computer is similar to most other cloud syncing platforms. It creates a sync folder on your hard drive, and anything you add to that folder is automatically kept updated as you make changes to the files in your cloud account. Importantly, you have control over pCloud’s file caching settings to limit how much disk space the software takes up while queuing uploads.

In addition, pCloud offers an extremely effective way to back up files to the cloud. The software adds a Send to pCloud menu item to your file manager, which launches a one-time file upload that won’t remove the original file from your computer. If you want to create a cloud-based archive of files rather than maintain updates for an active project, the Send to pCloud option makes the process fast and simple.

Another plus to the pCloud desktop app is that it enables you to designate pCloud as a remote drive within your file system. So, you can access files in your cloud space just like any other files on your computer as long as you have an Internet connection.

You can add pCloud to your file system as a remote drive.  (Image credit: pCloud)

Apps 

pCloud offers seamless mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. The interface mimics the web version of pCloud and you get access to many of the same tools, including the photo, audio, and video players. You can also easily manage file sharing and security from your smartphone thanks to the pCloud app.

pCloud offers a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.  (Image credit: pCloud)

The most exciting thing about the pCloud app, though, is that they work with your mobile device rather than against it. You can set up the app to automatically sync photos and videos from your device to the cloud. Plus, if you want to download files from the cloud for offline access, you just need to tap a Favorite icon on any file to do so.

Notably, pCloud also offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. You can use these to save images and videos from the web directly to your cloud storage space. You can also select text on any web page and save it as a note to your cloud account.

Final verdict 

pCloud is one of the most capable cloud storage providers on the market today. While it falls somewhat short of the mark for collaborative projects, it excels in just about every other category.

The desktop and mobile apps provide an excellent user experience and make it easy to manage your file backups. Meanwhile, integrated audio, video, and photo tools enable you to interact with your files without downloading them to your devices. When it comes to file security, pCloud is one of only a few cloud storage providers to offer zero-knowledge, end-to-end encryption.

To top it all off, pCloud’s pricing is fairly inexpensive. We also appreciate that there are lifetime plan options to help save you money in the long run.