Tom's Guide Verdict
IDrive is an affordable and capable cloud storage service for individuals and teams. It offers tons of storage, supports file sharing, and enables you to back up files via a physical hard drive service.
Advanced file sharing
Physical hard drive service
No real-time collaboration tools
Clunky web interface
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
IDrive is a cloud storage service for individuals and businesses that offers terabytes of storage at affordable prices. In our IDrive cloud storage review, we’ll help you decide if this is the best cloud storage and best cloud backup platform for you.
IDrive cloud storage review: Snapshot
IDrive offers outstanding value for individuals and businesses that need to store lots of data in the cloud. The platform offers up to 100TB for individuals, or 35TB for teams. It supports backup and sync, including from mobile devices and external drives. IDrive also supports file sharing, and you can set passwords or expiration dates on shared files.
A unique feature that IDrive offers is the IDrive Express service. The company will send you a physical hard drive onto which you can transfer files, and then mail it back to have your data uploaded to the cloud. This service is helpful if you have large volumes of data to upload.
For individual users, IDrive offers more bang for your buck than competing cloud storage platforms like Google Drive. For businesses, you can find lower cloud storage prices from Zoolz Cloud Backup, but you miss out on helpful features like IDrive Express and mobile app support.
Read on for our full and detailed IDrive cloud storage review.
|- Affordable pricing - Advanced file sharing - Physical hard drive service
|- Integrated with Google Workspace tools - Very easy to use
|- Unlimited users and servers - 100TB+ plans available - End-to-end encryption
|- No real-time collaboration tools - Clunky web interface
|- Expensive plans - No end-to-end encryption
|- No mobile apps - Slow transfer speeds
|IDrive offers excellent value for storing large volumes of data. The platform offers backup and sync, file sharing, end-to-end encryption, and more.
|Google Drive is pricey, but it’s hard to beat if you rely on the Google Workspace productivity suite.
|Zoolz offers high-volume storage at affordable prices, but transfer speeds can be slow and it doesn’t offer mobile apps.
IDrive: Key features
IDrive enables individuals to back up files from an unlimited number of computers, mobile devices, and connected hard drives or NAS drives. For businesses, IDrive can also back up SQL, SharePoint, Exchange, and Linux servers.
You can turn on sync so that changes to your files are recorded in the cloud in real time. You also have the option to copy files directly into the cloud using IDrive’s web app.
IDrive makes it relatively easy to schedule backups from your devices. You can schedule backups daily or on specific days of the week, and set starting times for your backups. You can also opt to receive a desktop notification or email when backups are completed.
It also enables you to create different backup schedules for different groups of files. For example, you can schedule daily backups for projects you’re actively working on, and weekly backups for infrequently modified folders.
IDrive supports file sharing through links. Each share link can be customized with an expiration date (up to 30 days), or maximum number of downloads (up to 25 times). You can also add a password to protect share links. However, it doesn’t enable the sending of files directly by email. You must create a share link and send it to the recipient yourself.
You can track all of your active share links through the IDrive dashboard.
IDrive: Key features and highlights
IDrive’s desktop app includes an option to clone your entire hard drive and back it up to the cloud. This option is only available on Windows computers, though cloned disks can be downloaded or viewed on Mac and Linux operating systems. Disk cloning can be regularly scheduled just like other backups.
IDrive Express is a service included with all IDrive plans. With IDrive Express, you can request that the company sends you a physical hard drive. You can transfer terabytes of files onto the drive, then mail it back to IDrive and the company will transfer your data into your cloud account. It’s a fast, hassle-free process for getting large amounts of data into the cloud.
If you need to restore data from the cloud, you can also use IDrive Express to receive a physical hard drive that contains all the contents of your cloud storage account.
IDrive: What’s new in 2023?
IDrive continues its practice of monthly updates to refine and enhance its software. A notable upgrade is the enhancement of two-factor authentication (2FA) for login, fortifying the security of your IDrive account.
The addition of Map Drive support for Entire Machine Local Backup is a significant change, simplifying the process of local backups. Also, the SQL Backup Progress display enhancement and Schedule Backup enhancements, released earlier in June, offer better insight and flexibility in managing backups.
We still look forward to seeing more collaborative tools, particularly features allowing comments and notifications on shared files, which would further enrich the platform's functionality.
IDrive has three different pricing tiers, as well as a free plan that includes 10GB. Personal plans support a single user and an unlimited number of computers. You can choose between five plans that range between 5TB and 100TB, starting from $99.50 a year.
When it comes to IDrive Business, Team plans support a set number of users and computers up to a set amount of storage. Team plans start from five computers, five users, and 5TB for $99.50 a year. Plans range up to 35 computers, 35 users, and 35TB.
Business plans support an unlimited number of users and devices, and enable you to back up servers as well as computers. Plans start at $99.50 a year for up to 250GB, shared among all users.
All IDrive plans are billed annually or biannually. All users receive 25% off their first billing cycle.
|Cost per month
|Cost per year
We tried out IDrive’s desktop and web platforms to find out whether they’re secure and fast enough for business use.
Is IDrive secure?
IDrive includes 2FA and end-to-end encryption to keep your files secure. To use end-to-end encryption, you must set up backups through the IDrive desktop app rather than upload files to the cloud using the platform’s web app.
It’s up to you whether you use a default encryption key from IDrive or set up a private key. If you use a private encryption key, IDrive cannot recover your files if you lose it.
How fast is IDrive?
We tested IDrive’s speed by uploading and downloading a 1GB file using the IDrive web app. With a 95Mbps internet connection, uploading the file took one hour and 57 minutes. Downloading the same file took three minutes and 10 seconds.
IDrive’s upload speed is slow compared to competing services like Zoolz. If you have a lot of data to transfer and can wait a few days for a hard drive to be mailed to you, you can use IDrive Express to get your data into the cloud. IDrive’s download speeds are also on the slow side, but not far from the average among cloud services we’ve tested.
It’s worth noting that IDrive uses block-level sync when syncing files from your devices to the cloud. This should speed up future backups, since only the modified portion of files needs to be re-uploaded.
Alternatives to IDrive
IDrive is one of the best cloud storage and cloud backup services for individuals and businesses, but it’s far from the only option. Two competitors worth exploring are Google Drive and Zoolz.
Google Drive is the cloud storage arm of Google Workspace, a productivity suite that includes Google Docs, Sheets, Meet, Gmail, and more. It’s straightforward to use, and the integration with Google Workspace is invaluable if your business relies on Google’s productivity tools. Notably, Google Drive supports simultaneous editing on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations stored in the cloud.
If you don’t rely on Google Workspace, Google Drive has several important shortcomings compared to IDrive. First, it’s relatively expensive. Whereas 5TB individual storage from IDrive costs $99.50 a year, 2TB from Google Drive costs $99.99 a year. If you do need to move large volumes of data around, Google Drive doesn’t offer a physical hard drive service similar to IDrive Express. Also, Google Drive doesn’t offer an option to back up servers.
Zoolz is more similar to IDrive, and specifically to IDrive’s business plans (it also offers the Zoolz BIGMIND service). All Zoolz plans support unlimited users and devices, including servers. Plans start at $199.99 a year for 1TB, compared to $499.50 a year for 1.25TB at IDrive.
However, Zoolz doesn’t offer a physical hard drive service, and we’ve found that uploading and downloading data to and from the Zoolz cloud can be slow. Unlike IDrive, Zoolz doesn’t offer plans for individuals or small teams.
|Header Cell - Column 0
|Physical drive service
|24/7 phone, chat, and email
|24/7 phone, chat, and email
|24/7 email support
|$99.50 a year
|$19.99 a year
|$199.99 a year
IDrive: Final verdict
IDrive is one of the best cloud storage and best cloud backup services we’ve seen for individual use, with support for up to 100TB at prices that few competitors can match. You can use IDrive across all of your devices, including mobile devices and external storage drives. The platform supports simple file sharing and scheduled backups, and offers end-to-end encryption to keep all of your data secure.
One of the best things about it is the IDrive Express service. This makes it easy to transfer a large amount of data to the cloud after you first sign up. It also streamlines the process of recovering data in the event of a cyberattack or hard drive failure.
IDrive is equally attractive for families, small teams, and small businesses with fewer than 35 employees. Pricing for IDrive Team plans is competitive, but bear in mind this plan doesn’t include server backup.
For businesses that need support for unlimited users or server backups, the choice between IDrive and Zoolz is a tough one. Zoolz is significantly cheaper than IDrive, and offers almost all the same features, with the exception of the innovative IDrive Express service.
You won’t lose your data with Zoolz, but it could take days to download all of your data if a server fails. IDrive can send your data via a physical hard drive in the mail, which is a service that makes IDrive such a compelling cloud storage and backup provider.
Next steps with cloud storage and cloud backup
It's wise and necessary to establish what cloud storage is before you dive in and choose between cloud storage and cloud backup. If you're struggling to find the right service, learn how to choose a cloud storage provider.
While it's easy to start with free cloud storage via the the best free cloud storage services, the best premium cloud storage offers more storage, top-line features, and quicker uploads and downloads. There's also the option of multi-cloud, where one than more provider offers you multiple sources for your cloud needs.
When you're ready, also make sure to see what other types of cloud storage are available, in case your requirements change. We've ranked the best personal cloud storage and the best cloud storage for business to cover all bases.
Michael Graw is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Bellingham, Washington. His interests span a wide range from business technology to finance to creative media, with a focus on new technology and emerging trends. Michael's work has been published in TechRadar, Tom's Guide, Business Insider, Fast Company, Salon, and Harvard Business Review.
I have gigabit internet via U-verse with typical down/up speeds of 350Mbps + and am currently a Carbonite customer. I have about 4TB backed up there. After a (spinning) data drive failure, I went to recover my files. It LITERALLY would have taken MONTHS to download all data. Can anyone speak to iDrive's recovery/download speeds?Reply
Their customer service is really, really bad. Performance is poor. I found an obvious bug in their software...so obvious, it made me think they don't care at all about the quality of their product.Reply
Once you give them your credit card(s) info, you can't remove it from your account - unless you delete your whole account. Why is that?
They lack functionality that I take for granted on other systems.