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Mega review

Maximum security cloud storage

mega review
(Image: © Mega)

Our Verdict

Mega offers maximum security for your files as well as advanced tools for customization like a command line interface.

For

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Share files and encryption keys separately
  • Encrypted messaging tool

Against

  • No productivity tools
  • Cannot stream audio or video

Mega is an inexpensive cloud storage provider that’s been operating out of Auckland, New Zealand since 2013. The platform was founded by the same team behind Megaupload, which was closed down by the US government in 2012 on charges of copyright infringement. Mega is effectively the same platform, but with some additional transparency and user guidelines to protect against further legal action.

Mega’s entire platform is built around security. This platform offers end-to-end encryption, meaning that files are secured before they even leave your computer for upload to the cloud. In addition, Mega includes an encrypted chat feature that you can use to communicate with other users.

So, is this the best cloud storage platform for your needs? Our Mega review will take a closer look at everything this provider has to offer.

Mega review

Mega is a New Zealand-based cloud storage provider that emphasizes security (Image credit: Mega)

Plans and pricing

Mega offers five different storage plans. The company charges in Euros, so US dollar prices are estimates.

The Free plan comes with up to 50 GB of storage space. But, you have to perform certain tasks like installing the Mega desktop client to unlock all of it.

The Pro Lite plan costs $5.40 per month and includes 400 GB. With this plan, you can transfer files up to 1 TB in size at a time. The Pro I plan costs $10.82 per month and includes 2 TB of storage. It also doubles your transfer limit to 2 TB.

mega review

Individual plan options at Mega. Prices in US dollars are estimates (Image credit: Mega)

The Pro II plan offers 8 TB of storage for $21.65 per month and lets you transfer files up to 8 TB in size. The Pro III plan costs $32.47 per month and gives you a whopping 16 TB with a transfer limit of the same size.

Mega also has a business plan for teams of three or more. This costs $10.82 per user per month and doesn’t impose any storage or transfer limits.

Features

Mega’s most important feature operates behind the scenes most of the time. This platform uses end-to-end, zero-knowledge encryption to secure your files before they even leave your computer. That means that without your password, it’s absolutely impossible for anyone to access your files, even during transfer to Mega’s servers.

The software makes it clear that this also means that if you forget or lose your password, even Mega can’t help you recover your files from the cloud. Helpfully, the platform does provide an account recovery key the first time you log in that you can use as a backup if you ever lose your password.

mega review

Mega provides a recovery key when you first set up your account to prevent file loss if you forget your password (Image credit: Mega)

Mega also supports two-factor authentication, although it doesn’t have its own system for this. Instead, you’ll need to set up this extra security measuring using a third-party tool like Google Authenticator or Duo.

One of the neat things about Mega’s focus on security is that you can protect your files even during sharing. When you go to share a link to a file in your cloud space, you have two options. The first is to send a link with the encryption key enclosed, which is the only option that most cloud providers offer.

The second option is to send a link without the encryption key. This is useful if you’re working on an unsecured network where your key could be stolen during the transfer. In this case, you’ll need to send your encryption key to the file recipient via another, secure form of communication.

For file sharing more generally, you’re a little bit limited in your permission options. Mega has a read-only permission, but the only other option is for collaborators to have full editing capabilities. Unfortunately, there is no way to separate file editing permission from file ownership or control over moving or deleting files.

One of the features Mega includes that’s unusual for a cloud storage platform is an encrypted communications tool. You can add other Mega users to a contact book by email and start message threads. This is functionally similar to an encrypted messenger like WhatsApp, but since it’s part of Mega, you can easily send files from your cloud storage with your messages.

Functionally, this works well and we can see the potential applications for sending sensitive files within small teams. But, for individual Mega users, it’s not as clear why you might need an encrypted messaging app integrated with your cloud storage.

Interface and use

The Mega web interface is sleek, modern, and clean. It’s extremely easy to use since you can just drag and drop files from your desktop to your folder structure in the cloud to initiate uploads. You also have complete control over reorganizing your cloud folder structure just like you do on your computer.

The one surprising thing about Mega’s web client is that it has a lot of options. The platform uses icons rather than words to describe these menu choices, so it can actually be a little difficult to find the settings or tools you want at first. Whereas many other cloud storage providers use the left-hand menu to display your file structure, in Mega it’s dedicated to icons that access the secure communications features.

mega review

Mega displays menu items as icons, which can be confusing at first (Image credit: Mega)

Still, it’s fairly easy to navigate your cloud storage space. You can toggle between viewing files and folders as icons or as file lists. When viewing as icons, Mega will automatically display previews of most documents, PDFs, images, and spreadsheets.  

Apps

While you’ll likely spend most of your time working with Mega through the web interface, this platform also comes with a variety of apps. 

You can install MEGAsync on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers to automatically sync files between your desktop and the cloud. This places a dedicated sync drive in your file system as well as enabling you to send any file or folder to the cloud by right-clicking on it. Helpfully, you can also designate existing folders to sync with Mega rather than reorganize your entire file structure around the sync drive. 

Mega also has mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. We found these to be relatively straightforward to use. By default, the apps automatically upload any new photos and videos taken on your device to your cloud storage space. In addition, you can select files to save offline from your cloud storage to your phone.

One of the other noteworthy apps that Mega includes is MEGAcmd. This is a command-line controller for Mega that gives advanced users more control over their cloud space. It essentially replaces the typical API and lets you set up automated backups from your desktop or to call files in your cloud storage space from another program. Mega has a detailed user guide that offers some examples for how to use MEGAcmd effectively.

mega review

MEGAcmd is a command-line interface for advanced users (Image credit: Mega)

Final verdict

Mega is a relatively affordable cloud storage platform that puts security ahead of all else. If you work with sensitive files, we’d be hard-pressed to recommend another cloud storage provider that maintains the same level of protection. Even other cloud services that support end-to-end encryption don’t enable you to send files without your encryption key when sharing.

That said, Mega doesn’t include much in the way of productivity tools. The secure messenger is a neat feature for working in small teams, but we’d rather see a secure document editor or other tools for collaboration. MEGAcmd may help with this, but it comes with a steep learning curve.