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IDrive cloud storage review

Innovative and affordable cloud storage that’s hard to beat

IDrive logo
(Image: © IDrive)

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.

Pros

  • +

    Affordable pricing

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    Advanced file sharing

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    Physical hard drive service

Cons

  • -

    No real-time collaboration tools

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    Clunky web interface

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 10TB 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.

Score: 4.5/5

Read on for our full and detailed IDrive cloud storage review.

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Get 10TB for $3.98 a year with IDrive
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IDrive’s competitors

How does IDrive compare to its main competitors?
IDriveGoogle DriveZoolz
Score4.5/54.5/54.5/5
Pros- 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
Cons- No real-time collaboration tools - Clunky web interface- Expensive plans - No end-to-end encryption- No mobile apps - Slow transfer speeds
VerdictIDrive 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.
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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

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iDrive feature

IDrive enables you to back up an unlimited number of devices (Image credit: iDrive)
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iDrive feature

You can schedule custom backups through the IDrive desktop and mobile apps (Image credit: iDrive)
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iDrive feature

IDrive supports file sharing, and links can be protected with passwords and expiration dates (Image credit: iDrive)
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iDrive feature

IDrive supports disk cloning on Windows computers (Image credit: iDrive)
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iDrive feature

With IDrive Express, you can request a physical hard drive to back up large volumes of data to the cloud (Image credit: iDrive)

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 2022?

IDrive issues updates to its software on a monthly basis. Since we last reviewed IDrive, the platform has undergone a few small but important changes that address some of our previous concerns. The first change is that IDrive now supports two-factor authentication (2FA). This is an essential upgrade, since it makes your IDrive account much more secure.

Another significant change is in the way IDrive enables you to share files. Previously, all recipients had to create an IDrive account to view the files you sent them. Now, you can share links, and recipients can download files immediately just by clicking on your link, no account required.

In the future, we’d like to see IDrive add more tools for collaboration. For example, the platform doesn’t currently enable collaborators to comment on a shared file or issue notifications when a shared file is updated by the owner.

IDrive: Pricing

IDrive has three different pricing tiers, as well as a free plan that includes 5GB. Personal plans support a single user and an unlimited number of computers. You can choose either 5TB or 10TB, starting from $79.50 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.

IDrive’s pricing plans
Plan type/featureFreePersonalTeamBusiness
Cost per monthFree$6.63$8.29$8.29
Cost per yearFree$79.50$99.50$99.50
UsersOneOneFiveUnlimited
ComputersUnlimitedUnlimitedFiveUnlimited
Storage5GB5TB5TB250GB
Server backup

Testing IDrive

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?

Setting up an encryption key on IDrive

IDrive uses end-to-end encryption, and enables you to create a private encryption key (Image credit: iDrive)

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?

Uploading a file to IDrive

Uploading a 1GB file to IDrive took one hour and 57 minutes (Image credit: 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 $79.50 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.

IDrive’s features compared to the competition
IDriveGoogle DriveZoolz
End-to-end encryption
Physical drive service
Support24/7 phone, chat, and email24/7 phone, chat, and email24/7 email support
Basic plan$79.50 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 10TB 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.