pCloud is a cloud storage and backup solution with a particular focus on security, utilizing the highest possible levels of encryption. It also offers some handy features that you don’t find with every cloud storage package.
But do these features place pCloud alongside the best cloud storage providers in the business? We answer that question in this pCloud review, covering everything you need to know about the software, including its pricing, features, support, and ease of use.
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Plans and pricing
pCloud has plans for personal and business use. The personal plans consist of Premium 500 GB and Premium Plus 2 TB for a single user, and pCloud for Family 2 TB which covers up to four people. Prices start at $4.99/month for the basic plan, which certainly isn’t the cheapest we’ve seen. You can get discounted prices if you choose to pay annually or purchase a lifetime license. There is also a free plan which gives you 10 GB of storage.
We found the way that pCloud presents its prices a bit confusing. The Premium and Premium Plus plans have monthly, annual, or lifetime options, but the family plan only has a lifetime option for $500.
If you choose monthly or annual options, extended file history is an extra which can be added in the cart for $4.99/month or $47.88/year, but not if you choose the lifetime option. This leads us to believe in must be already included in the price, although it’s not stated.
If you want the highest level of security, pCloud Crypto is also an extra which can be added in the cart. It’s either $3.99/month, $39/year, or $125 outright.
pCloud for Business offers 1 TB of storage, with prices starting at $29.97/month or $287.64/year for up to three users.
pCloud has many of the typical features you’d expect from a cloud storage solution as well as a few extras that make it a bit different.
You get access to deleted files for up to 30 days on paid accounts, 15 days on the free plan, and a whole year if you pay for extended file history. There are no limits on the size of files or upload or download speeds.
Automatic syncing across multiple devices is supported, and mobile devices can be configured to automatically back up files. There is also a virtual hard drive—pCloud Drive—which doesn’t take up memory on your local device and frees up hard disk space.
You can share files, folders, and links with others, and a nice extra touch is being able to brand your sharing links with your own image, heading, and description.
A couple of the more unique features that pCloud offers are integration with social media accounts so that anything you upload to platforms like Facebook or Instagram is automatically backed up to pCloud, and built-in audio and video players with streaming and playlist support.
Interface and in use
When you first install pCloud, it will automatically create a pCloud Drive folder on your computer. This folder is already populated with folders for My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos and contains some sample content. You will then be prompted to create a Crypto folder (which gets added to your pCloud Drive) as you get a 14-day trial of that feature when you first set up your account.
The next thing you’ll need to do is add some Synced folders. We found the way this works to be strange. Any folders you add to the list of Synced Folders have their contents, not the folder itself, copied to the pCloud drive. So when you look in the Drive folder, all the files from different folders are listed together—they’re not grouped into their parent folders.
Not only that, but each of the folders you add then has the entire contents of the Drive folder copied back into them so you end up having multiple copies of files existing in different folders. pCloud Drive is a virtual drive, so files stored in it aren’t actually taking up extra disk space. However, we felt it was a messy way to go about it, with folders showing content from other folders.
Then, when we removed some of the synced folders that we’d added, they weren’t automatically removed from the Drive folder. The extra content that had been added to those folders also remained and had to be manually removed.
The other thing that we found lacking was a setting for choosing which networks should be used for uploading or downloading data to pCloud. For instance, you may not want to use your phone data allowance if your computer is connected to the Internet via your phone’s hotspot connection.
pCloud’s support options are by email or a form on the company’s website contact page. The company is based in Switzerland, and there is a phone number listed but no operating hours given. Support is offered in English, French, German, and Turkish.
pCloud offers TLS/SSL protection and 256-bit AES encryption for all files as standard for all accounts. The service also retains five copies of all your files on different servers.
For an added layer of security, you can also pay for an extra encryption service, pCloud Crytpo, which enables client-side encryption. This means your files are encrypted before being uploaded to pCloud and includes zero-knowledge privacy so that only you have access to your data.
If you find pCloud isn’t for you, there are many other alternatives to consider. Box also has a free plan with 10 GB of storage but with an upload limit of 250 MB per file. You can upgrade to 100 GB of storage and a 5 GB file upload limit for $10/month.
SpiderOak One Backup has many similar features to pCloud but with a much simpler pricing structure. Prices range from $6/month for 150 GB of data up to $29/month for 5 TB of storage.
pCloud is a cloud storage and backup solution that does things a bit differently and offers some features not available from other competitors. However, we found many aspects of the service to be confusing and not to our liking.
Plans and pricing aren’t straightforward, with some options not mentioned until you add items to the cart, and the company’s support options are limited.
But our biggest issue with pCloud is the way the software works at its fundamental level, leaving your computer with multiple copies of files in the various different folders that you wanted to sync. It felt like a very messy way to manage files, and not one we would want to use on a long-term basis.
- The best cloud storage services