pCloud Review – Ease of Use and Security
Of all of the cloud storage options, we think that pCloud is one that’s worth its weight in gold. Even though it’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind, it’s definitely a company that holds its own. It’s free, easy to use, and offers as a more than capable alternative to Google Drive or Dropbox.
As earlier stated, pCloud has applications that are available for Mac, Linux, and Windows. Additionally, the company has made provisions for mobile users, servicing iOS and Android. While it’s not deployed yet, the company is also working on functionality for Blackberry and Windows phones. Even still, each user will find something effective with their web portal to configure and access their account when they see fit.
Here are the criteria we’ve reviewed the service on:
- Syncing and File Sharing
The first thing you’ll notice about pCloud is that it doesn’t give you a lot of clutter. Everything is easily navigable from the top, with focus put on share folders, download, and upload buttons. They take this a step further in sorting a user’s files through file types in a common sense fashion. For example, you’ll find that videos, documents, and images are in one area. If you want more control, you also have the ability to create folders to organize your stuff even further.
We think they did a good job here with this. They’ve done even better in including the most common commands at the top, including:
- Share Upload Link
- Create Archieve
- Share Download Link
- Invite to Folder
Another great thing about their accessibility is where you can monitor all of the backup data and where it goes. For example, you can easily view your associated Instagram and Facebook accounts. This is, of course, where you can also sync new connections and user accounts.
This is where we think the service shines. pCloud allows you to download archives or files separately without too much hassle.
pCloud also does a stellar job in allowing the user to change nearly any of the settings that they want. All you have to do is to click on the gear next to your user name; this is will be where you would change your password or upgrade your plan. From this screen, you can also view the last time that your account was accessed and from where. This added bit of security is somewhat commonplace. It’s also one hat’s always welcomed. This area is another where you can link other accounts for backup.
In short, we think that pCloud’s interface is some of the best we’ve seen in a while. They cover all the bases. It’s easy to use for professionals and beginners alike.
Syncing and File Sharing (A)
We also like the syncing and file sharing abilities of pCloud, possibly easy broken down in three different ways:
- Invite to Folder
- Share Download Link
- Share Upload Link
As the name implies, the Invite to Folder link allows the user to send invites to their friends, family, coworkers or anyone else who you’d want to grant access to a specific file or folder. The link allows the granted user to view and edit files within their browser.
Unfortunately, the way its set up only allows for one user to actually edit the file at one time. This does hamper any real kind of collaborative effort. There’s no real way to change their in its current form. As such, the best way to remedy this is through allowing access to a given folder instead of a file.
The share download function allows the user to share a link to download the folder or file. This will allow the recipient to make changes on their end, but it won’t grant the main user to see these changes. A download link would be better here for those looking to share if there was a way for the receiver to become the end recipient when the file is completed.
Also, the user also has the chance to share an upload link with pCloud. This is a nifty feature because it allows for someone else (other than the account owner) to upload a file. This is important because it takes email out of the equation and does add in some functionality for collaboration.
While there are some good things about all of what they’re doing, they really don’t nail it with the collaboration. There’s no way to specify for any user other than the account owner to make changes or just view a file. Should they be invited to the folder, they can edit whatever’s in there. However, if a file is just downloaded, there’s no to prevent it from just being changed on a local device, leaving the master file unchanged.
We do like that the user can sync social media accounts to back them up. This allows for the user to protect images, files, or other information. If needed, pCloud comes with a desktop or mobile app that will add another layer of protection.
If you’re big into security, you may not like the fact that you’ll have to give your login information for these accounts if you want to have backup folders. While this more than likely won’t be a cause for concern, there is some reason for some level of pause.
pCloud does have some of the best security in the business with its TLS/SSL encryption during transfer from device to the cloud. This means that the information is being secured while it is being stored on the company’s servers.
We do like that they take these things very seriously, but not only from those who wants to do your data harm. Not only do they have stringent methods for hackers, they also prevent against any kind of failure on their end. As such, pCloud is one of the only companies who keep information in various sites with the use of monitored data centers.
While we think those measures are pretty significant, pCloud does offer even more protection for $3.99 per month with pCloud Crypto. While it’s not included in any of the plans at current, one can elect to add it to their service. The company even allows the user to try it for free for 14 days before they charge your card.
This add-on service brings about client-side protection in addition to their efforts on their end. What this does is grants the user control of the encryption keys in addition to the company. These files will stay encrypted on the server. This may not be paramount for may, but it is a must for some business in certain industries.
While this is a good measure, we’re not exactly excited about having to pay an additional fee for a measure that many others implement.
We think that pCloud is quite fast in their offers. They state unlimited speed and we haven’t noticed a huge hiccup most times of the day. In our own tests, we found that upload speed slow down a bit during a peak period, but our findings weren’t typical, so we don’t think anyone will find any problems here. It only went 3.1 Mbps there. While that’s not great, as earlier stated, we didn’t consider that normal – even with the free version.
However, there is the option for the user to throttle the speeds if they see fit. While this may not be in the wish of every client, some people may feel as if their bandwidth is best served by not using all allocated to upload or download something.
pCloud has an extensive knowledge base that covered a great deal of topics, split into two parts. One was for their web version, the other serviced those for the mobile version of the service. While there was more than enough for most users, we still think they could have went the extra mile with some of their topics. pCloud does offer 24/7 support, but one can expect for these times to be a little longer than average.
All in all, we find that this is one of the better services to use at current. We did like the ease of use, additional storage on new accounts, TLS/SSL encryption, and speed for the most part. We did not love the fact that not everyone can be restricted from editing files, nor where there real finite means for collaboration. It also wasn’t the best idea for the client to pay more for security.
Lastly, we think that their support options were lacking, too. Email only simply isn’t the best way to go about it when inquiries could take more than a day for response at times.
That said, we certainly think there are worse options than what one has in pCloud, especially if you’re a user that isn’t as technologically advanced in cloud storage and online backup.