Reviews

pCloud Review 2019 – Reviews, Ratings, Pricing, Comparisons

I review pCloud and its security features for client-side encryption.

pCloud Review 2019 – Reviews, Ratings, Pricing, Comparisons March 3, 201915 Comments

Senior Editor at Productivity Land. Productivity hero by day, Twitter nerd by night. Follow me and let's talk about all things productivity. 😄

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pCloud

$3.99/month
8.9

Design & Ease of Use

8.7/10

Features & Functionality

9.0/10

Pricing

9.0/10

Security

9.3/10

Customer Support

8.2/10

Pros

  • Affordable monthly pricing
  • Lifetime plans available
  • Free plan with 10 GB storage
  • Affordable upgrade options
  • No file size and bandwidth restrictions

Cons

  • No online file editing features
  • Customer support is only via email
  • Limited support available in other languages

When it comes to online cloud storage, there are a lot of questions that come to mind. How secure will the cloud storage be? What about accessibility – can you take your data with you on the go? Is there an offline sync mode? Can you easily share, receive and access files?

pCloud is one of the best free cloud storage services of 2019. It ranks #1 on my list, so it was only right that I took the pCloud platform for a test drive. Today, we will be reviewing pCloud and take a close look at all its features for file sharing, collaboration, cloud storage and more.

Let’s get started.

pCloud Pricing

pCloud offers different pricing plans for family use and standard cloud storage:

Standard Cloud Storage Packages

  1. Premium 500 GB – $3.99/month or $47.88/year. Lifetime package costs $175 (limited time offer)
  2. Premium Plus 2 TB – $7.99/month or $95.88/year. Lifetime package costs $350 (limited time offer)

Family Cloud Storage

  1. pCloud 2TB Family – $500 one-time payment, 5 users, 2 TB download link traffic, fair share policy, 30 days deleted data history

Supported Platforms

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GDPR Compliance

pCloud is GDPR compliant. For more information, visit pCloud’s GDPR compliance page.

Data Centers

Location: Dallas, Texas, USA

The data centers are chosen following intense risk assessment processes that have proven the quality and reliability standards in place.

This includes selecting of the highest level of physical and technical security application, to ensure full data security compliance. pCloud hosts user data through a leading certified data center via collocation.

pCloud is compliant under ISO 9001:2008 and 27001:2013 certificates for Quality Management and Data Management Systems.

In addition, pCloud’s quality management systems are validated by an independent third-party certification authority, with the aim to provide a solid scalable framework.

Target Audience and Ideal Team Size

  • Principal Markets: North America, West Europe, Australia
  • Principal Professions: Photographers, Lawyers, Designers, Business Owners and Entrepreneurs.
  • Ideal Team Size: 5 – 50 team members

What Makes pCloud Unique?

I asked this question from the pCloud team. Here’s what they said:

One of our features that makes us really unique is the embedded music player in pCloud. None of our competitors provide an embedded music player to play and manage music on the cloud.

With a user base of over 8 million worldwide, we are very proud to have an industry-first Lifetime plan for cloud storage.

Furthermore, additional security is our main focus. pCloud Crypto is an optional extra layer of file protection for sensitive data. With client-side encryption, the files are encrypted locally on our users’ computers and only the encrypted information is uploaded in the cloud.

Not even we, as a service provider, can decrypt the data, meaning everything from the file itself, its name and file type are kept private.

We are confident that we have built client-side encryption software that nobody can hack, as we challenged hackers from all over the world for our pCloud Crypto challenge for a prize money of $100,000.


pCloud Review

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1. Design & Ease of Use – 8.7 out of 10

pCloud has an intuitive, simple design with a rich package of features that let you preview your favorite media, exchange ideas and work together with others on every project seamlessly.

In a competitive cloud storage space where a lion’s share of the market is occupied by the big guns, design and ease of use has to be among the top priorities to make a mark.

Keeping that in mind, my overall experience with pCloud has been nothing but great. Thanks to its intuitive guided tour you’re always sure about the next steps right when you log in the first time.

With a bunch of usability options like sorting, quick search bar and switching between Grid and List views, it really makes it easy to navigate and manage your files.

Not that these features are like anything that I haven’t seen in other cloud storage software but what I really like is the overall thought-process behind the user interface and positioning of elements.

Overall, pCloud has done a great job in maintaining simplicity yet ensuring user-friendliness across all platforms.


2. Features and Functionality – 9.0 out of 10

pCloud has a lot of interesting features to offer for file sharing and collaboration. Let’s take a look at each of them one by one.

2.1. Windows Client Installation

Firstly, upon signing up, pCloud redirected me to download the desktop client. Signing up was quick and easy, and the EXE file for my desktop was lightweight. Downloading it didn’t take time.

One thing, though, is that Windows Security didn’t recognize pCloud as a trusted publisher and gave me this popup.

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Agreeing to install a third-party app from an untrusted publisher always rings an alarm for most users. Regardless, I continued with the installation.

2.2. Accessibility

Once installed, the pCloud Drive shows up on the left navigation panel in the File Explorer. All your synced folders in the pCloud Drive can be accessed from here.

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Simply copy or move a folder to the pCloud Drive and it will start syncing. Once fully synced, you can then access the folder and all its contents from any device on the go.

2.3. Storage Space

On the Free plan, pCloud provides you up to 10 GBs of free cloud storage space. However, most of this space is locked up, which means you only get 2 GB of storage space upon sign up, which can be extended to a full 10 Gigs if you perform some simple actions. These include:

  1. Verify your email – +1 GB unlocked
  2. Upload a file to pCloud – +1 GB unlocked
  3. Download pCloud Drive – +1 GB unlocked
  4. Download pCloud app – +1 GB unlocked
  5. Turn on Automatic Upload – +1 GB unlocked
  6. Invite friends and family to pCloud – +1 GB unlocked

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2.4. Folder Syncing

pCloud Drive also provides you the option to sync your local files and folders with pCloud. Any files and other items you add to your synced local folders will then automatically be uploaded to your pCloud storage.

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If you don’t want pCloud to upload certain files, folders and file types to your cloud drive, simply exclude them using the Advanced Settings tab.

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2.5. File Editing

Probably the only setback with pCloud is that it does not offer native file editing capabilities. With the local folder sync option, you can choose to open your files locally, make any changes as you see fit, and pCloud Drive will automatically sync them with your cloud storage again.

However, you cannot open and edit files using the web portal or on the mobile apps. You can only preview them. pCloud offers preview support for all commonly used file types, including:

Documents DOCX, DOC, ODT, ODG, RTF, PAGES, DOTX, DOT, DOCM, DOTM, OTT
Spreadsheets XLSX, XLS, ODS, NUMBERS, XLSB, XLTX, XLT, XLTM, XLSM, OTS, EXL2
Presentations PPTX, PPT, PPSX, PPS, ODP, KEY, PPT2, POT, POTM, PPTM, PPSM, OTP
E-books FB2, AZW, PDB, EPUB, EBOOK2

2.6. pCloud Crypto

Encryption: 4096-bit RSA for private keys and 256-bit AES for per-file and per-folder keys.

Let’s talk a little bit about data security with pCloud and why it is one of the best secure cloud storage services available for your buck. As an add-on you can purchased added encryption for your cloud drive using pCloud Crypto.

Plans starting at $4.99 per month ($3.99 per month on an annual plan, $125 one-time payment for the lifetime plan), pCloud Crypto is a great security measure to ensure your data is always protected from unwanted access.

With client-side encryption, pCloud Crypto allows you to keep your data protected even if your device is stolen. pCloud claims that no one, including pCloud’s administrators, can access your content on the pCloud servers.

You generate a Crypto Pass that is the encryption key used to decrypt files and folders for access. This key is not stored anywhere, leaving anyone but you incapable of accessing files and folders encrypted using pCloud Crypto.

For more information on pCloud Crypto, you can read their detailed blog here.

2.7. File Sharing

With just a click, you can add a collaborator to share your files and folders in pCloud. You can also be invited to collaborate on a shared file/folder. These shared files and folders can then be accessed using your pCloud Drive.

2.8. Rewind

You can restore files and folders on your pCloud drive at any point in time from the past 15 days. The Rewind feature is available on the Free plan. If you’d like to retain earlier restore points, you can extend the retention duration to 1 year.

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The upgrade costs $39 per year individually. It provides:

  1. 1-year file versioning
  2. 1-year trash history
  3. 1-year Rewind restore

2.9. Backups

Backups in pCloud are one of my favorite features. Have multiple cloud storage services that you use? You can sync them all with pCloud once and take regular backups without having to do anything after that.

At present, pCloud allows you to schedule backups for your cloud storage on Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive. Facebook and Instagram backups are also supported. All your media, files and content can be backed up with just a click.

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2.10. pCloud for Mobile

To take your files and folders with you on the go, pCloud has mobile apps for iOS and Android. The mobile apps are easy to use and require little to no hands-on training to get started.

You can easily access and download files, share them with others, work in offline mode and more. No surprises here – the mobile apps provide all the functionality you would expect to see in a cloud storage app.

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2.11. Download Links

pCloud offers efficient management of download links that you share. There is an analytics dashboard, so you can keep track of all incoming traffic to the links you’ve created for your files and folders on pCloud.

One interesting new feature that pCloud has introduced for download links is custom branding. While you can only personalize one public link on the Free plan, the Premium plans offer unlimited custom branding.

Here is a preview of a customized download link:

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2.12. Adobe Lightroom Integration

Another great feature that comes with pCloud is its integration with Adobe Lightroom. This is an excellent addition for photographers and creators who want to quickly move and share files without having to juggle between tools.

You can upload finished photos to your cloud drive from Adobe Lightroom using the pCloud integration. A great feature for pros making pCloud one of the best cloud storage for photographers.


3. Pricing – 9.0 out of 10

pCloud has one of the most competitive and flexible pricing plans in the market. It has both tiered-based one-time pricing plan with a cap on different storage options as well as affordable monthly plans.

Free – 10 GB of storage space.

Premium: $3.99/month or $47.88/year – 500GB storage.
Lifetime Premium: $175 – one-time payment

Premium Plus: $7.99/month or $95.88/year – 2TB storage.
Lifetime Premium Plus: $350 – one-time payment

Plan Pricing Features
Premium
  • $3.99/month or $47.88/year
  • $175 (one-time payment)
  • 500GB storage space
  • 500GB download link traffic
  • Fair share
  • Download link branding
  • 30-days trash history
Premium Plus
  • $7.99/month or $95.88/year
  • $350 (one-time payment)
  • 2TB storage space
  • 2TB download link traffic
  • Fair share
  • Download link branding
  • 30-days trash history

4. Security – 9.3 out of 10

pCloud takes necessary steps to ensure your data is safe and always available. Here are some of the key measures they take:

Certified Data Centers – pCloud’s data centers are chosen following intense risk assessment processes that have proven the quality and reliability of our service. This includes selecting of the highest level of physical and technical security applications, to ensure full data security compliance.

pCloud hosts user data through a leading certified data center via colocation. It is compliant under ISO 9001:2008 and 27001:2013 certificates for Quality Management and Data Management Systems.

In addition, pCloud’s quality management systems are validated by an independent third party certification authority, with the aim to provide a solid scalable framework for managing the company’s activities.

Client-side Encryption – With pCloud Crypto, they use industry standard 4096-bit RSA for users’ private keys and 256-bit AES for per-file and per-folder keys. Data authentication is done in a different way compared to most competitors. Authentication is the process of verifying that you decrypted the right data.

Many experts consider it a mandatory part of encryption. Authentication is done by calculating cryptographic hash of the data during encryption and decryption, and comparing the results.

Zero-knowledge Privacy Policy – Once a password is created in a zero-knowledge environment no copies of personal keys and passwords are stored on the servers of the company. As such, the company has no way to access and know what kind of information you have in your account, making you fully in control over your data.

Neither pCloud as a service provider, nor any authority or service will ever have access to your encrypted files. pCloud does not store your Crypto Pass on their servers, which means that you’re the one in charge.

Other security measures include:

  • TLS/SSL encryption
  • Additional security layer in the form client-side encryption
  • Compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

5. Customer Support – 8.1 out of 10

  1. Direct Customer Support: There’s a ‘Get Help” chat bubble on the bottom right corner in the support center. This makes it really easy for users to write to support directly for any inquiries or questions.
  2. Email Support: [email protected]
  3. Community Support: https://www.pcloud.com/help/general-help-center/
  4. Social Media Support: pCloud entertains social media support on Twitter and Facebook along with getting started guides available on the website.

📰 Update: I was told by the pCloud staff that support is now also available in German, French and Turkish. Kudos to pCloud team for introducing support in more languages!


Customer Testimonials

pCloud is like Dropbox on steroids! – Martin Lange, Orlando

It’s the best; no need to look elsewhere. – Chad LeMaire, Navarre

If you are a platform agnostic (including Linux) this is the cloud service for you. – Phenix Nunlee, Baltimore


Final Verdict

Considering the increasing reliance on secure means of data storage in the cloud, pCloud is an affordable option to consider for small teams and businesses. While it offers limited support channels, it makes up for that with a range of features for document sharing, syncing, offline functionality and on-the-go collaboration.

It is also one of the very few free cloud storage providers offering a native client for Linux users. While  there online document editing and runtime collaboration is missing, the 10 GB free cloud storage, scalability for up to 2 TB, and the client-side encryption using pCloud Crypto has me impressed.

What cloud storage platforms would you like me to review next? Ping me at [email protected] with your ideas and suggestions.


Check out other reviews on Productivity Land

  1. GanttPRO Review 2019 – Ease of Use, Features, Pricing & Support
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  3. Asana Review 2019 – Reviews, Ratings, Pricing, Complaints, Comparisons
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  6. Proggio Review – Project Management Tool Reviews, Pricing & Features
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  8. Spike Email Review 2019 – Reviews, Ratings, Pricing, Comparisons

Senior Editor at Productivity Land. Productivity hero by day, Twitter nerd by night. Follow me and let's talk about all things productivity. 😄

15 comments

  1. Design & Ease of Use

    5.00

    Features & Functionality

    6.00

    Pricing

    7.00

    Security

    2.00

    Customer Support

    7.00

    This pCloud review needs to be “fact checked”

    1. The “Pros” section states that pCloud has no bandwidth restrictions. This is not true.

    pCloud plans are very restrictive in terms of bandwidth usage when sharing, and you will most likely hit your monthly limits (and have to pay more) if you do any type of sharing. See here: https://www.pcloud.com/help/general-help-center/how-much-download-link-traffic-does-each-pcloud-plan-include. Further, with pCloud crypto enabled file sizes are also restricted, when using the web panel.

    2. pCloud crypto costs extra, but many features stop working.

    For example you can no longer “Rewind” your files with pCloud crypto enabled. This is mentioned here: https://www.pcloud.com/features/file-versioning.html
    (browse through your account at a specific time and date in the past and restore or download all of your non-encrypted files). What is the point of paying extra for crypto, and then losing important data recovery features as a result?

    3. pCloud says they are based in Switzerland: https://www.pcloud.com/company/about.html
    However, their data centres are actually in the United States (which is only mentioned deep within a sub section of the website)

    For European users this comes as quite a SHOCK and should be a warning signal, as legal jurisdiction of the data stored is actually not “Swiss based”. Switzerland provides the best data privacy, and many cloud services that provide better privacy setup physical datacenters in Switzerland because of this.

    However, in pClouds case they seem to pulling a “bait and switch”, by promoting themselves as being Swiss based, when really, the data is stored in the USA.

    4. The lifetime plan does not include any guarantees that the level of service will be maintained over the course of the plan term. Will pCloud slowly degrade the service for lifetime users? Will they continue to add new features, or will they force lifetime users to purchase additional features or purchase a service level guarantee? Only time will tell.

    1. Thanks so much for your detailed comment, Adam. Appreciate all the details you shared.

      Our team reviews all information and vigorously tests out any products that we review. Rest assured, our review is “fact-checked”. As for your concerns regarding data privacy, lifetime plan guarantees and other limitations with pCloud Crypto, you might want to take that to the pCloud support team. I’m sure they are best suited to address this. 🙂

    2. Design & Ease of Use

      10.00

      Features & Functionality

      10.00

      Pricing

      10.00

      Security

      10.00

      Customer Support

      10.00

      Hello Adam,

      Thank you for taking the time to express your honest feedback on our product.
      We believe that it would be good to provide you with further information on the topics stated, in order to avoid any misunderstandings that might have happened.

      1. There are no restrictions on the size of the content uploaded. In case there are some restrictions for the upload with our web interface, this could be a browser limitation only or an issue with your local ISP provider. As for the Bandwidth limit, it is on a monthly basis no matter of the subscription, and equal to the quota of the account itself. Unless used for any advertisement or spam purposes, which is an abuse to our system and terms agreed, this limit is hard to be reached by the users.

      2. pCloud Crypto did never actually give the option to store the deleted files in the Trash or to keep the file versions from that directory, due to the different type of encryption it has. Furthermore, the files from the Crypto could be deleted only manually and intentionally, where an additional password for that folder is also available. This makes the content stored there not easy to be deleted.

      3. Yes, that information could be easily found on our official website and is not hidden, so we do not consider that we have been hiding that from our users. Our company is based in Switzerland and this is also something that is well explained on our website. Our main data center is positioned in Dallas, Texas, the USA, but we do own all of our servers there, which is something rarely seen nowadays. pCloud is using its own software and hardware infrastructure, as opposed to infrastructure built by another cloud provider.
      As a Swiss-based company, we are going to release a new main data center in Europe by the end of 2019, so you would have the opportunity to choose where your data could be stored. The main thing about our servers is that we do own all of them. You can check more for our security here https://www.pcloud.com/features/security.html

      4. We doubt in that scenario as we are a fast growing and reliable company, which is working tirelessly towards improving its services every day.
      pCloud users can pay for a lifetime plan. A lifetime plan is in effect for the duration of the account owner or 99 years, whichever is shorter.
      If you are uncomfortable and have your doubts, please use our monthly or yearly subscriptions instead.
      If for some reason we go out of the business, all your files will be available for instant download.

      Hope that we have managed to explain how our platform works and thank you for testing our product as well.

      Regards,
      pCloud Team

  2. Design & Ease of Use

    9.90

    Features & Functionality

    9.00

    Pricing

    9.70

    Security

    9.80

    Customer Support

    9.80

    Fast, reliable,safe, really easy to use service. I love it. Thank you pCloud.

  3. Design & Ease of Use

    10.00

    Features & Functionality

    10.00

    Pricing

    9.80

    Security

    10.00

    Customer Support

    10.00

    I think the platform is getting better – design, support, price. Especially the 2 TB cloud storage lifetime plan. The ability to sync folders and documents, directly sharing links, back up photos, videos. I like the Crypto folder and the ability to hide some files. I think the synchronization and transfer of files is almost automatic. I also like that the technical support team answers any questions in a short time.

  4. Design & Ease of Use

    9.40

    Features & Functionality

    10.00

    Pricing

    10.00

    Security

    10.00

    Customer Support

    9.70

    I trust pCloud to store my business and personal files. I’ve been using pCloud for more than 4 years. I can access all my files via any platform and device.

  5. Design & Ease of Use

    9.50

    Features & Functionality

    8.70

    Pricing

    9.80

    Security

    10.00

    Customer Support

    9.60

    Hi, everyone. I want to share my great experience with pCloud. I have been a pCloud user for 2 years and now I own the lifetime Premium plan.

    1. The design of pCloud’s interface is simple and easy to use. I also always have quick access to the features that I use the most.

    2. pCloud doesn’t stop to add new features to the existing ones. This is the best part that I love in pCloud. Furthermore, the new features come free of charge. If you own a premium plan, you always get full access. The only exception is the Crypto feature which has an additional price. To be honest, I really miss the online editing option and hope to add this soon.

    3. Pricing isn’t everything but it is very important when you consider using cloud storage services for a long time. After a very thorough research, I found that pCloud offers the most affordable prices on the market. With the Lifetime plans, especially, you pay once and get the service.

    4. Security is a top concern for me (as for many of you) and I am happy to know that pCloud uses TLS/SSL encryption during and after the transfer of my data. Also with the 2FA feature, I can secure my logins as well.

    5. The Customer Support is via e-mail ticket system but it’s really fast and reliable which is quite better than the rest support centers.
    Overall I am happy with pCloud and its numerous features which allow me to access, store and share my data.

  6. Design & Ease of Use

    8.70

    Features & Functionality

    9.50

    Pricing

    9.00

    Security

    9.50

    Customer Support

    10.00

    Great reveiw, Steve! Supper satisfied Linux pCloud customer, here. Switched from Dropbox right away, because I found that pCloud is one of the few services that really pays attention to security and Linux users. The Electron app works like a virtual drive, which is pretty neat, and it’s free.

    The only thing that I’d really like to seee is option to share files from the Crypto folder.

  7. Design & Ease of Use

    9.00

    Features & Functionality

    9.00

    Pricing

    10.00

    Security

    10.00

    Customer Support

    9.50

    Using pCloud for more than a year now (I have a Premium lifetime plan), I must say I’m quite pleased with the service. Initially I started with a monthly subscription, but soon I was convinced this is the right cloud storage service for me. It’s easy to use, very secure. I like the fact that they are adding new features to the service. I’ll recommend it any time.

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