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REVIEWED by Eric Byron
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My Experience With iDrive
IDrive has, rather uniquely, split their business in to two halves. There’s IDrive the Universal Backup and IDrive Sync, the Cloud Storage service. When you go on to IDrive’s welcome page you are required to choose one before continuing.
Let’s start with IDrive Sync. IDrive sync is the Cloud Storage Service that starts with an impressive 10 GB free version and goes up to a 500 GB version for $14.95 per month. IDrive prides itself on being the fastest and most affordable Cloud Storage provider.
Once on to the IDrive Sync page there is the option to login, connect with facebook or sign up for the free 10 GB. IDrive guides you along every step from signing up to installing the application and starting out with the website.
After the application has been downloaded IDrive will present you with the option to go straight to the page for downloading the Mobile app. This means you won’t even have to go looking for the app on your own, it’s all there for you.
The installation takes very little time and is incredibly simple. It has to be said that IDrive have clearly worked hard to make everything as simple and clear as possible. It even points a giant green arrow to the IDrive icon when it’s been installed.
IDrive, like Dropbox, will create a specific folder for everything you want stored and shared but there is also the option to choose existing folders to sync as well. Anything that is shared but isn’t in the main folder is classed as “Out of Box”. This becomes important when using the website and mobile apps as these will be put under a different page altogether.
In the options for the application there’s very little to play with. There are really only two options. The first is choosing whether or not you would like the desktop notifications (for when something has been changed or uploaded) and the second is setting bandwidth limits.
As with everything else, IDrive will actually guide you to the website and quickly show you the basics. From here you can view, download, upload and share your files and folders.
There is the option to add email contacts and group them together if you wish to send the same thing. Unfortunately you can’t share a joint folder with others as you can with Dropbox, you’re really only sending them a link to see them or download.
You can also link your account to Facebook, which will simply import you Facebook contacts. It will also allow you to post files directly to your Facebook page or pin it to your Pinterest boards.
All of these features are great for anyone wanting to share pictures and music with friends but there is no real security or added features for business. With a share link anyone could view the file and view it for themselves. So in this respect it’s worth being cautious over what it is exactly that you’re sharing.
The mobile app is available on iOS and Android and is just as easy to use as the rest of IDrive Sync. One thing that’s really great about it is that when it starts up for the first time you can choose whether to use just the wifi or the wifi with your data plan.
Once you’re in, the mobile app will start uploading files from your phone to the “Out of Box” folder. This is rather unusual compared to other Storage Service apps where they are better suited to just browsing the files. But with IDrive it is treated more like an extension of IDrive Sync as a whole. There is the option to turn this off though if that’s your preference.
Pricing and Storage
IDrive claims to be cheapest Cloud Storage Service and it’s hard to argue. The 10 GB version is free and there are multiple ways of increasing that limit. You can earn 0.5 GB for just installing the Mobile App and another 0.5 GB for installing the Desktop Client. You can also “Like” on Facebook or follow on Twitter for the same amount and you can earn up to 18 GB for referring friends. None of the other services come even close to this amount of free storage.
There are only two paid plans that are 150 GB for $4.95 per month (or $49.50 for the year) and 500 GB for $14.95 per month (or $149.50 for the year). Unfortunately this is as big as IDrive goes for synching. So if you were looking to store 1TB or more you might have to look elsewhere.
IDrive Online Backup
Even though the Backup and Storage services are treated as separate entities, there is much about them that’s similar. For example the Mobile app is the same and the website offers many of the same features such as downloading files or viewing images in the gallery.
The signup page for IDrive backup requires a little bit more from you. You will need to set a unique username and enter a verification number. After this the next stage will be to decide on whether you want a default encryption key made by IDrive or a private key made by you. If you choose the private key it must be kept safe, as without it you won’t be able to retrieve your data.
When you have downloaded and installed the application you will need to select which specific folders and files you want to backup. Alternatively you could just allow the client to stay on the default. IDrive will backup the contents of your Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Music, Movie and library folders by default. So chances are you don’t even have to play with IDrive at all and it will backup everything you could need.
In the preferences you can set a schedule and bandwidth limit if you prefer. There’s also the option of restoring older versions of your files which might come in handy when you’ve been using IDrive for a while.
The website for IDrive Backup offers some extra features over the Sync version. There’s the option to view backup reports, a history of events and the option to pull deleted files out of the trash.
For the Business plan you can create and manage multiple accounts. These accounts could be given to your employees and with a set limit. Be wary though as exceeding your overall limit could leave you with an added fee to pay.
Pricing and Storage
The pricing is set between “Personal & Family” and “Business”. The Personal plans are only in two sizes. 150 GB is $4.95 per month and 500 GB is $14.95 per month.
Business options start at 100 GB for $9.95 per month and end with 1000 GB for $79.95 per month.
These prices are incredibly cheap compared to some other providers and there is no limit to how many computers you can use with it. But be aware that extra computers will be eating in to that backup limit so it might be necessary to work out an “allowance” for each computer.
File Support: 9/10
File Security: 9/10
Final Summary Of iDrive
IDrive have worked hard to make everything as simple and clear as possible. The website’s minimalist layout means there’s no chance of confusion and setting up the applications for Desktop and Mobile could not be easier.
The plans for both Sync and Backup are some of the cheapest around. The various features make IDrive ideal for the personal user and small business. However larger businesses may prefer a service that offers more features for the Backup plans.
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There are cheaper Cloud Storage Services out there but Dropbox just makes life so easy. And if you don’t need more than 2GB, you really can’t argue with the free version.