Are you curious about the pros and cons of pCloud, which we reviewed? Whether you want to begin using the encrypted cloud storage service, need reasons to continue doing so, or consider canceling your pCloud subscription and deleting your pCloud account, we have you covered. However, we don’t think the last option is necessary unless you have a superior alternative. It ranks as one of the best cloud file-storing platforms, after all. Our goal is to help you realize what its positive and negative aspects are, so you can either appreciate its offer or look elsewhere. With that, let’s dig into the advantages and disadvantages of pCloud.
Advantages of pCloud
The service is one of the leaders in the cloud storage industry. These are the upsides of pCloud:
1. pCloud encrypts your data, keeping it safe
pCloud uses TLS/SSL and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption with a 256-bit key. The latter is deemed the golden standard in the industry as theoretically unbreakable.
Additionally, the service will create five copies of each file on different servers to ensure data safety in case of corruption or hardware or software issues. Plus, they use 4096-bit RSA to authenticate private keys and hashing to compare data authenticity during encryption and decryption.
pCloud Crypto is a paid extra feature that will encrypt the data on the user’s devices, then upload it to the storage. That ensures the data is never transferred in a plain state. Further, the encryption key is never uploaded or stored on their servers (zero-knowledge privacy) and only the user knows the so-called Crypto Pass.
2. It offers 10 GB of free storage space with unlimited size and speed
pCloud allows you to have 10 GB of space in the cloud storage at all times. You can access your data via desktop, mobile, or web browser, and use the search bar or filtering (documents, pictures, video, audio, and archive) to easily find what you need.
pCloud also puts no restrictions on the maximum file size, even for free users, so long as there’s enough free storage. Additionally, erased files will remain in the Trash folder for 15 (free plan) or 30 days (Premium, Lifetime, Premium Plus plans).
Lastly, although you can limit the download or upload speed for your sake, the service offers unlimited upload and download speed on paid and free accounts.
3. pCloud lets you configure individual or shared access
We mentioned pCloud only permits access via Crypto Pass known to the account owner. However, the user can choose to collaborate with others in several ways:
- Invite to Folder. Users can create shared folders and configure viewing, editing, and managing permissions, and assign or revoke them from all compatible devices.
- Shared links. A user can share a view or download link for a file with users with or without an account for pCloud. The service automatically links the latest available file version and supports password protection and link expiration.
- Direct links. You can make files and folders indexable and accessible publicly, for sharing download links or using them as external storage for HTML pages, images, videos, and so on.
- File Request. This permits users to let others upload a file to their pCloud account without receiving permission for the rest of the data.
4. It works cross-platform
pCloud is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac as a software named pCloud Drive, and pCloud for Mobile for Android and iOS. Moreover, you can use pCloud Web from any device that supports web browsers, including Smart TVs, consoles, Raspberry Pi devices, and so forth. Users may also “Favorite” files to make them available offline on their mobile devices.
5. pCloud supports syncing, backup, file history, and integration features
One of the biggest advantages of pCloud is its data syncing capability that works on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Users can enable automatic syncing to keep data consistent across all their devices.
Further, through custom plugins, you can integrate pCloud with a wide array of platforms with valuable files, notably Instagram and Facebook.
Additionally, the cloud provider keeps previous versions of files as backups and makes them accessible to users. Users can see Revisions of files without restoring an older version or utilize Rewind to check the state of the entire digital collection. Both features work up to 15 days in the past for free users.
Disadvantages of pCloud
There’s nothing outright terrible about the platform, but pCloud has some downsides:
1. Users have to pay for useful pCloud features
We mentioned pCloud requires users to buy a premium plan to extend the Trash storage from 15 to 30 days. The situation is identical with things such as pCloud Revisions and pCloud Rewind. You can see the file or drive history for 30 days instead of 15 if you have a pCloud Premium, Premium Plus, or Lifetime account subscription.
An Extended File History feature saves your account changes for up to 365 days since the date of purchase, but costs extra, too. Moreover, even if users get a premium plan, pCloud can still collect data and show targeted ads on the web or the software.
We should also mention that TLS/SSL and 256-bit AES types of encryption are free, but their pCloud Crypto user-side encryption costs extra. That’s a bit of a downer since the service advertises this extra protection layer as one of its greatest advantages over the competition.
2. Plans are unsuitable for casual users
pCloud’s premium features target users who upload a lot, share access and collaborate, or run a business, so their payment plans may be inadequate for casual users.
Although you can scale user access, from up to 4 members (Family plans) or as much as needed for Business plans, the first user plan is at 500 GB of storage (Premium) and goes to 2 TB (Premium Plus) and then skips to 10 TB (Custom Lifetime).
Luckily, monthly prices are affordable, from 4.99 EUR/month for 500 GB to 9.99 EUR for 2 TB. However, annual and lifetime plans don’t offer a huge incentive unless the company is running its typical 65-80% discount. With those price reductions, annual plans go up to 99.99 EUR, and the lifetime ones to 399 EUR (Lifetime Premium Plus) to 1190 EUR (Lifetime Custom).
3. Encrypted files lack user-friendly features
pCloud advertises an inbuilt media player, thumbnail generation, archive creation and extraction, and similar file operations. However, the way the service encrypts files means their servers cannot comprehend the uploaded encrypted data. Thus, cloud storage can’t transcode media, create thumbnails, or make or extract archives from encrypted files.
This is the nature of encryption and not the service’s fault, but it’s a downside of using pCloud for storage. However, the provider lets users decrypt files they want to open in the cloud and store them in the same folder as the encrypted ones, which is unique.
4. Inconsistent download and upload features and speed
pCloud permits unlimited upload and download speed and file size, but users often complain about the efficiency. Although their ISP (Internet Service Provider) and hardware permit a higher speed, it seems like the cloud storage provider’s servers can frequently get overloaded. The slow-down in upload and download speeds makes pCloud unsuitable for robust cloud-based operations.
5. It lacks a better folder system and syncing capabilities
Although pCloud isn’t always malfunctioning when it comes to file storing and syncing, users frequently report problems. Besides taking a while, uploads and downloads reportedly tend to fail more often than, say, with Google Drive, Mega.nz, or Dropbox.
Additionally, users report the file system that combines encrypted and unencrypted data in the same folder takes some adjustment. Plus, newly uploaded files may not be synced properly, and require manual management or additional steps such as using Mail ID.