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Icedrive is a cloud storage service that keeps your files secure with zero-knowledge encryption and a clever interface. Whilst still pretty new, they offer impressive features like their ‘Virtual Drive’ that helps free up space on your computer! Learn more.
Icedrive may be a newcomer to the scene compared to giants like Dropbox and pCloud, but don’t let that fool you. Since incorporating in Wales in 2019, they’ve quickly expanded to Germany and the US and are becoming a popular cloud storage solution.
Why the buzz? Well, Icedrive promises super-secure encryption, ease of use and a unique ‘Virtual Drive’ feature that gives users the familiar feeling of a physical hard drive when managing their files on the cloud. But how good is it really?
Pros of Icedrive
Cons of Icedrive
Icedrive’s Plan and Pricing
Digital data is a big part of our lives, with the sheer amount of it threatening to overwhelm our storages. As cheap as physical hard drives are, they can fail, and are annoying to carry around.
If you want easy access to your files online cloud storage is the obvious choice. However – not all cloud storage providers are made equal.
For this review, we tested Icedrive’s features and promises for ourselves, and were impressed! But is Icedrive the solution for your particular needs? Read on to learn more!
By far, one of our favorite things about Icedrive is it’s Virtual Drive option for PCs.
To understand why it’s a big deal – let’s remind ourselves what you usually need to do to manage files on the cloud. You might need to download entire sync folders/files to preview them, then manually delete them afterwards to free up space. You might need to deal with annoying lag every time you want to rename a file.
Icedrive simplifies everything by offering a unique method of interacting with your files on the cloud: via a ‘virtual drive’. In other words, you can access your cloud files as if they’re in a hard drive that’s physically connected to your computer.
Once the virtual drive is mounted to your OS, you can open, edit, delete, and upload files like you would on a normal hard drive. Files are then uploaded or updated on the cloud.
It makes learning how to use Icedrive dead-easy, because there’s… nothing to learn. It feels exactly the same as working with Windows Explorer.
And activating this feature just takes a few simple clicks.
Not only does the virtual drive feature provide a great user experience – it also frees up a ton of space on your actual hard drive.
To compare, almost every other cloud storage service will have some sort of “sync” folder that downloads a copy of the files from your cloud storage into your computer’s hard drive. The files are synced to the latest copy detected on the cloud or computer.
This sync folder often eats up the limited (and valuable!) space of your computer, which is especially hard for mobile workers who rely on laptops as their bread-and-butter workstations.
In comparison, Icedrive’s virtual drive takes up very little space. The data you work with is streamed on demand, and the most frequently used files are intelligently cached to keep workflow interruptions and bandwidth usage to a minimum. Icedrive also has an internal system of chunking files so even large ones will not slow you down!
One of the main reasons people choose cloud storage is that it lets us access our files easily.
So it’s great that Icedrive users get a range of access options:
This mix of web and mobile apps provide an almost-seamless way to interact, manage, and use your cloud storage across multiple devices.
The mobile app is great for users who have a ton of media or important data on their phone: the full backup option provides a fallback in the event of losing your device, and their larger Pro/Pro+ plans offer 1TB/5TB of cloud storage that is perfect for all those photos and videos.
The mobile interface also makes it easy to manage your files from literally anywhere. Imagine being able to organize your files for an important meeting during your commute, all from your phone!
The web browser version of the service is no slouch either: Icedrive converts many popular file types into a version that is viewable in the browser. It’s a big plus when you need to quickly see something from an unfamiliar device that may not have the right software to open certain formats.
For impromptu sharing sessions, pulling up vital files whenever needed, and working on the go, Icedrive’s apps are easy to use and lightweight on resource usage. This is especially true when it comes to the portable version of the desktop app…
Ever wished you could show up to a meeting and access your docs on their computer, easy-peasy?
Icedrive’s portable desktop app provides a lightweight method of accessing your stuff from any computer. You won’t need to install anything – you just download and launch it. You can then stream content and preview popular document formats on the fly, even if you don’t have the native apps installed!
Many cloud services require the actual programs to be installed before you can preview anything, but Icedrive works around this. It lets you do things like open and read a Word doc within the app, even if you don’t have MS Word installed on that device.
You can even just download the app into a thumb drive and enjoy access (with file previews) to your cloud storage wherever you stick the drive. Imagine being able to quickly show all your large documents or renders to a client with just a pendrive! Very convenient.
Aside from usability, data security and privacy are top concerns that any user has for our precious files. You’ll be glad to know that Icedrive answers both needs by using “bulletproof”, Zero-knowledge encryption!
In fact, Icedrive is the only cloud storage solution that uses twofish algorithm encryption, rated as one of the most secure encryption algorithms currently in service! Your files will first be encrypted using a 256-bit encryption key that is created from a passphrase that you set. Then while uploading, the data is encrypted once more over HTTPS for increased security in transit.
Speed-wise, twofish is said to be slower than the more common AES encryption standards, meaning files take longer to fully encrypt. However, it’s mostly relative – you shouldn’t notice slowdowns in the encryption process as files are broken up into chunks for encryption and uploading.
While the details of how it works will boggle non-cryptographers, the general consensus is that cracking twofish encryption is so time-consuming as to be unprofitable for anyone without a supercomputer. Security = assured.
Privacy-wise, Zero-knowledge encryption means that Icedrive will never see what you actually upload. All data is encrypted on your device before being uploaded to the cloud, so your privacy is guaranteed.
As a comparison, services like Google Drive and Dropbox actually say in their T&C that their employees can see and share what you upload onto their server. Woah!
And for users who want even MORE security, 2FA authentication through Google, FIDO/U2F, or SMS (premium feature) can be enabled with just a few clicks.
Icedrive’s tight security relies on one thing – don’t forget your encryption passphrase! Since Icedrive never has a copy of it, losing the passphrase might mean a total loss of your cloud files. Make sure you keep it somewhere safe, like in a reputable password manager.
Much like other cloud services, Icedrive users can share files by sending a link to files or folders in the cloud.
The file sharing is actually quite accessible on all platforms, which lets you tap, share, and send from anywhere.
If you upgrade to their paid plans, you get additional gatekeeping options in the form of passwording and setting expiration dates on links. Both are useful features for ensuring only the right people have access to data at the right time.
Even more unusual – Icedrive offers a ‘Request Files’ feature. This lets you request files to be uploaded by others into one of your cloud folders, which makes project collaboration a little easier.
Signing up with Icedrive is extremely easy. After entering the relevant details and one confirmation email later, we have access to cloud storage on the webpage and can download its apps for our devices. That took a grand total of five minutes.
Upgrading the plan is just as swift and simple. Choose a preferred plan (differentiated by size), enter your payment details, and voila! Super secure cloud storage at your fingertips.
This easy-peasy sign up process coincides with how smooth the UI/UX experience feels.
The first thing that I noticed when logging in is how clean and modern-feeling the interface is.
With loads of white space and a rather pleasing blue/green gradient color scheme, I think Icedrive hits the icy cool aesthetic quite nicely.
The second thing I noticed is how everything on screen seems to click. All options are laid out where one would expect and all of it is simple enough to understand at a glance. Stick your files here and you’re done!
Uploading a file is as simple as drag and drop, although you also have the option of selecting files using your system’s file selection interface (like Windows Explorer).
For additional organization, folders can be added and color coded; perfect for users who love the speed of visually identifying categories of folders by color.
These folders are also accessible in the dropdown menu on the left. The search bar also makes it easy to find whatever you’re looking for.
You can even designate files and folders as Favorites – perfect for your most frequently accessed stuff.
Super-secure cloud storage with almost no learning curve that costs less than a latte a month?
The Pro plan alone is only $4.17 a month, which is less than a day’s worth of coffee for many freelancers who need that caffeine fix.
And what’s even better, is that Icedrive offers LIFETIME plans! In other words, pay once for massive cloud storage forever!
We’re huge fans of the lifetime plan model – which is still pretty rare, and only seen on a handful of brands like pCloud (read more on why we love lifetime plans here).
This handy comparison table below tells us one thing: a lifetime Pro+ plan saves you $300 vs. 5 years of annual payments. Plus, 5TB is a huge amount of storage – perfect for backing up every single photo and video you take. That’s a MILLION photos worth of storage, sorted for life.
|Annual payments*||$19.99 x 5 = $100.00||$49.99 x 5 = $250.00||$179.99 x 5 = $900|
|See all features|
The other plans do not see as much savings, but if you are satisfied with Icedrive’s offering, a one-off payment vs. monthly or yearly may be a convenience some would enjoy. With a 14-day money back guarantee, you can even test out many of the paid features and expanded storage offered in the Lite, Pro, and Pro+ plans at no risk.
In fact, Icedrive also offers a FREE plan for users looking to try it out!
The Icedrive free plan provides 10GB of space which can be accessed from all of its apps on any platform. Aside from your name and email address, there are no additional requirements for signing up.
The things to take note of with regards to “Free”:
Although some of these are significant limitations, the free plan lets you test out the interface, up/download speeds, and the sharing features at no cost.
It is also rather nice to have yet another 10GB of cloud storage for our data-hungry needs!
Of course very few services are perfect. Whilst it offers great features at competitive rates, there are a few things we wish Icedrive did better.
Although there are sharing options for files and folders, Icedrive doesn’t quite work like Google Docs. On Icedrive, a file can only be worked on by one person at a time. Once edits are done, Icedrive syncs the file with the cloud version so the next person will see the updated one.
That means Icedrive’s cloud storage is better for personal use rather than for team-oriented tasks. However, Icedrive’s file conversion capability does mean that you can see the latest copy almost all the time with just a mobile phone.
Tech support is something most of us expect from any service. However, we found Icedrive’s Help Center a little sparse. This made it more difficult to self-troubleshoot issues.
There is also no chat support; any requests for support are generally dealt with through a ticketing system, which can be a turn off for those who need immediate support. We read some customer reviews that said even the ticketed support can be slow or unresponsive for escalated issues such as lost files or unsuccessful syncing.
From our own testing, we received a ticket response just 2 hours after submitting one. It coincided with office hours just opening up in the US, so that may be why it was answered fairly quickly. The follow up reply did take another 24 hours to get to us though.
As a counterpoint to that, we are happy to see that they are constantly improving the service levels as more users sign on. We hope this is an area they’ll continue to work on.
While Icedrive touts integration across multiple platforms and OS (including Windows, Linux, & Mac) building a truly seamless experience between these wildly different systems can lead to buggy experiences.
Some users have reported data loss when moving between Windows and Mac OS, particularly on the PC application. This could be attributed to syncing sessions that did not quite reflect properly because of shifts in OS.
This OS difference also means that certain file formats become unrecognizable by the system when downloading a copy, resulting in additional steps to re-save the file using the current version of software being used.
In addition – the virtual drive feature is also not available on Mac OS – potentially due to how Mac OS is its own specialized ecosystem with high barriers to app entry.
Although adding a virtual drive makes moving files to the cloud feel seamless, failures to upload can result in extra work or even data loss if the right conditions happen.
From one of the reviews we read, it seems that “cut and paste” operations can result in data loss if the transfer is interrupted. The action of cutting deletes the file from your drive, and if there is an error in the pasting process or if the upload is interrupted, the file is lost and unrecoverable.
Pretty scary to think about, which is why it is always good to have a few copies of your most important stuff in different places.
Now that you understand what Icedrive can do and what some of its drawbacks are, here’s a quick look into the types of plans on offer.
All paid plans provide Icedrive’s full suite of encryption and file sharing features, so Lite, Pro, and Pro+ are just differentiated by the total amount of space provided.
Do note that the free 10GB plan does NOT come with encryption and has fewer features.
For the price of one to four coffees a month, you have access to a speedy, secure, and large cloud storage space. Lite is great for on-the-go file access and sharing, whereas the Pro+ plan’s 5TB of space is more suitable for users who have data-intensive files like photo/videographers.
You can pay monthly or yearly according to your budget, but if you think Icedrive will be around for another five years, consider going for a one-off lifetime payment as it saves you a significant chunk of cash!
Lifetime plans can even be paid for using cryptocurrencies!
Overall, the feeling we get is that Icedrive is one of the easiest-to-access cloud storage providers for personal use.
To sum it up, you’re getting top-class security and cross-platform interfaces that look and feel great, all packaged in affordable plans that cater to your needs. The inclusion of lifetime plans are a big plus for someone looking to buy it subscription-free.
With the ease of accessing and managing your cloud data through its apps, it’s sort of like having a big hard drive that follows you anywhere you go – but without taking up much space either physically or digitally.
While their sharing/collaboration options and customer support could use improvements, they are actively taking user feedback and making adjustments (as seen on their Facebook page). We’re excited to see them evolve in future!
This leaves us confident in saying that Icedrive could be a great choice for anyone looking to get some cloud storage. Go check them out!
Up to 5TB