Icedrive is the new kid in town, launched in 2019, is not the most feature-rich service for storing and sharing files in the cloud. But, it's quickly developing into a cloud storage powerhouse. Icedrive reeled me in with its cheap lifetime pricing, excellent security, and cutting-edge drive mounting software.
Here in this Icedrive review, I'll take a look at the pros and cons, features, and pricing plans.
Pros and Cons
- Client-side zero-knowledge encryption.
- Unlimited file versioning.
- Drag and drop uploading.
- Stunning user interface.
- Revolutionary drive mounting software.
- Affordable one-off payment lifetime plans.
- 10 GB free cloud storage
- Limited customer support.
- Limited sharing options.
- Lacks third-party integrations.
Icedrive Cloud Storage Features
In this Icedrive review, you'll learn more about Icedrive's key features and how this secure cloud storage service might benefit you.
Ease of use
Signing up to Icedrive isn't rocket science; all it requires is an email address, password, and full name. Many other cloud storage providers allow sign-up through Facebook or Google, but this isn't possible with Icedrive.
The user interface is well designed with a clean, polished look. It has some great aesthetic features, like the ability to customize the color of the folder icon.
Color coding is an excellent way of organizing folders and great for those who love to mix it up a bit. I'm also able to change my avatar, which makes my dashboard more personal.
Icedrive is accessible through most major browsers, but they advise that Google Chrome works best with their product.
There are several ways to use Icedrive, including the web app, desktop app, and mobile app. Icedrive is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac, and the mobile app is available on both Android app and Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad).
The web app is simple to use, and there’s the option of a list or large icon view. I prefer the latter as the large thumbnail previews are pleasing to the eye.
By right-clicking on any file or folder, it brings up a menu along the top. I can manage or customize my file by selecting one of the options. Uploading files to my Icedrive is a breeze – I just drag and drop them into the web app.
Alternatively, I can upload by right-clicking a space on my dashboard, and the upload option will appear.
The desktop app is a portable app that doesn't require installation. It's straightforward to use and looks and functions more or less the same way as the web app.
When I downloaded the desktop app, it offered me the option to install a virtual drive on my laptop. The virtual drive conveniently mounts itself, acting like a real hard drive without taking up space on my computer.
The virtual drive is only available on Windows and uses the Windows file explorer interface. It allows me to manage my files stored in the cloud, the same way I manage the files on my laptop.
Files I have stored on Icedrive can be edited using third-party apps such as Microsoft Office directly from the virtual drive.
The mobile app is just as sleek as the web interface, and the colored folders make it look great. It's simple to use, and if I tap the menu at the side of a file, it brings up the options for that specific item.
The Icedrive automatic upload feature allows me to upload my media files instantly. I can choose whether to automatically upload photos, videos, or both.
Paid users have the option to send files to the encrypted folder as they automatically upload. I can also backup all my files, audio clips, images, and videos in the mobile app.
By accessing my account settings on the web app, I can manage and change my password easily.
If I forget my password, I can click the ‘forgotten password' link on the login page. This opens a dialog box that prompts me to enter my email address. When I did this, Icedrive emailed me a password reset link to a page where I can enter a new password.
When using zero-knowledge encryption, Icedrive highlights the importance of using a memorable passphrase. Only the person who knows the passphrase can access the encrypted data – if it's forgotten, Icedrive can't recover the encrypted data.
Icedrive secures all customer data using TLS/SSL protocol which ensures all files are secure during transit. However, when the file reaches its destination on Icedrive, they're stored in an unencrypted state by default. Free users will have to upgrade to gain access to the encryption folder.
The premium security features in Icedrive are excellent, and they offer zero-knowledge, client-side encryption.
My data is encrypted before and during transit, making it less likely for the information to be intercepted by third parties. Only the recipient will be able to decrypt the file using the encryption key. Not even the staff at Icedrive will have access to my data.
Icedrive lets me select which files and folders I want to encrypt, and I can leave items that aren't sensitive in a normal state. You may be thinking, why not just encrypt everything. Well, it can be quicker to access files that aren't encrypted. So if it isn't necessary, or you need frequent access, there's no need.
Zero-knowledge, client-side encryption is an extra layer of security that is only available for paid subscribers. Icedrive uses the 256-bit Twofish encryption algorithm rather than the standard AES encryption.
Twofish is a symmetric block cipher which means it uses one key to encrypt and decrypt, and it's unbroken to date. Icedrive claims that Twofish is much more secure than the AES algorithm. However, it is said to be slower and less efficient than the AES protocol.
Check out this video to see how symmetric block ciphers work.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is also offered by Icedrive using Google Authenticator or FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) security key.
You can purchase U2F keys in the form of a USB, NFC device, or smart/swipe card. They're arguably the most secure 2FA method available. If the U2F key is physically safe, there is no way for any information to be digitally intercepted or redirected.
There is also the option of setting up two-factor authentication through SMS, which is highly convenient. However, this feature is for premium users only.
I can create a four-digit pin lock within the mobile app that Icedrive asks me to enter for accessing the cloud storage. If anyone unlocks my mobile, they would still have to know the pin code to access my files. Setting up the pin lock is easy – enter a memorable four-digit code and re-enter it to confirm.
I was concerned that this feature didn't ask me for my Icedrive password when I created my pin code. I was automatically logged in on my phone. Therefore there was no way that Icedrive could have confirmed that it was me creating the code.
Icedrive's servers are located in the UK, Germany, and the United States. However, you don't get the option to choose your server location when you sign up.
As Icedrive is a UK-based company, it must comply with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Regarding my personal data that Icedrive has stored – I can ask to see it at any time. I can also request to have any of the logged data that's linked to my account erased.
If I plan on deleting my account, Icedrive will erase all my data from their servers.
Sharing and Collaboration
Sharing links is easy; right-clicking the file brings up two options to share via email or public link access. When I click ‘sharing options,' a pop-up box is opened, and I can type in the recipient's email and add a message to send to them.
If I click ‘public links,' I can generate an access link that I can copy and send to the recipient via any communication method. Access passwords and expiration dates can also be created for links. However, these options are for paid subscribers only.
Icedrive also gives me the option to request files, which allows people to upload content to a specific folder. By right-clicking on any folder in my Icedrive, I can request files to be sent there.
Whenever I create a file request link, I need to set an expiry date for it, which can be anything up to 180-days from the time of setting it up.
The unfortunate thing about Icedrive's sharing options is that I'm unable to set permissions. This means I'm unable to allow anyone else to edit my files or set them to view-only. Another feature that is missing is the ability to set download limits.
Icedrive's syncing feature isn't where it shines. There is no separate sync folder, and when an item is in sync, it appears on the dashboard as a regular item.
Sync folders are available with many other cloud storage providers. I find that having a sync folder is more convenient and easier to use.
Icedrive doesn't support block-level sync. Block-level sync allows for quicker uploads as it only needs to sync the block of data that has been changed. However, it isn't possible to use block-level sync with client-side encryption, and for me, the encryption is more important.
Icedrive uses selective sync pair between the local folder stored on my computer and the remote folder on the cloud. There are three ways I can sync my files and folders between these two destinations:
- Two-way: When I edit or change anything on the remote or local folder, it will be reflected locally and remotely.
- One-way to local: Any changes I make remotely are reflected in my local folder.
- One-way to cloud: Any changes I make to my local folder are reflected in the cloud.
To check out Icedrive's transfer speeds, I performed a simple test on my basic home Wifi connection using a 40.7MB image folder. I used speedtest.net to find out my connection speeds before I started each upload or download.
At the beginning of the first upload process, I had an upload speed of 0.93 Mbps. The initial upload took 5 minutes 51 seconds to complete. I completed the second test with the same folder and an upload speed of 1.05 Mbps. This time my upload took 5 minutes and 17 seconds.
When I downloaded the image folder for the first time, my download speed was 15.32 Mbps, and it took 28 seconds to complete. On the second test, Icedrive completed the download in 32 seconds. On this occasion, my download speed was 10.75 Mbps.
The speed that Icedrive can upload and download depends on the internet connection. I also have to take into consideration that connection speeds can fluctuate throughout the test. Considering these factors, Icedrive managed good upload and download times, especially since my speeds were low.
File Transfer Queue
The file transfer queue allows me to see what is being uploaded to my Icedrive. File transfers can be left running in the background, and an uploading icon will appear in the bottom right corner. The icon displays the percentage of the upload, and with one swift click, I can view the queue.
The queue appears as a list view of the items in the folder. It shows the status of each file transfer individually, and it also shows a countdown clock below the list.
File previews are available, and I can quickly flick through them like slides once I've opened one up.
However, files within the encrypted folder won't generate thumbnails, and previews are limited. Thumbnails and previews aren't available for encrypted data because Icedrive's servers can't read it.
The ability to view encrypted files on the web app is available, but the file must be downloaded and decrypted before being displayed.
Icedrive has stated that they aim to implement more preview features as technology advances.
File versioning allows you to restore, preview, and download deleted files and files that have been changed. File versioning is unlimited on Icedrive, storing my files indefinitely. This means that I can restore my files to a previous version or recover them no matter how long ago they were changed or deleted.
Other providers have limits to this feature, so it wouldn't surprise me if Icedrive eventually follows suit. Previously, the highest file versioning limit I have seen is 360 days with high-tier Premium plans.
File versioning is only available on the web and desktop app. Restoring items to a previous version has to be done on a file-by-file basis. There's no feature that allows a bulk restore or lets me restore a whole folder to an earlier version. However, I can retrieve entire deleted folders from the trash.
The cloud backup wizard is a feature of the mobile app. It lets me choose the types of data I want to backup; options include images and videos, documents, and audio files. It also offers to organize my files once they're backed up automatically.
The backup wizard isn't the same as the automatic upload feature. It operates independently; I have to rescan my device each time I need to backup something new.
The automatic upload feature only gives me the option to sync photos and videos – while the backup wizard offers to backup my documents and audio files in addition to images and videos.
Free vs Premium plan
The free plan offers 10GB of storage and a monthly bandwidth limit of 25GB. There are no incentives to earn more space like with Sync.com. But what I like about the free plan is that it gives you 10GB, with no questions asked. You don't start with a lower limit and work your way up through incentives as you do with many other cloud storage providers.
The free storage plan comes with standard TLS/SSL security to protect data in transit as encryption is only available for premium users. However, I've heard rumors that Icedrive may be extending its encryption service to free users in the near future.
Icedrive's Premium options give you extra security as they all use client-side, zero-knowledge encryption. You'll also get access to advanced sharing features such as setting timeouts and passwords for links.
The Lite plan gives you 150GB of cloud storage space and 250GB of bandwidth per month. If this isn't enough, the Pro plan offers 1TB of storage space with a monthly bandwidth limit of 2TB. Icedrive's highest tier is the Pro+ plan with 5TB of cloud storage and 8TB of monthly bandwidth allowance.
Icedrive's free and premium plans are all for personal use and lack facilities for multiple users and businesses.
Icedrive's customer support facilities are limited, and it has only one way for customers to get in touch, by opening a ticket. There is no live chat option. When I finally found a telephone number, it advised me that customers should get in touch by opening a support ticket.
Icedrive states that they aim to respond to all queries within 24-48 hours. I've contacted Icedrive twice and managed to get a reply at around the 19-hour mark on both occasions. However, many customers have not had the same luck, and some haven't received a response.
The positive thing about the support ticket is that all my tickets are logged in one place on my Icedrive. I was notified of the response via my email but have to log in to see it. I found this useful as I don’t have to go hunting through my emails if I ever need to refer back to the ticket.
There is a customer support center that includes answers to frequently asked questions. However, I didn't find it as informative as pCloud's or Sync's support centers. It lacked a lot of information, such as details about sharing folders and how to use sync pair.
Icedrive has a built-in media player that gives me easy access to my music without involving a third-party application. The media player also works with video files.
However, it isn't as versatile as pCloud's music player and lacks features such as content shuffling and looping playlists. I have to move through my media manually, so it's challenging to use on the go. When using the media player, the only option I have is to change the speed of play.
WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) is an encrypted TLS server available to use on all paid plans through Icedrive. It allows me to collaboratively edit and manage files from my cloud with team members on a remote server.
Icedrive has three paid plan options; Lite, Pro, and Pro+. Subscriptions are available monthly and annually. They've also recently introduced the lifetime plan, which could help you save some cash if you're planning to commit to Icedrive.
The Lite plan is an excellent option for users who don't need a considerable amount of space but need more than the free plan. Icedrive doesn't offer the Lite subscription on a monthly basis, so when purchased, you're tied down for the year. But at $19.99 per annum, this is an excellent price compared to the similar-sized Mini plan offered by Sync.com.
- Data transfer: 3 GB
- Storage: 10 GB
- Cost: FREE
- Data transfer: 2 TB (2000 GB)
- Storage: 1 TB (1000 GB)
- Monthly plan: $4.99 per month
- Yearly plan: $4.17 per month ($49.99 billed annually)
- Lifetime plan: $229 (one-time payment)
The great thing about Icedrive's pricing is its lifetime options, i.e. a one-off payment to use Icedrive for LIFE.
A lifetime subscription to the Lite plan will set you back $99. To get your money's worth against the monthly plan, you'd have to be using Icedrive for at least five years.
Moving up, there's the Pro plan which offers 1TB of storage for $4.99 per month or at an annual price of $49.99. The lifetime plan is priced at $229, which would have to be used for 55 months for purchasing it to be worthwhile. When compared to pCloud's 2TB lifetime plan at $350, it looks a little underwhelming. However, remember zero-knowledge encryption is included with all Premium Icedrive plans, at no extra cost.
Finally, Icedrive's most extensive plan is the Pro+. This 5TB subscription comes at a price of $17.99 per month or $179.99 per year. The Pro+ lifetime is $599 and will take just over three years to be worth the purchase.
Lifetime subscriptions are incredible value for money (as are pCloud's) and well worth it if you plan to use Icedrive long term.
I do have some concerns over lifetime solutions and whether they'll keep up with the times. File sizes are getting bigger due to higher resolution, and other image improvement technologies, so storage capacity will possibly need to increase in the future.
As lifetime plans take between three and five years to reap a saving, you may need to consider if the plan will be adequate for that length of time.
There are no hidden fees, and you can pay for plans via all major credit cards and debit cards. Payments by Bitcoin are also available, but only for lifetime cloud storage plans.
If you don't like the service, there's a 30-day money-back guarantee, but I'd recommend giving the free plan a try first. If you cancel your subscription after the 30-day period, Icedrive won't refund unused services.
What is Icedrive?
Icedrive is a premium cloud storage service provider from ID Cloud Services Ltd in the United Kingdom. Icedrive's headquarters is in Swansea England and James Bressington is the founder and managing director
Can I Share My Encrypted Files?
No, sharing encrypted files isn't currently supported by Icedrive. This is because the recipient would need your encryption key to decrypt the file, which would leave your cloud vulnerable.
Icedrive has stated that they plan to create a public ‘crypto box' soon. You'll be able to create a crypto box within your encrypted folder. It'll use a different passphrase and key to the one you hold for your private encrypted files. This will enable users to share specific encrypted files without compromising other data.
Is It Possible to Reset My Encryption Key?
Yes, you can reset your encryption key. However, resetting will permanently erase all of your encrypted data stored on Icedrive.
If you need to reset your encryption key, head to your Icedrive account settings and select ‘Privacy.' Click on ‘Reset Encryption Passphrase,' enter your Icedrive account password and hit ‘Submit.'
Beware, once you click submit, your encrypted files and folders will be completely erased from your account.
What Is the Maximum File Size I Can Upload to Icedrive?
Icedrive's servers use the XFS file system, which enables uploads of up to 100TB. This is larger than any of the plans Icedrive has to offer. Therefore, you could say that the only limit to file sizes is your storage limit.
Can I Use My Files Offline?
Yes, by creating sync pairs between the cloud and the local folder on your device, you'll be able to gain offline access.
Open your Icedrive desktop control panel and click on the ‘Sync' tab to create a' sync pair.' ‘Sync pair' enables you to link a local folder to a cloud folder. Once the folder is downloaded from the cloud, the files will be available offline. Each time you have internet access, your offline file edits will be updated in the cloud.
Does Icedrive Store My Preferred Payment Details?
Icedrive uses Stripe to process all payments and stores no credit or debit card information. All payment data is encrypted, stored, and processed through Stripe.
Is Icedrive Safe to Use?
Yes, Icedrive secures files using the TLS/SSL protocol while in transit. Users who pay for their subscription are given zero-knowledge, client-side encryption as an extra layer of security. The 256-bit Twofish encryption algorithm continues to protect your data at rest.
What Is The Best Icedrive Alternative?
The best like-for-like alternative to Icedrive is pCloud, which offers similar features and almost identical lifetime plans. Other popular Icedrive alternatives include Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.
Icedrive Review – Summary
Icedrive provides an easy-to-use interface that's lovingly designed, giving it a stunningly sleek look. It instantly offers a 10GB freebie, no questions asked, and the Premium plans are incredible value for money.
If strong security and privacy are at the top of your must-have list, then Icedrive is an excellent option.
The main letdowns are customer support and sharing options, which are limited, but Icedrive is still a baby, and it's growing fast.
Icedrive has some already impressive features such as unlimited file versioning, the virtual drive, and WebDAV support, and it looks like they'll be adding more.
Icedrive regularly posts on social media about improvements to come, and this feels like the beginning of something great.
Good cloud with strong security but you can lost all files
I've been using the free version of Icedrive for almost 2 years now and haven't had any problems with the service yet. The security option is nice, but…. we can't enable two 2FA methods at the same time and worse, you can add only one U2F key! So if you add our key and then lose it or it gets corrupted, you can't get access to your files. I really don't understand the company's politics to only allowing one U2F key to be added! Think carefully about whether it might be safer to enable TOTP codes instead of hardware key.
Automatically encrypts your data
I think Icedrive is the best way to store your private data. It is free and offers state of the art encryption. The service automatically encrypts your data no matter what device you use it on. The service also has a slick interface that is easy to use. I highly recommend this service for all of your storage needs.
Storing all my files securely
Icedrive is a great way to store all my files securely. It is free, so there is no risk of losing money. It is easy to use, so you can get started right away. I have been using it for years and have never had any issues. I love that I can access my files from any device, including my phone!
So easy to use
All I had to do was download the app and it automatically linked to my Google account. The app also has a very easy-to-use interface that makes uploading and downloading files simple. I am able to work on my files from anywhere with an internet connection. I really like this service because it is easy to use and affordable.
New and interesting
Icedrive is a cloud storage system that has been designed to provide data security and privacy. I found the interface very easy to use, and the app is very user-friendly. It's also great for sharing files with my colleagues. I would recommend this to anyone who needs a secure and reliable way to store their files in the cloud.