If you need a cloud storage service with fantastic security and privacy settings, Sync.com might be the one for you. So let’s examine Sync's pros and cons, features, and pricing plans in this sync.com review.
Sync.com is a cloud storage provider with some excellent features, putting up a good fight against the likes of iCloud, DropBox, and Microsoft OneDrive. It's an easy-to-use cloud service that offers zero-knowledge encryption as standard, even to free account holders.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to use secure cloud storage solution.
- Free storage (5GB)
- Unlimited file uploads.
- Encrypted cloud storage (zero-knowledge encryption is a standard security feature).
- Excellent privacy standards (is HIPAA compliant).
- Unlimited data plans.
- Affordable file storage.
- File-versioning, restore deleted files, and shared folder file sharing.
- Microsoft Office 365 supported
- No monthly plans – limited to annual payment plans.
- Slow syncing when using end to end encryption.
Ease of Use
Signing up to Sync is easy; all you need is an email address and a secure password. Once sign-up is complete, you're ready to go.
You can download the desktop app, which makes it easier to sync files. There's also the mobile app that allows you to upload photos and videos from your phone automatically.
Sync.com also has a couple of integrations that also make it easier to use. Firstly, the incorporation of Microsoft Office allows you to edit and view files in Sync using Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
Sync.com is also compatible with Slack, which is a messaging app for business use. This integration allows you to securely share your Sync files directly in Slack channels and via Direct messages without switching between platforms.
Sync.com is available as a mobile application, desktop application, or you can access your folder in the web panel.
The web panel makes it easy to access your files and folders in most web browsers on any device. Any documents you add to your desktop app or mobile app will be visible on the web panel. You can also upload files directly to the web panel by simply dragging them onto the page.
Installing the desktop app is easy. Click on your username in the top right-hand corner of the web panel, then choose “Install apps.” Once the Desktop app is installed, it automatically creates a Sync folder. Sync works like any other folder on your PC, allowing you to drag, move, copy or save files.
The desktop app is available on Windows and Mac. Unfortunately, the Sync desktop app isn't available for Linux yet, so there is room for improvement. Sync.com has acknowledged this, stating that ‘a Linux app is on our long-term roadmap.'
On Mac, the Sync folder is accessible via the Mac menu bar. If you're a Windows user like me, you can access it through file explorer or you can gain quick and easy access to the web panel from the system tray.
Files and folders in the desktop app are not protected with zero-knowledge encryption. If you need to secure files here, you'll need to look at enabling a local drive encryption tool.
The mobile app is available on Android and iOS. In the mobile app, you can view your files in a list or grid format. From here, you can manage your shared links, access files and folders, and manage your Vault.
If you want to move your files around, you will have to use the menu as you can't drag and drop. Even though the moving process isn't as quick as the desktop app's drag and drop capabilities, it's still pretty straightforward.
The mobile app also gives you the option to turn on automatic upload. Automatic upload allows you to sync all your photos and videos as you take them.
If you have Microsoft Office on your phone, you can also edit your files directly from the Sync app.
Usually, servers using zero-knowledge encryption rarely offer you ways to reset your password. However, Sync.com does provide ways to get around this issue, which is great if you're as forgetful as I am.
Password reset is straightforward and can be done locally via the desktop app. Because the password is reset locally, security isn't compromised.
Another way you can recover your password is through email. However, this method reduces security measures as when this feature is enabled or used, Sync.com will have temporary access to your encryption keys. This doesn't mean Sync.com can view your password, and the feature can only be enabled and disabled by yourself.
Sync.com also allows you to create a password hint to help you remember your password. If you ever require the hint, it's sent to you via email.
Sync.com uses zero-knowledge encryption, making it an exceptionally secure place to store your files. Zero-knowledge encryption means your files and folders are stored in the cloud without anyone being able to access them.
Zero-knowledge encryption is offered as a standard feature to all subscribers with Sync.com. Unlike services such as pCloud who provide it as an optional extra that you have to purchase.
Your files and folders are also secured using AES (Advanced Encryption System) 256-bit for data in transit and at rest. In addition to TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol to protect your data from hackers and hardware failures.
Several other little features can help add extra layers of security to your Sync account. Firstly, there's the option to set up two-factor authentication to stop untrusted devices from accessing your account. This security measure will ask for a code or notify your authenticator app if any login attempts are made.
With the mobile app, you can set up a four-digit passcode by accessing settings in the main menu. This can be a great way to block access if you're like me and let your kids play on your phone. There'll also be no need to worry about your files if your phone is lost or stolen.
Sync.com uses zero-knowledge encryption across the board, and that's as good as you're going to get when it comes to privacy. Absolutely no one will be able to view your files with this level of encryption, not even the staff at Sync.com. That is, unless you give them the key to decrypt your files.
These principles comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). In addition, Sync incorporates the requirements of the European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Sync.com states that they don't collect, share, or sell your data to third parties unless you consent or they're forced to do so by law.
Sharing and Collaboration
Sharing is straightforward with Sync. Right-click on the file you want to share in the desktop app, and a link will be automatically copied to your clipboard.
Tap or click on the ellipsis menu icon in the web panel and mobile app, then ‘share as link.' This will bring up a link manager; here, you can open the link, email the link directly to a contact, or copy the link. Copying the link is the most versatile method of sharing, as you can send the link via any text-based platform.
In the link manager, you'll notice a link settings tab. By clicking on this tab, you're able to set a password and an expiration date for your link. It also allows you to set preview permissions, enable downloading, disable comments, and manage upload permissions.
You even have the option to receive email notifications, which will let you know when your link has been viewed. The web panel will also log activity for your shared link.
If you're a free account holder, you won't receive as many features for sharing as paid account subscribers. But you can still set a password with the freebie.
You can also enable enhanced privacy in the link settings, a feature available to free account holders and subscribers. Your link will be protected using end-to-end encryption by allowing enhanced privacy, but it can slow down your web browser. So Sync.com leaves you with the option to disable it and use standard encryption for files that don't need top-level security.
You can create team folders for sharing files and folders with several team members. When sharing with a team, you can set personal access permissions such as view-only or edit for each team member.
Activity logs keep you alerted to when each person accesses the folder, and their actions. You can also revoke access and clear the folder from other user's accounts whenever you need to.
Another excellent add-on for businesses is the ability to integrate Slack. If you connect Slack to your Sync account, you can share your files through Slack channels and messages.
Using the command ‘/sync' in the message box, Slack will allow you to navigate to the file you want to share from your Sync account. Once you've found the file you want, all you need to do is click share, and Slack will send out the link to your shared document.
If you have a Sync PRO Solo Professional or a PRO Teams Unlimited account, you'll have access to the custom branding feature. By clicking on your email address in the top right corner of the web panel, you can enter settings and edit custom branding.
Once you've finished designing and editing your logo, it’s ready to display when sharing folders or requesting files with upload-enabled links.
Upload Enabled Links
You can create an upload-enabled link by enabling the upload permissions in link settings. Users who receive the link will then be able to upload files to the folder.
If you have given multiple people access, there's the option to hide other files in the folder. This action protects other team members' files as they'll only be visible to you and the person who owns the file.
Anyone can upload files to a shared link; they don't have to be a Sync customer.
Your files and folders are easily synced when added to your Sync folder on the desktop app. There's also the option to upload using the mobile app or web panel.
When syncing your data, you can save space on your device by using the Sync Vault. All files stored in the Vault stay in the cloud, so they're not taking up any space on your device. I'll discuss this in more detail later on.
Another space saver is Selective Sync which is available on the desktop app. Files in your Sync folder are synced to your desktop by default. If you enter your Sync control panel, you can deselect any folder you don't want syncing to your device.
This only works for the device you change the settings on. If you use Sync on another desktop or laptop, you'll have to make those changes again with that device.
File Size Limits
Sync.com definitely has your back when it comes to sending large files. It has absolutely no limitations on file sizes you can upload, providing you don't exceed the storage space you have in your account.
Sync does have speed limitations. The maximum file transfer speed is 40 megabits per second per thread.
Sync explains that the desktop and mobile apps are multi-threaded, meaning multiple files will be transferred simultaneously. However, the web app is not multi-threaded, so it's quicker to upload several files, or large files over 5GB, using the desktop or mobile app.
End-to-end encryption can also affect the transfer speed of larger files as we add in the time it takes to encrypt. I love the security features and will happily wait a few extra seconds for this level of encryption.
Sync.com allows you to view and retrieve previous versions of files on all account types. So, if you've made several unwanted changes to a file or accidentally deleted it, there's no need to worry.
We've previously looked at pCloud who offers file versioning through their Rewind feature. Rewind restores your entire account to a previous point in time so you can retrieve what you need.
Sync.com doesn't offer an entire account overhaul, but it allows you to restore and retrieve files individually. In some ways, this is great as it enables you to focus on one file or folder. However, if you need to restore several files, it can become time-consuming.
With Sync.com's free account, you get 30-days of file versioning, while the Solo Basic and Teams Standard accounts offer 180-days. Then there are the Solo Professional, Teams Unlimited, and Enterprise accounts that give you a whole year of file history and backup.
Sync provides storage options for individuals and businesses. Regardless of whether they're free or purchased, all plans come with end-to-end encryption and the Vault.
There are four personal account options; Free, Mini, PRO Solo Basic, and PRO Solo Professional.
We'll start with Syncs free plan, which comes with 5GB of storage space. Your limit can be increased by 1GB for complete incentives set by Sync, such as downloading the mobile app and verifying your email. If 6GB isn't enough, you have the opportunity to increase your storage space by a further 20GB by inviting friends via a referral link.
Sync's free account also comes with 5GB of data transfer per month and includes 30 days of file history and recovery. However, this plan only allows you to share three secure links and create three shared team folders.
If you require a little more space, the Mini plan offers 200GB of storage, 200GB of data transfer per month, and 60 days of file history. It also allows you to share up to 50 links and 50 team folders.
Customer service for free and Mini plan account holders isn't prioritized, so responses may take a little longer for these accounts. We'll discuss customer service in a little more detail later on.
Let's move on to the Solo Basic subscription, which gives you 2TB of data and 180-day file history. In comparison, the Solo Professional account offers 6TB, 365-day file history, and custom branding. Both these subscriptions allow unlimited data transfers, shared folders, and links.
Sync PRO Solo also includes Microsoft Office 365 integrations. The incorporation of Office 365 makes it much easier to edit any Office documents in your Sync storage. It works on desktop, tablet, and mobile applications. However, to edit files, you'll need an Office 365 subscription.
Businesses have three options to choose from; PRO Teams Standard, PRO Teams Unlimited, and Enterprise. The size of your workforce may determine which one of these plans will work best for you.
The PRO Team Standard account gives each team member 1TB of secure storage and 180-days of file history. Data transfers, shared folders, and links are unlimited with this account. However, you don't get access to custom branding. As this is a business account, the absence of the custom branding feature might put some people off.
PRO Teams Unlimited is precisely that. It includes all Sync.com's features, including custom branding and gives each user unlimited storage, data transfers, shared folders, and links. With Teams Unlimited, you also get access to telephone support and VIP response times.
The Enterprise subscription is for businesses with 100 plus users and includes an account manager and training options. This is a customizable plan, and the pricing and features can differ depending on what the company wants.
All business plans come with an administrator account that is automatically assigned to the person who purchases the plan. You can transfer the administrator account to another user later on if you need to. From this account, you can manage team member accounts, permissions, passwords, and invoices. You can also monitor access and usage.
The admin panel is located under the user tab. Only the administrator has access to this tab; you can add users to the account from here. When new users are added, they are given their own account and login credentials, so they will only have access to their own files or shared ones.
Sync.com customer service options are a little thin on the ground. Currently, the only method of contact for individual users is a message support service on the web panel. A Sync representative will respond to messages via email.
The free and Mini plan accounts don't get priority email support. Therefore response time could take longer, which can be frustrating if you're in desperate need of a response. All other plans receive priority email support, and with this, you should get an email response within two business hours.
I did test out Sync's response time using a non-priority service, and I got a reply within 24 hours, which is pretty good. Sync.com is based in Toronto, Canada, and you'll need to factor in the company's business hours and time zone when waiting for a response.
If you're a Teams Unlimited account holder, Sync has recently introduced phone support and VIP response. Phone support allows you to schedule a phone call for any questions you need answering. Scheduled phone calls are great, especially if you have a busy day, as you avoid being stuck on hold.
Sync.com is yet to introduce a live chat option. Live chats are the quickest and easiest way to get in touch with companies, so it surprises me that Sync lacks this feature.
Sync does have an extensive online help center with in-depth written tutorials on how to manage your account. It also answers frequently asked questions about Sync.
The Sync.com Vault is a space where you can archive files or folders. Files stored in the Vault aren't automatically synchronized with your other applications; instead, they're archived in the cloud. Archiving your files allows you to create backups without taking up extra space on your other devices.
It's easy to shift files and folders to the Vault using a simple drag and drop, or you can manually upload. Once your data has been uploaded to the Vault, it's safe to delete the item from your Sync folder. You can also copy files to the Vault if you'd like to keep a backup elsewhere.
When it comes to pricing, Sync.com is exceptionally affordable. However, they don't offer monthly payment plans; instead, you're billed annually.
- Data transfer: 5 GB
- Storage: 5 GB
- Cost: FREE
Personal Mini Plan
- Data transfer: Unlimited
- Storage: 200 GB
- Yearly plan: $5 per month ($60 billed annually)
Pro Solo Basic Plan
- Data transfer: Unlimited
- Storage: 2 TB (2,000 GB)
- Yearly plan: $8 per month ($96 billed annually)
Pro Solo Standard Plan
- Data transfer: Unlimited
- Storage: 3 TB (3,000 GB)
- Yearly plan: $12 per month ($144 billed annually)
Pro Solo Plus Plan
- Data transfer: Unlimited
- Storage: 4 TB (4,000 GB)
- Yearly plan: $15 per month ($180 billed annually)
Pro Teams Standard Plan
- Data transfer: Unlimited
- Storage: 1 TB (1000GB)
- Yearly plan: $5 per month per user ($60 billed annually)
Pro Teams Plus Plan
- Data transfer: Unlimited
- Storage: 4 TB (4,000 GB)
- Yearly plan: $8 per month per user ($96 billed annually)
Pro Teams Advanced Plan
- Data transfer: Unlimited
- Storage: 10 TB (10,000 GB)
- Yearly plan: $15 per month per user ($180 billed annually)
Sync's free plan gives you 5GB of data with the ability to increase it to 26GB. It never expires and will always be free.
If you need a little more data, the Mini plan gives you 200GB of data for $60, which works out at $5 per month. But is the Mini plan really worth it?
Considering that the 2TB Solo Basic account costs just $8 per month, $96 for the year, I feel this is a much better deal.
Moving on up, we have the personal account with all the bells and whistles, the Solo Professional. This 6TB option will set you back $20 per month, which works out at $240 for the year.
Sync's business plans have two set prices. The PRO Teams Standard, which gives each user 1TB of storage, is $60 per year per user. The PRO Teams Unlimited costs just $180 per user per year.
If you're interested in the Enterprise subscription (I haven't covered it in this Sync.com review), you're encouraged to give Sync.com a call to discuss your requirements. Sync can tailor this plan to your specific needs.
All subscriptions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you have the option to switch plans whenever you like. There are no hidden fees, and Sync accepts payments via debit card, PayPal, credit card, and BitCoin. If you wish to cancel your Sync account at any point, Sync will not refund you for unused services.
Where Does Sync.com Store Data?
Sync.com has two data centers where it stores data. These centers are located in Ontario, Canada, one being in Toronto and the other in Scarborough.
How Can I Check My Storage Space Usage?
You can check how much storage space you have left in the web panel by clicking on your email address in the top right, then click Settings. Your usage is displayed clearly under the accounts tab. The usage bar shows your Sync folder and Vault usage separately. It also tells you how much space you have left in your quota.
Will Sync Duplicate My Files?
Sync.com supports file deduplication; this means that the same file will not be synced twice even if it's renamed or moved. Deduplication helps save space and improves performance. However, Sync does not support block-level deduplication. Block-level syncing would require access to your files which Sync doesn't have.
How Many Devices Can I Connect My Sync Account To?
You can connect your Sync account to five mobile devices or computers. All users on a business account have their own account within the plan, and each team member can link five devices.
How Do I Know If My Files Are Synced?
Desktop overlay icons are displayed in the bottom left corner of your files so that you can see the status of syncing.
Can I Upload Large Files To Sync?
You can upload files of any size to your Sync account as long as you have enough storage space. Because the web panel is browser-based, uploading files larger than 500MB can degrade the web panel's performance. Sync.com recommends that we use the desktop app to upload, as it supports automatic resume on partially transferred files.
However, Sync.com warns us that files larger than 40GB can impact the desktop app's performance. Speeds may be slower when downloading files 40GB or more, but this is also dependent on the hardware specifications of your computer. Some devices will be quicker at uploading than others.
What types of files are supported by Sync.com?
You can upload any file type to your Sync account, including images, videos, RAW files, and compressed archives.
Who are Sync's competitors?
Dropbox is the most popular and the best alternative to Sync.com, but in terms of best like-for-like features and cheap pricing then pCloud is the best alternative. See my Sync vs pCloud comparison for more information.
Sync.com Review: Summary
Sync.com is an easy-to-use service with a decently sized freebie and some excellent value subscriptions. The level of Sync's security is incredible, as it offers zero-knowledge encryption as standard, and you can reset passwords without compromising security.
However, Sync is willing to admit that encryption can cause slower uploads when downloading large files.
Support options are limited, but many of Sync's features, such as extensive file-versioning and sharing capabilities, are impressive. Added Office 365 and Slack integrations are great, although it would be nice to see more third-party apps.
But again, Sync's primary focus is keeping your data safe, and including more third-party apps could threaten security.
Way too expensive for me
Although Sync is not the most expensive in the industry, it's actually way too expensive for me as there are no monthly plans. I couldn't afford to pay the annual plan so I'll just look for more affordable options. Yet, the features are so attractive.
Sync with Slack is so Delightful
Sync's security really impressed me. I don't mind [paying high as long as I get the best services Sync can truly offer. I'm even delighted that it's integrated with such apps as Slack and Office 365 plus the fact that's GDPR and HIPAA compliant, too. I am very satisfied with all these. High 5 to Sync!
Sync is a Dropbox “killer”
Sync is better in every way! I can't believe I stuck with Dropbox for this long. Online privacy and security is a big thing for me, and feel much safer with SYNC
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- Fruhlinger, J., ‘2FA explained: How to enable it and how it works,’ Sept 2019.
- Pazzaglia, F., ‘ What is Zero Knowledge Encryption and why you need it from the services you use,’ Feb 2021.