pCloud is a secure cloud provider. The name is a bit unfortunate, but I’ve found their service to be reliable and well designed. pCloud is the first cloud storage provider to offer both encrypted and non-encrypted folders in the same account. The company explains why this makes sense:
Although at first thought it is the most natural approach to just encrypt everything, the downside is that when servers do not understand the data, they cannot help you work with your files. You can’t expect server support for generating thumbnail previews of images, transcoding of media files so they are playable in the cloud, creating and extracting archives, and similar operations that cloud users need. That is why, with pCloud, you can choose which files to encrypt and lock, and which ones to store in their natural state and apply file operations on.
Note that all the files you store in pCloud are secured with 256-bit AES encryption during and after transfer. In addition, upon transfer, pCloud also applies TLS/SSL channel protection. However, I believe that pCloud may scan all your non-encrypted files.
When you install pCloud, it creates a virtual drive (pDrive) on your computer. The files in your pDrive do not get automatically downloaded to your computer (like Dropbox). Instead these virtual files become instantly available as soon as you install pCloud. These files do not take up space on your computer. You can however, choose to “offline” or sync files and folders on to your computer if you wish.
The company is headquartered in Switzerland, but the cloud data is hosted in the USA. The company states:
pCloud hosts user data through a leading certified data center via collocation. When using the pCloud service user’s data is transferred to our outsourced servers via TLS/SSL protocol and is copied on at least three server locations in a highly secure certified data center in Dallas, Texas, USA. Our collocated service provider is certified for SSAE 16 SOC 1, Type II that ensures the highest level of security.
pCloud has apps for Linux, Mac, Windows, iOS and Android.
All new pCloud accounts and downloads, including the desktop and mobile apps, are free. The basic pCloud accounts (Free Forever) start with 10 GB of free space. You can upgrade your account to one of these tiers:
- Premium 500 GB – yearly subscription for $47.88
- Premium 500 GB – monthly subscription for $4.99
- Premium Plus 2 TB – yearly subscription for $95.88
- Premium Plus 2 TB – monthly subscription for $9.99
pCloud accepts Bitcoin for payment, but Bitcoin payments are not available for refunds.
pCloud just added two-factor authentication — an important security addition.