A top-quality cloud storage platform is increasingly essential for creatives, who rely on affordable high-capacity storage plans and seamless cloud syncing across devices.
Livedrive is one such platform, and will appeal if you need to store large back catalogues of work files, school assignments, or personal projects.
In this Livedrive review, we explore the best and worst of one of the best cloud storage providers and consider whether it is suited for people studying or working in creative industries.
Livedrive review: Plans and pricing
Livedrive offers two products for individual customers: Backup and Briefcase. Backup enables users to upload their entire desktop or laptop hard drive to Livedrive’s cloud servers, with unlimited storage space included. However it is mostly a static backup service designed for data loss prevention, and access to your data is limited. It costs $9.40 (£6.99) per month.
The Briefcase plan, contrastingly, enables users to sync, access, and edit their files across many devices. In this sense, it is similar to most cloud storage providers such as OneDriv, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
Although storage space isn’t unlimited, the 2 TB of included storage will be more than sufficient for all but the most active designers and creatives. This plan costs $13.43 (£10) per month.
Finally, customers can bundle both Backup and Briefcase in the Pro Suite, which costs $20.20 (£15) per month. You’ll also receive 5 TB of Briefcase storage in this plan.
Livedrive review: Features
Livedrive comes with many appealing features. However, there isn’t much in the way of innovation or integration with other popular platforms such as the Adobe suite.
Unlimited storage space
The inclusion of unlimited storage space in the Backup and Pro Suite plans makes Livedrive a good option if you want to do away with storage space worries. This is particularly true if you need to store an extensive back catalog of large files, whether CAD designs, Photoshop projects, Raw images, high-fidelity audio or 4K video data.
If you spend a lot of time tinkering with designs and prototyping changes, your files will probably go through several iterations before arriving at their final form. However, sometimes you may want to access a previous version of a document, either to restore it or track how it evolved over time. Fortunately, Livedrive enables this with file versioning. All Briefcase and Pro Suite users can access the 30 previous versions of a file and create copies if needed.
Most of us will recall a time when we deleted a file, thinking it was no longer needed, only to realise after the fact that deletion was a bad idea. Bad luck; your file is gone forever. Not so with Livedrive, which has a file recovery feature that enables users to recover files deleted in the previous 30 days with the click of a button.
This is useful for when a client or customer, after having received a commission, requests access to source files or previous iterations of a project.
Livedrive Review: Interface
In general, the Livedrive interface is sufficient. Although it’s not visually exciting, it performs as described and is intuitive to navigate. There is no technical jargon, and even inexperienced users will find the platform easy to use.
You can download desktop apps for both Windows and macOS devices, and mobile apps on Android, iOS, and iPadOS. To download the apps, head to the Livedrive website, log in to your account and click on the 'Devices' option on the sidebar.
The layout is similar across all apps, although the Livedrive Backup software runs mostly in the background on desktops.
We also appreciate the Photo Gallery, a specific part of the desktop and mobile apps that enables users to view and organise their photos. You’ll find this section extremely useful if you store and edit large numbers of images.
If you plan on storing your all-important work on a cloud storage platform, you need to know that it’s secure. Fortunately, Livedrive is adequately secure for most uses. However, we think the level of encryption used could be better.
Data transferred from your device to the Livedrive servers is encrypted in-transit, protecting it from interception. However, we could find no information on their encryption when your data is simply resting on Livedrive’s servers. This means any hack of the Livedrive servers might see your data compromised.
We’re very disappointed about this, because this kind of encryption, called at-rest encryption, is a standard for almost all cloud storage platforms.
One security strength of Livedrive is two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA means you need to provide two means of identification to access your account. The first is typically your password, while the second may be a code generated in an authentication app or a one-time password sent to your mobile device.
Livedrive provides 2FA to all users, making it almost impossible for unauthorised individuals to access your account and your files.
Livedrive review: Support
The Livedrive support site contains a good number of FAQs and how-to articles. These cover many of the most common issues you’ll face while using Livedrive’s software. For more complex issues, however, you’ll need to get in touch with the company.
Customers can contact the Livedrive team for assistance during business hours. However, this is UK time, so US-based customers may find it difficult to get in touch with a Livedrive representative.
Is Livedrive right for you?
We think Livedrive is a good option for people requiring large amounts of storage space. Unlimited backup means artists, designers, photographers, and videographers will never again need to worry about running out of space on their computers.
However, beyond this, there is nothing particularly impressive about Livedrive. The interface is functional but unappealing, and security is not as strong as it could be.
In short, unless unlimited storage space is an absolute dealbreaker, we think providers such as Microsoft OneDrive or pCloud offer better value for money than Livedrive (see our OneDrive and pCloud reviews).