pCloud is one of the best cloud providers on the market right now. We particularly recommend the platform to creatives on a tight budget as it offers 10GB of free storage space.
Unlike some cloud storage services we’ve evaluated in the past, pCloud isn’t specifically intended for photo or video storage. All the same, the platform does have a few features that creatives are sure to appreciate, such as the ability to resize photos, compress videos, and create media archives within the cloud. To compare it to other services, see our best cloud storage post.
Plans and pricing
With most cloud businesses, you have to pay a regular subscription to maintain access to your cloud drive, leading to bills that stack up over long periods. pCloud is unique in that you can buy pCloud drive space for a single lifetime payment. The company offers 500GB of space for $175 and 2TB for $350.
Those lifetime subscriptions make pCloud a good choice for creatives with relatively static media libraries who travel frequently. If you fall into that category, taking out a pCloud lifetime plan will mean you can access your content wherever in the world you are.
pCloud does offer annual and monthly subscriptions too. The service charges $47.88 per year or $4.99 per month for 500GB of space. Meanwhile, 2TB will set you back $95.88 per year or $9.99 per month. A 10GB free plan is also on offer. Overall, pCloud is far cheaper than more specialized cloud services. Sony MCS subscriptions, for example, cost $300 per year for 100GB.
pCloud is significantly cheaper than some competing cloud storage services. MediaFire, for example, offers just 20GB storage for a comparable price to pCloud’s 500GB package.
In addition to its standard plans, pCloud offers a security package, known as pCloud Crypto, for a $125 one-time payment, $47.88 annually, or $4.99 per month. The company also has separate pricing structures for multi-user business and family plans.
pCloud’s most useful features are arguably its media management tools, which you can use to resize and compress media content without leaving your cloud account. The platform is also on par with major cloud competitors when it comes to sharing and file versioning. These functions will enable you to easily share project content with collaborators and save multiple edits of any project.
For filmmakers, designers, and photographers who need to work with large files, pCloud’s best feature might be the fact that it doesn’t impose any file size limits. As a result, you can upload as many high definition images or videos as you can fit into your allotted space.
If you care about image quality, there’s a good chance you save your photographs in a RAW format to avoid quality loss. Fortunately, unlike most cloud storage services, pCloud is fully compatible with RAW images, and you can preview them in your browser or on mobile.
Another handy pCloud feature is the browser extension known as pCloud Save. Once you install pCloud Save, you'll be able to right-click on images in your web browser and save them directly to your pCloud drive. This could come in handy when you’re searching for inspiring images for your next project.
Getting started with pCloud only takes about a minute. You can sign up for 10GB of free pCloud drive space by connecting a Google, Apple, or Facebook account. Once you’re in, you’ll see that pCloud has adopted a fairly straightforward design to help you organise your files.
On the left-hand side of the desktop pCloud interface, you’ll find a menu bar with links to important areas of the pCloud site including your folders, shared content, and backups. Most of the rest of the interface is taken up with a file viewer that can be set to a list or a grid view and organized by file age, name, or size.
In short, file management in pCloud feels very similar to using a regular desktop browser. You can manage and sync your pCloud files from your desktop through the pCloud Drive application for Windows and macOS.
pCloud also works on mobile thanks to apps for iOS and Android. On these devices, the pCloud interface is equally clean and straightforward. Browsing through a set of pCloud stored photos on mobile feels just like exploring your phone or tablet’s regular gallery.
If you want to use pCloud to store images or videos for use in a professional project, security could be a major concern for you. You’ll be pleased to learn, then, that pCloud encrypts everything you upload to its servers to keep your files safe.
What’s more, the platform takes things to another level with an optional add-on security package called pCloud Crypto. If you purchase this, you’ll be able to add password protection to certain files using something called client-side encryption. In short, this makes it impossible to decrypt a file without your password, even if your account gets compromised.
You should never sign up for a lifetime subscription with a company that doesn’t provide great support. Fortunately, there are plenty of articles on pCloud’s website to help you resolve any issues that occur with the platform. If you need further assistance, you can contact the platform’s support team via email. Unfortunately, live chat and phone support are not available.
pCloud: should you buy it?
pCloud lacks the focus on media management features that we’ve seen from competitors such as Adobe Creative Cloud and Sony MCS. You can think of this platform as more of a general-purpose cloud storage tool with a few handy add-ons, such as compatibility with RAW image files, that make it a good choice for creative users. If you’re in the market for a lifetime cloud service that you can pay for once and forget about, pCloud might well be your best option.