- FTP, SFTP and WebDAV file access
- Wide range of business features
- Mobile web portal for BlackBerry
- Free 14-day-trial
- Extensive branding and customization
- App for iOS, Android and Windows 8
- Pricey plans
- File sharing, syncing not in all plans
- No live chat support
- No control over encryption
Livedrive is a cloud storage and backup service active in Europe and the US that provides solutions for both professionals and home users. The company is part of j2 Global, the communications group behind several other renowned services such as eFax, eVoice and Campaigner. Livedrive offers packages to suit any type of user and any backup requirement, with price plans that are directly proportional to the features included. All packages come with 14-day free trials, except those that are dedicated to resellers. With a mobile web portal for BlackBerry devices, SFTP and WebDav file access, Facebook and Flickr integration and a number of other compelling features, Livedrive is able to cater to very specific requirements. Livedrive data centers boast excellent connectivity across the globe, and their transfers are encrypted using the latest security technology.
Livedrive’s backup service is fully automatic for all users, while sharing and syncing are features that Backup account holders don't benefit from as opposed to all other users. The software simply adds an “L:” drive to the PC that gives you permanent online access to the files and allows you to synchronize these files between PC’s. Sharing a file from your online backup space is a breeze with all the options you need only a right-click away, although this feature and other file sharing and syncing options are only available to users subscribed to the most expensive Pro Suite plan.
Should you like to change your encryption settings, the Livedrive settings app lets you select whether you want to encrypt your files or not. Other than this, there are no additional ways to manage encryption though. A very important feature of any backup service is the ability to restore previous versions or deleted files. With this provider, deleted files are kept for 30 days and reverting to any of up to 30 versions of a file is possible. The Livedrive folder on your hard drive gives you access to a Restore application that tells you how many other versions a file has and how much time you have left until it is permanently deleted, after the 30-day pass expires.
File Managers and Tools
The software includes a web picture browser that allows you to see various versions of the same file and to edit the file with the Pixlr app or FotoFlexer tool. To edit documents you can use the integrated Zoho plugin, which many business users may already be familiar with. There’s also a video player integrated in the backup service itself, but the quality of this particular web app is disappointing. Loading a small video file can even take a long time, which will make you want to avoid this particular feature.
The Livedrive mobile app downloads in a flash and can be used instantly by logging into the account set up on your PC. It features a backup, web sharing, a favorites and a recent files folder. For some reason, there is a stand-alone music folder with subfolders to sort by artist, album, years and genres. The mobile app is not only visually appealing, but also much faster and more reliable than the web version. You can select your slideshow transition speed with this app, and it renders videos much faster than the online backup service.
The company stores your files securely using AES-256 encryption on its servers located in various locations in the UK. Data is stored in various data centers, which makes this storage service geo-redundant as there are backups of your data available elsewhere should a natural disaster take out one of the data centers.
All online accounts are password protected and a status window lets you know if your backup is complete and protected, giving you full control over your back ups. For extra protection, Livedrive gives you the ability to monitor user activity as the account holder, and assigns different permission levels should you want to use these as a business owner. The company collects customer information via its website’s geo-location and Google Analytics, log data, and cookies, as is the case with most other cloud companies. All sensitive information is encrypted using SSL military grade security technology.
Devices and Operating Systems
The Livedrive Briefcase package allows you to backup and sync files from up to five computers if you are a home user, and as many as you wish if you hold a business account. Livedrive provides remote access to all backed up and Briefcase files for free, and you can access as many as 30 previous versions for any one file. The backup software is compatible with Mac and Windows PC’s, provided the operating systems are Windows XP, Mac OS X 10.6 or later versions of both. You can also access files within your Windows 8 interface through the free Livedrive Windows 8 Modern App available on the Windows Store.
The Livedrive mobile app is available for free in the App Store and Google Play Store for iPhones, iPads and Android devices. As a Livedrive account holder, you can download and use the free apps on any iOS, Windows 8 or Android device remotely. For users with a BlackBerry device there’s Livedrive’s mobile optimized site through which you can access the service. Any device with 3G or Wi-Fi can stream music or movie files without requiring syncing or storing.
Ease of Use
Setting up an account with Livedrive is a matter of minutes and is as straightforward as it can be. You select the free trial for the package of your choice, create an account and download the desktop client depending on your type of computer. In just a few seconds the software will be installed and ready to use. When you select the files you'd like the setup wizard to upload, or enter a folder of your choice, you’re already well on your way to making sure you’ll never lose that data. As soon as you receive confirmation that the upload was successful, you can browse through your files online, or via a mobile device. You can download the mobile app by simply typing Livedrive in your iTunes or Play Store and select the download option. From this point, you can use the same account on your mobile device as the one on your computer, but it may take a few minutes for the changes to be visible on your mobile device.
You can access LiveDrive settings on your PC to change standard bandwidth and encryption and you also have the ability to restore files and revert to previous versions using the Restore application on your PC. LiveDrive holds on to your files for 30 days before permanently deleting them, which means that it's easy to go back to your last version if you've made a mistake. Uninstalling the client using the Uninstaller application from your Livedrive folder is also quite easy, should you want to end your free trial account and ensure that all of your data is removed from Livedrive’s servers again.
Plans and Pricing
There are three plans for home users, two for businesses and one for resellers, all of which come with different prices and all of which are offered on a freemium basis. Home users can choose between the Backup, Briefcase and Pro Suite plans, while business users can select between the Express and the Standard account.
The Backup plan is Livedrive’s lowest priced online backup plan available to PC and Mac users with unlimited online backup storage. There's a one-time setup process involving software download, from then on backups are automatic. Files can be viewed and downloaded from any location and device, but file editing is unfortunately unavailable for this plan as it doesn’t come with any cloud storage and sharing features. The files are stored securely in multiple data centers under 24-hour surveillance just as with all other plans. Prices start from $6 per month for two-year accounts.
The Briefcase plan doesn’t include any online backup features, but allows you to share and sync files between multiple computers and devices. The total cloud storage capacity is 2TB and the extra memory looks just like any disk drive on the computer. Free downloadable apps are available if you use this service, and they allow you to play music and video files from anywhere. You can share files without having to e-mail them, although you can email files to a dedicated email address to have them stored in your cloud storage. There's also a convenient one-click Facebook and Flickr picture upload and sharing feature. Prices start from $12 per month for two-year accounts.
Pro Suite Plan
The Pro Suite plan combines the features of the Backup plan and Briefcase plan, providing you with all the online backup and file sharing capabilities you need. You can back up as many as five computers online to your unlimited online backup storage. The file syncing cloud storage is a hefty 5TB large, with extra space available for $8 per TB. By combining online backup features with file sharing and syncing, the Pro Suite plan is the most complete solution available. Prices start from $19 per month for two-year accounts.
You can add as many additional devices to any plan you want for $1.5 per month. As a Briefcase or Pro Suite account holder, you can add extra storage space for $8 per TB and backup network storage locations or NAS drives for a monthly fee of $8.
Business account holders can also take advantage of a 14-day free trial, and from then on their charges are $37 per month for the Express account and $125 per month for the Standard account. Both accounts come with unlimited access and backup for all company computers, central backup monitoring, free file restore software, NAS and network storage device backup online, private storage space for each user, team folders, a sharing portal, and individual user permissions. Express account holders receive 3 users and can store up to 2TB of data, while Standard account holders can add extra users to the 10 included in the plan for $11.75 per month, per user and extra space to the 10TB they already had for $6.25 per month, per TB. Standard account holders also have continuous file access via WebDAV, FTP, and STP and they can brand their web portal and share pages using the company logo.
Livedrive’s reseller solutions come with a wide range of different features and services to offer you powerful cloud backup services to sell to your customers. The reseller account can be paid monthly, yearly, every two, three or five years. Monthly payments attract a setup fee of $159.95, whereas paying yearly or on a 2, 3, and 5-year basis relieves you of this fee. The monthly charge is $59.95 for those who choose to pay on a monthly basis, whereas for 1-year plans, the charge is $50, for 2-year accounts it's $48.33, for 3-year plans it's $47.22, and for 5-year payment plans it's $46.67 per month.
Livedrive’s dedicated customer service team responds within 24 hours of being contacted via e-mail, and their customer support is on duty 7 days a week. The company calls its customer support team Support Force One to emphasize how serious they are about helping you out when there's an issue. Livedrive’s support can be accessed via the website where they have an FAQ section available for account holders, as well as a knowledgebase. Customer queries are handled via a ticketing system, although you can also find phone numbers for more urgent or specific enquiries. Livedrive maintains an online presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and its blog, mainly to keep customers up-to-date on the latest news regarding its services.
Livedrive is a reputed company backed by a large communications corporation with a dedicated team of developers on board who initially created the backup service. The service features some unique functionalities that mainly appeal to professional users such as SFTP, FTP and WebDAV file access for certain account holders, a web portal for BlackBerry users and support for NAS backups. Be that as it may, the service is relatively pricey, there is no live chat support, and there are great price differences between packages with similar features. File sharing and syncing combined with the online backup features are only included with the highest priced plan, whereas other providers almost always include these features in every online backup plan they offer. However, the list of features is quite complete, some of the packages come with extensive customization, and the fact that solutions can be profoundly customized makes this an appealing choice for business customers of all kinds.