Simple Personal and Business Backup and Storage for Modest Needs
ElephantDrive is a cloud storage and backup solution with a mix of useful and faulty features. What it does well, it does very well – but in the areas where it fails, it does so notably.
You’ll get perks like backup status reports, 256-bit encryption, as well as versioning and archiving capabilities. However, you’ll have to deal with buggy apps that can slow your system down, along with file size limits that are much lower than its competitors.
Although it has its flaws, ElephantDrive’s more advanced features save it from being a total write off. In fact, for many, its features are exactly what’s needed in a cloud service. But is ElephantDrive the right cloud service solution for you? Do its stronger features outweigh its weaknesses?
Luckily, you don’t need to take your chances. I’ve done the hard work for you and tried out ElephantDrive, testing its performance, special features, security, and ease of use.
Basic Features Done Well
Data Server Locations
Virginia, Oregon, California, Ireland, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, and Sao Paulo
Backup and Restore Options
Continuous/scheduled, backup from external drive, backup status reports, offline restore option
Limits and Restrictions
Limits on file size, fair use limits, bandwidth throttling
Applications and Operating Systems
Windows 2000 and later, macOS X 10.4 and later, Linux, iOS and Android mobile apps
ElephantDrive has most of the basics that you’d want in a cloud storage and backup solution. You can conveniently access your files through either the web, mobile, or desktop app, and the link-sharing option is useful for giving non-account holders access to specific files or folders.
ElephantDrive also has awesome versioning and archiving features that control how many versions of a file are stored and how files are treated after they are deleted.
Powerful Web App for Backups
ElephantDrive offers scheduled backups on all of its applications, but continuous backups aren’t available on mobile. There doesn’t appear to be an option to schedule backups or run them automatically on the newest version of the mobile app.
I confirmed with customer support that ElephantDrive has no file type exclusions, although individual files can’t be backed up on the Home plan if they’re larger than 2GB. Since there aren’t any exclusions, you can (in theory) back up your entire computer, including system and hidden files.
On the web app, clicking the Backup Settings tab will display your devices and backed up folders. Planning backups, editing schedules, adding inclusions/exclusions, and archiving and versioning can all be done via this page.
If you’re backing up through the desktop app, you’ll need to click the ElephantDrive icon and navigate to Actions>Add/Edit Backups> New backup.
Hassle-Free Data Restoration
Restoring dating with ElephantDrive can only be done in the desktop app and on the web. The mobile app lacks functionality in this area – which I’ll cover more in the Performance section.
To restore data while on the web, use the Files tab to find your folder and click on it to bring up your options. Click Restore Folder to send your data to a specific path location. You can also download the data directly, but you won’t be able to choose where it’s stored before the download.
If you’re on the desktop app, click the ElephantDrive icon and select Actions > Access your files. Once you select your folder, click Restore and choose where you’d like your files to end up.
Strong Security Principles but Standard Security Protocols
I appreciated how easy it was to access and understand the security policy. It clearly outlines the steps ElephantDrive uses to both virtually and physically keep your data safe.
Servers are monitored 24/7 and physical access to server rooms is extremely restricted. ElephantDrive also uses fail-safe defaults and complete mediation, two principles that ensure client identity is verified both before and during data access.
In addition to this, ElephantDrive’s “Open Design” principle means its security measures are transparent so that it’s possible to get feedback from cybersecurity experts. This helps the company find and fix weak points before a breach can occur.
ElephantDrive, like many of its competitors, uses AES 256-bit key encryption to secure data. It then runs each file through a 128-bit SSL channel for an added layer of protection during the file transfer between the local computer and the server. It currently doesn’t offer two-factor authentication.
Ease of use
Tricky Navigation but User-Friendly Features
ElephantDrive’s functions seem to be split between its web and desktop applications, and I’m not sure why. But as a result, I had to spend a couple of frustrating hours learning how to navigate the settings and access the information I needed for backup and restoration. This is one area that really disappointed me.
However, there were a few areas where the app was really easy to use.
Manage All Link Sharing in One Place
I wanted to include link sharing as one of my favorite features, but I realized that what I liked wasn’t just the feature itself, but how easy it was to use.
Not all cloud services offer backup reports, let alone a backup history. But ElephantDrive makes it simple to view your past and current backup information with its Reports tab.
This section makes it easy to access both past and current backup information, so you can check on your backup as it runs or review information on a previous backup. You can also see your account usage here.
Easy Drag-and-Drop Backups
ElephantDrive has a convenient drag-and-drop feature for your desktop. Just open the My ElephantDrive folder, select your backup location, and drop your files into the selected folder. From here, your files will be synced to all connected devices.
Setting Up An Account
Creating an account with ElephantDrive was a straightforward and quick process. Choose your preferred account (Home, Business, or Enterprise) and use your email address to sign up. You’re automatically given a free 30-day free trial, so you won’t be charged right away.
Once you’ve verified your account, choose your OS and download the desktop app to your computer. Run the set-up wizard and enter your sign-in details to begin backing up your files.
Installing the mobile app is easy – just search in your phone’s app store or download it directly from the web to begin backing up your phone’s data.
Quick Backups, but Lots of Glitches and Lagging
ElephantDrive backups can be fairly quick and easy to execute. However, I have to warn you: The apps are prone to lagging, especially on mobile.
Navigating through the mobile app was painfully slow at times and, since backups don’t run in the background, I had to leave the app open to keep the download going. After an hour, there was no progress and none of my files had backed up. The backup trials that did run effectively were done via the desktop app and the web app.
I wanted to see how long it would take to upload a 3.55GB folder on the desktop and web app (at this point, I had abandoned the mobile app altogether). I ran three tests on three separate days, spread across three different times – morning, afternoon, and evening.
I ran a speed test before my first backup and my average Wi-Fi speeds were 175Mbps for downloads and 179Mbps for uploads.
I ran the first test on Thursday at 5:50 PM. The entire 3.55GB folder took just under 8 minutes to back up. ElephantDrive offers backup reports, but I didn’t see a way to view my upload/download speed during transfer.
The second test I ran was at 9:30 AM on Friday, and the folder was backed up in just over 7 minutes. I ran a test on Saturday at 12:25 PM to see if the weekend speed would be slower, but this test resulted in the fastest time of all – 6 minutes and 45 seconds.
From my tests, I concluded that backups of around 3GB would take 10 minutes or under, regardless of the day or time.
After the first test, I did a data restoration of the same file. I started the restore at 7:00 PM, and by 7:26 PM, the entire file was complete. I’m currently in the Caribbean and 3,000+ km from the nearest server in Virginia. Considering this, I was pretty impressed with the speed at which my backups and restoration took place.
My speedy backup speed was the highlight of my experience with ElephantDrive’s performance. Unfortunately, quick backups weren’t enough to overshadow the consistent lagging across every app. Since I was never able to back up my phone’s data, ElephantDrive loses quite a few points in this section.
Privacy Shield Framework for US, EU, and Swiss Compliance
Since ElephantDrive is US-based, your data is not as privatized as it would be via some other cloud services. It does comply with the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss-US Privacy Shield Framework, but both of these were deemed inadequate to provide the level of data protection necessary for international transfers in 2023.
Also, ElephantDrive is not clear on how and when your data can be accessed and for what purposes. The company is willing to share your information with the government if it deems it “reasonably necessary” but only vaguely states the conditions for this.
Responsive and Knowledgeable Support Team
ElephantDrive doesn’t have an online chat option, so I emailed support before my first backup to ask about file type exclusions and if I had any offline restore options. I received a response within 45 minutes. After the initial contact, I never had to wait more than ten minutes for a response.
At the moment, only email and phone support are available for human support. Its knowledge base is also an option, but many of The Help Center articles are many years old – some haven’t been updated in over 10 years and contain outdated information.
The fast response times were great, but ElephantDrive needs to expand its support channels and make improvements on its support capabilities – or at least make sure its Help Center articles are actually helpful.
Pricey for What It Offers
Pricing with ElephantDrive doesn’t appear expensive at first, but it can quickly become costlyif you need additional storage. That’s because each plan, regardless of tier, starts with 1000GB of space.
1000GB is more than enough to back up several computers, but you might need more space for a corporate account that requires nightly backups. You can purchase additional storage for each plan, but can’t exceed your plan’s max storage limit (like the 50,000GB limit on theBusiness plan).
You can choose from three types of pricing plans: Home, Business, and Enterprise. The major differences between each plan are file size limits, device limits, and user limits. For example, with the basic Home plan, you can’t upload a file larger than 2GB. This rule jumps up to 15GB and 200GB for the other plans, respectively.
Device limits mean that no more than 10 devices on the Home plan, 25 devices on the Business plan, and 100+ (there’s no stated cut off) devices for Enterprise plan, are allowed. Also, if you need more than three sub-accounts, you’ll need to upgrade from your Home plan to one of the other options.
ElephantDrive currently accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal.
ElephantDrive could have been one of the better cloud services on the market. Because of its more advanced, unique features like advanced versioning and archiving features that control how many versions of a file are stored, it could easily be at the top of anyone’s list. However, it’s almost impossible to ignore the flaws that it has.
I wouldn’t recommend this cloud service to anyone who values intuitive design or responsive applications. If quick upload times aren’t enough to ignore a few missing features for you, then you may need to look elsewhere.
If you can ignore these issues, and exceptional customer support and easy internal and external file sharing capabilities are what you find most important, then you should consider ElephantDrive for cloud and backup storage.
How does online backup work?
Online backups are copies of data that are sent through secure networks to a cloud-based server for safekeeping. Data is copied from the original location and transferred to a remote storage location where it can be readily accessed when needed.
If you’re looking to protect your data from being lost and to provide an avenue for recovery and restoration, you should consider an online backup. When your data is “backed up,” as it is with ElephantDrive, it is held securely and monitored 24/7 to ensure it’s never compromised.
Are there disadvantages to using cloud storage?
Although cloud storage has its perks, it also has its shortcomings. Since the “cloud” is a virtual space, it has to be connected to via the internet. If an internet connection is poor or unavailable, it’s possible that files won’t be backed up or accessible.
While there are free cloud storage options available, they might not offer the security, privacy, or performance of paid plans. Luckily, we’ve got a great list of the best cloud backup services in 2023 that are affordable and reliable.
How do I protect my cloud storage?
While cloud storage services may keep your data safe internally, you’ll need to protect your data from the outside.
You can do this by using strong passwords, two-factor authentication (when available, like with Zoolzcloud or CrashPlan), turning on account alerts, and not sharing your account information with anyone, even family or friends.
Is ElephantDrive good for beginners?
ElephantDrive, due to its sometimes confusing interface, might be better suited to someone with a bit of technical experience or awareness. That’s not to say that it’s hard to use, but rather that you’ll need a bit of patience to get its and outs.
Installation and setup are extremely easy but other aspects, like using its settings and features options, aren’t as intuitive as they could be.
If you’re just starting to use online and cloud backups, you might have difficulty adjusting to ElephantDrive’s interface at the start. But customer support is incredibly responsive, so a beginner can always reach out with any queries or concerns and get help quickly.
With over 15 years of graphic design, branding, and UX experience, Alicia has worked with clients big and small from around the world. When she’s not glued to her computer screen, you can find her teaching visual communication design classes, roaming through farmers’ markets, or searching for treasures at second-hand bookstores.