A Complete Review of ADrive’s Free Online Storage Service
ADrive is no longer one of the new players in the online backup market, but they have kept the one thing that really sets them apart… and that is 50 GB of free storage!
Yes, ADrive’s Personal Basic plan is a free service and the 50 GB of space is currently the most you can get as far as free offerings (most others offer just 1-5 GB for free.)
If you choose the Personal Premium plan for $6.95 per month, they throw in some more features, including a desktop application.
- 50 GB is a lot of space!
- It’s 100% FREE.
- Online “storage” just isn’t as good as “backup.”
- Paid version is relatively expensive.
Let’s take a closer look at ADrive…
Getting Started With ADrive
Sign-up is easy and free. Then once you have your account details, you can log-in through their web interface to access your control panel.
The backup service offered is pretty standard. You get an online storage space on their network where you can upload and download files through your browser. Once you complete the easy sign-up process, all you do is log-in at adrive.com with your username and password and you can access your files. You can access your files anywhere you have an internet connection.
There is a 2 GB file size limit on files you store, but very few people will have files that exceed 2 GB. To put that in perspective, high-resolution digital photos are only about 2-6 MB each. So unless you have large zip archives or movies, you probably won’t even notice. (If that is the case, just make sure your archives are under 2 GB in size.)
That’s a small price to pay considering you are getting 50GB total space for free.
After your first log-in, you have to do a “human verification” to prove that you’re a human and not a robot.
There’s not really any security benefit to this that I can see (for you,) and it’s not bad if you only log-in on occasion, but it gets annoying if doing it every day.
I don’t use ADrive for files that I need backed up on a daily basis, so I hardly notice.
The free version of ADrive is ad-supported. Fortunately, it’s just a couple banner ads stacked at the top of the page (you can see these with the squiggly red outline I added.) The block of ads doesn’t interfere with your backup activities.
I’m glad there is nothing super annoying. You know, the stuff that really gets in your way, such as pop-unders, interstitial ads, etc. ADrive keeps it classy with standard ads.
How It Works
Here’s a screenshot of the file transfer interface.
You can click “Add” and browse, as seen here.
I have had some trouble with the “Browse” button where it will disappear in the layout and only appear when you hover over its location. It’s just a buggy interface, and I’d recommend they hire some new web developers to make sure their site works flawlessly in all major browsers. I get annoyed almost every time I use it! For free though, I can’t complain.
The cool thing is that you can also drag and drop files from your desktop onto the interface and it will add them to your upload list! It’s very slick.
As you upload, there is a nice progress bar that shows how much has uploaded, as well as your current upload speed and estimated time remaining.
There are upload limits in place, though. When you are uploading directories, there is a 2000 file limit. This sounds like a lot, but if you are uploading a few folders filled with text files or graphic icons, it’s not difficult at all to hit this limit. Just look at the screenshot – it shows that 11,183 files I wanted to upload were ignored!
By imposing this limit, ADrive keeps you checking in on your backup, giving them more chances to display ads for you. You can’t just select a ton of files, hit upload, and come back in eight hours.
For that you would need to upgrade to the paid version, called Personal Premium.
Downloading and Restoring Files from ADrive Storage
For this last screenshot, we’ll look at downloading and restoring your files.
When downloading your files to restore, it’s a fairly simple process, but I’m still not a fan of the interface. I don’t find it as intuitive as other services I’ve used.
You start by going into your file manager, navigating to whichever folder or files you want to download, and clicking “Downloader.” When that opens, you click the small “browse” button to tell it where to save the files on your computer. Then you select the files and/or folders you want to download.
To finish, click the “Download” button, and ADrive does just that. You’ll then be able to find your files on your computer in the selected folder.
Another feature of ADrive is that it integrates with Zoho to provide online document editing for your Microsoft Word and Excel files. This is a nice touch, but there are other services out there (like Google Docs) that let you edit documents online for free.
In my testing, ADrive worked just fine for online file storage. You can also share files publicly if you wish (just click the “share” button,) so it takes care of both file storage and file sharing. It generally works more successfully than emailing large file attachments.
However, I hesitate to call it an online backup solution. The problem stems from the interface (or lack thereof.) The web browser interface is your only option for uploading and downloading files. There is no way to automatically backup your computer files, and if you ever modify a file that is already backed up, you have to upload the new version. It is very time-consuming if you back up your entire computer this way!
Even worse, the free version lacks secure online storage. You don’t get any encryption unless you upgrade to the paid version.
Whereas with a service like Carbonite or Mozy, the software automatically takes care of everything in the background with no effort on your part. Unfortunately, ADrive has no such software. It goes as far as allowing you to upload entire folders and not just individual files, but that is it.
The other thing that worries me is the lack of information about the company. The site simply states that ADrive was founded in 2007 by industry veterans, but it does not list any names or any contact method other than an email address. That, plus the fact that I’ve seen numerous start-up companies without a revenue model get closed down, means I can’t recommend this as a sole backup provider. If they were to close their doors, all your backups would be gone, too.
This is especially scary if you read through ADrive’s Terms of Service:
7. Maintenance of Storage Data. Adrive shall have no responsibility for and does not guarantee the integrity, completeness or availability of Storage Data residing on Adrive’s equipment. You are responsible for independent backup of Storage Data stored using Adrive’s services. You agree to assume all risk of loss of such data. You agree to defend, indemnify and hold Adrive harmless for any loss of data, whether on Your equipment or through Adrive’s services, arising out of or resulting from use of Adrive’s services, including use of software provided by Adrive, if any. Adrive may, but shall not be required to, delete Your Storage Data after the termination of this Agreement.
If I’m reading this correctly, it says that even though you are counting on ADrive to backup your files, they make no guarantees to store your data properly, if at all. It even says you are responsible for backing up data that is stored with ADrive. That could be common legalese, but it’s not boosting my confidence one bit!
Likewise, scrolling through the “contact us” type pages, I can only find a few email addresses and contact forms. I’m not seeing any names, addresses, or phone numbers. ADrive does promise 24/7 phone support to paid subscribers, but there’s no way to test their support before forking over the cash. I’m unable to offer a further opinion on their customer support, but I have seen some reviews where users are not happy with support response times or helpfulness.
Now, I am impressed that ADrive is still around today. If you look at other companies we first reviewed in 2007, quite a few of them either shut down or were bought out by the larger companies. But ADrive has hung in there for five years, so even if their low-profile seems shady, they have a pretty good track record of sticking around. Heck, they just overhauled their service on March 17, 2012!
Final Decision on ADrive
What I liked about ADrive:
They offer 50 GB of completely free file storage.
What I did not like about ADrive:
ADrive lacks the refinement of other services, and it is simply for online storage, rather than true online backup.
ADrive review wrap up:
Overall rating: out of 5 stars
Reviewed by: Paul Ryan
Date of original review: October 1, 2007
Date last updated: March 25, 2012
Quick recap: ADrive can be thought of as a virtual hard drive for online file storage and file sharing, and they set themselves apart by offering 50 GB of space for free. It is very similar to a service like Xdrive, but is not a total backup solution like Carbonite or Mozy.
I certainly can’t see any reason to pay $6.95 per month for the upgraded account. With the basic plan, you still only get 50 GB of space; the perks are easier file uploads and better security. Compared to a service like MyPC Backup offering a better backup service and only charging $4.95 per month, ADrive simply can’t be competitive.
You should not rely on ADrive as your one and only backup service, but it’s worth spending a few minutes signing-up for a free account and backing up some of your random files (which don’t contain sensitive personal or business data) since it is free.
Official site: Adrive.com