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ElephantDrive Review: A Solid, if Pricey, Choice for Cloud Backup

elephantdrive logoElephantDrive may not be as widely recognized as some other cloud backup services, but it’s a strong contender in the online cloud backup market. In this review, you will find an in-depth look at what makes ElephantDrive stand out, along with some of its limitations.
Just looking for a quick summary? Here’s what you need to know. ElephantDrive offers robust security and an array of file syncing options for PC and Mac users. However, it’s worth noting the higher price points, absence of dedicated mobile apps, and a somewhat confusing support system, especially when compared to its rivals.

What is ElephantDrive?

ElephantDrive is cloud backup provider that uses the Amazon S3 storage infrastructure to offer a seamless way to back up your files. It’s a great blend of a standard cloud storage solution and a backup service, supporting continuous file syncing across multiple devices.

ElephantDrive features

It’s safe to say that ElephantDrive isn’t a ground-breaking storage provider. It offers no unique features you won’t find elsewhere, but it’s a competent provider with a powerful service backbone (thanks to Amazon). ElephantDrive has had a facelift recently, with a new, unified design that makes it simple. Check out some of its prominent features below:

  • User-Friendly Interface: Recent updates have made ElephantDrive easier to navigate.
  • File Syncing Across Devices: Sync files effortlessly between your PC and Mac.

Comprehensive Backup Options:

  • Full System Backups: ElephantDrive excels in backing up standard user files like documents, images, and downloads. However, it does not currently support full system or bare-metal backups, so operating systems, settings, and installed programs would need to be backed up using a different solution.
  • Flexible Backup Settings: Tailor your backup schedule and settings to your needs.
  • Unlimited File Versioning: Keep track of every change made to your backed-up files.
  • File Sharing: Share files using URLs or directly with other ElephantDrive users, though the process could be more streamlined.

Supported devices

ElephantDrive is a cross–platform provider and natively supports devices running Windows, Linux, and macOS, supporting Macs with Intel or Apple Silicon CPUs. Unfortunately, at the time of this review, ElephantDrive’s mobile app was unavailable—simply listed as “coming soon” on its website.

However, if you’re trying to protect a whole array of devices, you can use ElephantDrive’s support for network-attached storage (NAS) devices. ElephantDrive natively supports major NAS providers, including QNAP, Netgear ReadyNAS, D-Link, and Seagate.

Signing in on a device you don’t own (or on mobile)? You can securely access your files using ElephantDrive’s web interface if you have an internet connection. However, avoid public Wi-Fi networks without first using a top VPN service like NordVPN.

ElephantDrive pricing

ElephantDrive’s plans range from $10 to $40 monthly, offering varying storage capacities and features. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Solo: $10/month for 1TB base storage. Perfect for individuals.
  • Family: $20/month for 2TB. It’s a good pick for families juggling lots of data.
  • Business: $40/month for 2TB with unlimited potential. The go-to for businesses needing robust storage solutions.

Security and privacy

ElephantDrive uses AES-256 encryption to secure your data. This encryption applies to data at rest, ensuring your files are protected while stored on ElephantDrive’s servers. However, the service does not explicitly mention if this encryption extends to data in transit, an essential consideration for complete data security.

The downside to this approach is an inability to reset your password if you lose it. To avoid this, keep a copy of your password (and decryption keys) safe using a password manager.

Unfortunately, there’s no two-factor authentication support for signing in. If your account password is compromised, a user could still access your file list via the ElephantDrive web portal (even if they can’t unlock your files).

File syncing and sharing

ElephantDrive offers several methods for backing up your files to its cloud service. If you want to back up a single file, you can. Likewise, if it’s an entire PC image you want to back up, you can securely back that up, too. This flexibility allows you to tailor the service to suit your requirements, whether it’s at home or at work.

If you want to use ElephantDrive as a set-up-and-forget backup service, you can do so. This is possible via the system tray icon, where you can set up timed actions—automated tasks to back up certain files and folders on a schedule that suits you.

An alternative is to use the predefined backup folder. ElephantDrive monitors this folder and, when a change occurs, syncs the changes to your online storage. This allows you to turn ElephantDrive into a more typical cloud storage solution rather than just a cloud backup tool.

Finally, you can use the Everywhere folder in ElephantDrive as a shared drive. Files stored here can be shared with other users, with a local copy stored on each device. This would be a killer feature if you’re considering using ElephantDrive as a collaborative tool.

Because ElephantDrive is a true backup solution, you can use the restore job functionality to restore your files. This is an excellent option to batch recover any lost files on your device, but it isn’t without some difficulties. For example, if you’ve manually deleted a file from your PC, a restore job won’t necessarily work, and you might need to download the file from your ElephantDrive storage manually.

Customer support

ElephantDrive is a cloud backup provider for the home and business markets. The available customer support options vary between both types of customers.

For home users, customer support is lacking in depth and accuracy. The support FAQ area is difficult to navigate and poorly laid out, with several out-of-date posts that are over a decade old.

Need to solve a problem? Family plan subscribers have non-priority access to email, phone, and live chat support. In contrast, Solo plan users are stuck with only email and scheduled live chats—a downside for customers paying up to $240 annually.

Business users have maximum privileges here, with access to priority support channels, specialist onboarding teams, a dedicated account manager, and a specialist restoration team in an emergency. If you know how to access them, that is. 

Major support forms, such as a live chat system or support telephone number, aren’t visible on the main website or in the ElephantDrive FAQ area. ElephantDrive does have an online contact form, but it’s hidden away as a link in the FAQ.

If you’re a business customer, ElephantDrive is ready to help and support you, but you’ll need to figure out how to get in touch with them first. Solo and family users, however, might struggle in an emergency.

Verdict: Should I buy ElephantDrive?

With expensive plans and poor customer service, ElephantDrive isn’t the best online cloud backup provider on the market. It has made efforts to change in recent years, offering an improved user interface for customers. However, a lack of a mobile app for Android and Apple users makes it a desktop-only affair for now. 

If you’re looking for a store-and-forget cloud provider, ElephantDrive is a good option—if money’s no object. You can rely on zero-knowledge encryption (and the power of Amazon S3 infrastructure) for additional peace of mind, but a lack of two-factor encryption might put some users off.

Want to try before you buy? ElephantDrive offers 2GB of free storage. If it isn’t for you, you can always try an alternative like IDrive.

Best ElephantDrive Alternatives

If ElephantDrive isn’t the right provider, we recommend trying one of these alternatives.

  • BackBlaze is the top choice for cloud backups, with unlimited storage and great flat-rate pricing. It allows you to back up a single device (along with any other devices you can connect to it), with your own encryption keys and a 30-day deletion recovery period offering you the best security and recovery options.
  • IDrive is another titan of the cloud backup market, offering much storage and functionality at affordable prices. Like ElephantDrive, IDrive offers cross-platform support and NAS functionality, but it also doubles up as a good cloud storage solution. Security is top-tier, and you’ll struggle to find a provider as cheap.
  • iBackup is a robust business cloud backup solution. It’s less user-friendly than ElephantDrive, but this enterprise-level provider is fast, secure, and multi-functional, with full server imaging backups available. It also offers a physical backup solution using temporary storage—shipped to your business in an emergency.