LiveDrive is a relatively new cloud storage service which has been on the market since 2008. What sets them apart seems to be the abundance of options they give you to choose from. You can pick one of four different plans:
Backup. This is a simple plan that just backs up your files quickly and securely. It also allows you to access files on the web and via mobile devices. Livedrive boasts about the ease of use for this basic service, which provides unlimited backups for one computer for prices starting at $8 per month. You can sign up and pay for a year and get a discounted rate a $7 per month. Additional computers can be added for $1.50 per month.
Briefcase. This allows you to sync them across your other computers and share them easily. It also offers 2TB of standard storage space. This plan is similar to a Dropbox type syncing service, and allows you to synch across all devices and operating systems. This service costs $16 per month and provides 2TB of syncing space, but it does not include backups. Sign up for a year and get the plan for as low as $13 per month.
Pro Suite. This plan offers the combined features of the above plans with the added benefit of 5TB as standard.The Livedrive Pro Suite is a good way to go if you need a huge amount of space, and it provides unlimited backups for 5 computers. It also includes features for advanced users such as FTP or SFTP access to cloud storage. Prices start as low as $20 per month if you pay for a year in advance.
Business. Allows you to back up all the computers in an office, share files and has enough space for an entire office.
Each of these plans are compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. The three personal plans are available on a 14 day free trial basis, but you do have to provide credit card information to sign up for the free trial. Many of Livedrive's competitors offer a free-trial, or free versions without this requirement for your payment information.
It's easy to create a Livedrive account and download the application. For Windows, it's a 10.4MB download, and a 55.2MB download for the Max OS X. Upon completion of the download, a tutorial loads, outlining the features of the Backup and Briefcase service options.
Some reviewers point out that Livedrive can be confusing to setup, with its multiple options. If you are looking for a user friendly, intuitive setup process, it could be frustrating. On the other hand, Livedrive is ideal for users looking to customize their file backup process, as they will have hands on control.
During the installation process, users are faced with plenty of options. For example, you must choose where to save the local cache, and which files to cache locally. The default settings for automatic file backup, called Live Backup, are good for backing up most of your data.
While Livedrive claims to sync files between multiple computers using LAN Sync technology on the same local network, some users report problems syncing between Windows, Mac and Linux based systems. This solution to this is to use the Livedrive web portal to work with files from a Max or Linux computer. To be sure, Livedrive does offer access to your files from anywhere you can get an internet signal. The distinction here is that you can access files via the Livedrive software on a computer with Windows XP or Windows Vista, while those with a Max or Linux computer must access files via the Livedrive web portal or FTP.
You can view your files via mobile devices, but you can't edit them in the mobile environment.
Subscribers to Livedrive Briefcase and Pro Suite can share files with just a few clicks. Files can be shared with people and businesses that do not have Livedrive. There are instructions for sharing at the Livedrive blog if you need a bit of help. For example, the sharing process starts by right clicking the file you want to share, hardly an intuitive path to completing a function that should be a breeze.
Livedrive claims that Briefcase features one-click sharing, and that you can share publicly or privately. If you share privately, Livedrive emails a username and password to those you select to share with, setting up a limited Livedrive account for the recipient, allowing them to retrieve the shared file.
FTP with Pro Suite
The Pro Suite Plan offers FTP access for uploading backups, a unique feature for a cloud storage service. Users be forewarned, you'll have to kick around the Livedrive site to find instructions for configuring the FTP feature. It's a great feature once you get it running, allowing you to backup files really fast.
Security at Livedrive
The company employs a fairly high standard of security in protecting your files during uploads. They use AES 256 encryption and store them across multiple servers, and files are encrypted between your computer and Livedrive also.
The exception to this is using the FTP feature of the Pro Suite account. Un-encrypted files can be transferred, so users of the FTP feature should be aware of this risk.
Customer Support at Livedrive
Technical support is available via email. Livedrive claims all emails are answered within 24 hours. The best part of their email support, all inquiries go direct to the technical staff, not to a general company email, so you know the right party is getting your email. They also maintain an online knowledge base with technical articles and guides to assist users. You can also check the FAQ page with over 200 answers to typical questions.
Verdict - Good
Livedrive offers a decent range of cloud storage services and features to choose from, but be prepared to sift through the array of products, downloads, and setups. It's a good choice for advanced users, especially those who would like FTP access to an online backup service. The basic Backup plan is fine is you simply want a secure place to park your files, but it has limited features. They are a bit more expensive the competition.