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OpenDrive Review 2021

OpenDrive is a viable online backup option for those who want to save documents to the cloud, as well as sync and share files across multiple devices. The service offers flexible pricing plans, an intuitive web app, a truly continuous backup option, and support for two-factor authentication. On the other hand, OpenDrive’s desktop interface is fragmented, its restoration options are not ideal, and the service didn’t impress us in our upload speed tests. We would also like the ability to protect an entire backup with a private encryption key.

How Much Does OpenDrive Cost?

OpenDrive’s free account gets you 5GB of storage for one user with bandwidth limited to 1GB per day. This plan also limits the size of file uploads to 100MB and caps upload speeds at 200 Kbps. Thankfully, the free account requires just an email address and password—you don’t have to give credit card information to get started. IDrive also offers a free and permanent 5GB account.

The Personal Unlimited plan ($99 per year) removes those upload restrictions and opens up unlimited storage for an unlimited number of devices. The personal plans also include an unlimited number of notes, up to 10 tasks for project management purposes, and external drive backup capabilities. To get unlimited tasks (as well as notes), you need to pay $299 per year for OpenDrive’s Unlimited Business Plan.

A Custom plan lets you choose your storage allowance, your bandwidth, and the number of users. Custom plans start at $50 per year (for the first user) for 500GB of online storage, while each additional user costs $1 per month. Keep in mind that the price jumps up quickly as you increase either the amount of storage or the bandwidth. For example, a custom plan with 1TB of storage and two users costs the same as the Personal Unlimited plan.

For comparison, IDrive charges $69.95 per year for its 2TB plan that supports an unlimited number of devices. Backblaze‘s unlimited storage plan is just $60 per year, but you can only use it to back up a single PC.

OpenDrive has client software for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, as well as a plug-in for WordPress. It also offers WebDAV and an API for the developers out there. Linux users are confined to using the web interface. OpenDrive integrates with the Windows File Explore and macOS Finder.

Privacy and Security With OpenDrive

If security is your primary concern, you should only use OpenDrive’s Secure Folder. The Secure Folder requires you to set up a private encryption key and uses encryption technology that conforms with the AES-256 standard to protect files. If you forget your private key, however, OpenDrive has no way to help you regain access. Files in this encrypted folder are not available for sharing and can only be accessed by the owner via the local desktop application. Acronis True Image, Backblaze, Carbonite, IDrive, and SpiderOak One allow you to protect the entire backup set with the private key, not just a specific folder. Both files in the Secure Folder and regular folders are uploaded to OpenDrive’s servers using the HTTPS protocol. A representative from OpenDrive also noted that the company uses self-encrypting Seagate disks for its servers.

OpenDrive now allows you to set up two-factor authentication for web access, a change we appreciate. Currently, it supports SMS- and Authy-based methods. Both methods worked fine in testing. IDrive and Livedrive also support two-factor authentication.

(Editors’ Note: Livedrive is owned by J2 Global, the parent company of PCMag’s publisher, Ziff Davis.)

OpenDrive’s privacy policy is mercifully short and straightforward, though the page says the policy was last updated in 2015 (a representative confirmed that it was still in effect). It states that the service retains profile information (contact details), payment information, and automatically collected information (such as your IP address, access times, and browser type). OpenDrive says it uses your personal information to provide customer support, to inform users about new features and products, and to maintain and improve the service. Credit card information is not stored on its servers. While OpenDrive says it does “not share your files stored on our servers with any third parties unless instructed by you and allowed by OpenDrive,” it may “disclose your personal information or any of its log file information when required by law.” For reference, OpenDrive is based in Palo Alto, California, in the US.

Desktop Application

OpenDrive’s desktop client installed on our test PC quickly and we had no issues logging in with our test account. The installation process places an OpenDrive icon on your desktop (for the virtual drive view) and one in your notification area (for the Sync and Backup Manager).

OpenDrive Backup and Sync Application

OpenDrive’s interface consists of several pieces. The virtual drive view is integrated within the File Explorer (as a separate drive) and shows everything in your backup, along with the previously mentioned Secure Folder. You can also launch the Sync and Backup manager application, go directly to the backup setup (part of the Sync and Backup manager), access your account settings via the web, or create a new folder in your backup within the File Explorer. Right-clicking on a file in the OneDrive’s File Explorer interface brings up a helpful Properties menu with access to sharing links and previous file versions.

The Sync and Backup Manager window displays a detailed list of all the configured backup tasks, a progress bar for the current task, and a prominent Pause/Resume button in the upper-right corner. The design of the app feels outdated—we prefer the more fully featured and cohesive desktop experiences offered by Acronis True Image and SpiderOak One. In testing, OpenDrive’s apps were mostly stable, though browsing through uploaded files in the OpenDrive folder was slow.

Backing Up Your Data

To back up data with OpenDrive, you either upload items via the web interface, drag and drop files into the OpenDrive drive via File Explorer, or create a new task using the Sync and Backup Manager window. To get started with that last option, hit the New Task button on the left-hand side of the screen and select one of the four options: Backup, Synchronization, Move, and One-Way Mirror.

Backup acts as you might expect. OpenDrive stores the original files online, and when you make any edits locally, it uploads the file again with the changes. The Synchronization option hosts files in a shared folder and mirrors any file changes across devices; this is similar to how Dropbox works. The Move task copies selected files to a specified location and deletes those same files from the source location (this is essentially like an archive function). The One-Way Mirror task works the same as Backup, with one notable difference: Files are deleted in the destination location if the same files are deleted from the source. You have to select one of these choices every time you create a new backup task.

OpenDrive Backup Task Setup Screen

With OpenDrive, you need to select either the main OpenDrive folder or a subfolder each time you set up a backup. Notably, local backup targets are not an option, which is vital for when you don’t have an internet connection or when a server goes offline. We’d also like the ability to select more than one folder to back up at a time. OpenDrive does not offer disk imaging, but you can select entire drives as the backup source.

The next step is to choose an upload schedule. The Continuously option has two settings: Very Often (your data will be backed up every 30 seconds) and Immediately (any changes to files are immediately synced and a full sync will commence every hour, by default). In between those two choices are the more obvious Hourly and Daily options. You can set start and stop times for each day of the week, as well as configure the backup task to run whenever the computer has been idle for a specified time. If you select the Manual option, files are backed up only on demand. Carbonite, IDrive, and SpiderOak One also watch folders for changes and upload them immediately.

On the next page, you can filter by the type of content with either the Exclude or Include options. In both sections, you can add a custom filter for different file extensions. There’s also the option to control backups based on creation date and the size of files. The last step is to enable email notifications for when tasks either complete successfully, complete with errors, fail, or are manually stopped.

Web Interface

OpenDrive’s web interface is functional and well-designed. Immediately after signing in, the browser shows a page with a big drag-and-drop target area and a folder tree along the side. There’s a persistent sidebar on the left for switching between files, notes, tasks, and users, with a Settings shortcut on the bottom. A menu with a standard array of upload, download, and file management options lives on the top right, though this changes contextually based on the current window. We really like that clicking on a file opens it in a new tab, since this saves you the trouble of having to navigate back up or down the file tree. OpenDrive can display documents, PDFs, and images, but it would not play audio or video files we tried.

Right-clicking on a file brings up a context menu with the option to share, edit, or view its properties (you can set a password or change viewing permissions here). You can also create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations thanks to a Zoho Office integration from the web interface.

To share a file with OpenDrive, right-click on it and select Links, Expiring Links, or Send by Email. You can also password-protect a file by adding a password in its Properties menu. SpiderOak One offers more flexibility, but uses a less intuitive system.

OpenDrive Web Interface

Rounding out OpenDrive’s web features are the Notes, Tasks, and Users sections. Notes and tasks are self-explanatory and are fine for basic needs. The Users tab is where you can create accounts for other team members or people you want to have access to certain folders. These are all useful collaboration tools, but you should likely just spring for dedicated project management software or note-taking apps, instead.

OpenDrive’s Settings section enables you to view at-a-glance information about your remaining space and download bandwidth used, as well as customizable charts showing the same metrics. This is also where you can enable OpenDrive’s two-factor verification option. Oddly, you control the number of file versions OpenDrive keeps in the profile section as well. Most other backup services make this option more prominent. Finally, the profile section includes a well-organized activity log.

To cancel an OpenDrive account, you can either log into the support area and submit a cancellation request or email the support team. For a cancellation request to take effect, you must submit it more than 24 hours before renewal to avoid being charged for the next payment period.

Restoring Files

OpenDrive doesn’t feature a clear restore option, the way other services do. The most intuitive way (in our opinion) to get data back is by downloading files from the web or by dragging and dropping them out of OpenDrive’s File Explorer or Finder folder.

OpenDrive did add a Start Reverse Backup option (right-click on a backup task in the Sync and Backup Manager app), which just switches the source and destination of the task. The problem with this is that one might presumably want to restore files to a new location. Another problem with restoring files to the same folder is that OpenDrive overwrites the local file with any latest versions; if you make changes to a word document online, for example, and then run the Start Reverse Backup option, you lose the original local version of the file. You can always grab the older version online, but this is inconvenient. A company representative noted that point-in-time recovery options would likely arrive to OpenDrive this year.

We would still prefer a more traditional restore option; one in which you could specify a one-time file transfer from OpenDrive to a folder of your choosing. None of the available tasks in the desktop app are perfectly suited for this. Acronis True Image and SpiderOak One are among those services that offer more straightforward restore options.

As noted, file versioning preferences are accessible from the Settings section of the web interface. The maximum number of versions you configure for each file is 99. Once the number of file versions exceeds what you’ve chosen, OpenDrive deletes any older versions for good. We confirmed that OpenDrive retained all versions of a backed-up text file we updated several times. For comparison, IDrive keeps the last 30 versions forever and SpiderOak One keeps an unlimited number of versions forever.

OpenDrive’s Mobile Apps

We tested OpenDrive’s Android app (it also has an iPhone app) and had no issues logging in to our test account. In testing, we encountered the occasional stutter when opening images from our backup. We mostly like the design of OpenDrive’s app and it has improved the navigation experience. However, the Notes feature does not make an appearance and the Tasks icon opens a link to the web interface, which is highly inconvenient.

OpenDrive Android app

You can create new folders or add files from your device via the plus button in the lower-right corner. We like this functionality, though IDrive and Acronis True Image offer additional upload options for backing up contacts and calendars as well. For most people, OpenDrive’s mobile backup option should be fine though, even though we’d like to be able to schedule automatic backups of files on mobile devices.

The Settings section is more of an information panel. Here you can view the amount of storage you are using as well as your subscription plan. There’s also a Delete Offline Files option, which, per a company representative, deletes locally cached versions of files you downloaded from OpenDrive.

How Fast Does OpenDrive Upload Files?

To evaluate performance, we timed how long it took OpenDrive to upload three 1GB file sets and then took the median of the results. We tested the online backup services this year over a home Ethernet connection (16Mbps upload), since we were not able to access PCMag’s corporate test network due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—yes, we’re working from home, too. Our test device was a Dell Inspiron tower running Windows 10 with a 256GB SSD and 32GB RAM.

Online Backup Speed Test Results

OpenDrive took a median time of 17:18 (minutes:seconds) to complete our test, a time that was below-average. IDrive (12:29) and ElephantDrive (12:44) were several minutes quicker. NovaBackup (22:14) finished last in our test. Speedy upload times make your first and any future backups much more convenient, but you shouldn’t base your decision for an online backup service solely on this test if the service falters in other aspects.

Unlimited Storage, Limited Features

If flexible storage options and a slick web interface are important to you, OpenDrive might be a worthwhile online backup choice. However, OpenDrive’s disjointed desktop experience and slower-than-average upload speeds are potential reasons to avoid it, as is its limited backup encryption options. We recommend Editors’ Choice services IDrive, for its value and speed, or Acronis True Image, for its impressive set of backup and security features.

The cloud isn’t for everyone; if what you really want to do is back up your files to local storage, visit our roundups of local backup services and external hard drives to see your best options.

Cons

  • Only Secure Folder can be encrypted with private key

  • Disjointed desktop interface

  • Nonintuitive restore options

  • Below-average upload speeds in our tests

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The Bottom Line

Online backup service OpenDrive is a good value and features an intuitive web interface, but it was slow to upload files in our testing and could use better encryption options.

OpenDrive Specs

Base Storage Unlimited
Free Storage 5 GB
Number of Computers Unlimited
Private Key Encryption Yes
File Sharing Yes
Folder Syncing Yes
Versions Kept 99
Versions Period Unlimited

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