Proton Drive Review (2024) – Can This Swiss Vault Secure Your Files on Cloud?

In this digital age, cloud storage services have become indispensable for personal and professional data management. They offer storage space and provide security, media playback, file sharing, syncing, and a lot more.

I’ve used, tested, and reviewed many popular cloud storage services in the last few years, including pCloud, Icedrive, Sync, and more. Today, I’m back to introduce you to another cloud storage service – Proton Drive.

Proton Drive claims to be a highly secure and private cloud storage service with strong encryption methods. Do these claims hold any truth? Let’s find out in today’s Proton Drive Review!

In this article, we will dive deeper into Proton Drive and understand its potent features. We will begin by discussing its UI, and move on to its speed, security, file syncing and sharing options, devices, support, pricing, and more. I loved its responsive user interface!

Finally, we’ll look at its advantages and shortcomings. So, are you ready to unlock the solid features of Proton Drive and understand if it’s the right choice for you?

So, let’s dive right in without any further delay!

Proton Drive Review

Kripesh Adwani

Ease of Use
Privacy
Sharing
Pricing
Sync
Speed

Summary

Proton Drive is a Swiss cloud storage that features an intuitive UI, secure file sharing, swift download speeds, remarkable security, and access to multiple Proton applications.
However, you’ll find limited storage on the free plan along with terrible upload speeds, average sharing and previewing, and no block-level sync or virtual drive support. Proton Drive is suitable for users concerned about the privacy and security of their data.

3.7

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About Proton Drive

Proton Drive is a security-focused cloud storage service officially launched by scientists at CERN in 2022. Proton Drive is a product of the Proton company, which currently has over 100 million users around the globe!

Proton drive homepage

Proton has a host of products, including Proton Drive, Proton VPN, Proton Mail, Proton Calendar, and Proton Pass. Their primary purpose is to build a private and secure internet for their users.

Wondering what’s the difference between local storage and cloud storage and which one is better for your needs? Check out this detailed article on Cloud Storage vs Local Storage!

Proton Drive Data Centers and Jurisdiction

Proton is headquartered in Switzerland, which is known for its strong data privacy laws and GDPR Compliance. The data centers of Proton Drive are located in two different regions:

  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Frankfurt, Germany

The best thing about Proton Drive is that it’s a Swiss company, which doesn’t fall under the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances. Thus, it doesn’t share intelligence data with other countries, making it a highly secure and reliable choice for privacy-focused customers.

Proton Drive User Interface

The user interface of Proton Drive looks modern and responsive. It features attractive and pleasing colors that appeal to the viewers. You can easily switch between the list or grid layout and choose from 8 elegant themes. I really liked the dark mode themes.

Proton Drive user interface

For uploading your files to Proton Drive, you can drag and drop them on the UI. This is highly convenient for file management. Apart from that, you can also adjust the accessibility options like font type and size for enhanced readability.

Proton Drive Speed

Talking about speeds, I evaluated the speeds offered by Proton Drive by uploading and downloading a 260 MB video file with a network speed of 30 Mbps. Following were the results.

Proton Drive Speed Test

  • Upload time: 25 min 30 sec
  • Download time: 1 min 31 sec

In my experience, the upload speeds were very poor. Whereas, the download speeds were excellent. They can work on improving their upload speeds.

Proton Drive Security

Security and Privacy are the USP of Proton Drive. Let’s check out the powerful security features that it offers its customers.

  • Secure Encryption: Proton Drive uses Zero-Access Encryption along with OpenPGP end-to-end encryption standard and elliptic curve cryptography. This keeps your files secure from all kinds of online attacks and only you can access them.
  • Password Protection: You can lock your shared files with a secure password. The receiver won’t be able to access the files without entering the password.
  • Biometric lock: On the Proton Drive mobile app, you can use the biometric lock to access your files.
  • 2FA: Two-factor authentication can be performed using authenticator apps or FIDO/U2F security keys.
PRoton Drive Security

  • Session Management: You can view which devices are logged in to your Proton Drive account along with the login date. It also allows you to revoke access to the devices you don’t use.
  • Security Logs: This tab keeps a log of all the authentication attempts made to your Proton account. You can enable advanced logs if you need the IP address along with each authentication log.
  • Two Password Mode: This unique security feature of Proton Drive requires you to enter two passwords – one for accessing your Proton account and another for decrypting your mailbox.

Proton Drive File History & Recovery

1) File Revisions

Interestingly, Proton Drive supports file version history even on its free plan. You can restore a maximum of 10 revisions up to 7 days on its free version. The revisions can be previewed, downloaded, and restored.

Proton Drive Version History

On the paid plans, you get up to 200 reviews that are stored for 10 years. You can select a duration between 30, 180, or 365 days to store your file versions. If you don’t want to keep any file revisions, you can use the “Don’t keep versions” option to disable them entirely.

2) Trash

Your deleted files and folders stay in the Trash till you delete them manually. This is much better compared to other cloud storage that offers a 30-day trash limit. However, the Trash folder occupies space from the main storage itself.

Proton Drive Trash

So, if you’re on the free plan with 1 GB of cloud storage space, it may get consumed quickly. When you feel the storage on your drive is low, you can try clearing the Trash folder to free up some space.

3) Account Recovery

In emergencies, when you lose access to your account, Proton Drive offers simple recovery methods you can implement.

Proton Drive Account Recovery

For account recovery, you can set up a recovery email, phone number, or recovery phrase. Recovery Phrase is a set of 12 words arranged in a specific order. You can use it to reset your passwords and restore your emails, files, etc.

For data recovery, you can use your recovery phrase or recovery file. The recovery file can be quickly uploaded to restore your files and emails. 

Proton Drive File Syncing

With the Proton Drive desktop app, you can keep the files on your local device synced with your cloud storage. All you have to do is select the folders you wish to sync with the cloud. Now, whenever you add, delete, or update any files, the changes will be synced on all devices. 

Proton Drive File Syncing

It supports selective sync, meaning you can specify which folders you want to sync with the cloud. However, Block-level sync has not been implemented on Proton Drive yet. So, whenever you make changes to a file, the entire file is re-uploaded to the cloud, consuming bandwidth.

The desktop app doesn’t function as a virtual drive. You cannot view, open, or edit any synced files using the desktop app. If you need cloud storage that functions as a virtual drive, you can check out pCloud or Icedrive.

//Proton Drive Mobile Backups

With mobile apps, Proton Drive offers automatic backups. You can select which folders you wish to back up. The Camera folder is enabled for auto-photo backups by default. So, when new photos are added to selected folders, they are synced with the drive by themselves.

I personally loved the swift sync function of Proton Drive. However, they can work on introducing a virtual drive and block-level syncing features.

Proton Drive Devices

Proton Drive has functional apps for all devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and a web app. The web app works on all popular web browsers and offers all the functions for storing, sharing, and organizing your files.

Proton Drive App

The desktop app is basic. It allows you to add folders to sync with the cloud, view activity, change settings, etc. However, you cannot view the synced files or add a new file to your cloud storage separately.

The mobile app runs smoothly and has a pleasing interface. You can set up a biometric lock on your app and enable the dark theme for more convenience. However, it doesn’t let you preview Doc, Excel, and PPT files.

Overall, it features smooth and responsive apps. However, they can extend the previewing function on mobile apps and include more features on the desktop app.

Proton Drive Customer Support

Proton Drive offers customer support via email and a knowledge base. They have a decent knowledge base comprising annotated articles with in-depth information on various topics.

Proton Drive Customer Support

However, their email support was poor. I received an email reply to my queries after a whole week. Overall, I liked the knowledge base of Proton Drive. But they need to improve the speed of their email support.

Proton Drive File Sharing

You’ll find good options for file sharing on Proton Drive. It automatically applies end-to-end encryption to your shared files, which ensures that only the sender and receiver can access the shared data.

Proton Drive File sharing

While sharing a file or folder, you can get a public link. Proton Drive also allows you to set a password and link expiry date for it, even on the free versions. So, the receiver can only access the file upon entering the password. This adds another layer of security to your shared files.

What I liked about Proton Drive’s sharing function was that it doesn’t put a limit on the file size. So, if the free version has 1 GB of total storage, you can utilize the entire space for sharing your files.

However, it does not offer link analytics regarding shared file views and downloads. You cannot share files via email and creating upload links/file requests are not supported either. You can look at pCloud or Icedrive for advanced file-sharing features.

And if you’re specifically looking for tools to share big files, take a look at these 5 Ways to Transfer Large Files for Free! I hope you’ll find them helpful. 

Proton Drive Documents Preview and Editing

The web app of Proton Drive supports a variety of file previews. You can view PDF files, Docs, Images, Videos, etc. However, PPTs and Excel files are not supported. You’ll have to download them and view them on third-party apps on your device.

Proton Drive File Preview

Unfortunately, Proton Drive does not support document editing on any device. They also don’t offer any integrations with Google Docs or Office Online. I hope they introduce this feature in its future updates.

Proton Drive Playback Features

Talking about playback features, Proton Drive offers built-in audio and video players along with an image viewer for previewing your files. You can adjust the speed of your audio and video files. For videos, it also lets you enable picture-in-picture mode for multi-tasking!

Proton Drive Video Playback

Overall, I found the playback features to be pretty basic. There are no customization options available. Apart from that, you can’t preview large video files. They need to be downloaded for viewing.

Proton Drive Privacy Policy

The privacy policy of Proton Drive is laid out clearly. They are an end-to-end encrypted service. So, they cannot decrypt your files, and hence cannot share them with any third parties. They also do not collect your IP address or your data for advertising or exploitation.

Proton Drive is GDPR Compliant. This means users can request access to their personal data being collected. They can also download or request their data to be deleted. In conditions where they are legally obligated by Swiss authorities, they disclose limited data. 

Overall, the privacy policy looks quite transparent and reliable. As a user, you don’t have to worry about any issues when using Proton Drive.

Proton Drive Security Audits

Proton Drive has undergone multiple security audits. The latest security audit was conducted by Securitum in September 2021. This European Penetration Testing Company audited all Proton apps and found no major security issues or vulnerabilities with them.

For more details, you can check out Proton’s security audit blog post.

Proton Drive Pricing Plans

Proton Drive offers a free plan along with 3 distinct paid plans – Drive Plus, Proton Unlimited, and Proton Family. The following table compares their key features. Let’s look at it below.

FreeDrive PlusProton UnlimitedProton Family
Pricing (annual)0 €/mo3.99 €/mo9.99 €/mo23.99 €/mo
Storage1 GB200 GB500 GB3 TB
End-to-end encryptionYesYesYesYes
Version HistoryNoYesYesYes
Proton EcosystemNoNoYesYes

The paid plans of Proton Drive start from 3.99 €/mo, where you get 200 GB of storage space. If you need access to the Proton Ecosystem, you’ll have to upgrade to the Proton Unlimited plan for 9.99 €/mo.

This is slightly expensive compared to pCloud and Icedrive. However, you’re getting all the Proton services with it, which makes it value the money!

Free Plan

The free plan of Proton Drive offers 1 GB of cloud storage space that’s secured with end-to-end encryption. However, the storage space is pretty low compared to the free versions of popular cloud storage services.

Mega offers 20 GB storage space and Google Drive comes with 15 GB space. Whereas, pCloud and Icedrive both feature a 10 GB storage space. Proton Drive stands out by offering all Proton services, including Drive, Mail, Calendar, and VPN with a Proton account.

However, the 1 GB storage is shared between all these services. Thus, the free storage is used up even more swiftly. I hope they increase the free storage limit in the future.

Payment Methods

Proton Drive supports the following payment methods: 

  • Credit or Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin
  • Cash
  • Bank transfer

Refund Policy

Proton Drive offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, you can get a refund on canceling your service within 30 days of purchase. However, the catch is that they offer refunds on a pro-rata basis. So, you only receive refunds for the unused portion of the service.

Proton Drive Pros

1) Swiss Company

Proton Drive is headquartered in Switzerland, which is known for its privacy laws. It also doesn’t fall under any intelligence-sharing alliances, making it a highly safe option for cloud storage providers.

2) Modern and Friendly Interface

The user interface of Proton Drive looks modern with pleasing colors and design. All the options are easy to navigate and it even supports drag-and-drop upload. Overall, it’s friendly for beginners.

3) Swift Download Speeds

The download speeds offered by Proton Drive are commendable! I was able to download a large video file stored on my cloud storage at lightning-fast speeds.

4) Excellent Security Features

Proton Drive applies zero-knowledge encryption on the files stored in its vault. Along with secure encryption methods, Proton Drive offers password protection on shared files, 2FA, biometric lock, session management, and security logs for enhanced security.

5) Versioning Support

You can find the file revisions or versioning feature even on the free plan of Proton Drive. The free plan lets you restore 10 revisions for up to 7 days. Whereas, on the paid plans, you can keep up to 200 file revisions for 10 years.

6) Bundle of Applications

Signing up for a Proton account gives you access to a bundle of applications, including Proton Drive, VPN, Mail, and Calendar app.

7) Good Privacy and Security Audits

The privacy policy of Proton Drive is highly transparent. They are GDPR compliant, so you can request them to delete your data at any point in time. They have also been audited by a popular security firm and deemed as a secure service.

Proton Drive Cons

1) Limited Storage on the Free Plan

The free plan of Proton Drive offers a mere 1 GB of storage space, which is shared among all the Proton apps. This is quite limited compared to other popular cloud services.

2) Poor Upload Speeds

The upload speeds I observed while uploading a video file on Proton Drive were pretty disappointing. I hope they work on improving the upload speeds in the future.

3) No Block-Level Sync

Block Level Sync is an important feature that saves bandwidth by only uploading the latest changes made to the synced files. However, Proton Drive doesn’t support it at the moment.

4) No Virtual Drive

Proton Drive’s desktop app doesn’t function as a virtual drive. It only allows you to add folders to sync with the cloud. You cannot view or upload new files on it or access it as an external hard drive on your PC.

5) Basic Sharing and Previewing

Proton Drive doesn’t support previewing all file types. It does not allow document editing either. The sharing options are quite limited. You can’t share files via email, get link analytics, or send file requests for a particular folder.

Proton Drive Alternatives

1) Proton Drive vs pCloud 

pCloud is one of the most popular cloud storage services with over 14 million users. It is famous for its privacy-friendly policies. Similar to Proton Drive, it is based in Switzerland, offers zero-knowledge encryption, doesn’t support document editing, and offers good security tools.

It marks itself differently by offering the pCloud Rewind feature, Virtual Drive, Selective and block-level sync, advanced file sharing, file requests, and more. I personally use it for my work and find it super efficient for storing my files, backups, file sharing, and syncing.

The free plan of pCloud offers 10 GB of cloud storage space. Its paid plans start from $49.99/year, where you get 500 GB of cloud storage. 

2) Proton Drive vs Icedrive

Icedrive is a privacy-focused cloud storage that offers swift speeds and good collaboration options. Similar to Proton Drive, Icedrive offers good security options, along with a modern UI, and affordable pricing plans. 

However, unlike Proton Drive, it also offers a virtual drive, advanced syncing and collaboration options, document editing, WebDAV access, and much more. I have myself been using Icedrive for storing my work files for the past few years. 

The free plan of Icedrive offers 10 GB of cloud storage space. Its paid plans start at $59/year, where you get 1 TB of storage. 

3) Proton Drive vs Sync

Sync is a secure and affordable cloud storage service. It offers secure file storage with advanced sharing options. But has an outdated interface. Similar to Proton Drive, you’ll find zero-knowledge encryption, good security features, and excellent file sharing on Sync. 

However, Sync marks itself differently by offering a 30-day versioning, file upload permissions, and a smooth Office 365 integration. The free plan of Sync offers 5 GB of storage space. Its paid plans start at $8/month, where you get 2 TB of storage space. 

Why Should You Trust Me?

I’ve been working full-time in the digital industry since 2015. In these years, I have thoroughly used, tested, and reviewed all popular cloud storage services. These include pCloud, Icedrive, Sync, JioCloud, etc. You can find detailed reviews on my blog and YouTube channel.

For this review, I’ve spent a few weeks testing all the key features of Proton Drive on all devices and apps. My experience and expertise in the field of cloud storage have made me capable of recommending you the best service for your needs.

Conclusion

In this article, we reviewed the privacy-focused cloud storage – Proton Drive. This Swiss cloud storage features an intuitive UI, along with swift download speeds, remarkable security, private file sharing, and multiple applications with your Proton account.

However, the storage on the free plan is very limited. It also offers terrible upload speeds, features average sharing and previewing functions, and lacks block-level sync and virtual drive support.

Overall, Proton Drive looks like a suitable option for users concerned about the privacy and security of their data. You can start with its free plan to test out all the features and later upgrade to its paid plan for extended storage limits.

Anyway, do you currently use cloud storage for storing your files? Which service do you use and would you like to switch to Proton Drive? Let me know in the comments box below. You can also look at our curated list of the Best Free Cloud Storage Providers if you’re a beginner in the field. 

This is Kripesh, taking your leave. I’ll be back with more informative content soon. Till then, keep exploring and keep learning. Cheers! 🙂

Proton Cloud

Proton Drive Pros (+)

  • Swiss Company
  • Interface
  • Download Speeds
  • Excellent Security
  • Versioning Support
  • Privacy and Security Audits

 Proton Drive Cons (-)

  • Limited Storage
  • Poor Upload Speeds
  • No Block-Level Sync
  • No Virtual Drive
  • Basic Sharing
Photo of author

Kripesh Adwani

Kripesh Adwani is a digital tool expert who buys, tests, and reviews SAAS tools for small businesses. Based on 10+ years of experience in tech he provides insightful reviews. His content is widely consumed, serving millions of users each month. Kripesh has also been featured in more than 50 publications, including The Economic Times, The Free Press Journal & Cloudways.

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