Livedrive Review

Although it was launched as recently as 2008, Livedrive has already rocketed to the top of the online backup world.  Based in the United Kingdom, Livedrive serves millions of clients worldwide and has been recognized by the press for its contributions to the world of online backup and file storage.  Learn about the company's features, pricing and security in the Livedrive review below to see if this online backup solution is the right one for you. 

 

Pricing

Livedrive prices fall squarely in the mid-high end range as compared with other leading online backup services.  The company does have a very interesting pricing plan, however, because though the simplest Backup plan serves only one computer, additional computers can be added for only $1.45, which is the lowest price we've found for the backup of additional computers.  Equally interesting is that Livedrive allows users to commit to a plan for up to 5 years, whereas offer other online backup services offer plans for a maximum of 2 years.  For each year that a Livedrive user commits to, he or she receives an additional discount off the list price. 

  Pro Plan Briefcase Plan Business Plan
1 month $7.95 $15.95 $24.95
1 year $5.83 $11.66/month $18.33/month
Total:$69.96 Total:$139.92 Total:$219.96
2 years $5.41 $11.25/month $16.66/month
Total:$129.84 Total:$270 Total:$159.84
3 years $4.00 $10.00/month $15.00/month
Total:$144 Total:$360 Total:$540
5 years $3.67 $7.50/month $11.00/month
Total:$218.40 Total:$450 Total:$660

Though Livedrive recommends that users input their credit card while registering for the free trial so that they can take advantage of additional savings, it is possible to register for the trial without providing credit card details, an option that is vital for any user who truly wants to test out the service without committing or worrying about canceling on time. 

Finally, Livedrive offers a business plan that offers collaborative tools as well as online backup services.  The price for this plan begins at $49.95/month and is adjusted based on the number of users in the business. 

 

Features

Livedrive doesn't offer the collaborative or extensive file sharing features afforded by some services such as Box.com or Dropbox.com, nor does it offer all of the storage features provided by its competitors - at least not in the simplest plan (called the Backup Plan).  For example, file syncing, a critical feature which is standard with every other top online backup service is included in Livedrive's upgraded Briefcase Plan, but does not come with the Backup Plan.  Similarly, file editing from any browser is available with the Briefcase Plan, but not with the Backup Plan.  That being said, Livedrive does offer some worthwhile features that can increase the efficiency and peace of mind of the user.  Some of the features we found useful are:

  • Mobile access from nearly any device - Unlike some online backup companies that accommodate mobile access from iPhones/iPads and Android devices only, Livedrive has mobile apps for iPhone/iPad and Androids, as well as a user-friendly mobile website that provides easy access for those connecting from a Blackberry or Windows mobile phone.

  • Social file sharing- Available only with the Briefcase Plan or the Pro Suite (Livedrive's top of the line product), this feature can be useful for anyone who regularly shares files via social media sites such as Flickr or Facebook.

  • Video and music streaming to mobile devices - The ability to stream video and music directly from the user's Livedrive account is extremely useful for users on the go, though a similar feature is also offered by competitors in the online backup space such as BackupGenie.

  • File restoration - Because Livedrive stores up to 30 versions of a given document, users can rest assured not only that they can access the last version if so desired, but a prior incarnation of the document that they wish to retrieve for any reason. 

  • More syncing space than its competitors (in the briefcase package)- Though we were surprised to learn that the simplest package, the Backup plan, does not include any sync space in the cloud, Livedrive's Briefcase package, the mid-level plan offered for home users, includes up to 2TB of data storage, which is impressively more than all of the other online backup services that we tested, most of which offer somewhere between 75GB and 500GB for home packages. 

  • Email files to Livedrive account- Users with a Briefcase or Pro account can email their files to the Livedrive team for storage so that they don't have to worry about storing the files independently.

 

Storage Space

Livedrive is one of the only leading online backup services that offers unlimited data backup with all of its plans.  It also offers an unparalleled 2TB of sync space in its Briefcase plan, and 5TB of sync space with its Pro Suite.  No sync space is available with the standard Backup plan, so users wishing to share files will have to upgrade to a different plan. 

Ease of Use

Installing Livedrive was relatively straightforward, beginning with a clear choice between downloading for Mac or PC.  The download took under 1 minute, and then we were prompted to choose the files we wished to download, a choice which was nice as compared with other services that either backup the user's entire computer or backup only the My Documents folder.  Once we selected the files to backup, we received instructions about how to backup additional files if we wished to in the future, a directive we found to eliminate some of the uncertainty about the process.  We were then asked if we wished to take advantage of the Livedrive Briefcase plan, which would sync all of our files to different devices for easy retrieval.  At the end we were guided to direct access to our Livedrive folders, or to tutorials that provided us with all of the information we needed to setup our Livedrive backup according to our preferences, a step we found additionally comforting. 

Livedrive -in -screenshot

After the initial download, however, we faced multiple problems using the software.  For starters, we selected to backup the computer's My Documents folder, but we were told when we visited our account there were no files backed up.  The Livedrive tutorial said that we could right click on the file to backup and follow the prompts, but we did not have any Livedrive commands when we right clicked on our files.  We spend close to 30 frustrating minutes trying to find help on the Livedrive support console, searching the FAQ section, reading the tutorials and using the search feature, but were unable to find the answers we needed to use the software effectively. 

It turns out that we needed to re-download the software in order to get it to show on the desktop - but even after we downloaded it, we tried to save a specific file, and were told that we could not perform that action, and we found ourselves frustrated further.

Livedrive -in -screenshot1
 

Security

Like all top online backup services, Livedrive uses military-grade 256 bit encryption to store all client files safely and securely.  Though a user's private data can be accessed by anyone with the proper username and password, all files that are shared publically can theoretically be accessed by anyone.

Customer Support

Livedrive users can get support by submitting a ticket to receive a personal response, or by searching the company's knowledgebase and detailed tutorial base.  Users must be logged in in order to access the customer support portal, though general sales inquiries can also be submitted via email.  We had the occasion to use the Livedrive support portal more rigorously than normal during this Livedrive review, as we encountered many technical problems.  However, we found the support console and the knowledgebase both failed to help us solve our problems, though they did seem to provide interesting and potentially useful information at the most basic level. 

We submitted a ticket at 2:48am EST on a Wednesday and received a response in slightly over 3 hours.  The response was very helpful and was clearly written by someone with concern for our problem, though it did not solve all of our problems because the software did not execute the commands as we expected based on the screenshots in the tutorial.  We were also disappointed that the response came to the email address used for the account registration, not the one we provided in our inquiry email. 

Livedrive -in -screenshot2
 

Summary

Icon -review -v

Positive Features

  • High allotment of
  • sync space
  • Quick download
  • Speedy customer support via email
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Negative Features

  • Difficult to use
  • Poor knowledgebase
  • Collaborative tools only in the business plan
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