Hubic review: France-based file storage solution with competitive pricing
One of the suspected outcomes of the NSA spying revelations was that many assumed that services hosted in the US would be negatively affected, while services hosted in other countries would see an increase in customers.
While I cannot say if that happened or not, it is likely that at least some Internet users made the decision to move servers, files and other data from the US to other countries.
Most file synchronization services for instance, at least the ones that make the news all the time, are US-based. There is Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud, Microsoft OneDrive, and Apple's iCloud for example, plus many more services such as Box, Cubby or Copy.
There are file storage services that don't host in the US, Mega for instance does not.
French-based file synchronization and hosting service Hubic launched back in 2011 but has seen little traction until now outside of France.
It is part of OVH.com, a privately owned web hosting company that is known for its excellent server offerings.
The first thing that you will notice when you open the Hubic website is that the service's pricing is very competitive. New users who do not want to pay money can sign-up for a free account that gets them 25 Gigabytes of space.
A 100 GB account is available for â‚¬1 per month, and the 10 TB account for â‚¬10 per month. No major cloud hosting company comes even close to these prices.
If you are a Dropbox user for instance, you can upgrade to a Pro account that gets you 100 GB of storage, but sets you back $9.99 per month, almost ten times as much.
Google offers 8 TB or 16 TB of storage that are available for company services such as Google Drive, Gmail or Google+ Photos. The 8 TB upgrade is available for $399.99 per month, the 16 TB got $799.99 per month. That's almost 40 times as much (8 TB) for less storage.
Storage is but one feature though, and if the service lacks in other areas, you may still prefer to use a different one.
As far as connectivity is concerned, it is quite good. You can access your data on the web at all times by signing in to your Hubic account directly on the website, use one of the desktop clients -- available for Windows and Mac, and as a beta for Linux --, or use a smartphone app for Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8 or BlackBerry.
Installation is straightforward and does not come with surprises. If you are using Windows, you install Hubic like any other program on your system. You may modify the root folder location if you want by selecting the advanced installation option, or keep the default settings instead.
While you are asked to restart your PC afterwards, it is not really necessary to use the program right away.
Three default folders are created in the root folder for Documents, Images and Videos. You can add as many files to those folders, custom folders you create, or the root directory, and they will all be picked up by the sync client and transferred to the cloud.
The Windows client lacks customization options. While you can limit the upload or download speed on the client, there are no options to enter proxy information, or enable selective synchronization.
You can display an activity log on your desktop at all times to see what is going on, or publish files right from within Windows Explorer to share them with other users.
This can also be done on the website. Here you can share files via email or the social networking services Facebook, Twitter or Google+, or create a direct link to the file that you can share directly, for instance in a chat room.
All shared files have an expiration date that can be set to 5, 10 or 30 days. There does not seem to be a way to share files without expiration date.
Tip: Files are transferred via SSL, but you may want to add encryption to important files to protect them from unauthorized access.
- Cross-platform support is excellent. All major mobile and desktop operating systems are supported.
- Free storage and pricing is excellent and very competitive. You get lots of storage for your money.
- No maximum file size limit.
- No file type restrictions.
- Data centers are hosted in France.
What's not so good
- Files cannot be shared without expiration date.
- There is no file history feature.
- The online interface is basic. There are no file previews for example.
- The desktop client does not support selective synchronization, it is either all or nothing.
- Lacks business features such as sharing files with other project members.
Closing Words and verdict
Hubic does a lot of things right. It offers a generous amount of storage space to free users, and generous pricing for paid subscribers. That makes it an excellent solution if you need lots of online disk space.
The service's support for operating systems is also excellent, and leaves little to be desired.
The downside is that the functionality is basic when compared to Microsoft's OneDrive or Dropbox, or many other file synchronization and hosting services. There is no selective synchronization, no business features, and no previews when you use the web client.
If you do not need these features, you may want to give Hubic a try. If you need them, you may want to wait until the company implements them.
All in all, it it is a great service for users who need lots of online storage space for data, but do not require more than that or only basic sharing functionality.