Bitcasa at a Glance
3.75 / 5 stars
Pricing updated with new plans as of November 19, 2013.
- Free up to 20GB of storage.
- $10.00 / month or $99.00 / year for 1TB.
- $49.00 / month or $499.00 / year for 5TB.
- $99.00 / month or $999.00 / year for infinite storage
- Supports Windows, Mac and Linux (coming soon) operating systems.
- Android available.
- iOS app available.
- Windows 8 and Windows RT app available.
- Infinite Drive.
- Easy to share files with friends and family.
- Infinite drive needs an Internet connection.
- Mirrored folders and files read only on other devices.
- Windows version not limited to one user account. All accounts have Bitcasa installed.
- Linux version is behind Windows and Mac desktop versions.
- Can be slow depending on your Internet connection.
- No bandwidth throttle to control the bandwidth the client uses.
- Limits on number of devices you can use.
- Infinite (unlimited plan) incredible expensive.
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Full Bitcasa Review
Bitcasa was one of several companies in the 2011 TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. Ever since then they have been promising to become your infinite hard drive in the cloud. It sounds to good to be true but they propose a shift in how you think about online storage and backup. Instead of having all your data on your computer and copying it to the cloud, Bitcasa turns it around and stores your data in the cloud and makes it available to you on whatever device you are on. It turns your local hard drive into a cache for your data.
Installing Bitcasa is easy, just head to their website and click the download link on the website. It does a pretty good job of displaying the link for the operating system that you are using. When this review was being written there where desktop clients for Windows, Mac and Linux (64bit only) and Windows 8 and Windows RT apps in the Windows app store. There is also an Android app available, more on that later in the review.
Once you have the installer a simple double click and follow the installation wizard to install the desktop application. After the installation wizard is done you will be presented with the option to create a new Bitcasa account or login with an existing account. After that you can name the computer that you are on and the application will login to the Bitcasa servers.
Bitcasa will then give you a little introduction about what Bitcasa is and allow you to start mirroring your files to their service. With the little walk through of how to use Bitcasa is over installation is done.
One problem that I found with Bitcasa is the installation is not limited to the account that you install the application on. For example I installed Bitcasa on our Windows 7 family computer to test it. My kids also use that computer and when they would log in to their accounts they would be asked to login to Bitcasa. You might be able to stop this behavior by not allowing Bitcasa to run at start up, but it would be better if Bitcasa simply loaded only on the account it was installed on.
I recorded a video of a typical install of Bitcasa on my Windows 7 test machine. It gives you a good idea of what you will see and need to do in the installation.
The infinite drive is the real selling point of Bitcasa, forget a folder you need a whole drive that never runs out of room. This works much like those special folders do with other service but there are a few differences. Any thing you copy to your infinite drive is moved to the cloud and made available when you need it. This is great if you have an always on Internet connection. Files do not sync like other services, they stream and are made available when you need them. If your Internet connection goes down or you have to work offline these files are no longer available.
Because the infinite drive relies on your Internet connection if your connection is not the fastest you can experience slow file access. I have a DSL connection and had the occasional problem accessing larger files in the infinite drive. If you have fiber you will probably not notice this kind of slow down.
In Bitcasa mirroring files is essentially creating a backup of your files on that computer to Bitcasa servers. The files are then accessible from any device and the web portal for you to access. Access is the important word here, mirrored files are not writable on other computers, you can only access them. This makes sense in some ways because it does not sync a mirrored folder, it is a backup of the files on one machine. If you want to work on these files you would need to move or copy them to your infinite drive for them to be writable on other machines and devices.
Bitcasa currently has an Android mobile app and it is a nice app. It gives you access to all your files that are mirrored or in your infinite drive. It can also copy your photos and videos from your Android device up to the Bitcasa servers. You can easily browse your photos, stream music and video to your device and access all of your files. It is also one of the nicest looking apps there is available.
Bitcasa Everywhere Chrome Extension
If you use Chrome you should look into the Bitcasa Chrome Extension. It is available in the Chrome Web Store and I have found it to be extremely useful. The extension allows you to download files to your Bitcasa account as you are browsing the web and then have those files available on all the computers and devices you have Bitcasa installed. It is very useful for downloading files from websites and then opening them later.
The Bitcasa web portal allows you to access all of your files and upload new files via the web browser. The web portal has improved greatly from when I first tried it. You can browse your files by type, stream video and audio files and access all your saved documents and download them. It has room for improvement but has come a long way since I first looked at it.
Note that while Bitcasa tells search engines not to index shares it is possible that your shared files could be accessible by others that you did not intend. If you no longer need to share files you can remove a share link on a file.
Bitcasa seemed like a dream come true, as much space as you could ever want but their new pricing plans announced in November 2013 have made them over priced as a backup service and devices new device limits make then less useful than other storage services. It takes a little getting used to using Bitcasa, compared to an online backup service or an online storage service. Bitcasa seems to be a bit of both and it could be confusing to some people. If you want backup Bitcasa does a good job of it, but I think it shines more as an online storage service with the infinite drive. I particularly like the Chrome extension and the Android mobile app. If you have a slower Internet connection or are not always connected to the Internet the infinite drive might not be for you.