4Sync is 4Shared’s attempt at securing its future in the new cloud frontier. But this isn’t another cloud service to ignore. 4Sync has a uniquely powerful feature set that positions it as a truly premium cloud service. But this premium service does come with a somewhat premium price, and still even includes a few unfortunate caveats.
- Clean UIs and easy to use
- Impressive sharing options
- Music streaming and playlists in apps and on web
- Powerful and customizable syncing software
- Downloading statistics
- Sync folders can be installed on network drives
- Fast uploads and downloads
- No free option outside of 60-day trial
- 20 GB file upload limit
- Limited feature set and no sharing on mobile apps
- No at-rest file encryption or two-factor authentication
- HTTPS encryption is initially disabled
- 1 TB is the only storage option available
- Only one expensive pricing tier, especially if paid monthly
- No Linux support
With an impressive feature set, an extensive array of sharing options, and powerful sync software, 4Sync is a service that’s well worth checking out. But their expensive monthly pricing, file upload limits, lack of storage options, and security and privacy feature holes will turn off some users.
4Sync’s web UI is familiar, compact, and well-featured. You can upload, download, share, and move files and folders. The web UI also includes a recycle bin to restore deleted files, a section for files that were shared with you, and an “uncompleted” folder (not shown) which allows you to re-upload files that did not finish uploading.
Uploading and downloading is quick and easy. The ability to get links to the files as they’re uploaded is a nice feature. I will also mention that if you have the sync software installed, downloads will automatically queue in the software instead of downloading through the web browser.
Unfortunately, 4Sync enforces a 20 GB per file upload cap.
4Shared provides a few cool ways to play with your photos, music and videos in the web browser.
4Sync surprised me by including a pretty nice music player in the browser with support for playlists, skipping, shuffling, and even sharing playlists.
Beyond that, 4Sync offers a ho-hum but perfectly functional photo and video viewer. You can go forward and back, view a slideshow, and share to various social networks.
Unfortunately, there is no built in viewer for documents, pdfs, etc. These will have to be downloaded.
4Sync’s dizzying array of sharing options is nothing short of impressive.
The standard bevvy of sharing options are available, like links, e-mails, and direct download links. Folders can be shared publically or privately, with no login required for the former and a login required for the latter. Passwords and read/write access can also be configured within the More Sharing options menu.
That menu also offers a ton of other sharing options that are useful especially if you’re promoting content online. 4sync.com custom domains, streaming audio embeds, embedding folders as lists or widgets, and even simple HTML or forum embed codes are all available options.
4Sync’s sync client looks pretty ancient, but it’s surprisingly powerful and responsive. Like other services, the sync client is a folder that mirrors and syncs your cloud storage. But you can choose to select individual folders to exclude from downloads, choose folders not to sync to the cloud, and even choose whether files are deleted locally when the cloud versions are.
The sync folder itself can be installed anywhere locally or even on NAS and network devices.
The sync client installs an impressive array of sharing and interaction options in the right click menu, including a “Sync as external folder” option. This is an incredible feature that allows you to pick a folder in your sync folder, move it somewhere else and yet still keep it synced to your cloud, which is useful for those with external or network drives.
I also appreciate shared folders will also sync to your client, but the service will ask permission to do so on each occasion.
The sync client is available on Windows and MacOS
4Sync has mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8.1, Blackberry, and Symbian (last two not pictured). All three apps let you view, upload and download files. They also have music players that will stream under the lockscreen.
Oddly enough, sharing is only an option in the soon-to-be-depreciated Windows Phone app. iOS has no sharing whatsoever, and Android has a share button only in the music player, which is odd for a service with otherwise excellent sharing options.
Security and Privacy
4Sync/4Shared, makes a fairly convincing case for being secure, but they’ve still got some curious holes.
First, files are only protected with your username and password. Those credentials are given 128-bit encryption, which makes it harder to breach externally. But it’s odd that they don’t go the extra mile and encrypt at rest.
Also, there’s no two-factor authentication, and even HTTPS transfer encryption is an initially disabled option that has to be enabled in both the web and the desktop software. There’s no reason why such a crucial security feature should be disabled from the start.
Upload and download speeds were excellent. Once again, I tested on a network that averages at 5 Mbps up and 50 Mbps down with some occasional download spikes.
|Average Upload Speed||6.22 Mbps|
|Max Upload Speed||6.30 Mbps|
|Average Download Speed||57.2 Mbps|
|Max Download Speed||94.0 Mbps|
4Sync only offers one service tier, “Premium.”
For $100 / year or a ludicrously high $17 / month ($204 / year when paid monthly), you get 1 TB of storage, a 20 GB upload limit, and unlimited bandwidth. $100 / year for 1 TB isn’t too bad, but charging double for a monthly subscription seems absurd.
Support options are sparse. You can send e-mails to support through their support page and live support is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. GMT.
|Average Upload Speed||6.22 Mbps (5 Mbps connection)|
|Average Download Speed||57.2 Mbps (50 Mbps connection)|
|Free Online Storage|
|Mobile Apps||Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Symbian, Blackberry|
|Keep Deleted Files||Forever|
|Back Up to Local Drive|
Sync and Share Features
|Public File Sharing|
|Data Center Location(s)||United States, Europe|