hubiC is a French cloud storage service that’s gotten a lot of attention lately precisely because it is French. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know how easy it is for the NSA to get incriminating data from U.S. cloud providers like Dropbox and OneDrive.
As a result, many individuals and companies have started to turn towards European clouds. France has some pretty strong data privacy laws that prevent the government, or 3rd parties, from accessing your data without your explicit permission. And all three of hubiC’s data centers are located in France.
While hubiC’s privacy benefits are clear, it’s important to know how it works should you want to use it as an everyday service. And while hubiC is a solid effort with great potential, it’s far from perfect.
- 25 GB of storage free
- Cheap upgrade plans
- Redundant storage across 3 French data centers
- Powerful desktop sync software on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux
- Create and manage automatic backups on desktop and mobile apps
- Mobile apps on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry
- No file size limit
- Share links directly to social media
- Awful download performance outside of Europe
- Limited sharing options with mandatory expiration dates on links
- Basic web interface with no file history or file previews
- No way to request uploads from others
- Data is not encrypted at rest
- No direct support contact options
If you’re looking for cloud storage outside of the prying eyes of the U.S., and don’t care about sharing or collaboration features, hubiC is a great option. That said, the lack of at-rest encryption is slightly worrying and the performance penalty for U.S. users will be quite steep.
The online interface for hubiC is really basic. You can upload, download, and move files as well as create folders and sharing links. But that’s about it.
Opening a picture brings up a simplistic photo viewer with no options. There is no music or video streaming, nor any custom album options or picture slideshows. It’s also interesting that there is no file history or trash bin, so changes to your files are always permanent.
Sharing and Collaboration
Sharing and collaboration are clearly not hubiC’s focus. Shared links can be sent via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, and you can click the above “Get the link” button to generate links.
Oddly enough, you have to choose either a 5, 10, or 30 day limit until this link expires. There is no way to keep a link open indefinitely. The links are also read-only, so a receiver cannot upload a file to you.
Like Dropbox, the software will install a file folder on your computer that will download your cloud files, upload new ones, and sync changes in that folder. You can choose which folders in your hubiC cloud get synced either in the original configuration or in the software settings.
However, it also includes a “Create a Backup” feature that lets you backup any folder in your computer to your hubiC drive with a right click option or via the software. You can configure the software to update the backups automatically, never update them, and even keep multiple backup versions. hubiC also supports network locations, so you can back up NAS devices.
Should you like the backup feature, but have no interest in having another cloud storage service, one of the initial options is to install the service with only the backup client and not the sync client.
Speaking of which, hubiC’s software gives you an impressive amount of control over the behavior of the sync client. You can place bandwidth restrictions, override the computer’s sleep mode, add proxies, and force a syncing delay.
Their desktop software is available on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.
hubiC has mobile apps for nearly every platform that can be considered mobile: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry all included. The apps themselves are well-built but have the same features as the website. You can see your file list, download files, upload new files, and send sharing links.
Like many other cloud bucket apps, you can enable a camera roll auto-upload to immediate back up your smartphone pictures.
The iOS and Android apps do have a version of the “create a backup” feature in the desktop software. Should you enable it, it will back up your pictures, videos, music, contacts, and calendars. In my experience, these apps all worked well, and were quick and responsive.
Centralizing data centers within one country with strict data laws is good for privacy, but bad for performance. Considering the alternative is to lose that privacy, it’s a trade-off that some are willing to accept.
I’m sure hubiC performs quite well in France, or even most of Europe, but in California, it does not. Upload performance was okay, but uploads are mainly dependent on your internet connection.
Downloads were very slow. Despite testing on multiple days and networks, I couldn’t breach 1.6 Mbps. The below numbers are for the fastest network I tested, which is rated at 15 Mbps download, and 10 Mbps upload.
hubiC’s website has an entire webpage describing everything they do to protect your data. But oddly enough, they only talk about the security of their facilities. They store your data redundantly in three data centers protected by barbed wire fences, biometric sensors, 24/7 security, and technical teams.
But although they use SSL encryption to protect data transfers, they don’t mention that the files are not encrypted on the server at rest. French data privacy laws cancel out the typical reason that you’d want at-rest encryption but should there be a digital breach by a hacker, or even an approved employee, the data would be freely available without decryption. I can understand they have well-secured facilities, but it’s strange that they wouldn’t go the extra mile.
hubiC’s storage is well priced. Obviously, the free 25 GB tier is going to be the biggest draw. Should you need some more space it only costs $5 a month for an astonishing 10 TB of space. That’s half the price of both Google Drive’s and Dropbox’s 1 TB plan and a whole lot cheaper than MEGA.
|Storage||Per Month €||Per Month $||Per Year €||Per Year $|
|100 GB||1 €||$1.08||10 €||$10.83|
|10 TB||5 €||$5.41||50 €||$54.14|
hubiC states that they provide 24/7 support, but that just seems to apply to the engineers. They have a support page with an FAQ and a forum, but I was unable to find a contact number for support outside of an enterprise contact for OVH.
|Average Upload Speed||7.92 Mbps (10 Mbps connection)|
|Average Download Speed||1.63 Mbps (15 Mbps connection)|
|Free Online Storage||25 GB|
|Mobile Apps||Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry|
|Keep Deleted Files||Forever|
|Back Up to Local Drive|
Sync and Share Features
|Public File Sharing|
|Data Center Location(s)|