Livedrive v3 Review (updated Feb. 2016)

Livedrive is an online backup service owned by j2 Global, Inc. Livedrive itself is based in London, England, however j2 Global is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

Livedrive claims to have been in business 6 years and have over one million current subscribers. That’s no small feat for any company. Is this a service you should use to back up and sync your files? With the recent release of version 3, we decided to take another look at this popular backup service.

Livedrive logo

Editor's Rating:
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User Rating:
Rating: 2.8/5 (18 votes cast)


  • Unlimited online backup space
  • Sync files across devices
  • Excellent mobile device support
  • Version 3 brings a greatly improved and easier-to-use interface
  • Spectacular universal app for Windows
  • LAN sync for fast transfers with computers on the same network
  • Access cloud files via SFTP and WebDAV


  • No personal encryption option
  • Limited scheduling options
  • No option to restore by date
  • Free trial requires credit card info

The Bottom Line

Livedrive seamlessly integrates file backup and synchronization features, along with great mobile apps and multiple options for accessing your files. However, the lack of a personal encryption option and use of de-duplication make this service unsuitable for privacy-concious users. I was also underwhelmed by the restore and scheduling options.

Backing up with Livedrive

Livedrive automatically chooses common folders on your hard drive to back up. You can add more later, in the settings. After this a brief setup, the software immediately started backing up my files to the cloud, which made Livedrive very easy to use.

The main interface is divided into two categories: Backup and Briefcase. The backup tab shows the status of current backups, the total amount of data uploaded, and when the next backup is.
Livedrive main interface
Network attached storage (NAS) backup is supported, but it costs an extra $8/month. You can also view the system status of Livedrive servers in the desktop client (with any scheduled maintenance).

Restoring Files

Restoring files in Livedrive is pretty easy. Click the “Restore” tab, and you’ll be guided through the process of getting your data back. If you have multiple folders in your backup set (such as Pictures, Videos, Documents), you need to restore each one individually.
Restoring files: Select computerMy biggest complaint is that Livedrive offers no option to restore by date. To restore all files to a previous point in time, you would have to restore each file individually through the “Versions” option in the web portal. Not good.

Livedrive generates restore reports, which can be viewed in any browser. These reports are easy to read and color coded. Files highlighted in green mean they were successfully uploaded. Yellow means skipped. And red means failed.

File Not Fully Uploaded Error

Livedrive restore report

I got the error “File not fully uploaded to server” when trying to restore one of my files. This left me concerned about the integrity of files stored on Livedrive. If the backed up file didn’t match what was on the server, why didn’t Livedrive re-upload it?

I never got an explanation for this, even in my conversations with tech support. Regardless, all my other files restored successfully. And I wasn’t able to duplicate the error.

Limited Scheduling

Livedrive automatically backs up data every hour. Unfortunately, the only options are to scan folders every X hours, or back up new files every day at a specific time. You can’t run backups on specific days, for instance. There’s also no continuous data protection option, to back up data in real time. Continuous data protection is available in services like IDrive and Memopal.

Even so, every hour feels like a good time frame for most people.

Advanced Settings

Livedrive settings


Some file types can be given priority over others, when syncing with Livedrive Briefcase. For instance, you could proritize text files over media files, which would be uploaded first.

Bandwidth Limiting

You can set upload and download limits, in kilobytes per second. The default is unlimited.

Backup Exclusions

File types and folders can be excluded from the backup.

LAN Transfers

Livedrive supports LAN sync, which is what Dropbox and other cloud storage services use to transfer files quickly between devices on the same network. To see Livedrive support this is a welcome surprise.

Integrity Check

This will verify the files you’ve uploaded to Livedrive, and ensure they’re identical to the files on your computer.


Livedrive supports SOCKS4/5 and web proxies, to hide your IP address to their servers.

No File Size Limit

Livedrive does not have a file size limit when uploading via the desktop software (or FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV).

There’s a 2 GB limit when uploading via the web portal. I can’t see anyone reasonably expecting to upload a file this large from their browser, however. It’s not a big deal in my opinion.

Livedrive Briefcase

Livedrive Briefcase syncs files between your devices. It shows up as a local drive on your computer. Any files you put in it will be synchronized to your other devices.

One of my favorite features about Briefcase is the fine-grained control over which files are downloaded to the computer, and which remain in the cloud. The default option is to download all files to the computer. However, if you find yourself running out of hard drive space, you can choose to only download files smaller than a certain size. Or you can not download files larger than a certain size.

This level of control is not something I’ve seen in other cloud storage services. Livedrive also supports exclusions based on the file extension. So if you don’t want to sync large video files, you don’t have to.

File Versioning and Deleted Files

Livedrive keeps the last 30 versions of each file. It also keeps files deleted from your computer on their servers for 30 days.

Mobile Apps

Livedrive has mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. You can access files backed up on your computer, your Briefcase files, and view files shared with your account (and set up new shares).


Main screen on Android app Browsing a backup on Android


iPhone backup iPhone settings

Livedrive’s mobile apps are pretty good for media files. There’s a built-in music player, with sorting options based on artist, album, and genre. I tested it with a few .MP3s and it performed well. You can also create a playlist.

There’s a setting called “Shake for Music” that does what you’d think — shake your phone and it starts playing music. It was pretty unreliable for me, however. It would prompt me to open the music player every time I shook my phone, and even then I’d have to manually press the play button.

The settings menu offers some fine-tuning adjustments. You can change the cache size, and view the size of the current cache. (Cache sizes supported are from 100 MB to 5 GB.) The streaming video quality can be adjusted, for 3G and Wi-Fi separately.

The mobile apps let you back up photos and videos on your phone. Backups can be enabled/disabled with the tap of a button. You can also enable backups over 3G/4G, as long as your have a large enough data plan with your mobile carrier.

Mobile backups are stored in the Briefcase folder (each in a separate folder, named for the mobile device). These folders are synced to other devices. Files can also be favorited, which makes them accessible offline.

Livedrive’s New Content Viewer for Windows

Windows universal app
Livedrive released a new app for Windows in October 2015. The app lets you access all your backed up files, as well as create music playlists and display photo slideshows.

The app can show notifications on the lock screen, which is pretty neat.

For music files, album covers can be fetched from MusicBrainz. This is turned on by default in the settings.

You can share files within the app. A link will be generated and emailed to the recipients. Contacts can also be imported from Windows.

Previous versions of files can be downloaded within the app. You can also upload new files.

My only complaint about the Windows universal app is that it doesn’t display thumbnails for RAW camera files. This is despite the fact Livedrive’s web interface does show them. A bit of a bummer for photographers.

Livedrive’s universal app was my preferred way to access files in Windows. It seemed to be tightly integrated with the operating system, and I could access files without going through the web interface.

FTP, SFTP, WebDAV Access

Livedrive lets you access files via FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV. These are only available to Pro Suite and Business accounts.

This makes it possible to access files stored on Livedrive without having the software installed. In my tests, accessing files through WebDAV was a bit slower than using Livedrive’s software, but not by much. I was also able to access my files over SFTP with WinSCP.

How to Set up WebDAV with Livedrive on Windows

Accessing my Livedrive account through WebDAV
Livedrive doesn’t have specific instructions for setting up WebDAV with Windows File Explorer. Here are the steps that worked for me:

  1. Map a new network drive with this address:
  2. Enter your personal web address as the user name (found under Account > Your Details in your Livedrive account).
  3. Enter your Livedrive password.

Afterwards, my Livedrive account could be accessed like a folder on my hard drive.

Livedrive Web Interface

Livedrive's web interface

Livedrive’s web interface has links to:

  • Manage your account
  • View backed up files on all your computers
  • Access the Briefcase (synchronized files across devices)

In the Briefcase window, you can add folders and upload files to your account. These will be synchronized to all your devices that have Livedrive installed. Deleted files can be shown by ticking the “Show deleted files” checkbox.

Files can be renamed, edited, and shared. Previous file versions are also accessed through the web interface.
Livedrive is integrated with online photo editor Pixlr
Livedrive is integrated with Pixlr, a free online photo editor (ad supported). In practice, I found this to work quite well as I could edit photos directly in my account. It’s also easy to rollback changes to photos provided by Livedrive’s file versioning feature.

Sharing Files in Livedrive

Only Briefcase files can be shared; you can’t share files backed up from your computer (probably for security reasons).
Sharing options are:

  • Private – do not share with anyone (all files default to this)
  • Public – anyone can view the file/folder
  • Invite – selected people can view the file/folder

With public shares, a link will be generated that can be copied to your clipboard. This link can also be posted on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn with buttons on the share page.

When you invite people to view a share, Livedrive sends each person a username and randomly-generated password. They will then need to log in before they can view the share.
An invite-only share in Livedrive
Galleries for media files are pretty basic. You can view photos, but they won’t be full screen. You’ll need to download them instead.


My speeds to Livedrive servers were extremely inconsistent.

Livedrive restored my files at an average of 28.1 Mbps (megabits per second). The maximum rate was 63.1 Mbps (on a 50 Mbps connection provided by my ISP). At times it dropped to as slow as 7 Mbps, however.

Upload speeds were as slow as 1.6 Mbps, and as fast as 12 Mbps (my ISP’s maximum), depending on the time of day. The average speed was 3.5 Mbps, which is below average.


Livedrive claims to use 256-bit AES encryption to secure customer files.

Livedrive’s privacy policy says:

We may disclose to parties outside Livedrive files stored in your Livedrive and information about you that we collect when we have a good faith belief that disclosure is reasonably necessary to (a) comply with a law, regulation or compulsory legal request; (b) protect the safety of any person from death or serious bodily injury; (c) prevent fraud or abuse of Livedrive or its users; or (d) to protect Livedrive’s property rights. If we provide your Livedrive files to a law enforcement agency as set forth above, we will remove Livedrive’s encryption from the files before providing them to law enforcement. However, Livedrive will not be able to decrypt any files that you encrypted prior to storing them on Livedrive.

In other words, even though files are encrypted, Livedrive still controls the encryption keys. And they have the power to decrypt your files. There is no option for the user to set his/her own encryption key.

Data centers are located in London, with customer data being stored across multiple RAID-6 volumes. Livedrive provided me a .PDF with more info about these facilities.


I confirmed with Livedrive tech support that they de-duplicate files on their servers. This means that they only store unique bits of data across all user accounts. In my case, some of my files seemed to upload instantly, since I already uploaded them with another Livedrive account.

There are benefits and downsides to data de-duplication. I’ll let you decide if this is a good or bad feature for Livedrive. Personally, I’m not a fan because of the privacy concerns.


Livedrive provides support 7 days a week, with all emails answered within 24 hours. There’s a fairly extensive knowledgebase on their website, for answers to common questions. However, this knowledgebase is only accessible if you have an active account. So you need to give Livedrive your credit card number, to start a trial, just to view common questions and answers about the software. They also only seem to accept support emails from people with active accounts, which seems unprofessional.

Phone support is provided 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. GMT. If you reach them outside of office hours, a recorded message will instruct you to email their support team.

Plans and Pricing

Livedrive has plans for backup, sync (Briefcase), and backup with sync (Pro Suite). There are also business accounts, which support multiple users.

Their website lists the equivalent monthly price of yearly accounts. This makes it a bit hard to figure out the true cost. Luckily, I’ve included both the true monthly and yearly prices in the table below.

Backup Briefcase Pro Suite
Monthly Price $8/month  $16/year $25/month
Yearly Price $84/year ($7/month) $156/year ($13/month) $240/year ($20/month)
Backup Space Unlimited None Unlimited
Sync Space None 2 TB 5 TB
# of computers that can be backed up 1 None 5
File versions 30 versions 30 versions 30 versions
Restore deleted files Yes Yes Yes

Backup only and Pro Suite: Each additional PC costs $1.50 per month.

Briefcase only and Pro Suite: Each additional TB costs $8.00 per month.

NAS device backup (backup only and pro suite): Each NAS costs $8.00 per month.

You can get a full comparison of features home accounts and business accounts on their website.

Conclusion – What’s the Verdict with Livedrive?

Livedrive offers one of the most powerful backup and syncing experiences of any cloud service. Version 3 brings a much better and easier to use interface. Livedrive also scored high on the mobile apps and the Windows universal app.

The WebDAV access is also great, even if it’s only available to the higher-priced business and pro accounts. Being able to access cloud files in Windows File Explorer – without having Livedrive installed – is amazing.

However, the privacy of files stored on Livedrive leaves something to be desired. Without a personal encryption option, Livedrive ultimately has the power to decrypt your files. I feel like Livedrive’s security is more like Dropbox than services like CrashPlan and Backblaze (which offer private encryption). I also had an unexplained error when restoring my files.

More Screenshots


Product Name Livedrive
Operating Systems WindowMac
Storage Unlimited
Monthly Price $8
Average Upload Speed 3.5 Mbps (10 Mbps connection)
Average Download Speed 28.1 Mbps (50 Mbps connection)

General Features

Free Trial yes
Free Online Storage no
Mobile Apps Android, iOS, Windows
Bandwidth Controls yes
NAS Support yes

Backup Features

File Versioning yes
Keep Deleted Files 30 Days
Back Up to Local Drive no

Sync and Share Features

File Sync yes
Selective Sync null
Public File Sharing yes
Collaborative Invites yes


Encrypted Storage yes
Encrypted Transfer yes
Personal Encryption no
Zero-knowledge Encryption no
Two-factor Authentication no


Phone Support no
Email Support yes
24/7 Support yes
Live Chat no


Data Center Location(s) London, England (3 data centers)

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of He enjoys attending music festivals, whitewater kayaking on the American River, and board game nights in his free time.

Geoff Akerlund


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@FabacusSuite Just noticed your tweet! I’m not aware of any cloud storage needs specific to manufacturing. I’m open to insight/suggestions. – 2 years ago

  • IngridBurling

    Hi All,

    Thought you might like to hear about the problems I had with online backup companies.

    I ran into the same issues as some of the other reviewers on this site with Justcloud etc, but managed to avoid signing up for the service. Unfortunately I then, ran into other issues with an alternative provider – LiveDrive. I am in Bangkok and have 150GB of stuff to back up.

    I tried to load it on to their free trial account, which is unlimited (it actually is….), only to find that only some of the files in each folder backed up. To identify and load on the missing ones, would have taken me days as there are literally thousands of them and I would have had to go through each folder and crosscheck it against those on my mac.

    I emailed them, and they rang back, but clearly didn’t wish to help and hung up half way through the call, leaving me in the lurch. To say this was rude and that I was annoyed is an understatement. I then emailed them again, and received what I can only describe as a stupid email with ridiculous, unintelligible instructions and then, further down in the same email, it would appear they are actually asking me to go into my mac and change some of the code!!!! Unbelievable. As if I would do that.

    They seem to think the customer has to work hard to remedy the situation when their software does not work. No thanks. They entirely forget that it is their job to provide support. It is not the customer’s job to carry them.

    I emailed them to complain, but needless to say I did not get a response to this. My free trial was over a week ago, and as I had not received a reminder of them or any attempts to upsell, I had an ominous feeling about this. And boy was I right.

    I emailed them to ask them to delete my data off their servers, telling them that I frankly rue the day I ever encountered them. Now I get an email, telling me that my account has been suspended but can be ‘reactivated’ if I pay an ‘outstanding invoice’ – there isn’t one. The trial was free and this is just a blatant attempt to get money out of me.

    You would think that after making my feelings that plain to them that they would take the point, call it a day and delete my account, but no. It is not enough to annoy a customer. You have to really make them suffer, otherwise it is not proper customer service….

    Now I am REALLY worried that they still have my data. I have emailed them again to ask them to delete my account and the data I put onto their servers. But no response, other then the request to confirm my account details so that they can ‘check on its status’ – another way of getting me locked into some sort of other trial or 30-day slog no doubt.

    I am furious at these disgusting companies who think they can manipulate and control people. If they were in the UK, and kept your data for even one day longer than you wished them to, they would be ordered to remove it by our regulator who takes a very dim view of this sort of behaviour, and if they didn’t, they would become instantly prosecutable. The moment you are using a USA company, you lose all your power it seems…. there is something very wrong about that.

    I am rapidly thinking it would have been better to go with a local UK firm (Zen) that would have charged me up to £80 per month, but they were my ISP providers and were faultless in their service provision – nothing was too much trouble for them. There is nothing like a trust relationship with someone you actually know….

    AVOID LIVEDRIVE like the plague. Another one to add to the list of deceivers out there.


    • Thanks for sharing, Ingrid.

    • Slug

      Actually, Livedrive is a London-based company.

  • IngridBurling

    Forgot to mention – you can follow me on Twitter. @IngridBurling and sign up to the RSS feed on my blog

  • Lee

    Hi There, thought you might like to hear my Livedrive story. I have been a customer of theirs for 4 years, and had an unlimited Backup and Briefcase account. All had been running (fairly) smoothly until last week – I was unable to log into my account. After contacting the company I was told that I had broken their fair usage policy and they would be closing my account in 28 days, they had sent me an email to this effect – but not from a address, so it had gone into my spam folder. I have sent them at least 8 emails asking them for details of what this limit is and how I have broken it without any reply. Considering I have used the service for 4 years, with fairly constant usage, I fail to see why they have not informed me of this before. A quick check on Google seems to confirm that many other users are in this same position, possibly due to Livedrive having been bought by an American company and having a change of policy in the background – and apparently it is the users of the service who must suffer.

    Further to this, I bought a nice new shiny 4TB drive to start downloading my data off of Livedrive, but within an hour they started throttling my bandwidth so I won’t actually be able to get all of my data off of there – absolutely disgusting behaviour.

    Do yourself a favour – if you value your data, avoid Livedrive at all cost.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Lee.

    • Katie Piatt

      I had an identical experience with LiveDrive. Having been a customer since May 2012 I was horrified to have my account cancelled with no real justification, and, like you, such throttled access that recovering data is almost impossible.

  • lexplex

    AVOID LIVEDRIVE! They’ve randomly closed lots of people’s accounts without enough time for them to download their content. This is a disaster. I think they’re going out of business.

    • That doesn’t sound good. Do you have any more info?

  • Olek

    LiveDrive is one of the fastest growing cloud backup and storage companies serving millions of users. It offers a good range of packages and features to meet your requirements. Also you can find more information here:

  • Mark

    Very bad company. Yes they have done some very creepy things with resellers of their service. I was using their service via a reseller and the reseller had a nightmare situation happen because of LiveDrive’s NON customer oriented decisions.

    Don’t think twice … this is a company to avoid. There’s too many others out there that are good.

  • Massimo

    the support service does not exist I have 2 TK escalating for more than three months and do not respond , really unprofessional

    • Their support system is really funky. You can’t view their knowledgebase or do anything without an active account. After my trial ended I tried to open a support email to their billing department. It came back with the message: “In order to deal with your support requests more effectively, we are no longer accepting support tickets at the email address that you used.” Ridiculous.

  • David van Belle

    Ugh. Signed up for a lifetime subscription via DripBit. What can you say about a service that took six months to back up my files online, consistently used up 30% of my memory, and then, when things went sour with DripBit, arbitrarily cancelled my subscription, no refund or recourse? Avoid LiveDrive like the plague.

    • I think the blame here rests mostly with DripBit. Livedrive’s reseller policies state that customers are the responsibility of the reseller, and I’m not aware of Livedrive having any involvement in DripBit pulling the plug on their service. The slow speeds and memory usage are probably Livedrive’s fault, however.

  • Alexander Disner

    Avoid them like the plague. You can’t access what you have on your own computer when Livedrive app stops working. Tech support won’t tell you how to access those files. If you can’t access the internet, your own backup, on your own HD is gone.