Bitcasa: A Review




What is Bitcasa?

Bitcasa is a service that aims to eliminate external (and to some extent, internal) hard drives from people’s lives. It is a cloud-based storage solution that boasts unlimited storage. Wow. That’s quite a claim.

I found Bitcasa after my latest round of hard drive failure. I thought, there has GOT to be a better way of doing this. A few Google searches later, I found Bitcasa.

And I’m so glad I did. They give you 10GB free just for signing up – enough to back up most phones! I downloaded a program file, and within a few minutes, had it all set up on my Macbook Pro.

How it works

The Bitcasa Infinite Drive looks and functions just like any normal hard drive except – it’s backing up to the cloud and isn’t taking up space on your computer. Accessing the files, then, requires an internet connection. But what about accessing files offline? The way Bitcasa navigates this is by “mirroring” files or folders on your computer. Those do take up hard drive space. If a mirrored file or folder is changes while offline, it backs up the second internet connectivity is restored. Pretty cool.

The phone app

They also have an app for iPhone and Android. You can upload and access your phones directly from your phone with a wifi or data connection – and you can even back up your phone. I downloaded the app, logged in, and it immediately asked me if I wanted to back up my photos and videos. I had a LOT. I mean like three or four thousand media files on my phone. It was nearly full and warned me I was running out of space. Never again will I run out of space – on anything. I set my phone to back up all the media files before I went to bed. When I woke up, they were all already in the cloud. So I don’t know how long it actually took, but under eight hours is pretty impressive (yep, I slept eight whole hours that night!).

The website

The user interface is super easy and intuitive. It even lets you search your drive right from the website, and divides media by type (photos, videos, music, and docs) – if you want it to. You can sort oldest-newest or A-Z, just like on a hard drive. You can also download files from the website onto any computer, and share anything by generating a link and sending it. Very easy to access and share anything you have. And there are no limits to file sizes. Upload your music, your film reels, old photos… whatever you’ve got. You can also upload directly from the website. It’s not as “drag and drop” as the Infinite Drive, but it’s pretty darn close. Very similar to the Dropbox website. I daresay even a bit more organized.

First impressions

After I backed up my iPhone, I decided to add a few folders to the Bitcasa Infinite Drive since I still had a few gig(abyte)s left on my free account. I uploaded a couple of folders, about 2 gigs, before I went to work. When I got back that evening, they were all loaded up. The cool thing, though, was that I could see the files appearing in the drive on my phone and on the website. It took a few hours, so if you have a huge amount of files, would take a while, but all the files uploaded. I can access them easily and they all work fine. Then, I thought about my hard drive that recently crashed and still needs to be recovered.

Next steps

I’ve GOT to get the data off that hard drive. It has about 500 gigs of data that I refuse to put on another hard drive. At this point, I am just done with trusting hard drives. I can’t count the number of times a faulty hard drive has crashed on me, corrupted my files, or simply gotten lost. I must have a zillion jump drives scattered around my apartment.

I asked for a few quotes from data restoration companies: all of them north of $200, and mostly likely more. Gag. For $99 a year, I can have unlimited storage that will never crash. The $200 I have to pay plus the cost of the drive, which was about $300 could’ve gotten me five years of worry-free data storage. And honestly, that’s a small price to pay because my time is more valuable than that.

Now, I am in the process of uploading everything to Bitcasa. And I mean everything. It’s unlimited, after all. Oh yeah, somewhere in there I went ahead and upgraded my membership. $99 a year. So much cheaper than Dropbox. I put in my card info. Boom. Sold.

What’s it’s good for

  • Backing everything up (obvi)
  • Replacing external hard drives
  • Freeing up space on computer/phone/pad

What it’s not good for

I’m not getting rid of my Dropbox just yet. I like the way I can share files with friends on Dropbox and work on them together simultaneously. Bitcasa does allow file sharing, but it’s not as popular as Dropbox (yet). And it’s more geared toward personal storage than collaboration, anyway. And honestly, I wouldn’t want documents I was working on to get commingled with my files that are a few years old. I like to have current files easily accessible. For sharing docs, quick pics, and collaboration, I will keep Dropbox. For backup and storage, though, Bitcasa wins. It’s also $500 a year to get the most amount of space out of Dropbox, but only $99 a year to get unlimited space on Bitcasa: kind of a no-brainer.

Bottom line:

Bitcasa rocks. Their upload speeds could be a little better; it could also just be my shitty internet (thanks, Time Warner). Interface and ease-of-use are top notch. If you know how to use an external, you’re already golden. I love freeing up space on my computer so it runs a bit faster, and I love knowing that I’ll never have to deal with a broken hard drive ever again. Good riddance to all externals. As far as Bitcasa is concerned, I’m already a lifer. Plus, you get 10GB free just for signing up. Nothing to lose, and you just might love it!

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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