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Summary

An online file storage and collaboration service which has been around for over 12 years, TeamDrive gives you ability to setup your own server or use own WebDAV server as storage if you don’t want to use their cloud storage. The client app is very powerful and simple enough for team works, although pricing information on website is confusing. Read comprehensive review below or sign up now.

TeamDrive has been around forever. Although it is not as well known as Dropbox or SugarSync, it has been around since 2001. Initially known as TeamStream’s TeamDrive, it was started as a client software to access a web server as a secure, virtual hard drive. Things have changed since then and TeamDrive later pivoted to offer cloud storage with collaboration and file synchronization features.

As the name accurately reflect, TeamDrive is all about collaboration and team works. It gives you a client software you can use to connect to TeamDrive Cloud Server, or your own servers (more on that later), and collaborate with your team members on the files you are working on. Collaboration is at the very core of TeamDrive. It offers you really good permission controls, versioning and activity reports, which allow effective collaboration without hindering the way you work.

What sets TeamDrive apart, and the best thing we like about them, is that you can use your own servers if you want to work only in your own environment for your work data. This is especially useful for industries with tight regulations about where they can store their data. For some industries, storing and sharing data on services like Dropbox is simply not allowed at all. So for businesses looking for good file synchronization and online data storage service with easy to use collaboration features, TeamDrive is definitely for them.

While the software is surprisingly simple and easy to use, the website can confuse the hell out of you. It is not their navigation or site structure, but rather on their pricing and license models. If you have never tested TeamDrive before, you could be driven mad just by trying to figure out how their pricing and licenses work. But nevertheless, we find it to be a worthwhile experience. Check out after the break to know why.

PricingPlans & Pricing

Let the confusion begins! No, seriously. TeamDrive should really hire some copywriters to clean up the mess. There are a lot better ways to display and communicate their pricing models and licenses. Current pricing tables on the website seem to be simple on the surface. But without having tried TeamDrive, there are terms and features you just won’t know what they do. Some of them having confusing names, like “Space” or confusing expressions, like “Client side limitation”. Sure, they put notes underneath the pricing tables for explanations of some items. But it doesn’t seem to be working very well on our team. We had to try out the software to understand what the pricing table is talking about.

Now that might not be an issue for testers like us, or those familiar with TeamDrive or seriously want to use the service. For many, they will just go to other services like Dropbox or something else. Hey TeamDrive folks, if you are reading this, you better fix that, guys!

Okay, let’s get down to the prices. With TeamDrive, there are two separate types of license: TeamDrive Client and TeamDrive Server. In addition to that, there are other things you can purchase such as additional cloud storage (if you are using).

There are three plans. For starters, TeamDrive Free is a free plan (duh!), while TeamDrive Personal and TeamDrive Professional plans remove certain restrictions and give more features to users. Since the pricing table and explanations on the website can be pretty confusing, we will explain here in details about what we have learned. Hopefully that will clear up any confusion for our readers.

TeamDrive - Pricing

TeamDrive Free

  • Unlimited user invitations
  • Unlimited number of Spaces. Spaces are just a fancy name of folders you shared on TeamDrive. Each space also represents an individual workgroup.
  • Free 2 GB TeamDrive storage, which is basically cloud-based storage on TeamDrive servers. TeamDrive stated that if the limit is reached each upload and download has to be manually confirmed. This can be extended up to additional 8 GB free expansion via a referral program so you can enjoy 10GB of free cloud storage.
  • Free choice of server (TeamDrive Cloud Server, TeamDrive Personal Server or WebDAV Server)
  • Limited support (Forum, FAQ, Email)
  • TeamDrive banner, which isn’t really that annoying since it only shows TeamDrive ad

As this is a free account, there are limitations. First of all, the available free TeamDrive Cloud Storage can only be extended via referrals, so the maximum cloud storage you can get is 10GB (2GB + additional 8GB). Secondly, there is a client-side limitation on how many GB of files TeamDrive client app will automatically sync. It is now at 2GB. So even if you have 10GB TeamDrive Cloud Storage or are using your own servers (either WebDAV or setup TeamDrive Server), any files beyond 2GB limit will not be automatically synced. You have to manually confirm upload and download of each files.

We really wish this information would be published on TeamDrive website’s pricing page in a single area, without confusing language. We had to infer this information from several pages, footnotes and manually testing the service.

TeamDrive Personal – 25.20 Per Year

  • Unlimited user invitations
  • Unlimited number of Spaces
  • Unlimited auto synchronization size, which basically removed 2GB limit with TeamDrive Free plan
  • Support of TeamDrive and WebDAV Servers
  • Free 2GB hosted cloud storage, which can be expanded through referrals as well as purchasing additional storage
  • Free choice of server (TeamDrive Cloud Server, TeamDrive Personal Server or WebDAV Server)
  • Preferred customer service and support
  • Banner free

TeamDrive Personal removes the auto sync size limit, and also gives us the ability to purchase additional storage if you wish to.

TeamDrive Professional – 50.41 Per Year or 5.03 Per Month (2 months free for annual subscription)

  • Unlimited user invitations
  • Unlimited number of Spaces
  • Unlimited auto synchronization size
  • Support of TeamDrive and WebWAV Servers
  • Free 2GB hosted cloud storage, which can be expanded through referrals as well as purchasing additional storage
  • Free choice of server (TeamDrive Cloud Server, TeamDrive Personal Server or WebDAV Server)
  • Referred customer service and support
  • Phone & remote support
  • Banner free
  • Enhanced feature set

TeamDrive Professional includes all features of TeamDrive Personal, and a bunch of new features like extended configuration options in TeamDrive client app, advanced version control, publishing individual files by URL, metadata sync mode for selected Spaces and email notifications.

Note: Although each plans state “unlimited user invitations”, it doesn’t mean multiple users can share one account. You are inviting other TeamDrive users (free or paid) to share your Spaces. Hence, all those licenses are for individual users. And you can invite other TeamDrive users to share your Spaces regardless of their plan type. The licenses only control what features are available and storage space at the client app, not the ability to join shared Spaces.

TeamDrive Server Licenses

TeamDrive - TeamDrive Server Pricing

If you are wondering what the heck is TeamDrive Server, it’s basically server application you can deploy on any Mac, Linux or Windows servers, and use that as your storage  server instead of TeamDrive Cloud Storage. Using this, it allows you to use your own infrastructure with TeamDrive.

Personal Server Free

TeamDrive Personal Server Free lets you deploy the server application for free, but it also has a limitation of only allowing you to store only 10GB of storage.

Personal Server – 84.02 Per Year

Paid plan of TeamDrive Personal Server will let you use unlimited storage on your own server.

Note: Even if you are using your own TeamDrive Personal Server, if your TeamDrive client app license is free license, then you will still be limited by 2GB syncing limit. So your users will still need to purchase TeamDrive Personal or Professional licenses for them even you setup your own server.

Additional Cloud Storage

TeamDrive - Additional Cloud Storage Pricing

 

TeamDrive will lets you purchase additional storage if you are using TeamDrive Cloud Storage.

  • 10GB – 5.03 per month or 50.41 per year
  • 25GB – 12.56 per month or 125.63 per year
  • 50GB – 25.12 per month or 251.26 per year

If you pay annually, you will get 2 months free. You can add as much storage as you want.

TeamDrive Bundles

TeamDrive offers bundle packages for you if you are looking to purchase for a small team. These bundles come with 5 licenses, and already have increased storage. And combined, they actually come out cheaper than buying regular licenses separately.

Personal Starter 5 with Own Server – 199 Per Year

  • 1 TeamDrive Personal Server License
  • 5 TeamDrive Personal Client License

Professional Starter 5 with Own Server – 299 Per year

  • 1 TeamDrive Personal Server License
  • 5 TeamDrive Professional Client License

Personal Starter 5 with Cloud Storage – 199 Per Year

  • 25GB Cloud Storage
  • 5 TeamDrive Personal Client License

Professional Starter 5 with Cloud Storage – 299 Per Year

  • 25GB Cloud Storage
  • 5 TeamDrive Professional Client License

FeaturesFeatures

Cross-platform compatibility. TeamDrive client app and server software will work on Mac, Linux and Windows.

Automatic synchronization. You just need to run the app (you could set it to autostart) and it will automatically synchronize your files (much like Dropbox).

Create unlimited number of Spaces. As long as you have server space available, you can create unlimited number of Spaces, each of which are folders and function as Workgroups.

Automatic version management. All documents and data on your TeamDrive account will get really good version management, which doesn’t have a limited days or how many versions you can keep at all.

Work offline. With automatic synchronization feature, you can work offline. Once you are online, your data will be synced back online.

Multiple user roles and access rights. There are five user roles, and the administrator can manage permissions and access rights for as many teams as required.

Versioning control. TeamDrive versioning control will not just let you go back to a previous version, but also show which version is edited by which user, making the whole teamwork much easier.

Publication of individual files. Although all files are encrypted and only available to invited members, you can publish selected files to public by publishing each file’s URL. When you use this function, the selected file will be de-crypted and copied onto a TeamDrive’s server, and anyone with a link will be able to access it. This is not available with WebDAV users.

WebDAV Server. If you don’t want to use TeamDrive Personal Server or its cloud storage, you can still use TeamDrive client app with your own WebDAV server as long as it supports whole standard range of WebDAV commands. Client app size limitation for free license still applies though.

Individual allocation of user rights for each Spaces. Whoever create a Space can allocate individual allocation of user rights, however they see fit.

Fair billing. Even if you join someone else’s Space, only the owner of the Space will be billed for the storage capacity, and the shared Space you join will not be counted against your quota.

Security Security

Since TeamDrive is created for team works and targeted mainly at business users, they take security very seriously. This is evident by its Data Protection Seal of Privacy award by the Independent Regional Centre for Data Protection of Schleswig-Holstein (Unabhängiges Landeszentrum für Datenschutz Schleswig-Holstein (ULD)), which is an office of the regional government of Schleswig-Holstein. It carries out state control and advisory functions in the field of data protection and freedom of information. When a government agency awarded them with such a seal, it’s pretty sure they are doing things right.

Although TeamDrive doesn’t advertise themselves as “Zero-Knowledge Privacy” like SpiderOak, their current encryption method is pretty much safe against prying eyes, including TeamDrive’s employees and law enforcement agencies. This is achieved by using a public-private pair of encryption key (Diffie-Hellman with TeamDrive 2 and RSA-2048 with TeamDrive 3, both of which are hella hard to crack) for each installation of client app. The keys are used for secure transfer of TeamDrive invitations, and public key is stored on a central server owned by TeamDrive.

However, TeamDrive client app produces a private symmetric AES-256 key for each folder you put on TeamDrive. All data are encrypted with your own private encryption key before they are uploaded, and the encryption key will not leave your computer. When you invite a new group member, the symmetric key of the folder you shared is further encrypted with the public key of the member you want to invite, and then sent to the person you invited. Then the invitee’s TeamDrive client app will decode the symmetric key using his or her own private key in order to join the folder.

As all private keys are residing solely on your computers, and never leave your side, it is just impossible to decrypt your data. Amazon, law enforcement agencies or no one else can look into your data, or even force TeamDrive to do that. They simply don’t have required keys to decrypt your files!

Customer Service Customer Service

TeamDrive website has provided manuals, tutorials and videos for users, as well as an FAQ section and a forum for you to find out answers to questions that have been bugging you. The community seems helpful. If you are a paid customer, then you will have access to telephone support and remote support. Both are free if you are Professional License user. The support forum and available tutorials contain pretty much all our questions, and our support request was answered quickly. Not a surprising thing that they are still around after 12 years!

The Process

TeamDrive - Download

The website doesn’t really have a sign up or register button, so we figured we would have to download it first, and we did. The download page listed different supported operating systems and respective download links, although we wish it would just detect our OS through browser header and give us the correct download file. But still, it’s nothing much to complain about. The download was slow though, and the client app was about 20MB.

TeamDrive - Login

While downloading, we poke around the website and found registration link in log-in page. We figure they actually prefer us to do registration the software so that may explain why registration link is hidden in the log-in page. Registration was a simple affair. It only needs your name, password and email address. Then it will dispatch a confirmation email and you are done.

After confirming the email, there wasn’t really a lot to do on the site so we continued waiting for the download. Seriously, it was slow. It took a total of 8 minutes to finish 20MB download on a 5mbps ADSL connection which usually takes such sizes at around a couple minutes top. We were worried that it might be an indicator of slow connectivity of TeamDrive service, but luckily we were proven wrong.

TeamDrive - Software Login

The installation was pretty quick and painless. After we launched the client app, it puts itself in the system tray quietly. And it doesn’t really take a lot of system resources either. It also created “Spaces” folder in our home folder. We launched the app and were welcomed by login screen.

TeamDrive - Software Register

There is a “Register Now” button at the bottom, which proved our initial assumptions. We checked it out just to confirm and sure enough, it’s where we can register through the server.

TeamDrive - Create Space

After we logged in, we were immediately brought to Spaces section, where we can create new Spaces which will then create folders, or choose existing folders, where you can choose your existing folders anywhere to be converted as Spaces.

TeamDrive - Software Monitor Existing SpacesTeamDrive - Two Spaces

We chose to convert an existing directory as a Space, and it prompted us to choose a directory, give it a name as a Space, and do versioning control. Since we are on free account, we couldn’t do versioning control here. Paid plans will be able to do that. After you created Spaces, at the right panel, you will get a detailed view of how many storage space is being used, who is the owner of a Space, and who are members of that Space. When you click each file, at the bottom panel, you will see version information along with who last edited each version.

In your file system, you will see that new folders are created under Spaces folder if you chose to create a new Space, or shortcuts to your existing folders will be created if you chose to convert your folders into Spaces.

TeamDrive - Spaces Context Menu

Right click on any Space, and you will be prompted with plethora of options you can do with your Space, including inviting someone to share your Space.

TeamDrive - Invite Members - Choose SpaceTeamDrive - Software Invite Users

Invitation is pretty easy. You will first be prompted to choose which Space you would like to share with the person you are going to invite. And you just have to enter their email address and customize the message, if you would like to. You can also password protection your invitation so that only someone with the password can accept the invite.

TeamDrive - Software Activity

You can view files activity in the activity tab. This way, you can keep track of every activities of your Spaces. Very useful stuff when you are collaborating with others.

When you want to work on your files on TeamDrive, all you have to do is access those files through your file system normally (if they are local files) or you can just double click them on TeamDrive client app and they will be downloaded, cached locally, and let you open the file with appropriate software on your computer. After you save the file, it will be re-uploaded back. This allows for uninterrupted workflow.

ConclusionConclusion

TeamDrive has been around for very long time, and there is no doubt that it is really useful for teams too. Even for individual users, 10GB free space offer is enticing, as well as its privacy controls. The software is simple to use, but the pricing information on website is just confusing. A lot of things we can do with TeamDrive are also more suitable for technically-inclined users too. So if you have someone with technical capabilities in your team, TeamDrive will work great for you (provided that you don’t mind paying for the storage or setup your own server). If not, we suggest you to stick with Dropbox or other alternatives.

 

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