Dropbox was one of the very first companies that got the concept of file synchronization right and popularized the concept with the regular internet user. Their success over the last few years can be attributed to a consistent and quality service, with a constant addition of new and improved features. I’ve used Dropbox for more than 3 years now and it has almost never let me down. But over the years they have faced some issues.
Last year they were hit by outage for more than 48 hours and although they claimed it was an internal maintenance issue, many believe the website was hacked. The other issue, which some users might find troubling, is that Dropbox servers are based in the US, which make them vulnerable to spying by intelligence agencies like the NSA.
Their pricing is also fairly competitive but the users would not mind getting more storage for similar or less price. This is where hubiC comes in. It is a part of OVH.com, which is a well-known web hosting company in Europe and is known for its excellent hosting solutions.
HubiC – More Private and Generous Than Dropbox
hubiC was launched in 2011 but was more popular in Europe. With the news that NSA can get access to user files without their permission if the servers of the service are based in the US, many users have decided to move over their files to external servers.
While I was checking out hubiC’s website one of the things I noticed was they were pretty clear in mentioning the point that the service is based out of France and hence does not fall under the jurisdiction of US government. France, as you may have heard, has extremely strict privacy protection laws. While your Dropbox data is vulnerable to snooping by intelligence agencies, hubiC is comparatively pretty safe because of the stringent privacy laws in Europe.
Beyond their privacy reassurance, they are pretty generous with the storage space they provide for their users. Just for signing up for a free account with them will get you 25 GB of synchronized storage. Their paid plans are also quite reasonably priced. Their paid plan starts with a storage space of 100 GB and it’ll cost you €1. That’s around $1.36. That is a lot of space at a very affordable price.
If you are a Dropbox user you have an option to upgrade to a Pro account that gets you 100 GB of storage, but that plan costs $9.99 per month. With hubiC you can get it for 1/10th of the price.
Let’s take a look at how hubiC works and if it can measure up to Dropbox in terms of features and functionality.
Signing up and Getting Started with hubiC
You can sign up for hubiC from their plans and pricing page. You can access it here.
Just click on the “Get it” button and you’ll be redirected to the sign up page. You’ll need to fill in your full name email address and select a password. Click on “Sign up” and your account will be created and you’ll have an option to either access hubiC’s web interface or download and install the hubiC client on your computer or mobile.
Note: Do not forget to check your email and validate your account in order to activate the sharing feature for hubiC.
One of the great things about hubiC is that it is available on all platforms. It supports Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems and mobile platforms like iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry. Take your pick and download the one you need.
We’re trying it out on Windows 8.1. The setup for the software is around 6 MB.
While installing, you’ll notice that the terms and conditions are written in French language. Everything else is pretty much the same as you would see with other software installation. Just click on “I accept” and proceed with the installation.
The only issue I noticed was that the software asked me to restart the computer after installation which is somewhat inconvenient. Although when I declined to restart the PC and opened the software, it functioned normally. So you can, most probably, just skip the restart process. If something doesn’t work as expected, go ahead and restart the PC.
Working with hubiC on Windows
When you first open the software you’ll need to sign in using the account credentials that you created above.
In the next step you can choose which folders you’d like to synchronize on this PC. You have the option to specify the hubiC folder where all the data will be stored (We would recommend you to select it manually).
If you have multiple partitions on your PC it is advisable to store it in external partition instead of your default Windows partition.
After the configuration is finished the presentation tab will show you how to use hubiC and introduce you to its various features.
You can also access the various options for the software via the system tray. Similar to Dropbox, you can access the settings, pause synchronization and see your data usage.
Since we just installed the software you can see we have 25 GB of space available for storage.
hubiC Web interface
Log in to your account on hubiC’s website and you’ll get access to your stored data. You can view the amount of space you have available for storage and how much more you can use.
You can also change the settings for your account, get information about the applications that have access to your account as well as download hubiC software for the platform of your choice.
The web interface is pretty minimalist and could use more work in terms of features. The option to preview a specific file is missing, which is one of the most useful features in Dropbox. If you need to view a file on the web interface, you’d need to download it. So its a better idea to view that file via the desktop or mobile application.
hubiC In Action
Synchronizing files using hubiC is a pretty straightforward process. Just drag and drop any files or folders that you need to synchronize, in the hubiC folder on your PC and the files will start uploading to your account.
You can view the synchronization status from the icon in the system tray.
Once the files uploaded you can check the web interface and you’ll see that both the new folder we created as well as the files we synchronized are present there. They are pretty fast when it comes to uploading the data, so chances are you will get access to your files on other computer almost immediately.
hubiC Mobile Apps
Similar to desktop software, hubiC offers mobile applications for various platforms.The apps have decent features but aren’t as feature rich as Dropbox.
When you open the hubiC app on your mobile or tablet you will be shown a list of folders in the left sidebar. Accessing these folders and selecting any file that will open the file for you on the right side.
You can view the settings for the application from the left bottom menu. It shows the total space available for your account as well as how much you have used so far. You also have the option to password protect the application.
Any files that you open can be shared but the sharing is fairly limited. The type of sharing options will vary depending upon what type of file you’re viewing. The options for image file would be different than say the ones for a PDF file.
The Good and the Bad
HubiC has a lot of things going for it. It provides generous storage space, its servers are located in France and hence your data is pretty much snooping-proof. As for the pricing, it is more than fair. Their 100 GB plan is nothing short of a bargain.
It is also encouraging to see that they support all major platforms may be desktop or mobile.
On the flipside the functionality of the service on the web, your PC or mobile falls short when compared to bigger players like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive. They need to do a lot of work especially on the web-based interface.
That being said if you’re looking for generous online storage space with pretty good pricing and are ready to forfeit certain advanced features, you’ll definitely like hubiC.
Go ahead Check out hubiC