TeraBox’s unique selling point is its vast amount of free storage - 1TB. While there are tradeoffs to be had in terms of bandwidth throttling and file size limits, these are all reasonable compromises to make.
1TB free cloud storage
Easy to use
No macOS client
Previous privacy concerns
Limited free plan functionality
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As the name suggests, TeraBox offers 1TB storage - and unlike even the best free cloud storage competitors it’s entirely free. There are drawbacks, though, including adverts, file size and number limits, and bandwidth throttling, which stops it from truly being one of the best cloud storage services on the market.
Paid plans improve on each of these and offer 2TB of cloud storage. Pricing is on the affordable end of the scale, however there have been concerns raised over TeraBox’s privacy and security. Use it safely and sensibly, and it is unmatched at this price point.
TeraBox: Pricing & plans
When it comes to cloud storage capacity, TeraBox’s free offering is unmatched. 1TB of space at no cost - it’s a bold pitch. However, there are a few catches, including a fairly ungenerous 4GB file size limit. Users can only store up to 500 files in a free TeraBox account, and once they’re deleted, they are permanently removed after 10 days. The biggest drawback of the free account, though, is the reduced upload and download speeds, designed to push users towards the unthrottled Premium account.
There are small increases in storage available for free in the app. We were able to add 2GB for watching an advert, and up to 61GB can be claimed for users who open the app every day for seven days, though the small print says that this storage has a validity period of 180 days.
Premium subscribers get 2TB of storage for $3.49 a month or $35.99 a year, which is significantly cheaper than iCloud Drive and Google Drive, both of which cost $9.99 a month. As ever, there are savings to be had when committing longer-term,
There is a seven-day free trial period, however card details are required and auto-renew is enabled. Along with additional storage, the benefits of Premium accounts include a 20GB file size limit (using the mobile apps or Windows client only), the ability to store up to 50,000 files, and a 30-day recycle bin retention period. The most notable of all, though, are the "ultra fast" upload and download speeds that are unlocked.
Signing up was the first hurdle we had to overcome with Terabox. Our StartMail address was rejected and the website provided a list of acceptable email domains. In fairness these included major players like Gmail, iCloud and Outlook. One AOL registration later and we were in.
The web interface will be familiar to most users, with typical drag-and-drop support for file uploads and for moving files within the browser itself. In fact, most users will end up settling with browser access only, as the downloadable windows client is virtually identical.
There's a clear, visual representation of your data and your remaining storage in the left-hand sidebar. The tile and list views add an extra layer of welcome customization.
TeraBox promises faster downloads through its desktop client. However, this is a Windows-only software, leaving macOS users left out. There are iOS and Android apps too, but only the Android version supports automatic folder backup.
Automatic mobile video backup is completed using the app, and the Premium plan’s 20GB maximum file size limit applies to the desktop client and mobile apps only - not for browser users (and, as such, Mac users).
The mobile app looks a little busy in comparison with the browser interface, with distracting dynamic advert blocks. At least its layout is simple, with specific tabs for files, photo albums, videos and sharing tools.
The safe - which is seemingly not available in the browser although there is no mention of this - provides a password-protected space to store important files. It’s great to see support for biometric (face and fingerprint) protection, however you will still need to remember your safe’s password. By default, this is a 4-digit passcode. We had a little trouble setting this up at first, as the software told us there was a 'network error' but the vault was created on the second attempt.
TeraBox cannot help you to recover a forgotten password, and files inside the safe are deleted after too many incorrect attempts. Strangely TeraBox's pricing page doesn't list this 'Encrypted space' as an option for free plans, which begs the question if the 'Personal Vault' is encrypted at all.
When it comes to cloud storage, there are two approaches. Most people think of an online storage space for their files, while some companies offer automatic backups of users’ machines (or a combination of both). TeraBox is a storage solution only, so is best compared to companies like Google Drive, Box, and Internxt.
Like Google Drive, it’s most likely that TeraBox users will access their files - whether that’s to upload, download or view - using the browser portal. Here, there are clear folders running down the left-hand side for file types, like documents, photos, videos and music. The recycle bin is also accessed here - files that are deleted sit here for 10 days before they are permanently deleted, though this can be upgraded to 30 days with paid Premium accounts.
To share files, users can choose between items already in their cloud drives or from their computer or other device. While some other cloud storage solutions offer greater control over sharing permissions, we like what’s on offer here. As well as choosing how to share a file (via email or with a unique link), TeraBox users can select the period for which it will be available (7 days, 30 days or permanently), and add an access code to somewhat boost security. Terabox warns that some 'objectionable' content won't be shared, which suggests they may be monitoring files in users' drives..
The company - Flextech Inc. - also offers a way to share big files without requiring users to make an account. Controls for this TeraTransfer service are a little more limited, with links only available for 24 hours, and a 50GB file size limit (unlimited for TeraBox free or Premium users).
It’s worth mentioning that this file transfer software is currently in beta testing, which is said to be for a “limited time”. This means that in the future, users may need a TeraBox account to continue.
Spend any time digging through forums and reviews and you will find concerns over TeraBox’s security. The website claims to store metadata and file data separately, and to encrypt files during the upload and download processes via HTTPS and SFTP.
The cloud provider claims not to be able to see files inside the Personal Vault. But once data has been uploaded to the cloud, in theory there's nothing to stop them from examining it. The company’s warning that it won't allow sharing of 'objectionable' content suggests some kind of scanning or filtering.
This in contrast to other cloud storage software like Nextcloud, which offer zero-knowledge "end to end encryption". This means that even the providers don't know what data is held by customers on their servers.
Digging into the company’s past reveals further security concerns. TeraBox was previously known as Dubox before it was purchased by FlexTech Inc. Chinese-owned Dubox made it explicit that data was stored in Chinese data centers, which are sometimes seen as less secure than their American or European counterparts. Again, this would be less of a concern if TeraBox provided client-side encryption, securing data before upload, so even their employees couldn't read it.
As we are unable to confirm the current situation with data storage and security, we recommend using TeraBox cautiously. This means that you should avoid storing sensitive and personal information in its cloud space. If you truly have no choice, consider using the best encryption software to protect your files before upload.
Terabox: Our tests
Across three key tests, we measured Terabox’s sync speed, file recovery and versioning. This was done on a Windows 11 virtual machine connected to the internet via VPN server, that showed a consistent average upload speed of 70 Mbps
- Test 1 - Sync speed
For our first test, we copied a 650 MB folder to the application directory, measuring how quickly the desktop client was able to sync the files to the cloud. The folder contained 22 files including MP3s, images, metadata files and a PDF.
We didn't have much joy syncing data with the TeraBox cloud in our original tests in 2022. It took us several attempts to upload our 1GB test file, with progress coming to a halt on all but our ninth attempt. This final, successful upload was complete in under four minutes, which is very respectable when compared with other cloud drives, although we do have concerns over the service’s stability.
We would typically expect a download to complete significantly quicker than an upload with our typical Internet connections, however this is where TeraBox’s speed throttling comes into play.
Using our free account, the same 1GB was re-downloaded in under nine minutes. This would have been reasonable before the introduction of high-speed Internet connections; most other competitors manage the same download in less than half the time, with several sub-one-minute times.
Our most recent tests in 2023 performed much better. Our data uploaded in just under 105 seconds. Our upload speed averaged 70Mbps but as before we were victims of TeraBox's throttling which slowed the upload below cloud storage competitors like Dropbox and OneDrive.
- Test 2 - File recovery
In this test, we deleted the folder from the application directory, removing it from the device. After seeing whether the files were gone from the cloud drive, we looked to see if it was possible to recover them.
As TeraBox only offers a cloud drive rather than local sync of files we decided to delete our test folder from the Files section of the client itself.
As soon as we did a helpful pop up appeared informing us that deleted files would be stored for 10 days in the Recycle Bin but this could be extended to 30 days with a Premium subscription.
Once we confirmed deletion, another pop up appeared pointing to the Recycle Bin where we were able to recover all files intact.
- Test 3 - Versioning
In our third and final test, we checked the versioning options. This lets you open an older version of the document - useful if unnecessary changes have been made to a file.
TeraBox allowed us to upload our test document to the cloud drive. However we were unable to edit it online. When we uploaded the modified version, TeraBox simply appended a '(1)' to the new file. Clearly this isn't a good cloud storage solution if you want to store multiple versions of the same file and revert to them with a few mouse clicks.
TeraBox’s unique selling point is its 1TB free cloud storage. While there are trade-offs to be had in terms of bandwidth throttling and file size limits, these are all reasonable compromises to make, and the affordable Premium plan is always there if users need greater control.
The bulk of its competition comes from other cloud storage drives, like Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive, all of which are more expensive and offer nowhere near TeraBox’s 1TB of free storage.
None of TeraBox's competitors also seek to throttle users' bandwidth to control upload and download speeds. Admittedly, you can sidestep this issue by signing up for a Premium plan but we would have liked to see an unrestricted upload/download quota, for example 10GB per day instead of a blanket restriction.
While there have been questions raised around the company’s privacy, users of any Internet-based service should maintain reasonable levels of privacy and security themselves, and it’s best practice not to store any confidential documents online unless you've properly encrypted them first.
With this in mind, if used sensibly and with a reliable encryption utility, TeraBox is at the top of its game for this price point. We hope to see the rollout of a macOS client as well as even more features to give it the same clout as more seasoned rivals, though.
With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!