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Storj cloud storage review 2021

Decentralized cloud storage that offers security and speed.

Storj review
(Image: © Storj)

Our Verdict

Storj is a decentralized cloud storage system that offers security, speed, and redundancy. Many features require you to use a command line interface, so this platform is best suited for those comfortable with programming.

Pros

  • Decentralized cloud storage with over 10,000 servers
  • End-to-end encryption with command line
  • 150GB of free storage

Cons

  • Command line interface can be complex
  • Limited file sharing tools using web client

Storj is a decentralized cloud storage platform. The service cuts your files into 80 pieces, and then distributes those pieces across a global server network. As a result, you get top-tier security, extreme redundancy against server failures, and ultra-fast download speeds from anywhere in the world. In addition, Storj is fully open-source, which is a plus for security-conscious users.

Storj review: Snapshot

Storj gives new users up to 150GB of free storage, which is extremely generous. Pricing for paid users is variable based on the amount of storage space and bandwidth you use, but is cheap compared to most traditional cloud storage providers.

While Storj does offer a web client for simplified uploading and downloading, the real power of this service lies in its command line interface. Overall, Storj is best suited for programmers who want to make use of the command line controls and won’t be overwhelmed by the service’s complexity.

In our Storj review, we’ll cover everything you need to know to decide if this is the best cloud storage service for you.

Score: 4/5

Read on for the full review. 


Storj's competitors

How does Storj compare to its main competitors?
StorjpCloudMicrosoft OneDrive
Score4/54/54.5/5
ProsFully decentralized cloud storage - End-to-end and server-side encryption - 150GB of free storageSimple, robust file versioning - File syncing across devices - Low-cost individual and family plansUnlimited end-to-end encryption with premium plans - Includes Office apps for collaboration - Highly secure file sharing
ConsMany tasks require command line interface - Variable costs based on storage and bandwidthNo real-time collaboration tools - End-to-end encryption costs extraExpensive pricing options - Limited free storage
VerdictStorj is a unique cloud storage solution that prioritizes security, reliability, and speed. It’s ideal for programmers who want a command line interface, but may be overly complex for average users.pCloud is a robust cloud storage platform that offers excellent security, file versioning, and sharing tools at a reasonable price. It’s also very easy to use.Microsoft OneDrive is one of the best cloud storage platforms for collaboration, especially if you rely on Office 365 apps. However, it doesn’t offer the most storage space for your buck.
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Key features

The first thing to know about Storj is that it uses a fundamentally different method to store your data than most comparable cloud storage services. Instead of taking your files and uploading copies of them to a handful of US-based servers, Storj uses a decentralized storage algorithm.

When you upload a file, Storj splits it into 80 overlapping pieces, and then places each piece on a different server. The company has over 10,000 servers, or “nodes,” spread across 84 different countries. When you want to download or move your files, Storj only needs to access 29 pieces of each file to put the whole thing back together.

Storj: Key features and highlights

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Storj's visualization of its file storage process

Storj uses a decentralized storage scheme in which files are broken into 80 pieces and distributed to servers around the globe (Image credit: Storj)
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Storj's server locations in a document

Storj has a network of more than 10,000 servers distributed across 84 countries (Image credit: Storj)
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Storj's command-line interface

The Storj command line interface enables you to access individual file pieces across storage servers and offers end-to-end file encryption (Image credit: Storj)

There are several advantages to using this decentralized storage scheme. First, your backups are extremely redundant. Storj keeps 80 pieces of each file, but only needs 29 pieces to recover the file. Better yet, those 80 pieces are stored across servers in dozens of different countries. In effect, it’s virtually impossible to lose files that you upload using Storj.

Another advantage to decentralized storage is that you can access files extremely quickly from anywhere in the world. The platform will automatically download pieces of your files from the servers closest to your location, which helps speed up downloads. This is particularly helpful if you need to share large files across a globally distributed team.

Finally, Storj’s decentralized storage system makes your data more secure. Even if a malicious attacker were able to break into one of Storj’s servers, they wouldn’t be able to reconstruct your files without breaking into an additional 28 servers. Even then, all file pieces are encrypted at rest on Storj’s servers, so they’re essentially uncrackable without your encryption key.

Storj also offers end-to-end encryption when you upload files using either Rclone or Storj’s own command line interface. These options both enable you to connect directly to Storj’s server network through a secure gateway. However, Rclone and the command line interface are notably more complicated for non-programmers than Storj’s web client, since you need to write code to initiate uploads and downloads.

What’s new?

Storj’s development team is relatively active, and releases updates every few months. Most recently, the team released a Linux installer and created software that can track server downtime. The latter is particularly useful since Storj’s algorithm chooses which servers to send file pieces to based on uptime. This change ensures that your files are being stored on the most reliable servers. 

Storj has also added a number of command line functions that enable users to migrate data from traditional cloud storage services to Storj. That’s big news for anyone who already has a lot of data in the cloud, as it makes it much simpler to automate the process of switching to Storj.

We’ve also been happy to see Storj fix some small but irksome issues. For example, it’s now possible to rename individual files. Until recently, it was necessary to reupload a file in order to change its name.

Pricing

Storj offers up to 150GB of free storage, which is roughly 10 times more than most traditional cloud storage providers. This free storage is subdivided into three projects, with a maximum capacity of 50GB each. In addition, there’s a 150GB limit on your monthly bandwidth usage.

If you need more storage capacity or bandwidth, Storj charges according to the amount you use. Storage costs $4 per TB a month, while bandwidth costs $7 per TB a month. You can easily keep track of your estimated monthly bill through the web dashboard.

Storj's pricing plans
Plan type/featureFreeStandard
Storage50GB per project$4 per TB a month
Bandwidth50GB per project$7 per TB a year
Projects13

Testing Storj

To better benchmark Storj against its competitors, we analyzed how to use its web client, and investigated its command-line interface, as well as its upload speeds (a key factor in terms of cloud storage) and its file sharing capabilities.

How do you use Storj's web client?

Storj's web client dashboard

The Storj web client dashboard shows your storage, bandwidth, and estimated monthly cost  (Image credit: Storj)

The Storj web client is the simplest way to access Storj, although it does limit the platform’s functionality. With the web client, you can create buckets to store your files, grant access to individual users, and set up encryption keys for server-side encryption. 

However, any files you upload using the web client won’t be encrypted before they leave your computer, and you have no control over which servers your file pieces are sent to.

One reason that even programmers might want to use the web client is the dashboard. That’s because it clearly shows how much total storage and bandwidth you’ve used for the month, and it even provides an estimate for how much you’ll be charged at the end of the month.

What's Storj's command-line interface like?

Storj's command-line interface demonstrated

Storj can be accessed using the command line on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers (Image credit: Storj)

Storj offers an executable that can be accessed from the command line in Windows, Mac, and Linux. The command line offers much more flexibility compared to the web client, although it does require users to be comfortable with basic programming. At a minimum, you’ll need to be able to navigate your computer’s file system through the command line in order to use Storj.

We found that simply uploading and downloading files using the command line is relatively straightforward. Storj offers a very detailed guide to the available commands, complete with examples. In addition, most non-standard processes are controlled by flags, so there are less than a dozen commands in total to remember.

How fast is Storj?

Storj's upload window

Storj offers relatively quick upload speeds and ultra-fast downloads (Image credit: Storj)

We tested Storj’s speed by uploading and downloading a 1GB file over a 110Mbps internet connection. The upload process took just over 25 minutes, which was relatively fast considering that this process also required breaking the file into 80 pieces, and determining which servers to upload those pieces to. 

Downloading that same file was incredibly speedy—it took just one minute and 13 seconds. In fact, Storj’s download speed was among the fastest we’ve ever experienced with a cloud storage service.

What file sharing options does Storj offer?

Storj's file sharing pop-up window

You have little control when sharing files using the Storj web client  (Image credit: Storj)

We also tested out file sharing with Storj, since the ability to work across global teams is one of the main advantages of decentralized cloud storage. Unfortunately, you don’t have many options around sharing if you’re using the web client. You can create a share link, but you can’t set editing permissions, add password protection, or set an expiration date.

However, if you turn to the command line interface, Storj offers a lot more control. You can enter any path to share, which enables you to share individual files or entire folders. In addition, the share command includes flags to control editing permissions or to create a shareable URL to your data. You can also add an expiration time, or even restrict access to a file up until a certain time.

Alternatives to Storj

Storj is somewhat unique among cloud storage providers because of its decentralized storage model. However, it’s worth comparing this platform to pCloud and Microsoft OneDrive, both of which offer strong security and large storage volumes.

Storj narrowly beats out both pCloud and OneDrive when it comes to pricing. You can get 1TB of storage at Storj for as little as $48 a year, but pCloud’s 2TB plan is comparable at $95.88 a year. Microsoft only sells 1TB plans for $69.99 a year. While that might look pricey at first, it’s important to note that Microsoft throws in its full suite of Office 365 apps. In addition, keep in mind that Storj charges for bandwidth, whereas pCloud and Microsoft do not.

The main thing you should consider when choosing between these three platforms is what type of experience you want. Storj is designed for advanced users who are comfortable with programming, and who prefer object-oriented storage over a traditional file system.

pCloud is more suitable if you want to sync files across multiple devices, and want simple sharing and file versioning tools. Microsoft OneDrive has many of the same features that pCloud offers, but the addition of the Office 365 suite makes it best for real-time collaboration. Read our comprehensive pCloud review and our detailed OneDrive review to find out more about these two competitors.

Storj's features compared to the competition
StorjpCloudMicrosoft OneDrive
End-to-end encryptionYesYesEmail only
File sharingYes (with upgrade)YesEmail only
SupportYesYesPhone, email, and live chat
Basic plan$4 per TB a month$4.99 a month for 500GB$1.99 a month for 100GB

The verdict

Storj is a unique cloud storage service that uses decentralization to offer speed, security, and reliability. With this platform, files are quickly accessible from anywhere in the world, and there’s virtually no chance that data could be hacked or lost. Our testing found that Storj has among the fastest download speeds of any cloud storage provider.

On top of that, Storj is incredibly inexpensive. The platform offers 150GB for free, and charges just $4 per terabyte a month after that. That’s a fraction of what most traditional cloud storage providers charge.

The catch to Storj is that it’s more complicated to use and less feature-rich than competitors like pCloud or Microsoft Office. While it’s possible to get by with the Storj web client, most of the platform’s flexibility is derived from its command line interface. We thought the command line interface was relatively straightforward, but it still requires familiarity with programming.

Overall, Storj is a strong option for users with a large amount of data and who are comfortable using the command line. It’s especially useful for globally distributed teams, and for storing sensitive data in the cloud.

Further reading on cloud storage

If you want to learn more, we compared cloud storage vs local storage, discussed reducing cloud storage costs, and created guides focusing on the best cloud storage, the best cloud storage for business, the best free cloud storage, and the best cloud storage for photos.

The Verdict
4

out of 5

Storj cloud storage review 2021

Storj is a decentralized cloud storage system that offers security, speed, and redundancy. Many features require you to use a command line interface, so this platform is best suited for those comfortable with programming.

Michael Graw

Michael Graw is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Bellingham, Washington. His interests span a wide range from business technology to finance to creative media, with a focus on new technology and emerging trends. Michael's work has been published in TechRadar, Tom's Guide, Business Insider, Fast Company, Salon, and Harvard Business Review.