A Review of the Free Cloud Storage Website Hive

Get Unlimited Free Cloud Storage with Hive

Picture of the Hive.im logo
© Hive Cloud Limited

Note: Hive has shutdown as of October 15, 2015. You can read more about this move in one of their blog posts. Be sure to see my list of free online storage services for several alternatives to Hive.

Hive is a fantastic, free online storage service that doesn't restrict how many files you can store - it offers unlimited space without any monthly restrictions.

Your files can be shared with select friends where they can stream, copy, and download your data, or you can keep things locked away in private folders for just yourself.

Plus, Hive supports storing torrent files, which means it can be used as a free online torrent client as well.

Hive Features

Anyone who signs up for Hive instantly gets unlimited storage space at no cost.

Additional features (like some of the ones you see in the Cons section below) can be had for free through a Premium account by referring your friends to sign up.

Pros:

  • Unlimited storage space
  • No monthly data caps
  • Nice, clutter-free interface
  • Can share files with other users
  • Supports streaming media files
  • Uploads can be as large as 20 GB in size
  • Document files can be uploaded if they're not larger than 250 MB
  • Can select multiple files at once to upload
  • Able to import files from their URL
  • Instant search quickly finds files in your and your friends' accounts
  • Can be used from an Android or iOS mobile device

Cons:

  • Can't share files/folders with the non-users
  • Aren't any desktop apps for uploading your files
  • No advanced sharing options like password protection
  • Must share a whole folder if you want to share a single file
  • Supported with advertisements
  • Videos aren't streamed in high definition
  • Download speeds are capped
  • Web uploads (via URLs and torrents) can only be media files
  • Account will be deleted after 30 days of inactivity

File Sharing with Hive

There are no links that you can copy to share files/folders with others, because to share your data on Hive, you must become "friends" with another user.

Once you're friends, you both can see the other person's files, which lets you copy data from their account into your own, stream their music and videos, and download their files to your computer.

By default, all your "main" folders are publicly accessible. This means becoming friends with someone will reveal all your files and folders to them. However, it doesn't have to be this way. You can create custom, locked folders inside the default ones (Documents, Music, Videos, and Photos). Locked folders let you specify what friends, if any, can see the files inside it.

You can revoke and permit access at any time by editing the folder's properties.

Using Torrents with Hive

When adding files to your Hive account, you can drop them onto the page or paste in their URLs. The URLs you can paste aren't restricted to regular files like images, documents, and videos - you can also use Hive to upload and store torrents in your account.

Just paste a torrent's magnet link into the "Paste Web Link" option of the Add Files page like you would with any other URL, and then click the plus icon to begin uploading the files that are part of that torrent.

If a torrent you're uploading has already been uploaded to Hive by another user, it will be added to your account instantaneously!

There's absolutely no waiting, even if the files in the torrent are really large. For every other torrent, you have to wait for Hive to upload it like you would any other file.

Note: Hive's URL and torrent upload option only works if the file is a media file. This means music and videos are supported with this type of upload, but not program files like EXE and ISO files.

My Thoughts on Hive

Hive is a great service because you're not restrained at all as to how many files you want to store or how often you upload/download data, which may be what you're ultimately looking for in a free cloud storage service.

really like the torrent feature because some torrents take a really long time to download, but Hive will do it for you instantly if other Hive users uploaded that same torrent. This saves loads of time if you do this often.

Plus, the 20 GB limit is rather large, as most torrents you download will be smaller than that.

However, there are numerous small things that I don't like. For example, when you upload files to your account, you can't choose where they go until after they've been uploaded. This means you'll find yourself constantly having to cut and paste your data into appropriate folders.

Also, if you want to share a single file to one of your connected friends on Hive, you must put the file into its own folder, set the folder to locked, and then choose the friend you want to share it with. This isn't a huge concern because it's not confusing in the slightest, it's just a few more extra steps than seems necessary.

Though this does seem fair, your Hive account will be deleted if you don't use it for 30 days. But don't worry about remembering to sign on, because they'll send you an email a week before it's set to be removed to remind you to log back in.

See my comparison table of other cloud storage services I recommend to get a clear view of the difference features you'll get with Hive versus other services.