You may have never heard of the pCloud cloud service, but the free plan gives you 10GB of storage space, and it offers a cross-platform desktop client (Linux, macOS, and Windows). From the desktop client you can manage your account, sync folders, create shares, encrypt files (not available with the free account), and more.

I will walk you through the steps of installing and using the pCloud desktop client. I’ll demonstrate on Elementary OS. The installation on other Ubuntu-based distributions will be the same, and the installation on both Windows and macOS is completed in a similar fashion to installing any other application (only you won’t find the app in the Apple App Store).

What you need

Before you install the app, go ahead and create a free pCloud account, as you’ll need it to sign into the desktop client. If you don’t want to bother with creating an account until the app is installed, you can always do so from the app sign in window.

And with that said, let’s install.

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How to install

You’ll want to download the proper installation file from the pCloud downloads page. Save that file in your ~/Downloads directory. Once the download completes, open your terminal window, and then issue the following command to install:

cd ~/Downloads
chmod u+x pcloud
sudo ./pcloud

A new window will appear (Figure A), requiring you to sign into your account. Do this, and the installation will complete.

Figure A

Should you rather install via a GUI, you can do that, too. Download the pcloud file, and then open your file manager. Right-click on the pcloud file, and then click the Execute button for Owner (Figure B). Click Close, and you can then double-click the pcloud file, from within the file manager, to launch the installation.

Figure B

If you use Ubuntu, giving the file executable permissions is slightly different. Open the file manager, right-click the pcloud file, and then check the box for Allow executing file as program (Figure C). Now you can click the pcloud file to launch the GUI installer.

Figure C

The client

The pCloud desktop client is incredibly simple to use. Let’s add a folder for syncing. From the main window, click the Sync tab. In this tab (Figure D), click the Add New Sync button.

Figure D

A new window will appear (Figure E) where you can create a sync pair for your pCloud account.

Figure E

The first thing to do is click the Choose Local Folder button. Navigate to (and select) the folder to sync, and then click OK. Once you’ve done that, click the Choose pCloud Drive Folder button. This will open up the file manage to your local pCloud drive folder, which is automatically created upon installation. You can either create a new folder or select a pre-existing folder. Select the folder and click OK.

Back at the Add New Sync window, click the Add Sync button, and your sync pair will be added (your files will automatically start to sync).

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That’s all there is to creating a sync pair. You can create as many pairs as you need, so you’re not limited to syncing only specific directories on your local machine.

If you go into the Advanced Settings for the Sync section, you can configure ignore patterns for syncing. With this tool you can configure folder names, extensions, and various file types to be ignored when syncing.

Say you want to not sync movie files (for size restrictions). You could add something like this to the end of the existing ignore list:


Remember, each ignore entry is separated by a semicolon.

How to create a share

Say you have a folder you want to share with another user. To do this, click on the Shares tab (in the main window) and then click the Create Share drop-down (Figure F).

Figure F

The options are as follows:

  • Invite to folder – this gives another user access to a specific folder on your pCloud account.
  • Upload link – this gives another user a link that allows them to upload files to a specific folder on your pCloud account.
  • Download link (files) – this gives another user access to downloadable files in a specific folder on your pCloud account.
  • Download link (folders) – this gives another user access to downloadable folders within your pCloud account.

When you invite someone to a folder, you can give them either read-only or read-write permissions to that specific folder. The invitation will be sent (via email), and the recipient can act accordingly.

An outstanding desktop client

The pCloud desktop client is quite good. In fact, out of all the desktop cloud clients I’ve used on Linux, I’d say pCloud is one of (if not the) best. Give this outstanding tool a try, and see if it doesn’t immediately win you over to the pCloud cloud service.