For the past few weeks, I’ve been using Yandex Disk, alongside more well-known cloud storage providers such as Google Drive and Mega. I was drawn to Yandex Disk by its competitive pricing and performance and was keen to test it firsthand. I was curious to see how it compared to its rivals and whether or not it would be suitable for data-hoarding, backups, or just casual storage.
The data-hoarding forums and subreddits are full of questions about Yandex Disk. I assume the reasons for the many questions stem from the fact that Yandex Disk isn’t really aimed at Western consumers and isn’t heavily advertised. I thought I would put this post together to try to provide some answers to the most common questions.
Yandex Disk is the online cloud storage solution offered by Yandex. It competes with the likes of Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Apple iCloud, Amazon Drive, Dropbox, and Mega.
In case you’re not familiar with such services, or cloud storage in general, you can use Yandex Disk to store your files “in the cloud”. In effect, you upload your files to servers in datacentres owned by Yandex, either freeing up space on your computer or providing an additional copy of your files for safety or to share with others.
You can sign up for the basic tier of Yandex Disk completely free of charge. This entry-level subscription will provide you with 10GB of storage at no cost.
If you only have 10GB of data that you wish to upload to Yandex Disk then it won’t cost you anything. If (like me) you have vast amounts of data then you’ll need to purchase a paid subscription to the service, assuming wish to upload more than 10GB.
It’s worth mentioning that Yandex will often run promotions where you’re rewarded with additional free space for completing activities such as referring others to the service. I must admit it’s not something I’ve ever tried as the paid tiers of Yandex Disk are affordable enough.
As mentioned above, if you’re happy with the basic 10GB storage limit, Yandex Disk is free.
If you wish to store more than 10GB then there are two paid options, “Yandex 360” or “Yandex Disk Pro”. Both of these options have a number of tiers, with each tier offering more storage, of course, at an increased cost.
The cost of Yandex 360 increases with the more storage space you require. It works out cheaper to buy Yandex 360 annually, paying for a year upfront than to subscribe month-by-month.
At the time of writing, all Yandex 360 packages are billed in Russian Rubles (RUB). The different storage levels and their costs are listed below.
100GB – 499 RUB/year
1TB – 1399 RUB/year
3TB – 2899 RUB/year
5TB – 4333 RUB/year
10TB – 6999 RUB/year
25TB – 17500 RUB/year
50TB – 35000 RUB/year
As you can see, these are the annual prices, if you wish to pay on an ad-hoc monthly basis, the costs will be around 20% higher.
If you’re in the West, you’ll have to check the currency exchange rate to work out how much each package will cost you. At the time of writing (April 2022), the exchange rate is approximately 1 USD/82 RUB. This means the lowest (100GB) package costs around 6 USD/year, with the highest (50TB) package costing around 427 USD/year.
Like with Yandex 360, the price of each Yandex Disk Pro package increases broadly in line with how much storage capacity you need.
If you’re accessing the Yandex site from the West (i.e. USA, Europe), Yandex will list the prices in USD. Again, buying an annual subscription upfront works out cheaper over the course of a year than paying for one month at a time.
These are different plans currently available, along with their annual pricing in USD:
100GB – $20/year
1TB – $100/year
3TB – $300/year
As you can see, the cost of increasing your disk space by subscribing to a Yandex Disk Pro plan is significantly higher than subscribing to a Yandex 360 plan.
This is a loaded question, but the answer really depends on what you mean by “safe”.
If you’re concerned about a random US civilian guessing your password and accessing your files, then you probably have nothing to worry about. Yandex Disk employs similar technologies (strong password policies, multi-factor authentication, account lockout mechanisms) as its Western rivals (like Google and Apple). You could therefore argue that in the vast majority of cases, it’s no less secure.
The issue really lies with the fact that Yandex is a Russian company and as such, is required to comply with Russian laws around national security, and privacy in general.
If you have secrets that you don’t want the Russian government to be privy to, then you should probably consider Yandex Disk to be unsafe.
This question is asked with surprising frequency, and I’m not completely sure why. In short, the answer is no, Yandex Disk is not Chinese, it’s Russian.
Yandex is a Russian company and from what we know, its headquarters and datacentres are primarily based in Russia.
If you are disappointed by this, and for some reason are in fact in search of a Chinese cloud storage provider, then it might be worth checking the services offered by Alibaba, namely Alibaba Cloud.
I suspect people posting this question online are confused as both Yandex and Alibaba are two companies that are relatively obscure in the West, yet in some areas provide competing solutions.
Yandex Disk can be accessed using a web browser, a mobile app, or a desktop application.
In addition to this, Yandex Disk can also be accessed by third-party software that implements the Yandex Disk API. It’s also possible to upload and download files from Yandex Disk using the WebDAV protocol.
Yes, there are free apps for both iOS and Android.
Yandex offers the “Yandex.Disk” app via the Apple App Store, and it’s compatible with both iPad and iPhone.
There’s also a version of the “Yandex.Disk” app available on the Google Play Store, compatible with Android devices.
Yandex Disk supports files of up to 50GB in size. Of course, you’ll need to be subscribed to a plan that provides enough storage space to allow you to hold such large files.
If you’re uploading or downloading files with your web browser, Yandex recommends that you work with files of 2GB or less. If you wish to upload or download files larger than 2GB (up to 50GB), then it’s recommended that you install and use the proper Yandex Disk client software or app for this.
Yandex Disk gives you unlimited storage of photos uploaded from your mobile device. If you download the Yandex Disk app to your phone, you can enable auto-upload of photos and they’ll be uploaded to your Yandex Disk account without consuming any space. This is true for both the free and paid plans.
If you’re a paid subscriber, Yandex Disk also allows unlimited storage of videos, providing they’re uploaded from your mobile device using the app.
Yes, photos uploaded from your mobile device using the Yandex Disk app, can be stored in your Yandex Disk account free of charge.
There’s no limit to the number of photos you can store for free, providing they’ve been uploaded from your mobile device through the official Yandex Disk app.
Yes, paid subscribers enjoy unlimited video storage on Yandex Disk.
One caveat is that the videos must have been uploaded from your mobile device (phone or tablet) using the official app.
Even users subscribing to the lowest tier (the cheapest plan), benefit from unlimited video storage as their uploads won’t count against their 100GB quota.
No, photos are videos uploaded to Yandex Disk are not compressed and do not have their quality reduced.
At the time of writing, photos and videos retain their original quality and resolution once uploaded to Yandex Disk cloud storage. I would recommend that you upload and re-download a few photos and videos as a test, however, to make sure this is still the case.
Yandex does not officially publish any bandwidth restrictions or limits on their Yandex Disk solution.
The testing I have conducted suggests there are no bandwidth limits in place for “normal use”. I’m sure if you were to continually upload terabytes of data, delete it, and re-upload it that there would be a manual intervention at some point and limits would be put in place (or perhaps your account suspended).
For normal use (i.e. if you’re not intentionally trying to abuse the service), you don’t seem to need to worry about bandwidth limits at present.
Yandex does not publish the maximum upload or download speeds pertaining to its Yandex Disk solution. I have done a significant amount of testing using my 100Mb/s symmetrical Internet connection and I have been able to saturate the connection using both the Web browser and the official Yandex Disk apps. We can be confident therefore that both the upload and download speed of Yandex Disk is in excess of 100Mb per second.
Please be aware that you’ll suffer from slower upload and download speeds when not using either a web browser or the official app. For example, using the WebDAV protocol will slow things down.
At the time of writing, it’s not possible to purchase a lifetime subscription to Yandex Disk. The longest subscription period is one year.
When you purchase a Yandex Disk annual subscription, you have the option to have the subscription automatically renew. If you’re forgetful, this is a good choice to ensure you don’t lose access to your cloud storage in a year’s time.
Yes, Yandex Disk keeps a 14-day history/changelog of your files. If you accidentally overwrite a file in your cloud storage, you can revert the changes and restore the older version of the file.
If you subscribe to a paid plan, the version history is increased from 14 days to 90 days.
JDownloader fully supports Yandex Disk and it’s able to download from public or shared Yandex Disk folders without an issue.
Concurrent downloads from Yandex Disk are currently working fine with JDownloader so downloads are very fast. Using JDownloader, I’ve been able to fully saturate my 100Mb symmetrical Internet connection when downloading files from Yandex Disk.
Yandex Disk is fully supported by rclone. All rclone features work with Yandex Disk including copy, sync, and encryption.
There was a brief period of around two months during which the rclone client was banned from using the Yandex Disk service. This ban was enforced by Yandex blocking rclone’s “Client ID”. At the time the Yandex Disk support team indicated that the ban was put in place as the Yandex Disk service was only meant for personal use.
The ban was lifted in March 2020 and as of the time of writing (April 2022), the rclone client is still working fine with Yandex Disk.
Yes, Yandex Disk supports the WebDAV protocol. This means it’s easy to upload and download files from the cloud storage service without having the official Yandex Disk client applications installed.
Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, Yandex introduced throttling when using the WebDAV protocol. For every megabyte of data uploaded or downloaded, Yandex Disk introduces a 60-second delay. For example, if you need to upload a 60MB file to your Yandex Disk storage over WebDAV, it’s going to take you an hour, even on the fastest of Internet connections. There are many forums discussing the issue.
Because of the artificial throttling, you certainly wouldn’t want to be using WebDAV for uploading or downloading massive hoards of data to or from Yandex Disk. If you find yourself in a pinch, however (e.g. you need to access your cloud storage from an old Unix box with no browser), I suppose having some WebDAV support is better than nothing.
Yandex Disk does not natively provide the ability to have your files encrypted at rest or in transit. Whilst there are other cloud storage providers that support end-to-end encryption using your own private encryption keys, this is not something Yandex Disk currently offers. It may be that they’re not allowed to offer encryption as it would prevent the Russian authorities from inspecting your data.
With that said, there’s nothing to prevent you from encrypting your data locally before uploading it and then decrypting it after downloading it. Of course, this is never going to be as seamless as with cloud storage solutions that natively support encryption but it honestly isn’t too onerous if you’re somewhat technically minded.
There are a number of software solutions that will allow you to encrypt and decrypt your files locally, some are free and open-source, and others are paid commercial products. Most data-hoarders and hobbyists tend to recommend “rclone”. Rclone is free and open-source and allows you to set up encrypted storage areas on a number of cloud solutions, including Yandex Disk.
Rclone is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac and once you’ve completed the initial configuration steps its encryption features work in the background, generally without too much fuss.
Every once in a while, Yandex will run a promotion giving you either increased space or a reduced cost. You can search online, or if you’re patient, keep an eye on your email for any special codes that Yandex sends to you.
Upon receiving a promo code, you can visit https://disk.yandex.com/gift to redeem it.
There are official Yandex Disk clients for various versions of Linux.
The official client installers are available in “.deb” and “.rpm” format, meaning they can easily be installed on Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat, CentOS, etc.
The Yandex Disk Linux client is very easy to use from the command line (just have a quick read on the MAN page). If you prefer to use a GUI to access your cloud storage, there are also a couple of third-party options (for example, YD-Tools and YA-gui).
Most data-hoarders running Linux are using “rclone” rather than the official Yandex Disk client. It provides more granular controls and also added functionality such as encryption.
There are versions of the official Yandex Disk client available for both Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS.
The applications support all current versions of both operating systems.
Whilst both the Windows and Mac applications work well enough for general use, I would recommend accessing your Yandex Disk storage using “rclone” if you’re an advanced user. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re an advanced user, just use the official Windows or macOS clients for now and see if they fulfill your needs. They likely will and they work well enough.
If you have any other questions regarding Yandex Disk, leave a comment and I’ll try to answer them. If you’d like me to perform any tests on Yandex Disk before my subscription runs out, let me know and if I have time I’ll run the test and update this post. Happy data-hoarding people!