When it comes to transferring files, FTP services are as old as the Internet itself. Unfortunately, so is the logic surrounding the process of moving files. “Intuitive” doesn’t exactly jump to mind. As such, a multitude of designers, photographers, and account managers struggle with technically challenged clients for whom the seemingly simple task of “exchanging files” is rife with difficulty. Onehub hopes to change that – and it’s off to a beautiful start.
As we all know, FTPing files is never the end of the conversation. It’s usually somewhere in the middle. And it’s rarely pretty. So to help support those users who need the ability to quickly and easily transfer files and collaborate with clients, Onehub has extended the FTP concept to its logical end: a simple extranet.
The comparisons to 37 Signals‘ Basecamp are inevitable. At first blush, Onehub immediately struck us as a file-centric version of the 37 Signals project-management service – except Onehub users’ collaboration centers around the files they’re sharing as opposed to the projects they’re managing.
Onehub could just as easily be categorized as a Web-based version of Panic’s desktop FTP client Transmit, thanks to its ease-of-use and attention to detail.
The service features two types of “hubs.” QuickHubs provide DropSend– or Senduit-like file transfer simplicity, allowing users to establish a location for quickly sending – or receiving – files. The standard Hub provides an extranet framework that allows users to add widgets – like activity streams, calendars, and discussion – and design elements that personalize the file sharing space. There are even templates to provide a jumpstart. Existing templates include Hubs for projects, documents, partners, and internal staff.
Onehub does a beautiful job of managing the FTP process. We were amazed at how thoughtful and intuitive the system was. After further testing, the attention to detail, commitment to aesthetics, and friendly hand-holding throughout the system only reinforced that positive first impression.
To put it quite simply, Onehub was a joy to use.
Users can try the system with one Hub and 1 GB of storage for 30 days, free of charge. Plans start at $19 US per month for 3 hubs with to 3 GB of storage and ramp up to a $249 US per month account for 100 GB of storage.
Throughout our testing of the system, we found very little about which to complain – in terms of the functionality. That said, we can’t help but notice that the account structure could prove oppressive for some types of creative professionals – especially designers, photographers, videographers, and sound engineers who are transferring large files on a regular basis. But when comparing the storage limits and costs to other services – like Basecamp, for example – the rates are more than competitive.
The final verdict? While we feel a bit like David Pogue reviewing the iPhone, we can’t help but gush about the interface and the usability. Onehub offers a very solid application that’s clearly the product of a great deal of thought and attention.
What’s more, Onehub solves a real problem by making FTP a pleasant – and pretty – experience. That alone makes it well worth a second look. (Personally, I’m already thinking about how I could incorporate this product into my client work.)
If simplifying file sharing sounds like something that you or your clients would be interested in seeing, take Onehub for a free test drive.