Two of our favorite outdoor cameras are the Ring Video Doorbell Pro (as seen in the photo) and Ring Floodlight Camera. Soon after installing and activating these cameras (or any Ring camera product), you will need to make a decision of subscribing to their paid cloud service. Ring Protect is the name of the subscription service that provides extended video archives from a Ring Video Doorbell Pro or any of the other cameras that are offered by Ring. Today, we discuss the plans in detail and help determine of they are worth paying for. And yes, there is more than one plan.
Home Security Camera Cloud Services Definition
For those unfamiliar with the topic of cloud plans, here’s a brief description. A cloud plan, regardless of camera manufacturer, provides offsite storage of your camera’s video. Your video is transmitted over the internet to a remote data center where it’s retained for a period of time. Each manufacturer implements cloud differently. Some plans merely store short video clips of motion events. Other plans store every minute, 24 hours per day, for a certain period of time. Internet usage can vary from very light to extremely intensive and it all depends upon the video quality, number of cameras, amount of recording and compression algorithms used. Some cloud service plans are free, some are paid, some manufacturers have a paid and free plan.
Out of the Box Capability
Now that you have a basic understanding of home security camera cloud plans, let’s take a look at what comes with a Ring camera for free and what a paid subscription gets you.
Unlike some of their competitors, Ring does not provide any free cloud plans. When a motion event is detected, you will be notified and must open your Ring app to see what’s going on. There is no opportunity to go back in time and see what caused the motion unless you have a paid Ring Protect plan. To compound the dilemma, Ring cameras do not support internal storage such as a micro SD card, so the only opportunity to see the past is to subscribe to one of the paid Ring Protect plans.
Now you could argue that you paid for the camera, and shouldn’t have to pay an annual fee. Valid argument and if that’s a deal breaker, the Ring home security camera line (as of today anyway) might not be for you. There are several camera manufacturers that provide some nice starter cloud plans for free including Arlo, Nest and Yi. See our Home Security Camera Feature Comparison Page as a starting place for comparison.
Ring Protect Plans
As of today, there are two levels of Ring Protect Plan subscriptions.
The “Basic Plan” isn’t too bad as subscription fees go, especially if you only have a single camera. The Basic Plan saves motion events to the cloud for up to 60 days. The cost is $3 per month or $30 annually. That’s a fair price for this duration of storage. The cost is on a per camera basis so if you have two cameras, that’s two Basic Plan subscriptions.
The “Pro Plan” is priced at $10 monthly or $100 annually per location. This is the plan for those with multiple cameras in a single location so if you have several Ring cameras in your home, just add it in at no additional cost. The Pro Plan has a few side benefits that you may take advantage of such as a discount if buying another camera from Ring. The Pro Plan is priced per location. If you have two homes, or a home and office, that requires two separate paid plans.
Your Ring camera comes with a free 30-day subscription to Ring Protect. At the end of 30 days you have the choice of paying for a subscription or ending it. If ending it, all saved video is lost.
Is Ring Protect Worth It?
That’s the $30 question. Is it worth paying up every year for as long as you have the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, or any other Ring camera? The answer depends upon a few factors.
Some home security camera owners have more than a single camera, often from different manufacturers. If you have a second camera from another manufacturer with a free cloud plan or perhaps on-board storage with a micro SD card, then it may not be worth paying for a subscription. However, if the Ring camera deployed is the only one getting your outdoor view, the $30 annual fee seems minimal and is we think worth the annual payment.
All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way. I have owned and tested dozens of cameras. Manufacturer support varies. There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions. There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).