The Best Home Cloud Backup Service
Web • Updated on Jan. 8, 2018
Backing up your data is of utmost importance in today’s life.
As we never know what can happen.
So, did you have a backup of your data at home?
Did you say NO?
Then now it’s the time to get a backup solution. Hard drives can fail at any time. A secondary hard drive is a good start.
Online backup that saves data into the cloud is a smart fail-safe, your digital data live on a server, monitored by professionals who get paid to keep it secure and, most important, un-deleted.
So, if something happens to your physical drives, your files will be available for you to re-download from online backup.
Below are our picks and reviews of the best online backup service to help you make the right choice for personal use.
Do have a read.
Online cloud backups
Online backup services (sometimes called “cloud backup”) are great. You download the software, you pay the fee, and your important documents are backed up over the Internet.
Online backup services are an inexpensive way to give you some peace of mind. It ensures that, even if something catastrophic happened to your computer and external hard drives, your personal cherished data would still be safe.
Worth mentioning: sync is not backup
Of course, you may considering using Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, etc. But one thing we tell our own friends and family: they’re online-syncing storage services that are not designed to back up all your data.
Typically, they lack file versioning. They only sync data from a specific directory or folder. If the service detects a file was deleted from your sync folder, it also will delete it from their server, and you’re out of luck. File versioning keeps one or more previous versions of your files stored which you can choose to restore from.
In addition, most don’t support external drives and have relatively low upper limits on capacity, unless you pay a lot. Online backup solutions, in contrast, offer unlimited storage, let your backup all the personal files on external drives – for one flat, relatively low fee.
Thus here we don’t have the very popular Dropbox (or Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.) listed. We love Dropbox, but don’t recommend it as a serious cloud backup solution.They aren’t quite what we’re looking for.
So, what’s the best online backup service for home users?
Things to consider
In looking at which online cloud backup service is the best for home users, there are several criteria to review:
- Convenience: They must backup up the data on your internal disks, and ideally should be able to back up network shares and external disks without requiring them to be permanently connected.
- Safety: They must be secure, redundant backup with the option to add a custom private encryption key and two-factor authentication.
- File versioning: They must keep a version history of your files for a minimum of 30 days. Ideally it should be longer than this, though versions can be “pruned” as time goes on.
- Secure recovery: They must not delete your files from backup storage if they’re removed from your computer, other than routine version pruning. Should keep your files for a set number of days after your account is closed or computers are removed from the backup system – 7 to 30 days would be ideal.
- No Limits: The backup is unlimited in size, and there is no limit on file size or speed of upload/download.
- Multiplatform support: The backup software should easily run on a variety of computers and devices – for example Windows 8/10, MacOS, NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices, and maybe even phones.
Our pick for home online cloud backup: Backblaze
This fall, The Sweet Bits did a little experiment. We had a staffer sign up for a handful of different home cloud backup plans and put each one through the ringer. The result? BackBlaze ranked the best of the lot!
Offering storage for an unlimited amount of files, no matter their size, and at whatever speed you want to up- or download them, this easy-to-use backup service is great for setting it and forgetting it.
And if downloading your files is cumbersome (or just plain impossible, for whatever reason), your data can be shipped to you on a flash drive or USB hard drive. Encrypting your files and requiring two-factor authentication, the service does its best to keep both Mac and Windows-based customers secure. Backblaze costs $5 per month, with discounted rates for users who pay in advance for a year or two of service.
Backblaze in-depth review
BackBlaze is quick to set up – you don’t even need a credit card to sign up for a free trial – and the software is quick to download and install and requires that you know next-to-nothing about where your data is at or what’s important.
That’s not to say that there aren’t options if you need them, but they’re out of the way and not required.We love that.
After that, the software works in the background. We do not appear to have encountered any issues with the software either.
Truly unlimited data backup
Since 2007, many companies have come into the backup space. Many of those, at some point or another, offered an unlimited data storage plan. In 2017, Backblaze says they stand alone as the remaining player offering truly unlimited data backup.
What is “truly unlimited?”, Backblaze explained:
“To us, that means getting our customers backed up as quickly as possible — with no limits on file types or sizes. ”
Backblaze has no limits on backed up data, and this includes external drives as well. The caveat here is that the 30-day limit applies to the external drives as well. If your external drives are not connected to the backed up computer in that period, it’s deleted.
We wish Backblaze had the ability to change archiving time to something longer than 30 days or even keep old versions of files forever. While it may change, but it’s not a sure.
Once Backblaze starts to upload your data, the initial backup may take several days, depending on the size of data to be backed up, the speed of your internet connection and whether you are throttling the speed of data transfer. You can do so via the performance tab in Backblaze preferences.
With a gigabit Internet connection, our backups can pass hundreds of megabits a second upstream.
And we were able to upload almost 300 GB in just three days, a feat that we haven’t been able to duplicate with any other online backup service.
Plus, Backblaze won’t give up on you if you have a slow network. If uploading a file is taking days, or even weeks, it will keep working on it until the whole thing has finished.
It’s important to remember that any deleted data or old versions of files can be accessed only till 30 days.
There are three main ways in which you can restore files.
Firstly, you can download them from the cloud back onto your computer. You login to your Backblaze account online and can restore any single file directly from your account so long as it’s less than 30 MB, else the restore process takes a little longer since it’s first put into a zip file and then you’re emailed the download link.
When restoring pictures, you can preview the image in your browser before choosing to download it, which is a great feature so that you’re not restoring dozens or more pictures to find the one you need.
You can also recover lost files by ordering a USB flash drive or hard drive. Backblaze will also send you your data on a 128GB USB stick for $99, or a 4TB hard drive for $189. You can also return the media and get your money back if you don’t want to keep it as an archive.
As with any service that backs up your data, it is bound to raise a concern – Is my data secure with Backblaze?
With Backblaze, encryption and security are ensured by AES and SSL security protocols, which means that all your files are well guarded. Backblaze has the right set up for encryption, allowing you to choose a private key only you know and can access. Data is encrypted in its client and sent to its servers.
Recently, Backblaze has also enabled a two-factor authentication feature. In this way, unauthorized users will find it even harder to access your backup storage. The only downside to using this security feature is that you will need two devices on hand, at all times, if you want to access the Backblaze storage.
Restore by Mail
That’s right, Backblaze will send you your data on a backup drive via FedEx, which will be much faster than restoring everything via the Internet.
You can even get your USB Flash Drive (128GB for $99) or a USB Hard Drive (up to a 4TB for $189) deposit back if you return the drive within 30 days.
When it comes to pricing, there’s no doubt Backblaze is a top cloud-based backup service. In keeping with the keep-it-simple-stupid philosophy, Backblaze is $5 a month, $50 a year(you save $10) , or $95(you save $25) for two years for unlimited storage. Per PC.
For a hassle-free and set-it-and-forget-it solution, the pricing is quite affordable.
While there are plenty of individual things to love about Backblaze, it’s what those things have in common that makes Backblaze so great: they’re all simple and unlimited online backup(including external drives) !
Everything about Backblaze is easy, including pricing, software setup, configuration, file restoration, you name it.
And it is excellent if you’re looking for the cheapest online backup option that still offers serious file protection.
Carbonite is another well-known cloud backup service.It provides true unlimited storage, however, you can only backup one device or computer with a personal plan. Carbonite also lets you backup your external hard drives, NAS devices and photos taken with your smartphone.
Take note, however, that automatic video backup is only available for Carbonite Plus and Prime subscribers. Carbonite Basic users will need to manually upload videos.
All backup files are protected by a 128-bit encryption key, just like with Backblaze. But unlike that service, Carbonite has no option to add your own personal password. The 128-bit encryption, which uses the Blowfish cipher, is secure, but it would have been nice to add another layer of security.
The monthly cost for Carbonite Plus is a bit expensive, however, when compared to Backblaze, which has an annual subscription cost of only $50.
Carbonite online cloud service is great for Windows only, as the Mac version offers neither versioning nor a personal-key option.
On most levels, CrashPlan is the most flexible, has the most features including backup to internal disks and friends PCs, keeps a long version history, uses a Java client that may be slower than native clients, but removes files as soon as they’re removed from your backup selection. They won’t send you a disk with all your files.
And CrashPlan announced August 2017 that they will no longer do consumer backups at their relatively low prices, so here we can no longer recommend it.
If you already use CrashPlan for Home, the company will extend subscriptions by 60 days (at no cost to you) so that you can transition to a new backup system; it will fully end its home service on October 22, 2018.
CrashPlan is also offering a discount on one-time rival Carbonite’s backup offerings, which we don’t recommend for Mac users, As mentioned above that Carbonite lacks this right set up for encryption option on its Mac clients.
Mozy has been in the cloud backup game a long time. It keeps a good version history, lets you keep a copy of your backup on your PC, but removes files as soon as they’re deleted on your PC. They allow you to send in a disk to seed your backups, and will send you a hard disk with your files.
But the company’s personal offering isn’t all that compelling. $6/month gets you just 50 GB of space, while 125 GB is $10/month. Additional space can be purchased, but at those prices, you’re much better off with Backblaze.
Our Final Thoughts on Backblaze
Frankly, yes. In our review, Backblaze earned the best online backup subscription service.
Why do we prefer Backblaze over the alternatives?
- It provides speedy desktop client software with an elegant interface.
- It gives you the option to maintain your private key so only you can see your data.
- And also it is excellent that the ability to restore by Mail!
Give Backblaze a try with free 15-day trial. We’d love to welcome you to your new backup home.