Editor’s note: We’ve looked at a few more cloud backup options—but after testing some services, we think our pick BackBlaze is still the best for most people.
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 way to protect your data at all times and yet always have access in case something happens to your computer/laptop. Users keep the keys to their data which is safe and encrypted, which is the most important aspect to look out for in home cloud backup service.
According to the Scientific American, online backup doesn’t only improve flexibility that doesn’t require any maintenance, but it’s also data protection & security that’s very valuable for such investment.
Your digital data live on a server, monitored by professionals who get paid to keep it secure and, most important, un-deleted is definitely worth the investment.
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.
Keep on reading, as this quick article will teach you more about online cloud backups, its benefits, but also how you can protect your data today so you don’t regret it tomorrow!
Online cloud backups in 2020
You might have heard people say – store it in the cloud. But what is a cloud backup and how do you actually store your files “up there”?
Online cloud backup is a way of remotely storing your data and files on remote servers via the internet connection.
Therefore, these remote servers connected to the internet connection are referred to as “Cloud” – hence the cloud name.
Owners of these servers that can store huge amounts of data that provide software or an app that anyone can subscribe to.
Once you have made your pick and you’ve subscribed to the app – you have the ability to backup your personal computer and store your most important (or sometimes all) files remotely, in the cloud.
These remote cloud servers aren’t only big enough to store all of this data, but they also offer quick storing speeds which are as important.
So, what’s the best online backup service for home users?
This summer, TheSweetBits 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 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.
Have no Limit on Data You Can Back Up
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 sure.
Experience One of the Fastest Upload/Download Speeds
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.
Easily Find Deleted Files Within 30 Days of Deletion
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.
Have Your Files Secured with a Private Encryption
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.
Easily Restore Backed Up Files via USB
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.
Have the App Tune the Backup Process for You
BackBlaze is always improving the app so you don’t have to change settings in order to achieve the best download/upload speeds, highest security, or more available features.
BackBlaze updates the app and works on all technical aspects of the app so you only get one update and experience the new or improved benefits within a couple of seconds.
Find Your Lost or Stolen Computer
Believe it or not, BackBlaze has improved its features so much that you can use the BackBlaze app to track and locate a lost or stolen computer.
You only have to turn on ‘Mapping’ in the settings and BackBlaze will report the last reported location to you every time the computer is turned on.
For a hassle-free and set-it-and-forget-it solution, the pricing is quite affordable.
Truly unlimited backup
High-end security over all types of files
Easy and straightforward backup process
The ability to recover data by ordering a USB with personal files on it
Subscription limits the use to one computer only
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.
It’s relatively quick to set the app up
It’s very easy to access backed up files and folders
Seamless run in the background that doesn’t distract the users
Installation process is very quick and easy
The backup run in the background can slow down some weaker computers
Zoolz Home is a perfect cloud storage service that specializes in providing the ideal fit for home users.
This means that Zoolz Home provides backup features for computers, external drives, network drives, and any other drives you would usually use at home.
What we like the most about Zoolz Home is that they have a real-time security that’s combined with lifetime storage.
They even have given its users the ability to backup files to a Hybrid+ local protection for the easiest access to files at any time.
Since there are no backup limitations, we’ve noticed that Zoolz Home is ideal for photographers or video editors who deal with large files at home.
When it comes down to pricing, there are two plans: Family and Heavy plan.
1 TB (5 users) included in the Family plan will cost you $39.95 per year and 4 TB (5 users) will cost you $99.95 per year.
If you’d like an upgraded version of Zoolz – they also have a backup service called BigMIND Home which involves artificial intelligence to make cloud backups a lot “smarter” and more efficient.
It’s re-creating a frame of a cloud backup and it’s introducing new features that help connect data from all sources, analyze the data through their app, and sort it in one global cloud storage.
The biggest benefit of this accessibility from anywhere in the world, but also the industries it’s suitable for. It’s ideal for everyone from an individual (home user) to education, health care, or even real estate industries.
Very affordable (pricing) packages
Ability to backup an unlimited number of external drives
Relies on Amazon Glacier technology for increased security
Even though you might pass by Acronis True Image 2020 since this software looks very similar to its competitors – once you give the software a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Acronis True Image 2020 is one of the rare software out there that has the ability to combine efficient, reliable, and easy backups with secure cyber protection.
While this software isn’t much different than its competitors – its security features definitely stand out from the crowd.
True Image 2020 doesn’t only protect your data from ransomware attacks, but it also protects it from cryptojacking and other attack types.
You also won’t have any issues with versatility as this cloud backup software for personal use can back up any type of file from any device type.
It can even clone disks without risk of data loss in the process so this shows how effective this small yet mighty software is.
For 1 computer, this type of security combined with versatile backup options will cost you $57.96 USD. It might be a bit pricey, but if security is your first priority – this is the software that will fit your needs the most.
SOS Online Backup is as simple software as possible that helps anyone (no matter the technical experience) to secure their digital life.
This includes anything from backing up all your devices into one account, having 100% privacy during backup transfers and access to the data in the cloud, and never having to worry about file deletion.
This award-winning software still features a free trial version that lasts for 15 days and allows you to experience all its features first-hand.
Even though it doesn’t support personal home servers, it can backup up to 5 personal computers with triple-layer encryption.
What we like the most is the mobile data backup and the ability to quickly access your files via mobile phone.
After the trial, the pricing plan will depend on the amount of storage you require.
It starts from 50 GB and then it moves in its increments. What’s great is that the price doesn’t move in the increments.So for the 50 GB storage plan – you’d pay $4.99 while for a 100 GB storage plan, you’d have to pay only $7.99.
If you have a lot of data, you’ll love SOS Online Backup’s pricing plan which actually helps users with a lot of data save money while protecting their personal data.
Hybrid and mobile backup features
Very fast download speed
Increased private & secure encryption
Ability to back up an unlimited file size
Ability to do local and online backup
A bit more expensive when it’s compared to its competitors
Polar Backup is taking the advantage of cloud backup solutions to provide an affordable yet efficient & powerful solution for home users.
We have to touch on the pricing first because we were surprised with the price. As a home/personal user, you can get a cloud backup service from only $2 a month.
Considering that Polar Backup has some strong features that could easily outbeat some of its competitors.
With Polar Backup, you can set automatic backups to run in the background so you never forget to make a backup on your own. Your files are stored forever, even after you delete them from your personal computer and they’ll be encrypted with the AES 256 encryption password which is tough to crack.
Along with your personal computer, you can backup your personal external drives such as USB flash or hard disk/SSD at no additional cost.
We really like that Polar Backup features both file versioning and forever file storage so you can rest assured that no matter what happens to your PC – you will have all files ready for restoring.
This even includes files from the years ago – so we highly recommend you to start backing up your personal computer as soon as possible!
The interface is pretty simple and easy to navigate, but we like how there is both a desktop interface (as a software) and a web console (as a plugin).
This is very suitable for people who have no space available on their computer and yet they would benefit from storing most of their files in the cloud.
Very affordable pricing plan
High-end security encryption
Stores files forever and offers file versioning
Can be used to backup external drives at no additional cost
Automatic planned backups run in the background
File restoration period can be a bit slow at times
Difference Between Cloud Storage Sync and Share VS Online Backup?
Many people think that if they use cloud storage sync and share features that are often integrated into their computers that they’re actually protecting their files.
However, that’s not true. Cloud storage sync and share only helps free up some space on the disk. This service can be used for storing files online – but its purpose definitely differs from online backup.
Online backup is the proper way to keep all of the selected files in a safe and secure place in the cloud so you can access it any time. The software featured in this post helps with the transfer and security along with the data protection and storage at a minimal cost.
What Should I Look Out for in a Cloud Backup App?
In looking at which online cloud backup service is the best for home users, there are several criteria to review:
Ease of Use and Features: You should look out for the ability to backup internal disk, external disks, and any network sync data. You should also look out for features that make the process as simple as possible such as an automated backup process that runs in the background.
Storage Capacity & Speeds: The backup is unlimited in size, and there is no limit on file size or speed of upload/download.
Security and Privacy: App should keep your data active as long as you’re an user of the app. And they should keep your files for a set number of days after your account is closed or computers are removed from the backup system. Also, all your files should be secured with an end-to-end encryption so no one but you can access and see your files.
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.
Multiplatform support: The backup software should easily run on a variety of computers and devices – (Windows 8/10, MacOS, and smartphone devices).
How Secure are Online Backup Services?
As you could notice, security is a very important aspect of data storage.
Because any data that leaves your computer is uploaded on the internet (in the cloud) and is stored on someone else drives can be breached, hacked, or stolen.
Privacy is an important factor for almost every home user and that’s why all of the software mentioned in this post feature high-end dual or even triple security layers.
End-to-end encryption means that even the administrators who run the cloud storage drives won’t have access to your files. No one will, but you.
Our Final Thoughts
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!
However, there are plenty of other ideal options for personal use. Yes, it’s an investment. However, if losing your precious data brings up the overwhelming feeling – you’d rather want to invest in data protection and security rather than risking it and having to worry about unpredictable hardware or software errors.