Online Backup – Top Three Services Compared

We have hundreds of pictures stored on our desktop computer. During every PCS move or deployment, I’m scared that the movers will damage the computer or lose it. No amount of money would replace those pictures.

I recently discovered online backup and now have some peace of mind that my files are safe.

Online backup supplements my current backup plan, which involves hand-carrying the hard drives to my next base.

How it Works

Online backup works by uploading your files to a remote server. Software on your computer runs in the background and monitors for new files or changes. You can download your backed up files any time.

Tip: It will take 10-30 days to complete your initial backup. If you’re moving or deploying soon, plan to start your backup ahead of time.

Online Backup Services Reviewed

I researched and tried three different backup solutions: Carbonite, Crashplan, and Backblaze, before deciding to commit to a single service. All three support PC and Mac computers.

Carbonite – $59 One Year SubscriptionCarbonite Review

Carbonite has been around a long time and is considered very reliable. However, their service is expensive when compared to Crashplan and Backblaze.

Pros:

  • You can browse pictures and files through the web; their iPhone app is great at this as well
  • Carbonite puts green icons on folders that are backed up

Cons:

  • Most expensive option
  • External hard drive backups are only supported by moving to a more expensive plan ($99)
  • Video files over 4GB must be manually selected for backup

Crashplan – $49.99 One Year Subscription

Crashplan Review

I found Crashplan to be the most flexible option.  This is the program that I ended up paying for and am very happy with it.

Pros:

  • Backs up external hard drives
  • Backs up all files regardless of size
  • They do not delete old files
  • Option to start backup by sending external hard drive
Cons:
  • Some users say it slows down your computer. I haven’t noticed this personally.
  • Interface is a little confusing

Backblaze –  $50 per yearBackblaze Review

I liked Backblaze a lot and would have chose them over Crashplan and Carbonite if it weren’t for one small issue.

We have an iMac with an external hard drive connected. That hard drive is also configured as a “time machine” backup for the iMac. Backblaze does not back up any files on an external hard drive that is configured for time machine. I did not want to redo this drive and split off the time machine backup. So I went with Crashplan instead since they support time machine drives.

Pros:

  • Slick interface; very easy to use
  • Fastest backup software
  • Ability to locate your computer if stolen or lost
Cons:
  • Does not support external hard drives configured for time machine

Summary

My top recommendation for online backup is Backblaze, followed very closely by Crashplan, then Carbonite. I went with Crashplan due to the minor issue discussed. But if you do not have the same issue I would recommend Backblaze over the other options.

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