Buying Guide: Best cloud backup: 10 online backup services tested

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You know how simple it’s to lose crucial files. And so now you routinely back up your system to an external hard drive.

That’s an excellent move, and will secure you in many circumstances. But exactly what if there’s a fire? A flood? A theft? Any major disaster can mean you lose your backup media, in addition to your COMPUTER, and so genuine security you’ll have to rely on an online backup service.

It’s easy to assume this will certainly be too slow-moving, and certainly your first online backup can take a very, long time. However after that, the program should only have to upload brand-new and altered files in the folders you’ve actually specified, meanings performance can be far better than you expect.

A good online backup service might provide other benefits, too, such as synchronising folders with your other computers and creating links for files so you can share them with friends. An internet view on your files will certainly make them quickly accessible from any device. And in some cases these services even include streaming, so if you back up your music collection then you’ll be able to play it from any browser, anywhere.

Which is the best service for you, then? We have put 10 prominent online backup services with their paces to help you choose. Read on to see how they fared and just how much they’ll cost you. Keep in mind that the majority of companies have more than one strategy offered, and many provide discounts if you sign up for 2 or three years rather than one, so it’s worth looking around and thinking about the capability you’ll need.


Unlimited for $50 (around ₤ 32/AU$56) per year

Best online backup: 10 services tested

Perhaps the supreme in hassle-free online backup services, the Backblaze PC or Mac customer can be downloaded, installed and running within a few minutes. There’s absolutely nothing to set up, the program simply instantly searches for and conserves all of your individual files, on your system as well as external drives.

This simpleness does feature an unique loss of control, though. In certain, you can’t inform Backblaze to back up a specific set of files or folders. The program will constantly aim to back up your entire disk drive (with the exception of system and application files), and any external drives you could’ve linked, and the most you can do is tell it to ignore certain folders.

The configuration alternatives you do get are likewise reasonably limited. There’s a scheduler, for instance, but it can not do more than run your backup once a day. You do not even get to choose the accurate starting time (it needs to be at the start of an hour).

And there’s also a distinct absence of features, without any sync and no file sharing. And deleted files, along with old file versions, are erased after 1 Month. Restoration is at least easy through the internet interface, however, or mobile app (iPhone just), and you can optionally have files sent to you on a flash or USB disk drive.

If you are planning to back up all your information, and don’t need any other extras, Backblaze may appeal: it’s quickly, reasonably priced and simple to use. But if you are ever most likely to need even more control over your backups, we’d look elsewhere.

Find out more about Backblaze

Carbonite Home

Unlimited for $59.99 (around ₤ 39/AU$67) per year

Best online backup: 10 services tested

If you choose a backup service that you can set up and ignore, then Carbonite may appeal. You don’t have to inform it what to back up, given that by default the Windows and Mac clients will certainly safeguard the majority of your user files (desktop, music, pictures, the Files folder). Unrestricted storage area implies you’ll have no concerns over file management. And there are very couple of setup choices to stress over, so anybody must’ve the ability to use the program right away.

Many common backup tasks can be handled from Explorer, too. You can include brand-new files or folders to your backup from the right-click menu, for instance. A Carbonite Backup Drive folder enables you to browse presently backed up files, or their previous variations, and any of these can be recovered in a click or two. (Obviously you can also access your files from the internet, or through iOS or Android apps.)

The service is a little brief on features, however, with no synchronisation or file sharing alternatives. And it’s not as ‘unrestricted’ as a few of the competition, either. Deleted files are kept for a month only, previous variations an optimum of 3 months with the Windows member, and there’s no versioning at all for Mac users.

What’s more, while Carbonite seems very easy at first, if you attempt to move far from the default settings then issues begin to arise. Scheduling is horribly restricted, for example, and there’s no clear means to launch a manual backup instantly. You get hardly any control over the system resources or bandwidth used by Carbonite and the program’s choices are scattered around, so you might access some from its system tray menu, others from the client and still more from Explorer.

There’s still a lot to such as about Carbonite, of course – the core backup tools are simple to utilize, recovering files is especially simple and the costs are sensible. However if you desire great deals of functions that you can personalize in terrific information, then this mightn’t be the service for you.

Find out more about Carbonite


Unlimited for US$ 59.99 (around ₤ 39/AU$67) per year

Best online backup: 10 services tested

Most online backup tools are lowered, incredibly standard, the core basics and absolutely nothing else. CrashPlan takes a different method, though – it’s quickly the most effective device in this set.

There’s support for both compressing and securing your backups, for example. You get a huge amount of control over when your backups will certainly run, how much resources and network bandwidth they’ll take, and how long file variations and erased files will certainly be kept (anything as much as forever). The program can even send you backup alerts via email or Twitter.

All this can be established with customers for Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris. These support fast and simple restoration, too, although you can also access your backed up files by means of a web user interface, or mobile customers for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7.

And although CrashPlan is hoping you’ll pay for online backup area, this is not really strictly essential. The program can also store your information on regional drives, or a pal’s computer system – and you can do this with a complimentary CrashPlan House account.

The service is missing some of the benefit functions you get in other places. There’s no synchronisation, for example, and no file sharing or streaming of your remote files. For online backup, however, CrashPlan is tough to beat: quickly, effective, yet extremely simple to use, it’s among the best home user backup services around.

Find out more about CrashPlan

Acronis True Image Online

250GB for ₤ 39.95 / US$ 49.99 / AU$ 59.95 per year

Best online backup: 10 services tested

Best known for its desktop backup software application, Acronis is now attempting to make an effect in the cloud storage world, and its True Image Online is certainly a great location to start.

A solid feature set consists of 250GB of storage, endless versioning, simple synchronisation and file sharing. You can use up to five PCs with the service, and all of this is easily accessible from COMPUTER client software application, the internet or mobile apps for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

This is far more configurable than the bulk of the competitors, too. You can set a precise network connection speed limitation, for instance (no vague sliders here). You are also able to specify the number of previous versions of a file will be kept, and for how long. And the most functional scheduler right here indicates you can run backups daily, on particular days of the week, on one certain day each month, when your system begins, closes down, and more.

All this power does produce a bulkier plan, obviously. If you are trying to find simplicity above all else then the program’s lots of tabs, links and alternatives may seem daunting, and it definitely takes a while to explore and learn.

If you want to set up every aspect of your backup, though, Acronis True Image Online is sure to appeal – and the scheduler will certainly win lots of converts all by itself.

Find out more about Acronis True Image Online

Norton Online Backup

25GB for ₤ 39.99 / US$ 49.99 / AU$ 79.99 per year

Best online backup: 10 services tested

Attractively priced, and with support for up to five Computers or Macs, Norton Online Backup takes a look at initially as though it would be an ideal selection for the house network market. Ok, the 25GB storage area is a little low, however it might be enough for some, and you can include more if you need it.

The function list seems affordable, too. There’s simple file sharing, you can back up certain file kinds (music, photos, files and so on), individual files or folders, and backups can be run instantly, on need or set up for a specific time.

There’s a substantial problem, however, because the service presents a virtually totally browser-based interface, which is sluggish, troublesome and typically unpleasant to use. Choosing exactly what you want to back up is more fiddly than it needs to be, delays in the process meant we were routinely left staring at a blank screen and the system simply doesn’t make much of an effort to help you out.

Our experience of attempting to return a file summed this up completely. The clunky user interface suggested it took a while to make this take place. The return failed, but there was no alert, just a tool tip suggesting we check the logs. We needed to figure out the best ways to do that ourselves, as well as then the log stated only ‘Bring back failed (W12152)’, with no further description.

Norton Online Backup may still be useful if you’ve a couple of key files you want to back up on several Computers, at minimum cost. Otherwise, offer it a miss out on, because there are much better items elsewhere.

Find out even more about Norton Online Backup

ADrive Personal

50GB totally free, 250GB for $62.50 (around ₤ 40/AU$70) per year

Best online backup: 10 services tested

ADrive’s low minimum rates of US$ 25 (around ₤ 16/AU$28) for 100GB are a fantastic means to get attention, but they are not the only plus point for the service, which is packed with fascinating features.

You can upload and manage your files from an Adobe Air program, an FTP client, WebDAV or a browser, for instance. And your backup can include remote files, too: just offer the URL and the service will certainly get them for you.

A practical file sharing choice develops a link that enables others to download any of your backed up files. Password security, and the capability to set an expiration date for the link, helps to keep your information protect.

Unusually, Zoho integration allows you to open, edit and conserve your files, spreadsheets and presentations, without having to download them initially. And the business provides 24/7 phone and email support, which may be beneficial if something fails.

We just were not so keen on ADrives’ desktop member, which is unpleasant to utilize and horribly fundamental, with restricted scheduling and no actual configuration alternatives. Exactly what’s even more, ADrive’s customer was the only one in our test which failed in an upload, experiencing a ‘network error’. Maybe there was an error, but exactly what we anticipate a backup service to do is to keeping attempting, not give up and wait till the next arranged run.

For all this, if you are delighted to work from the web interface then ADrive has an attractive mix of functions, and the 50GB complimentary account (which doesn’t consist of the Air member) could be a bargain for users on a spending plan.

Find out more about ADrive Personal

Livedrive Backup

Unlimited for ₤ 48/US$72 (around AU$ 83) per year

Best online backup: 10 services tested

Livedrive is a capable service that seems to tick numerous of the online backup boxes. You get endless storage, for instance, plus Windows, Mac and mobile customers for iOS, Android and Windows 8 devices. Your files can be accessed from the Livedrive internet user interface, and an integrated media gamer allows you to enjoy your music and videos without having to download them initially.

There are some restrictions, however. The system just keeps the last 30 variations of a file, for example (not as many as you believe if your software conserves files automatically), while deleted files are lost after 1 Month. And features such as syncing, file sharing and document editing are just available if you update to the especially more expensive Brief-case account.

We just were not excessively impressed by the backup customer, either. It’s a little fundamental, there are few setup options (although the ability to limit upload and download bandwidth independently works), and restoration is more awkward than it should be. Switching to the internet interface doesn’t always help, either, considering that this only allows you to download a file at a time.

There are not too many engaging needs to pick Livedrive, then – you’ll probably be much better off with one of its cheaper and more capable competitors.

Find out even more about Livedrive Backup

Mozy Home

2GB for free, 50GB for ₤ 54.89 /$65.89 (around AU$ 95) per year

Best online backup: 10 services tested

Every wonderful online backup service requires a quality desktop member, and Mozy’s for PC and Mac is better than the majority of. Getting going is really easy, for instance, due to the fact that there’s no need to stress over picking particular folders to back up (although you can). Simply select one or more file kinds – pictures, music, bookmarks, e-mail and so on – and the program will certainly protect them for you.

A substantial array of setup options allow you to define specifically when the backup takes place (either set up or when your COMPUTER is idle), how much bandwidth it can take, whether backups run when a computer system is on battery power, how the system integrates with Explorer, and more.

Restoration is straightforward, too. You can browse the backup set by date, or for the most recent version, or just return your entire backup tree with a couple of clicks. Android and iOS apps give access to your data from anywhere, and there’s a web interface too.

There are likewise problems. Submit versions are keepinged for just 30 days, for instance, plus there’s no file sharing alternative, and the majority of considerably, you get hardly any storage area for your money. If you do not require any more, however, Mozy’s excellent software might appeal, and the business likewise supplies a free 2GB account, which could verify useful.

Find out more about Mozy Home

SpiderOak Personal

2GB for free, 100GB for US$ 100 (around ₤ 65/AU$112) per year

Best online backup: 10 services tested

At around twice the cost of Carbonite, SpiderOak is among the more costly services here – so is it really worth a look? Maybe.

Capacity is not excessively generous, at 100GB, but you can use as lots of Computers, Macs and Linux computers as you like on the very same account. And there’s no erasing old file versions after 30 days, either, since SpiderOak keepings them permanently.

Security is exceptional, too, with your backups encrypted so that nobody else can access them (not even SpiderOak personnel). There are also impressively effective synchronisation and file sharing features, and the system supplies members for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and even more gadgets.

There are also complications, though. The backup customer is unpleasant, more difficult to make use of than most of the competition. It doesn’t offer the same fine-tuning alternatives you’ll get elsewhere (scheduling is basic, and you cannot truly regulate its use of system resources). And we found performance was unpredictable – in some cases it was quickly, in some cases it was slow-moving, there was no chance to mention to how it would behave at any one time.

SpiderOak could still be a bargain for sophisticated users who require backup, file sharing and sync services. The service provides a complimentary 2GB account, too, which means you can attempt it out for simply as long as you like. If you are a house user who just wants an easy online backup for a single PC, though, there are more affordable and more efficient solutions in other places.

Find out more about SpiderOak Personal


10GB free of charge, Unlimited for ₤ 69 (around US$ 107/AU$120) per year

Best online backup: 10 services tested

In theory a minimum of, Bitcasa is a really capable online backup service which provides most of the functions people actually desire: unlimited storage space and versioning, high security (your files are secured before they are published) uncomplicated Dropbox-style syncing, simple file sharing, streaming from the internet client (simply click a music or video file to play it) and a variety of customers to tie it all together (Windows, Mac, and apps for iOS, Android and Windows 8).

There are troubles, however, and they begin with the client itself. Bitcasa is definitely simple to utilize – just copy files to its virtual drive and they’ll be published to the internet – but this Explorer-based technique implies you get hardly any control or feedback. There’s no scheduling, for example. There’s likewise no considerable feedback on the current backup job, no choice to stop briefly or resume a backup and no chance to limit its use of network bandwidth.

This had some unwanted effects for us, given that we found Bitcasa’s activities substantially impacted the efficiency of other software application. This is not a total catastrophe, given that you can always close the program down, restart it later, and the backup will continue where it left off, however it would be simpler if we can set up the service to work as we ‘d like in the first area.

When you also consider Bitcasa’s premium ₤ 69 (around US$ 107/AU$120) each year price, the service mightn’t seem quite so attractive, after all. Still, the core feature set is outstanding. And the business’s complimentary account supplies a reasonable 10GB of area, so if you like its simplicity then it may be worth checking out Bitcasa for a while, to see how it works for you.

Find out more about Bitcasa