Online Backup Services

Does anyone have any suggestions on services that will backup your computer on the Internet. Either specific services, or things that should be considered when comparing these services?

That is a bit of a broad question. It depends on what you are looking for really. If you want full system backup then you are looking for sites such as carbonite. If you just want specific folders backed up then you could use something like Dropbox.

I use Unlimited storage for $5/month, or discounted to $50/year.

It requires about zero configuration. It backs up your entire PC, excluding OS system files. The only optional configuration is excluding files/folders from backup. By default it’ll just upload every locally attached drive.

I’ve got about 1TB uploaded.

My primary objective is to get a friend of mine backed up regularly. I was talking to her the other day and was horrified to hear that she does not backup at all. She’s not particularly tech savy, and I’m not altogether sure what she’s got. I’m guessing large amounts of photos, some financial stuff, she also has a lot of iTunes TV shows that I would have worried about before the iCloud change, but that’s now all backed up for her. I’m guessing a full backup of non-system stuff would be best, but I really don’t know.

We talked about getting her an external drive to backup with. But I’m guessing an online service would work better. I can picture her laptop and backup getting stolen if someone breaks in, plus I’ve had several external HDs die on me.

Depending on what you guys suggest, I probably should consider doing it for myself as well. I backup irregularly to external HD, and I try to backup all my teaching material once a quarter by zipping and dumping it on the university servers. But I really should do a better job backing up in general. For me, I’d want the ability to choose which folders to backup, and I suppose something that figured out what to copy and what hadn’t changed since the last backup would be nice.

Look at Dropbox. There’s a free 2GB option I think. You basically synch a folder with a remote version and you can choose which subfolders synch on any given machine.

Crashplan if you have lots of data to backup:

I use Dropbox for documents, and Google Music for my music library.

Depends on the size you’re looking for.

Dropbox is good for 2GB-3GB of stuff. I use it for all my documents, etc…

There is a new service called (can’t post links yet), which gives you 10GB free.

It really does depend on how tech savvy the person is. Dropbox and CX are great, but take a little setup (minimal) to point it at the right directory.

Carbonite is something I got my in-laws onto because it’s foolproof. For people that don’t store files in strange places, it’ll back up all the regular spots automatically.

Heck, if you want to spend a little money, Apple has a very nice networked Time Machine drive that, while pricey, is almost completely hands-off…though, technically not an “off-site backup”.

I also use PogoPlug as well as a folder-syncing program for local backups at home.

I’ve been very happy with Carbonite for years.

There was another thread about this here you can read for more opinions:

Yah, if you don’t mind paying for the service (which comes with the perk of all that additional service), Carbonite really is the way to go.

CrashPlan is a better buy than Carbonite. Carbonite also advertises heavily on right wing media outlets like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, if that matters to you.

I currently use CrashPlan’s family plan to back up multiple PCs offsite and Time Machine to keep local backups of my work laptop. Was using BackBlaze, which works great for one PC, but CrashPlan’s multiple PC plan is hard to beat.

CrashPlan == awesome.

@ydejin, I want to suggest suggest Vembu Pro, which suites your requirement. Vembu Pro stores your backup data in Amazon cloud storage. Using this service, you can choose the files/folders you want to backup. Also, you can easily backup your desktop, my documents, Outlook data in few clicks. It backs up only the new and modified files alone to the backup server. Also, it uploads only the modified bytes in modified files.

You can directly login to the backup server from anywhere and restore your data from backup server itself. The data is compressed and encrypted in the client itself and hence you upload only the smaller amount of data.

The deleted files in your system will be safe in the backup server, and you can restore them when you required them.

Give a try on that.

Vembu Technologies.


Backblaze question. I just signed up this week, using it on a Mac, and at several points have been frustrated that I can’t really tell exactly what Backblaze is doing. I wouldn’t have expected it to backup my entire drive yet, but monitoring the progress has been nothing but confusing. It will sit for a day or so without making any progress at all, and then at random points it does seem to move forward. It doesn’t seem to be predictable or consistent though.

Another example of confusion: when I use the Backblaze menu, I can pause backups. When I then select “Backup now”, there’s no indication that anything’s resuming. “Backup now” is still the option showing in the menu right after I’ve just selected it. If I actually open the settings panel, I’ll see it says something like “Backup will resume in [two hours from now]”, so I’m guessing that means backup now actually means start backing up again in a little while, but I have no idea if that’s accurate.

And then when I log into the site to check my progress (since I don’t really trust what I’m seeing on my computer), things are again bafflingly opaque. If I go to the file browser to restore specific files, a good chunk of my drive is available, as I would expect. But if I narrow the criteria down to only show me files backed up in the last day, it never shows any files at all. I always have to broaden the criteria to two or three days back before I can see any files. Is there some kind of processing that goes on between the time the files are uploaded from my machine and the time they’re available to be restored?

At every step of this process I want more documentation or clarity from the interface, and the overall experience has been the feeling that it’s probably working, but I don’t want a backup that’s probably working. I want to trust and understand this. Any help or reassurances from other users?

I can’t assuage your concerns, although I can attest that Backblaze has always worked when I’ve actually needed it.

A few years ago, it took me a good 6 weeks to back up my 1TB+ or so of data. Until it finished, I pretty much ignored it. I have it set to back up continuously. While I have a data usage throttle, I haven’t ever tried to pause/resume. Once the initial backup was complete, I’ve found new files are almost always backed up same day.

If you set a limited/recent time range for a restore search, just to check what’s been backed up recently, you still have to dig through your drives/folders to actually see the files. However. you’re only presented w/ folders that contain contents that have been backed up within that time period.

I like Crashplan. You can even back up to a friend for free.

Thanks for the followup. Eventually it did back everything up, and now everything seems to be working as I’d expect with the continuous incremental backups. It was definitely a confusing start though.

So I’ve been looking into cloud back up services (primarily Crash Plan and Backblaze, but I’ve read reviews of them all, including Glacier), and I can’t figure out a scenario where someone who has several TB of data to backup would benefit more from cloud backup than multiple external hard drives. But maybe one of you can point out the flaw in my logic.

I have two computers that need to backup around 3TB of data. I’ve bought into the idea that you need at least one backup on site (for easy retrieval) and one off site (in case of catastrophe). Cloud backup sounds great, but:

[li]It will take a very long time to do the initial back up of this much data (potentially six months to a year, according to some reports), unless I use a provider with a seeding option, which will cost an additional $125 or so.
[li]If there is a non-catastrophic loss, restoring from my external HD makes the most sense.
[li]If there is a catastrophic loss (both computer and external HD destroyed), it will take forever to download everything, given the amount of data, my download speed (~45Mbps), and my monthly data cap of 250GB. Unless, of course, I pay an additional $200-300 to have a hard drive with my cloud data sent to me for the restore. A hard drive that I don’t even get to keep.
[li]And I’m paying $100-150 a year on top of all that for the base service.
How is that better than just shelling out for an additional external HD? One for the daily back up at home and one that is, say, stored at work with last week’s back up? Cloud backup is much more convenient—and keeping old versions of files forever and continuous, up to the minute backups as files change sound nice—but cloud restoring after a catastrophe seems much more inconvenient if you have a lot of data. And isn’t a catastrophe what off site backups are for?

Is it that these services are really for people who don’t have a lot to back up? And all of these “unlimited” plans are just marketing?

I backup several terabytes on crashplan, and the majority of my upload was limited to 5 megabits/second (I have 30Mb uploads now). It just took a couple weeks, no biggie.

I backup everything, but I wouldn’t use it to restore everything. That wouldn’t work anyway-- you need a disk image for that. You can backup disk images with something like macrium reflect and an external hard drive. Supports incremental backups also.

In case of catastrophic failure, I would restore my latest local image and then use the crashplan backup to get my essential files, media, and documents. Not, like, the MS word install.