The Best Online Cloud Backup Service

I have written many times about the wisdom of backing up your important genealogy and other files off-site. That is, at least one copy of your multiple backups should be stored at a location that is some distance away from your computer(s). That provides protection from in-home disasters, such as hurricanes, tornados, fire, floods, or burst water pipes. There are dozens of backup servies available to choose from.

The Wirecutter is a highly-respected web site that publishes reviews of all sorts of things. I tend to trust The Wirecutter reviews more than most other web sites simply because the reviews all seem to be unbiased. As Jack Webb used to say on Dragnet, “Just the facts ma’am. Nothing but the facts.” Now The Wirecutter has published reviews of cloud-based backup services and selected one of them as “the best.”

Quoting from the web site:

“Everyone who uses a computer needs a dependable way to back up its data. After carefully comparing 19 services and testing six, we believe that Backblaze (currently $50 per year per computer) is the best online backup service for most people, as it offers a great combination of useful features, unlimited storage, and excellent performance at an attractive price—the proverbial cost of a latte per month. Backblaze offers fast, reliable backups, as well as the simplest setup process I’ve seen and a number of nice touches.”

You can read the full review at: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-online-backup-service/.

I agree. I haven’t tested all the available backup services but will say that I have used Backblaze for years. I am happy with the results. I have occasionally restored files that I had accidentally deleted. A good friend of mine signed up for Backblaze after reading one of my earlier articles. A year or so later, she suffered a hard drive crash that destroyed everything on her computer. Backblaze sent her a portable hard drive by overnight air freight that contained a full backup of everything on her computer. She was up and running with all her files about 24 hours after the initial problem occurred.

Not all of the online backup services offer the option of sending you a portable hard drive containing a full backup of your files. If you have lots of data, a full restore over the Internet could require days to complete. A FedEx truck is faster than that!

Quoting from the Backblaze web site at: https://www.backblaze.com/blog/introducing-the-restore-return-refund-program/:

“We’d like to introduce you to the Backblaze “Restore Return Refund” Program, which is an exciting addition to our Restore By Mail service, and supplements our free web and mobile restore options. Simply put, if you order a flash drive or hard drive restore and then return the drive to us within 30 days we will refund you the entire price of the restore. You can always opt to keep the drive, in which case your payment will cover the purchase of the drive.”

If you are not yet making off-site backups or if you are unhappy with your present provider, I suggest you take a look at Backblaze at: https://www.backblaze.com.

15 Comments

Would it take a day to get a backup disc to the UK would be my first thought

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Interesting new product from WD. My Home Cloud, perhaps you can check test it out and let us know. Seems too good to be true but who knows.

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Does it backup your operating system too? i.e. is it a 100% backup? After a crash I found with a different cloud system that only my files were backed up – not the operating system. Thank you for your educating reviews and articles.

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One item to check with these types of services is whether they have multiple sites and duplicate their backups. It does little good to back your stuff up to a single site organization if that site can be destroyed or damaged.

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I am currently using Backblaze . . . that is until my subscription runs out. I find it cumbersome to use with my external drive. If I don’t plug in the drive within 30 days, the data is deleted off their server and I have to go through the multi-hour process of reloading it. When my earlier external drive crashed, I needed to retrieve all of the data, and the only efficient way to do that was by Backblaze sending me one of its drives for a couple hundred dollars, which would be refunded upon my returning the drive. The problem was that some of my most important files would not transfer from that external drive back onto my computer. The files were only accessible via Backblaze’s drive, so I opted to keep their drive, despite the cost. That drive crashed within a month. An IT friend said that it was probably old and failing before they sent it to me. AND, as if that is not enough, my biggest complaint is customer service. I haven’t called in a few months, but when I was calling regularly, the same person answered the phone every time and was not available during his lunch hour. He assumed my level of understanding was higher than it was and wouldn’t “dumb down” his explanations. I often had to wait a full day to hear back from him. Not what you want when you need access to your data. Bottom line. . . I would not recommend Backblaze to anyone.

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I had been using CrashPlan which is now discontinuing its service for individuals.
I have 4 PCs on a local area network. I definitely need to back up 3 of them.
I am testing iDrive right now. For 3 PCs it is cheaper than BackBlaze if you need less than 5 TB backup. That is 5 TB compressed. One fee for unlimited number of backed up computers. BackBlaze is $50 / year / computer.
Also, right now, iDrive is offering 1 year for very cheap for people who are transitioning from CrashPlan. I think it was about $10 for year 1 for former CrashPlan users. For another $10 you can get 10 TB for 1 year.

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    Backblaze has a blog post about welcoming Crashplan users. See
    An Invitation for CrashPlan Customers: Try Backblaze.

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    Be careful. BackBlaze doesn’t back up everything. Read the following statement at: https://www.backblaze.com/remote-backup-everything.html

    —[beginning of quote from https://www.backblaze.com/remote-backup-everything.html ]—

    What We Don’t Backup
    Backblaze does not want to waste your bandwidth or Backblaze datacenter disk space. Thus, we do not backup your operating system, application folder, or temporary internet files that are transient and would not be useful in the future. Backblaze also excludes podcasts in iTunes.

    Certain Filetypes
    You can see these exclusions by clicking on “Settings…” in the Backblaze Control Panel and selecting the Exclusions tab. These exclusions can be removed! Some of these excluded files are:

    ISO (Disk Images)
    DMG (Mac Disk Image)
    VMC VHD VMSN (Virtual Drives)
    SYS (System Configuration & Drivers)
    EXE (Application Files).

    Other Backup Programs
    Backblaze also doesn’t backup backups like Time Machine and Retrospect RDB.

    —[end of quote from https://www.backblaze.com/remote-backup-everything.html ]—

    In addition, while not mentioned, I don’t think Backblaze will back up the Windows Registry in Windows systems. Since it doesn’t back up *.EXE or *.SYS files, there’s no sense in backing up the Registry.

    Also, since it doesn’t back up *.EXE files (which IS mentioned above), it obviously will not back up your installed programs.

    I think Backblaze is great for backing up data files but is useless for performing a full backup of everything. If you lose your hard drive and have to install a replacement drive or re-format the existing drive, you could spend days manually installing the operating system and then all the programs that you previously installed. Only then will you be ready to restore your data files from Backblaze. In contrast, backup systems that back up EVERYTHING, including the operating system, program files, hidden files, the Windows Registry, and even the boot record on the hard drive, could get you back in operation quickly.

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    That is correct. To be clear, system snap shots and whole disk backup is different than data backup. Programs are not data, they are software that can be reinstalled. Full disk snapshots are generally reserved for servers where you can revert to a point in time. Those are not consumer products but are available from a myriad of different vendors like R1Soft, Veeam, Acronis and dozens of others.

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    —> Those are not consumer products…

    I would respectfully disagree. There many consumer backup products that back up everything, including Cloudberry, Arq, Acronis, BounceBack, and some others that I cannot recall at the moment. All of them are aimed at consumers and have the capability of backing up and restoring everything.

    Then there is my favorite: TimeMachine for Macintosh which is free and is included with every Macintosh although it is not a cloud backup product. Therefore it wasn’t mentioned in the above article even though it is obviously aimed at consumers.

    Liked by 1 person

Mozy is charging me over $250 a year, so I need to find something more reasonably priced. Thanks.

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True, most cloud backups don’t provide full system snapshots. As a consumer product, most people need file backup and then after a system restore, the ability to put those files back.

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