Lately I have come to the conclusion that I should get a good backup solution before my current hardware dies. Way to often we start doing our backups direclty after we’ve lost a disk and it is just the same with me. For a couple of years ago I lost my storage drive which held all my photos and documents which I have been collecting for about ten years. I managed to recover some of the contects (thanks to PhotRec) but I did decide that I would never come to that situation again. Well, now it has passed a couple of years as I said and I finally feel that the time has come to do some good backuping!
If you would like to go directly to the outcome, jump directly to the verdict. If you would like to read the full article just continue reading!
Ten years ago all secure backups was either on CDs or on an external disk which then could be placed in a secure vault or such. Now days the price for online backup services has dropped so that it actually is a really good alternative. So based on this, I set out to try to find a service which gave me what I was looking for. Keep in mind that the choice I make is based on my personal requirements, I do not claim that my choice is the best for everyone.
MY REQUIREMENTS Since I am an amateur photographer and also write a lot of texts I would need a service with unlimited or next to unlimited storage space not to be afraid to run out anytime soon. I do store all photos I like in raw format which become a huge amount of data in a short time. Big storage amounts naturally calls for good transfer rates to be able to transmit changed data or restore data if needed. Since I am located in Sweden, that means a good transfer rate between the central storage server and my local ISP in Sweden. If I need to recover a file I want to be able to recover individual files quickly and easily and I want to be able to do so again with a good transfer speed.
At home I use one stationary computer and one laptop and I want to be able to keep both backed up. Since I do write code mostly on my laptop a system which can keep track of file version would be preferable. If I am going to spend money signing up for a backup service I would like to see a good version based system in place which can be used for not only hardware based failure but also for thought based failures by myself.
Last but not least the price of the service. This is really a secondary requirement for me since what I get from the service is of highest importance. However I will not pay more for a service then I feel I get features back.
THE CONTENDANTS Quickly it was obvious for me that there is a huge amount of services available for online backups, but just as obvious was the fact that most of these services was not what I was looking for. The services I finally came to look into was:
After a quick run-down of my must-haves I could cut these down once again so all i was left with was Backblaze, CrashPlan and Keepit. Main reason the other fell out of my view was to bad conditions for what I needed and limited storage plans.
I simply added a trial for all three and made a few experiments to backup 2Gb of data which I uploaded and restored to see which was the best for me. I also searched the net for additional reviews to see what other had to say about the three. The service which I did like the best just looking at the conditions was Backblaze, if it hadn’t been for the fact that I had terrible transfer rate to their service I would have gone with them. Secondly I tried Keepit which was a very good service but I did feel a bit limited about the available choices to what data to be backed up or not. I also found it to be a bit complex to add additional service for another computer to be added to my account.
So, last of the three I tried CrashPlan. Looking at the conditions of their offer I saw that they was on a clear second place after Backblaze but really ahead of Keepit. Uploading data ran fast for me and the recovery process was very quick and simple.
THE VERDICT After a going through all the services I had tried one final time, what conditions they were offering and the price they asked for it my choice fell on Crashplan. When all is summarized they do provide the best offer for me personally. This is based on the conditions of their accounts, the transfer rate to my home together with a price I feel is fair for the service I receive.
What service is the best for you personally will be the service which offers the best features you want together with an acceptable transfer rate based on what amount of data you will be transferring. My best tip for anyone trying to choose a backup plan just as I did I’d recommend that you write down a short list of what features you need and then also the amount of data you will be transferring. Looking at the list I compiled with those bullets in mind I hope that you will have a better way of choosing the best offer for you.
AFTERWORDS After I already made my selection I found out yet another great feature CrashPlan offer. Instead of uploading data to a central server it is possible to place a drive at a friends place and send your continous backup there. Using this technique you can actually get great transfer speeds where ever you may be in the world as long as you have a second location to place a bonus disk. This is a great opportunity for people who have friends in their network neighborhood with a machine that’s mostly turned on.
Also, as I am a Dropbox user since quite some time I will not give up my account there. For me Dropbox fils a gap for me which Crashplan do not. I use to to transfer files between computers and also to have a quick update for files before they are transfered to CrashPlan. Best thing with Dropbox is that you can use it for free! If you want an account and want to help me at the same time, please use my referral link when you sign up!