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Best Cloud Backup Services of 2024: Unlimited Storage vs Unlimited Devices

A good backup service helps you protect your important data from file corruption, accidental deletion or hardware failures. There’s no shortage of choices; some services will be better than others, depending on your needs. We take a look at the best cloud backup services to help you decide.

Jason StagnittoValentina BravoIgor Kurtz

Written by Jason Stagnitto (Writer)

Reviewed by Valentina Bravo (Editor)

Facts checked by Igor Kurtz (Fact-checking editor)

Last Updated: 2024-04-01T08:18:44+00:00

Best Cloud Backup Services
Key Takeaways: What Are the Best Cloud Backup Services?
  1. IDrive — The best overall cloud backup service, with an excellent combination of backup and cloud storage features.
  2. Backblaze— The best online backup for affordability with unlimited storage and great user management features. 
  3. Carbonite — The most simple cloud backup with an easy-to-use desktop app that backs up your data in a few steps.
  4. pCloud — The best free cloud backup with 10GB of storage space. pCloud is a cloud storage provider with a dedicated section for backups. 
  5. CrashPlan — The best online storage for businesses, with excellent versioning and an option for unlimited storage.
  6. Dropbox Backup — The best cloud backup for freelancers that has a dedicated backup feature to go with its cloud storage and collaboration tools.
  7. Microsoft OneDrive — The best cloud backup for Microsoft users, with added cloud storage features and Microsoft 365 integration, along with some paid plans. 
The Best Online Backup Service

Anyone who’s ever lost irreplaceable photos or accidentally deleted an important document knows how crucial it is to have a backup. By keeping a copy of your data in a secure online backup service, you can be sure you’ll never deal with that scenario again. Choosing the right service for your needs can be tricky. To help you decide, we list the best cloud backup services below.

We’ve identified online storage services that excel in different areas, including our pick for the best overall. No cloud backup is the same; our online backup features article covers the basics. Read on to decide which cloud backup service is best for you.

  • 08/24/2022

    Updated to reflect a change in IDrive’s pricing and its improved speeds.

  • 10/26/2022

    Carbonite’s pricing updated.

  • 05/23/2023

    Updated to remove IDrive’s discontinued free plan and add its new free 30-day trial.

  • 01/25/2024

    IDrive’s pricing information Updated.

  • 03/05/2024 Facts checked

    This article was rewritten to focus on the best cloud backup services currently on the market.

Cloudwards Editor’s Choice: IDrive

IDrive is our top choice for the best online backup provider. It has many features and integrates attributes of cloud storage like file sharing. IDrive gives you the flexibility to choose what you back up, including individual files. You can also schedule backups for specific days or times and receive notifications. IDrive is an affordable option with some of the best per-terabyte prices available.

How to Choose the Best Online Backup Services

We evaluated the following services based on the key aspects that most consumers look for in a cloud backup provider. Cost and features are important considerations, as are security and privacy. File versioning is another factor, and we’ve identified the best option.

Keeping specific types of customers in mind, we evaluated cloud backup services for businesses and freelancers. For companies, we focused on administrator features, backup features and restoration. Freelancers need a reliable way to back up their data, along with tools to interact with clients.

We identified the best backup services for ease of use and those on a budget. A key criterion was finding a cloud backup solution that can quickly protect your data in fewer steps. In addition, since most backup providers aren’t free, we’ve included a budget-friendly option.

The 7 Best Cloud Backup Services

IDrive takes the overall top spot as the best cloud backup service. Others on the list include pCloud as the best free cloud backup and CrashPlan as the best choice for versioning. 

1. IDrive — Best Overall Cloud Backup Service

idrive account
IDrive is our choice for the best online backup storage, with excellent
backup software combined with file syncing and sharing.


  • Backup & cloud storage tools
  • Can back up multiple devices
  • Zero-knowledge encryption


  • No unlimited storage
  • Must activate zero-knowledge at signup

IDrive has many features for both online backup and cloud storage, making it something of a hybrid service. Its cloud backup features let you cover multiple devices — including network-attached storage (NAS) external hard drives — and some plans also offer servers. Scheduling is a breeze with its robust menu that lets you choose the day or time.

As long as you don’t enable private encryption, you can share files from your cloud drive folder much like you can with a cloud storage service. For increased protection, you can create a shareable link with a password or set a download limit. If you set up zero-knowledge encryption when you create your account, it will disable the sharing capabilities.

IDrive Hands-On Testing

For beginners, the sheer number of options and settings can feel overwhelming. However, it takes little time to get used to the workflow for backing up your data or sharing files with others. 

idrive windows desktop
IDrive’s desktop app is the best online backup for PC,
as it includes a full disk image backup.

Using the desktop app — available for Windows and Mac — is the only way to get the most out of your account, and it’s where you set up and manage your backups. There is also support for Linux, but it isn’t a true desktop app.

Notes From the Lab: IDrive Speed Test Results

1st Test2nd TestAverage
Upload Speeds0:06:430:06:400:06:42
1st Test2nd TestAverage
Download Speeds0:07:110:07:030:07:07

IDrive has solid upload and download speeds, averaging a little more than six minutes for uploads and around seven minutes for downloads. CPU usage was low except when processing larger files.

Notes From the Lab: IDrive Security Analysis

idrive private encryption
You can manage your own encryption key with IDrive if
you enable it when you first create your account.

IDrive has several secure server facilities located in the United States. It protects your data at rest and in transit using AES 256-bit encryption. It also supports two-factor authentication, which you can enable in your account settings.

If you want zero-knowledge encryption with your account, you must enable it during account creation. If you don’t, there’s no way to go back and give your account private encryption. 

IDrive Pricing & Value

IDrive has several options for paid plans. Currently, there is a free 10GB account. However, that’s being replaced with a 30-day free trial. Paid plans have choices for personal, team or business use, and all plans support multiple devices. We cover all the details in our IDrive pricing guide. You can check out our IDrive review for a deep dive into the service.

  • No credit card required.
  • 10GB
  • One user, multiple computers. Plans starting from 5TB up to 100TB. Big discount for first-time signup.
  • 5TB
More plans
  • 5 computers, 5 users. Starting at 5TB up to 500TB. Big discount for first-time signup.
  • 5TB
  • Monthly Plan storage starts at 1.25TB up to 50TB Unlimited users, multiple computers and servers. NAS devices. 250GB storage. Starting at 250GB up to 50TB. Large discount for first-time signup.
  • 250GB

2. Backblaze — Best Affordable Online Backup Service With Unlimited Storage

backblaze account
Backblaze has unlimited storage but you have to use the web interface to restore backups.
Unlimited GB$7.88 / month
(save 12%) (All Plans)


  • Unlimited backup
  • Affordable prices
  • File-type backup


  • No NAS support
  • Limited advanced features

Backblaze is one of the few cloud backup services that offers unlimited storage capacity. It also has a simplified interface, making it easy to use even for those newer to online backup services. Businesses can take advantage of its file versioning, as it does not impose size limits. Backblaze will keep versions of your files for 30 days.

If you are looking for more advanced features, Backblaze probably isn’t the answer. It doesn’t have image-based backups, nor can you back up servers. Additionally, Backblaze does not support network-attached storage devices. However, what Backblaze lacks in features it makes up for in other areas, such as speed.

Backblaze Hands-On Testing

There isn’t much to the desktop app that is required to conduct a backup. Backblaze will back up the entire contents of your computer with only the option to exclude folders or extensions. The scheduling options are limited to three choices: continuously, once per day, or manual. However, it is a very easy-to-use application. 

backblaze backup
The Backblaze desktop app has a simplified interface with a
few tools to manage what gets backed up and when.

Notes From the Lab: Backblaze Speed Test Results

1st Test2nd TestAverage
Upload Speeds00:44:0000:51:5000:47:55
1st Test2nd TestAverage
Download Speeds00:08:1500:08:0000:08:07

Backblaze has fast speeds, but only for downloads, which averaged around eight minutes in our tests. Uploads on the other hand were very slow due to how Backblaze handles multithreading.

Notes From the Lab: Backblaze Security Analysis

backblaze security
Backblaze does a good job of keeping your data secure,
especially if you enable the private encryption key.

Backblaze uses a random 128-bit AES symmetric key for each backup session and incorporates SSL protocols to secure file transfers. Additionally, Backblaze comes with the option of adding a private encryption key. You can access this from the desktop app. 

Backblaze Pricing & Value

You can start with a 15-day free trial with Backblaze, as it doesn’t require a credit card to create an account. Backblaze offers a monthly plan for $9, a yearly plan for $99 and a two-year plan for $189. For more information, check out our Backblaze Business review.

3. Carbonite — Best Easy-to-Use Online Backup

carbonite account
Carbonite is an easy-to-use service with basic cloud backup options.
250GB – Unlimited GB$4.75 / month


  • Clean desktop interface
  • Unlimited storage
  • Affordable pricing


  • Slow speeds
  • Limited features

Carbonite does a nice job of quickly getting you up and running with an easy-to-use interface and minimal steps to begin a backup. Once you establish the initial backup, you can see the progress clearly, especially on the desktop app. A dashboard on the web interface provides a snapshot of your backups.

Once you back up your data, you can easily manage it from the web or desktop. Carbonite doesn’t have many features, which helps contribute to its ease of use. One notable exception is the lack of robust scheduling features available for Mac. However, you can create a schedule on a Windows computer with the Carbonite Safe Backup Pro plan.

Carbonite Hands-On Testing

The desktop apps, available on Windows or Mac, and the mobile apps for iOS and Android are the best ways to engage with your account. You need the desktop app to create a backup, as the web interface has limited capabilities. The fact that Macs are short on scheduling features is concerning, but you can still back up individual files.

carbonite desktop app
You can see the status of your backup and the most recent files it included.

Notes From the Lab: Carbonite Speed Test Results

1st Test2nd TestAverage
Upload Speeds00:15:4800:10:3000:13:09
1st Test2nd TestAverage
Download Speeds1:20:401:25:201:23:00

Carbonite’s speeds were noticeably slow in our tests, particularly for downloads. 

Notes From the Lab: Carbonite Security Analysis

carbonite security
Carbonite has a few security settings, including the
option to enable two-factor authentication.

Carbonite uses AES 128-bit encryption to protect your data, which is less secure than AES 256-bit. Windows users can manage a private encryption key, which increases the security to AES 256-bit encryption. Doing so removes the ability to access your data on the web interface or mobile app. 

Carbonite Pricing & Value

Carbonite doesn’t offer a free plan, but its business plans come with a free trial. The Basic personal plan costs $4.75 per month when billed annually, with options for a two- or three-year plan. Professional plans start at $24 per month with annual billing, and they support up to 25 computers. Read our Carbonite review for more on pricing and features.

Carbonite Personal Basic
  • Cheaper price with promo link
  • Unlimited GB
Carbonite Personal Plus
  • Unlimited GB
Carbonite Personal Prime
  • Unlimited GB
More plans
Carbonite Professional Core
  • 250GB
Carbonite Professional Power
  • 500GB
Carbonite Professional Ultimate
  • 500GB

4. pCloud — Best Free Online Backup Service

pcloud backup
pCloud is one of the better cloud storage services and
includes cloud backups with your account.
500GB – 10TB$4.17 / month
(save 24%) (All Plans)


  • 10GB free plan
  • Backs up multiple devices
  • Encryption folder


  • Paid private encryption
  • Limited 3rd-party integration

pCloud is one of the best cloud storage services available and is known for its cloud storage features. It has excellent file sharing via email addresses or links, with the option to add passwords or set expiration dates. Its file sync is also excellent, as is its versioning feature, called “rewind.” 

Backups with pCloud are a relatively new feature that comes with your account. You can create backups of your computer or mobile device and import files from some third-party services, including Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. You can share files from your backups using the same sharing options as other files in your account.

pCloud Hands-On Testing

pCloud is an easy-to-navigate service with a familiar layout. Its web page has a left sidebar menu, and your content takes up most of the space. pCloud’s desktop app, downloadable for Windows, Mac and Linux, includes a sync folder and provides greater control over your account. It’s also a virtual drive, which provides access to your files without taking up disk space.

pcloud desktop app
pCloud Drive is an excellent desktop app, as you can access your
files without them taking up space on your hard disk.

Notes From the Lab: pCloud Speed Test Results

1st Test2nd TestAverage
Upload Speeds00:08:1800:08:440:08:31
1st Test2nd TestAverage
Download Speeds00:06:5200:07:020:06:57

pCloud is a fast service with excellent upload and download speeds. It’s one of the fastest cloud storage services, as it uses block-level sync, which only updates the parts of a file that you edit rather than the entire file.

Notes From the Lab: pCloud Security Analysis

pcloud crypto
pCloud Crypto uses your personal encryption key to keep
your content safe from unauthorized access.

pCloud uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect data on its servers and TLS/SSL encryption protocols to secure data transfers. Every account includes an encryption folder. However, you can only access it if you pay for pCloud Crypto. Only pCloud Business plans include pCloud Crypto.

pCloud Pricing & Value

pCloud has a free account that starts at 2GB, which you can easily upgrade to 10GB by completing a few micro tasks. If you need a paid plan, pCloud has personal, business and family plans. A 2TB plan costs $99.99 annually, and pCloud also offers lifetime plans. We have more details in our pCloud pricing guide and our pCloud review

5. CrashPlan — Best Online Backup Service for Businesses

crashplan account
Whether you run continuous or scheduled backups, you can
see the status on your CrashPlan account page.
200GB – Unlimited GB$2.99 / month


  • Unlimited versioning
  • Continuous backup
  • Supports external drives


  • Slow speeds
  • No zero-knowledge encryption

CrashPlan’s service focuses primarily on businesses or teams, as it doesn’t offer a personal plan. However, you get unlimited file versioning, which allows you to choose how many file versions to keep and for how long. You can also specify how often it captures changes.

Its backup frequency options are similar to those for version retention. You can determine how often CrashPlan monitors and updates your data, with a minimum of every 15 minutes. Scheduling is limited — your only options are to keep things constantly up to date or to pick specific days and times. 

CrashPlan Hands-On Testing

CrashPlan is a challenging service to get up and running. Some tutorials and guides are available to help you take your first steps. However, there’s a lot to do before you can start backing up your data. The web interface is mostly informational, as you need the desktop app to establish and manage your backups.

CrashPlan supports Windows, Mac and Linux desktop apps. However, the app continually logs out on Mac when idle, which is frustrating. After logging back in, we were sometimes unable to connect to CrashPlans servers.

crashplan desktop app
CrashPlan’s desktop app doesn’t have many features, but
nor does it get in the way of backing up your data.

Notes From the Lab: CrashPlan Speed Test Results

1st Test2nd TestAverage
Upload Speeds1:02:001:06:451:04:22
1st Test2nd TestAverage
Download Speeds0:08:100:07:230:07:46

Download speeds with CrashPlan were good, averaging around eight minutes. Uploads were much slower.

Notes From the Lab: CrashPlan Security Analysis

crashplan security
CrashPlan requires you to use an authenticator to log in to your account.

CrashPlan uses AES 256-bit encryption and TLS/SSL encryption protocols for data at rest and in transit. Additionally, it requires two-factor authentication via an authenticator app. The service doesn’t give you the option to enable zero-knowledge encryption.

CrashPlan Pricing & Value

CrashPlan has free trials for its three plans, ranging from seven to 30 days. There’s no free plan and no options for personal use. The most affordable plan is the CrashPlan Essential plan. It costs $2.99 per month with 200GB for two devices. The CrashPlan Professional plan costs $88 per year and has unlimited backup capacity for two devices. We cover pricing and more in our CrashPlan review.

CrashPlan Essential
  • Storage & price is per user Up to 2 devices per user 30-Day Deleted File Retention
  • 200GB
CrashPlan Professional
  • Price is per user Up to 2 devices per user 90-Day Deleted File Retention
  • Unlimited GB
CrashPlan Enterprise
  • Price is per user Unlimited Deleted File Retention
  • Unlimited GB

6. Dropbox Backup — Best Online Backup Service for Freelancers

dropbox backup
Dropbox lets you back up your data, but it doesn’t include system files.
2TB – 5TB$9.99 / month
(save 16%) (All Plans)


  • Excellent file sync
  • Flexible backup scheduling
  • Easy file restoration


  • No mobile backup
  • Poor privacy

Dropbox is best known as a cloud storage service, which is part of what makes it a good choice for freelancers. However, it recently added Dropbox Backup, which lets you make copies of your work and access them with your Dropbox account. Dropbox Backup doesn’t limit the number of computers or external hard drives you can back up. The only limit is your storage allotment.

Though you can’t share files you add to your backup like you can with IDrive, Dropbox makes it easy to download or rewind individual files or the entire backup. You can enable automatic backups and determine their frequency. Other options include choosing the folders to back up or adjusting bandwidth settings.

Dropbox Backup Hands-On Testing

It’s easy to use the backup features once you download the desktop app, which is available for Mac, Windows and Linux. On the web page, there’s a dedicated page for Dropbox Backup, but it isn’t apparent unless you click around your account. The cloud storage page doesn’t show you your backup information, whereas the desktop app does.

dropbox desktop app
The Dropbox Desktop app gives you access to several settings,
including the ones for your backups.

Notes From the Lab: Dropbox Backup Speed Test Results

1st Test2nd TestAverage
Upload Speeds00:06:4400:07:230:07:04
1st Test2nd TestAverage
Download Speeds00:07:1300:07:250:07:19

Dropbox has fast upload and download speeds, which we tested using 5GB of mixed data. Both upload and download speeds averaged a little more than seven minutes.

Notes From the Lab: Dropbox Backup Security Analysis

dropbox security
Dropbox uses encryption protocols and two-factor
authentication to help keep your account secure.

Dropbox uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect files in its servers and TLS/SSL encryption protocols to secure data transfers. It also supports two-factor authentication, which you can enable through your account settings. 

Currently, Dropbox doesn’t offer private encryption. However, it recently acquired Boxcryptor, a third-party private encryption software. Dropbox intends to incorporate zero-knowledge encryption into its business plans.

Dropbox Backup Pricing & Value

Dropbox has a 2GB free plan, which most people will quickly exceed. Paid plans start at $9.99 per month (billed annually) for 2TB of storage space. The Business plan costs $19.99 per user per month (billed annually) with 9TB of shared space. We cover more in our Dropbox pricing article and our Dropbox review.

  • 1 user
  • 2GB
More plans
Dropbox Essentials (aka Professional for professionals)
  • (Formerly Dropbox One) 1 user Signature requests and eSignature templates
  • 3TB
Dropbox Business (aka Standard for teams)
  • 3 users minimum
  • 5TB
Dropbox Business Plus (aka Advanced for companies)
  • 3 users minimum
Dropbox Enterprise

    7. Microsoft OneDrive — Best Backup Service for Microsoft Users

    onedrive backup
    OneDrive’s backup feature lets you make copies of your documents or your desktop.
    100GB – 6TB$1.67 / month
    (save 16%) (All Plans)


    • Compatible with Office 365
    • Great for collaboration
    • Backs up from desktop app


    • No private encryption
    • Poor file versioning

    Like pCloud and Dropbox, most consider Microsoft OneDrive to be a cloud storage solution with excellent features, including file share and sync. For Microsoft 365 users, it’s the best cloud storage option.

    It isn’t obvious, but you can also create a backup from the desktop app. There’s an option in the “preferences” or “settings” tab, depending on your operating system. The backup option is designed to create a copy of your desktop and documents, so it isn’t an actual computer backup. Whatever you back up populates in your account for easy access.

    Microsoft OneDrive Hands-On Testing

    Microsoft OneDrive is easy to navigate, especially for anyone familiar with the look and layout of a Windows device. The desktop app for Windows or Mac isn’t a replacement for the web interface, but you can access your folders and files from the sync folder.

    onedrive desktop app
    The OneDrive desktop app consists of the sync folder and
    a small menu to manage your account.

    Notes From the Lab: Microsoft OneDrive Speed Test Results

    1st Test2nd TestAverage
    Upload Speeds00:07:1000:07:270:07:19
    1st Test2nd TestAverage
    Download Speeds00:07:1700:07:210:07:19

    Microsoft OneDrive averaged around seven minutes for uploads and downloads, with minimal CPU drain. 

    Notes From the Lab: Microsoft OneDrive Security Analysis

    onedrive security
    OneDrive protects your data with encryption protocols
    and makes it easy to recover any lost files.

    Microsoft OneDrive protects your data at rest with AES 256-bit encryption and your data in transit with TLS/SSL encryption protocols. You can enable two-step authentication from your account settings, giving the login process an added layer of protection.

    Microsoft OneDrive Pricing & Value

    You can try Microsoft OneDrive with a free account that has 5GB of storage space. The Microsoft Basic plan costs $19.99 annually but only comes with Outlook. Choosing the Microsoft 365 Personal plan for $69.99 annually gets you 1TB of storage and productivity apps like Word. For more details, check out our OneDrive review.

    Microsoft 365 Free (5GB)
    • For one person
    • 5GB
    Microsoft 365 Personal (1TB)
    • Comes with Office 365 Personal
    • 1TB
    More plans
    Microsoft 365 Family (6TB)
    • Comes with Office 365 Home
    • 6TB
    OneDrive for Business (Plan 1)
    • Price per user
    • 1TB
    Microsoft 365 Business Basic
    • 1TB
    Microsoft 365 Business Standard
    • Price per user
    • 1TB

    Our Testing Methodology

    We thoroughly test each service to find the best options for our readers. Our evaluation includes objective hands-on testing, where we explore each service’s features, apps, speeds and security. We also analyze privacy policies and research past cyber issues like data breaches or leaks. 

    Using our results and expertise, we thoroughly evaluate a product, conduct head-to-head comparisons and confidently present you with recommendations. We write authoritative articles without the use of AI-generated content.

    Why You Need an Online Backup Service

    Having a way to back up and protect your data is essential in our digitally connected lives. Here are a few reasons why you should consider an online backup provider.

    Data Loss

    Losing a file, whether it’s part of an important project or an irreplaceable picture, is a terrible feeling. In most cases, once a file is corrupted or deleted, it’s gone forever. With an online backup provider, you can recover and restore lost data.


    If you spend enough time online, you may eventually become a victim of ransomware. Ransomware can wreak havoc on your devices. However, with cloud backup solutions, you can get your lost or corrupted data back, mitigating the damage that ransomware causes.

    Peace of Mind

    Knowing that your data is backed up and protected means you don’t have to worry about what you’d do in the event of irreplaceable data loss. Having online cloud backup provides that peace of mind.

    Final Thoughts

    Choosing the best online backup provider is the difference between recovering your data and losing it when something unexpected happens. Different consumers have different needs, so picking a provider from our list will help you get what you need from a cloud backup provider.

    Do you use any of the online backup services we listed? If so, what’s your experience been like? Did we miss a great cloud backup solution? Let us know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading our article. 

    FAQ: Best Backup Services

    • IDrive tops our list as the best online storage backup service. It combines cloud backup and cloud storage features with a robust scheduling tool.

    • Using a cloud backup provider is the best way to back up files online. There are a few services with free plans, like pCloud or Dropbox. The best online backup software will let you back up your files online.

    • Online storage backup is safe, as most providers use AES 256-bit encryption and TLS/SSL encryption protocols to protect your data at rest and in transit.

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