Do you only backup data to an external hard drive? Did you know data on an external HDD isn’t very safe? In fact, files on external hard drives are just as vulnerable as files on a PC. Mostly due to hardware failure rates and viruses. And that’s where we come into the picture, join us, as we introduce you to the top five best cloud backups for external hard drives.
Files on a system can get accidentally deleted or corrupted, and the same goes for files on an external hard drive too. After all, the only practical difference between the two is that one is on the inside of a PC, and the other is on the outside.
Imagine your PC got infected by a virus (Cthulhu forbid!), and you don’t realize so until attaching an external hard disk to the system. Now, not only is the data on your PC infected, but the hard drive is also infected too. And don’t even get me started about connecting an external hard disk to unknown PCs.
The right way to backup data is to keep multiple copies in at least two different locations, and that is why, one should backup an external hard drive to the cloud. Here are the five best cloud backup services for external hard drives.
$ 5.99 per month Unlimited GBStorage All Plans
|Visit CrashPlanCrashPlan Review|
$ 4.34 per month 2000 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit IDriveIDrive Review|
$ 5.00 per month Unlimited GBStorage All Plans
$ 5.00 per month Unlimited GBStorage All Plans
|Visit CarboniteCarbonite Review|
$ 19.95 per month 600 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit ZoolzZoolz Review|
How This Article is Setup
What’s being presented here is a summary of each service, alongside snippets relating what we liked about each one of them.
Please don’t confuse this article for a full review of each backup service, but the good news is that we do have full, in-depth reviews of each one linked via the Read review button.
Which I strongly recommend you click before making any final decisions on which service to pick. Finally, there’s the pros and cons list, summarizing what’s cool and what’s not for each of the five. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the show!
CrashPlan offers a near perfect balance between ease-of-use and features, not to mention speed. Plus it has a cross-platform Java client. Thanks to CrashPlan’s unlimited storage plans, you don’t have to use CrashPlan only for HDDs, but you can also backup data from other sources.
The one thing everyone should do before backing up an external disk is go into the settings menu and select “never remove deleted files.” This step is important because CrashPlan cannot differentiate between deleted files and ones that are just temporarily unavailable.
So, if the external hard drive gets disconnected while CrashPlan is busy backing up, it might assume the files have gotten deleted. But once the settings are changed, data won’t ever be removed, and whenever you reconnect a hard drive, the backup will resume from where it got stopped.
Other Reasons Why We Like CrashPlan
With CrashPlan, you can backup an external hard drive, just like standard data. CrashPlan is one of the most efficient and affordable cloud backup services.
Among its strengths are the number of options it gives to customize a backup. And it’s always running in the background, without interrupting you in any way.
- Free external HDD backups
- Options to customize backups
- Incremental backup & scheduling
- Slow outside of the U.S.
- Can be confusing for noobs
- No sharing or synchronization
IDrive‘s only downfall is its lack of unlimited storage. Otherwise, the service comes with incredibly fast transfers, sharing options, door-to-door external HDD delivery, and strong compression security.
IDrive has both cloud backup and file synchronization, and it effortlessly backs up external hard drives. For an initial full backup, you have to keep an external HDD connected to the system, after that, the cloud backup service will initiate an incremental backup for modified files.
Also, if the backup was scheduled or you’ve activated continuous data protection, then it’ll start whenever the drive is connected. As I mentioned, there is file syncing available, and for that IDrive has a separate folder to organize data easily.
Other Reasons Why We Like IDrive
IDrive provides 5GB of free storage for every user who just signs up, and it has a very easy to use interface.
In case the drive is disconnected, a backup will resume right where it left off, upon reconnection. Which can be handled by anybody, even if they’re new to the cloud backup scene. There is also 256-bit AES private encryption.
- 5GB of free storage
- File synchronization
- Private encryption
- No unlimited storage
- Comparatively expensive
- No monthly payment plans
One of the easiest online backup services we’ve ever used, Backblaze is an excellent secondary backup solution, which sports unlimited backup storage. From the moment Backblaze gets installed, it automatically starts scanning your hard drive and uploading data — Backblaze handles everything in the background.
If you already have an external hard disk connected to a computer while installing, Backblaze will automatically start backing up the external drive too. But if the HDD gets connected later, then you have to visit the settings menu and choose the hard disk from there.
Since Backblaze is the king of automatic backups, it comes with a few conditions. You need to connect an external drive at least once every 30 days, or the backed up data will be deleted.
This caveat can be a little tricky for some users, especially ones who don’t connect their hard drives often. Also, if the hard disk letter gets changed, then you’ll have to select it from the settings menu to start backing it up again.
Other Reasons Why We Like Backblaze
Backblaze is the best cloud backup solution if you’re looking for a service that can handle everything on its own. It has true unlimited storage, and it takes care of everything on its own, from the moment it’s installed.
So you never have to worry about bandwidth throttling, backup scheduling and checking backups. Everything is simply taken care of, as if by a butler. Essentially it’s cloud backup for dummies.
- Unlimited storage space
- Automatic uploads
- Quick backup & restore
- Must connect HDD once a month
- Can’t select specific folders to upload
- Lacks customization options
Carbonite is best suited for users with common backup needs; but it’s a much better solution for business oriented users. Carbonite is yet another cloud backup service which provides unlimited storage space, but the reason it’s in fourth place is because it’s not as affordable as CrashPlan or Backblaze.
While its primary plans are just as affordable, Carbonite does not allow external hard drive backups on its basic plan. You’ll either have to opt for Carbonite Personal Plus or Personal Prime for that feature.
Also, even with these two plans, you can only backup one external drive. If another external drive gets connected, then data from the previous drive will get deleted in 30 days. It’s also important to know that Carbonite provides this feature for Windows only, so Mac users will have to skip this option.
Other Reasons Why We Like Carbonite
Even with a few restrictions, Carbonite is one of the easiest-to-handle cloud backup services.
Backing up data is incredibly comfortable with Carbonite, and you can setup scheduling, or choose to manually backup whenever an external drive is plugged in. It gives users a lot of options to customize their backup settings, but not so many that users might get confused.
- Unlimited storage space
- Private encryption
- Incremental backup
- Basic plan lacks external HDD backup
- Lacks automatic video backup
- Only works for Windows users
If you’re looking for a long term storage solution service that uses Amazon’s Cold Storage and backs up NAS devices too — Zoolz is the right pick. Better known for its business plans, Zoolz has two other ones that should be considered by home users — Home and Cloud Backup.
While Cloud Backup helps store data in AWS cold storage, Zoolz Home is the more affordable of the two, and I would recommend it for storing external hard drive data. With Zoolz Home, you get four plans, out of which the basic one doesn’t support backing up external drives.
You’ll have to choose Home Plus, to backup a single external drive, Home Family to backup a maximum of three, or go for Heavy to backup unlimited external hard drives. Also, there’s no cold storage with Zoolz Home, but at the same time, you won’t have to wait for around three to five hours for data to restore.
Other Reasons Why We Like Zoolz
Zoolz is extremely affordable, easy to handle and users can customize and make their plans personal. It’s also a ready-made home solution for long term storage.
Geared towards the more professional user, Zoolz also provides hybrid backup solutions on NAS Drives.
- Affordable plans
- Files are stored forever
- Only supports Windows PC
- Abysmal support
- Slow restoration speeds
Backing up external hard drives is essential, to ensure that data is protected in an off-site location, so that even if an HDD stops working or goes missing — your files are safe. Since the top five cloud backup for external drives services provide different plans, I suggest finding out how many drives you need to backup and how much data needs to be backed up, before zeroing on a cloud backup service.
Every service comes with either a free plan or free trial period, so there’s always a way to test them without any worries. Do you have any questions or suggestions to add? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.