If you’re living in the Great White North and looking for the best backup for Canada, we have some bad news: despite having great privacy laws, currently none of our best online backup providers have servers in Canada. This means that Canadian users will suffer the same surveillance as their southern neighbors in the form of the Patriot Act, CLOUD and PRISM.
To compensate for that we’ve put special emphasis on the security and privacy of your files and transfer speeds in this listing, as well as made sure that services implement zero-knowledge protocols correctly.
It’s in your best interest to create a backup because you can’t be sure how long your hard drive will last and your data might be lost due to malfunctions or crashes. You can use data recovery software, but its success is not certain. Solid state drives aren’t completely reliable, either, because they experience more data errors, despite their lower failure rate.
If you’re here looking for storage, refer to our article about the best cloud storage for Canada. Before we go on with the list, let’s define the criteria we’ve used to make it.
Best Online Backup for Canada in 2018
What Makes the Best Online Backup for Canada
Backup services should provide in-transit, at-rest and private encryption, which means no one but you can read your cloud data. The service should provide two-factor authentication to safeguard your password against hackers, as well.
The initial backup can take a long time. How long depends on your internet service provider and how close you are to a server. The closer you are, the stronger your connection will be. It’s best if a service allows you to tweak transfer settings, throttle speeds and uses a block-level transfer algorithm, which helps after the initial backup.
We all want to get more and pay less and that’s what we looked for from these services. We’ve taken value and how many plans the service offers into consideration. The more plans it has, the more choices you have. It’s great if it has a free plan or trial, too, so you can try the service before subscribing.
Last, a good user experience will enable you to use the service without getting a headache. To ensure that, the desktop client should work on most operating systems and their interfaces, along with those of the web client and mobile app, should be pleasant and straightforward.
Best Online Backup for Canada: IDrive
IDrive, a veteran company launched in 1995, is at the top of our best cloud backup comparison list. It uses AES 256-bit encryption to scramble your files in-transit and at-rest. You’ll have to enable private encryption before your first backup to use it, though. If you don’t, IDrive will hold on to your encryption key. There’s no two-factor authentication, so make your password strong.
Its U.S. data centers can withstand fires and natural disasters because they have racks, raised floors and cooling zones. To protect against human intrusion, they use surveillance, motion sensors and alarms.
In our tests, we uploaded a 1GB folder in about 20 minutes. That’s close to the theoretical 15 minutes it should take. The tests were conducted over a network from Thailand, so the difference can probably be attributed to the distance from the servers.
Other Reasons We Like IDrive
There are two annual personal plans that are currently discounted: 2TB for $52 and 5TB for $75. You get 2TB or 5TB of sync space, which makes for 4TB or 10TB in total. On top of that, both let you backup unlimited computers.
IDrive Business starts at $75 for unlimited computers and users and provides 250GB of backup space. You can increase the space up to 12.5TB.
Before deciding to subscribe for the long-term, you can use the free plan, which provides 5GB of storage.
You’ll have to choose files for backup manually because IDrive doesn’t backup by file type like unlimited backup providers. That doesn’t make for a simple user experience. Plus, many options are available that might make it more complicated for mainstream users.
IDrive has competitive prices, fast connection speeds, private encryption to ensure your privacy is protected and it allows you to backup unlimited computers. It doesn’t have two-factor authentication or a simple user experience, though. Still, it’s enough to make it our top pick for Canada. To get the details, read our IDrive review.
- Unlimited device backup
- Inexpensive plans
- Private encryption
- Not easy to use
- No unlimited backup plan
Acronis launched 15 years ago, which is a long time in the software business, so it’s no wonder that True Image is one of the best online backup services.
The service uses AES 256-bit to encrypt your files before transfer and the TLS/SSL protocol protects them in-transit. The encryption requires you to use a password that only you know, which makes Acronis zero-knowledge compliant. Because of that, the company won’t be able to retrieve your password, so make sure you don’t forget it. There’s no two-factor authentication.
Acronis surprised us with its speed. It only took 15 minutes for backup and recovery of a 1GB folder. We used the “optimal” setting for downloading, but there’s also a “maximum” one, which is, presumably, even faster.
Other Reasons We Like Acronis True Image
Avoid Acronis’s lifetime plan because it omits a lot. You’ll do better with either of the two annual plans: Advanced or Premium.
Advanced provides 250GB of backup space for $49.99 or 500GB for $69.99. Premium starts at $99.99 for 1TB of backup space and ends at 5TB for $259.95. You can increase the number of computers to backup and the amount of backup space, but that will cost you extra.
Using the desktop client is easy and intuitive. There’s a menu on the left for navigating the app. You can backup by file type, instead of selecting specific files, which takes more space, but makes creating a backup plan much simpler. If you need to save space, you can exclude files you don’t want to backup.
Acronis has fast backup speeds and private encryption but lacks two-factor authentication, and its prices aren’t as competitive as IDrive’s. That makes it fit for second place. If you’d like to see the details, speed and pricing tables, read our Acronis True Image review.
- Exceptionally fast backup
- Private, end-to-end encryption
- No two-factor authentication
- Could be cheaper
BigMIND Home is a new online backup service from the company that created Zoolz Home Backup that comes with many features the older service doesn’t.
Files on servers are encrypted using AES 256-bit encryption. BigMIND will manage your key if you don’t opt in to private encryption while setting up your backup plan, though. Note that you can’t do so afterward. If you opt in, BigMIND won’t be able to retrieve your password. The SSL protocol protects files in-transit, but, strangely, you have to turn it on yourself.
You should expect fast upload and slow download speeds because BigMIND uses Amazon Glacier, a cold storage designed for long-term archiving, for backup. If that sounds like your cup of tea, read our Amazon Glacier review. The average upload time for 1GB of data should be about 30 minutes.
Other Reasons We Like BigMIND
The BigMIND Personal plan costs $2.99 per month, if paid annually, and only gives you 100GB of backup space for one user and up to three computers. The Family plan costs $6.99 a month and provides a slightly better deal with 500GB for three users, nine computers and six mobile devices.
A proper amount of space, 1TB, comes with the Family Plus plan, which costs $12.99 per month. It’s still not the best deal for the amount of space it offers, but you can share it with four more users across 15 computers and unlimited mobile devices.
The desktop client, for Windows or macOS, is helpful because it shows you your current backup status, when the last backup was, how many files are backed up and how many are pending. You can choose to backup by file type or location. Offering a choice is a nice touch, considering other services use only one method.
The web interface, which provides you with file categories and devices, is more colorful and enables you to easily browse your content in the cloud. There’s a dashboard that shows how many devices are connected to BigMIND and how many are backing up. A graph shows your backup activity over time, too, and a pie chart gives you an overview of your file types.
If you’re not at your computer, you can use the Android or iOS app to access your files. To get an in-depth look at BigMIND’s features, read our BigMIND review.
- Fast data uploads
- Private encryption
- Backup by file type
- Slow data recovery
- Could offer better deals
Backblaze is one of the most popular services and is near the top of our online backup reviews list.
It has many security features, including private encryption. If you enable it, you’ll hold your encryption key, otherwise Backblaze will keep it. Either way, you have to send your passphrase to Backblaze so it can recover your files. Supposedly, the company deletes it afterward. You can also enable two-factor authentication to protect your account against hackers.
Unlike many other services, Backblaze doesn’t take much time to finish initial backups. It’s fast and doesn’t limit your upload or download speeds. Plus, you can increase the number of backup threads you have running to make uploading faster. Your distance from the servers in California will be a factor for your top speeds, though.
Other Reasons We Like Backblaze
Backblaze has a simple pricing scheme with only one plan. For $5 a month, you get unlimited backup space for one computer. Since it’s a monthly plan, you can cancel at any time which is a convenient option most services don’t offer. If you pay for a year in advance, you’ll get a $10 discount, while two years will net a $25 one. You can test the service with a 15-day free trial.
Setting up your backup is as simple as the pricing scheme is because it doesn’t require you to manage how much or what you’re backing up. That’s because Backblaze can backup by file type, excluding system and temporary files. Such ease comes with a slower backup process, though, so make sure you exclude files you don’t need in the “settings” menu.
If you’re interested in learning more about Backblaze, read our Backblaze review.
- Unlimited backup
- Easy to use
- Limited to one computer
Carbonite is one of the oldest backup services, as it’s been in business since 2005. It targets home users and small businesses.
The service uses AES 128-bit encryption to protect your files on servers, but if you enable private encryption, it switches to AES 256-bit and lets you hold the key. That makes it zero-knowledge, which means it won’t be able to reset your password. Carbonite requires you to make a strong password and provides two-factor authentication in case someone steals it.
Carbonite’s initial backup process is slow and doesn’t come close to the upload speeds of its competitors. Uploading changed files is much faster, though, thanks to block-level transfer.
Other Reasons We Like Carbonite
You can choose between three unlimited storage plans: Basic, Plus and Prime. Basic offers you unlimited storage with no special features for $72 a year. Plus adds external drive and automatic video backup for $112 a year and Prime tops that with a courier recovery service for $150 a year.
It’s easy to work with Carbonite as its desktop clients are simple and easy to install. You only need to perform one step to initiate backup because most of the process is automated.
The service color codes your files so you can check their status at a glance. It excludes some files and extensions and doesn’t backup files larger than 4GB by default. You need to tag them manually to include them.
There’s an attractive web interface, as well, that lets you check your backup status, access files and manage your account.
The mobile app lets you do that, too. It has a clear, minimalist interface, so it won’t confuse you. Besides storing files, you can use the app to automatically backup photos on your phone. You can’t do that with other file types, but unlimited photo backup is still a great deal. To learn more about the service, read our Carbonite review.
- Unlimited backup
- Backup by file type
- No monthly subscriptions
Honorable Mention: Carbonite Safe Server Backup
Carbonite added a cloud backup location in Canada, but only for Carbonite Safe Server Backup. It’s too much for individual and small business consumers, but it will fit some enterprise users.
The service can restore a single file or an entire server in a few steps. Plus, you can choose between granular and full system backup, including image backup. Hybrid backup allows you to protect data locally and in the cloud, as well.
AES-128 bit protects your files, but there’s an option to switch to AES-256 bit with a private key. During transfer, the TLS/SSL protocol secures your data.
To enjoy those benefits, you have to subscribe to the Power plan for $50 a month, billed annually. It provides 500GB of backup space and you’ll be able to backup one server and 25 computers. The Ultimate plan gives you the same amount of space but allows you to backup unlimited servers and 25 computers for $83 per month.
Backing up your data in Canada is a good tactic if you want to benefit from its privacy protection laws, but there’s a shortage of cloud backup providers. We’ve been forced to look at services in the U.S., but we’ve made sure they offer tough security and privacy protection.IDrive is our top pick due to its competitive prices, private encryption and fast connection. If you’d like a service that’s faster, but not as cheap, choose Acronis True Image. For those who need lots of backup space, the last two services on the list will fit.
What do you think about our list? Do you live in Canada and use a different backup service than we’ve featured? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.