Big business aren’t the only ones capable of collecting massive amounts of data these days. Increases in home computer power, decreases in computer costs and the smartphone explosion changed the game and now we’re all drowning in digital.
Photos, music, movies, financial records, school essays, that book you’ve been working on for ten years: all of that data gets stored on your hard drive. The good news is that hard drives are bigger than ever, too, with average laptop discs running from 250GB to 1TB.
The bad news is that hard drives break. Or get lost. Or stolen. It’s more of a when-than-if fact of life. Hard drives are replaceable, but the files on them often aren’t. That’s why Cloudwards.net strongly advocates backing up data, both locally and online (as well as encrypting hard drives so thieves and finders-keepers types get nothing besides a funky-looking paperweight).
Finding the best online backup tool isn’t easy work, though. There are many names out there, with many different features. On top of that, some online backup solutions are blazing fast, making efficient use of your internet bandwidth, while others will have you pulling your hair out or take so long you simply feel yourself aging as you watch the progress bar.
To save you from making the wrong decision, we’ve compiled a list of the top backup picks available for home computer use today. Entrepreneurs may find themselves better served by our best business backup article.
Best Online Backup for Home 2019
Online Backup: What it’s Good For
Before running down our picks for the best backup for home use, its good to know for sure that you’re barking up the right tree. Online backup isn’t Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. While you can certainly use those services to save copies of important files on a remote server, technically those are cloud storage services.
The problem is that most cloud storage services are missing several key features that make online backup convenient. These missing features often include scheduling options, block-level file copying, private encryption and handy tools for quickly creating a complete backup plan.
Cloud storage is useful for expanding your storage capacity beyond your hard drive space, but it isn’t good at replicating your hard drive. If you want to find out more, check our this article on the differences between storage and backup.
What Makes The Best Online Backup for Home Computer Use?
There’s more to backup than bottom line, though we certainly factored that heavily into our decision making. Some online backup tools, while generally well put together, don’t make much sense for the average household budget.
SOS Online Backup is a good example. Read our SOS Online Backup review if you like, but the $40 monthly price tag for just 1TB of backup space is reason enough to stay away.
Related to cost, we also looked at total storage space, number of devices covered by a subscription — including smartphones and external drives — and what platforms are supported.
Mentioned earlier, speed is another crucial difference to consider when picking between backup services. More than any other complaint, it seems like slow backup speeds are what we hear about most often from our readers. In fact, it’s not unusual to hear of an initial backup taking months to finish.
That shouldn’t happen. The fastest backup services tend to cost more, since that speed usually comes courtesy of a global server network that takes more money to maintain. However, there are several somewhat slower but much cheaper options that won’t keep you waiting too long, three of which made our list.
Ease of use factors into the equation, too, along with the always important topic of cloud security. However, that’s enough stage setting: here are our picks for the best online backup for home use, ranked by order of preference.
Backblaze consistently ranks among our favorite backup picks for three big reasons: cost, storage space and ease of use.
The cost is just $5 a month for unlimited backup space — or $50 a year if you don’t mind paying upfront to get two months free. That only covers a single computer and Backblaze doesn’t have a family plan, but you’re not going to find many better deals.
$ 5 00monthly
$ 50 00yearly
$ 95 002 years
Plan is for one computer.
Unlimited backup space, to be impartial, is somewhat gimmicky. That’s because online backup can’t be used to save space on your hard drive. Remember that its designed to replicate your hard drive, instead, meaning you can only backup what’s on it.
Since hard drives with unlimited storage capacity don’t exist, chances are most people likely don’t need an online backup with more than 2TB, and probably nowhere near that amount.
However, if you’re the kind of person with several external drives that also require backup, those are covered by a Backblaze subscription without limit. For you, unlimited makes some sense, and Backblaze is the best of them.
Backblaze is also the easiest backup to use of any service we’ve tested here at Cloudwards.net, as you can read in our Backblaze review. The Backblaze developers took advantage of the fact that it’s an unlimited backup service by creating a client that scans your hard drive and automatically backs up all file types other than system and temporary.
The result is that all you really need to do is install the client, start it and never worry about accidentally overlooking files because Backblaze handles everything for you.
Backblaze won’t be for everyone, however. While it outperforms similarly-priced rivals like IDrive and Carbonite, Backblaze isn’t as fast as Acronis True Image and certain Cloudberry Backup pairings. Backblaze does have courier recovery service to get files back more quickly, but doesn’t offer the same service for initial backup.
Additionally, while generally secure thanks to a private encryption option, Backblaze doesn’t support two-factor authentication and only supports 30 days of file versioning, which means limited protection against malware attacks that cause file corruptions, like ransomware.
On top of all of that, Backblaze doesn’t support smartphone backup, though you can access your files through smartphone apps for Android and iOS. NAS backup is likewise unsupported, so if you’re trying to backup your home media storage device, for example, you’ll want to look to another solution.
That said, however, we feel confident in recommending Backblaze to most people, so check out the service’s free 15-day trial to see if it’ll work for you.
- Unlimited backup
- Easy to use
- A bit slow
- No mobile backup
- Limited file versioning
If you’re looking for a fast backup solution and don’t mind paying a little more than what you will with Backblaze, Acronis True Image moves.
We tested its speeds during our most recent Acronis True Image review, and were impressed to find a service designed for consumers that actually makes efficient use of internet bandwidth. Usually, that kind of speed requires a business backup plan.
True Image managed to backup our 1GB test folder in just under 15 minutes on average. That was over a WiFi connection with an 20 Mbps upload speed. For context, similar speed tests with Carbonite took over three hours to complete, while Backblaze, IDrive and SpiderOak ONE took an hour.
The reason behind the difference is likely Acronis’ excellent server network, with data centers in the U.S., Europe, Russia, Asia and Southeast Asia.
True Image does cost more, but nearly on the scale of SOS Online Backup. In fact, in some cases it might actually save you money over Backblaze and the rest of the value-driven backup crowd.
|Plan||Advanced 250GB||Advanced 500GB||Premium 1TB||Premium 2TB|
$ 49 99yearly
$ 79 99yearly
$ 99 99yearly
$ 69 99yearly
$ 99 99yearly
$ 119 99yearly
$ 99 99yearly
$ 149 99yearly
$ 159 99yearly
$ 139 9810 months
$ 189 98yearly
$ 199 98yearly
|Storage||250 GB||500 GB||1000 GB||2000 GB|
Cost for 1 PC
Cost for 1 PC
Cost for 1 PC
Cost for 1 PC
For example, 250GB of True Image backup costs $50 a year, the same as unlimited backup with Backblaze. However, Acronis had discounted plans for three and five computers. Right now, it’s actually the same cost — $50 a year — to protect three computers as it is one.
If you don’t need much backup space, that will save you $100 a year over buying three Backblaze subscriptions.
On top of that, a single subscription can be used to backup unlimited external drives, including NAS devices, and Android and iOS smartphones. That makes it a very versatile home backup solution.
Acronis can also pull off a couple of tricks that usually belong to cloud storage, including freeing up space on your hard drive and syncing files across devices. Image-based backup, bootable media, configurable file versioning, private encryption and blockchain checks to ensure file integrity are other reasons to love True Image. See how you like it using its generous 30-day trial.
- Very fast backup speeds
- Advanced feature set
- NAS & mobile backup
- A bit expensive
- No 2FA
- No courier service
CloudBerry Backup takes a different approach to cloud storage that some will hate and others will love. Rather than provide cloud space, CloudBerry Backup only provides a client. You’ll need to subscribe to a cloud service separately and pair it with the client (read the details in our CloudBerry Backup review).
The downside is that CloudBerry takes more work to setup than more inclusive backup options. The upside is that you can choose between over 50 different supported services.
That includes vaunted cloud networks like Amazon S3, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, all of which provide worldwide server networks for speeds that should rival True Image. Or, you can go cheap with a service like Backblaze B2 or Wasabi. You can even backup to your Google Drive, Amazon Drive or OneDrive account.
CloudBerry Backup costs $29.99 and your license is for life. Supported operating systems include Windows, Mac and even Linux, which Backblaze and True Image don’t support.
Storage costs themselves vary wildly. Backblaze B2 costs $0.005 for storage per gigabyte. That’s about $5 a month for 1TB of storage. However, there is also charge of $0.02 per gigabyte for recovery. Amazon S3, meanwhile, costs $0.021 per gigabyte for storage. which works out to $21 a month for 1TB. There’s $0.05 per gigabyte charge for recovery.
Read our head-to-head comparison of Amazon S3, Google Drive, Microsoft Azure and Backblaze B2 for more cost analysis.
The CloudBerry client is packed with excellent features to customize your backup. These include options for private encryption, file compression, block-level copying and customizable versioning. Hybrid backup with NAS support is also key, as is image-based backup.
There’s no mobile app, even for accessing files. That’s probably our biggest concern with the service, other than slightly higher pricing and the fact that it takes more work to set up. That said, checking out the trial is the only good way to see whether you’ll like it.
- Configurable storage
- Powerful features
- NAS backup
- No mobile app
- More complex than other services
- Can be expensive
Reading our IDrive review, it may seem like the best of the bunch. It doesn’t cost much and can be used to backup unlimited devices, including smartphones, external drives and NAS devices.
The reason we rank it lower has more to do with some of the complaints we’ve received about stalled backups and certain customer support shenanigans like not cancelling subscriptions when requested or bumping people up to higher subscription plans without permission.
To be clear, this writer happens to be an IDrive customer, himself. The upload speeds are frustrating and might provoke a switch to True Image, but support has never been a problem. IDrive actually maintains live 24/7 chat support and ranked number one in customer service in our most recent best online backup update.
However, the consistency of the concerns lends enough credence to the validity of the problem that we now favor the three previous services for home use.
The cost is more than reasonable. You can get 2TB of storage for $50 for your first year of service, or 4TB for $75. After the first year, the prices jump to $70 and $100, respectively.
|Plan||Free||Personal 2TB||Personal 5TB||Business 250GB||Business 500GB||Business 1.25TB|
$ 52 12yearly
$ 104 252 years
$ 74 62yearly
$ 149 252 years
$ 74 62yearly
$ 149 252 years
$ 149 62yearly
$ 299 252 years
$ 374 62yearly
$ 749 252 years
|Storage||5 GB||2000 GB||5000 GB||250 GB||500 GB||1250 GB|
One subscription can be used to backup unlimited devices, as mentioned, which makes it a good choice for families. Also note that the first 2GB are free, meaning you can play around with it at your heart’s content before committing.
NAS backup, private encryption, block-level copying and image-based backup are all notable features. Like True Image, IDrive offers some cloud storage perks, too. In fact, you get matching space just for sync, meaning a 2TB plan is actually giving you 2TB of backup and 2TB of cloud storage.
While slow, IDrive does provide both courier recovery and backup services to speed things up. Better yet, courier service is free up front. You’ll only be charged if you don’t return the external drive that IDrive sends you.
- Active & cold storage
- External HDD backup
- Backs up NAS drives
- Lacks continuous backup
- No multi-device syncing
- File versioning limited to 10 copies
Our fifth and final pick for home users is SpiderOak ONE. This service runs a bit expensive and the user experience sometimes feels clumsy. In fact, it’s somewhat of a distant fifth right now.
What we love about SpiderOak ONE is its approach to security. It defaults to private, end-to-end encryption and you always retain the encryption keys. The company doesn’t even keep a database of your file metadata. That database is created on your computer, instead.
If you connect multiple computers to your SpiderOak account, metadata is shared between them using an encrypted peer-to-peer approach, read our SpiderOak review for the details on this.
Costs, as mentioned, are on the high side. 1TB of backup is priced at $130 a year, more than twice as much as the other entries on this list — unless you were to go with CloudBerry Backup paired with Amazon S3 or something similar. The free trial is also a bit short.
|Plan||SpiderOak ONE Trial||SpiderOak ONE 100GB||SpiderOak ONE 250GB||SpiderOak ONE 1TB||SpiderOak ONE 5TB|
$ 5 00monthly
$ 59 00yearly
$ 9 00monthly
$ 99 00yearly
$ 12 00monthly
$ 129 00yearly
$ 25 00monthly
$ 279 00yearly
|Storage||150 GB||400 GB||2000 GB||5000 GB|
21-day free trial.
The high price is only partly justified by features like command-line operation, advanced file-sharing, unlimited versioning and some sync functionality. Speeds with SpiderOak ONE were also slightly better than both Backblaze and IDrive in our testing, though nowhere near on par with True Image.
A SpiderOak subscription does let you backup unlimited computers, but with no NAS or mobile backup like you get with IDrive. Courier services are also a no go.
- Very secure
- Unlimited computers
- Unlimited versioning
- Uncompetitive pricing
- No mobile or NAS backup
- UX needs work
Honorable Mention: Carbonite
Carbonite provides unlimited backup, just like Backblaze, and comes at almost as affordable a price. While not as easy to create backup plans as Backblaze, file restore runs a bit more smoothly.
$ 71 99yearly
$ 111 99yearly
$ 149 99yearly
|Storage||Unlimited GB||Unlimited GB||Unlimited GB|
Doesn't include external hard drives.
Includes external hard drive backup and automatic video backup.
Includes courier service.
The reason that Carbonite didn’t land in our top five is that it’s too slow. On average, expect to backup five to ten gigabytes a day with the service.
Now that we got the best out of the way, here’s a quick list of online backups to steer clear of.
- Norton Online Backup: Only 25GB of backup space. Put it politely: pretty useless.
- MozyPro: Over $700 a year for 250GB of backup. Not a typo.
- SOS Online Backup: A bargain compared to Mozy, but still overpriced.
- Degoo: 100GB free, but missing key features and support never writes us back.
- ADrive: Broken features, but worst transgression is no file encryption. Avoid.
Backblaze was our top pick for home backup, but True Image, CloudBerry Backup and IDrive maybe more suitable for you depending on your needs. SpiderOak ONE is worth a look, though perhaps more limited in appeal. We’ll point you one last time to our best online backup guide to make sure you get the best fit for your needs.
The most important thing, of course, is to start backing up your computer. Doing so will protect your files from hard-drive failure, corruptions, malware, computer loss and computer theft.
Whenever we put out our “best of” lists, we fully expect some controversy. However, we’re pretty confident at this point that our top five are, indeed, the best picks in online backup right now. So, bring it on: let us know you where you think we goofed in the comments below. Thanks for reading.