Best Online Backup for Home

Your home computers and devices don’t hold key business information, bank reports or top-secret files, but they’re still important. Nobody wants to lose their photos from that special trip to Acapulco or that one Christmas everyone talks about. Because of that, we at Cloudwards.net have decided to help you by selecting the best online backup for home.

Online backup can protect files on your personal computers, external drives and even your mobile devices. If you use a backup service, you can be sure you won’t lose your files because of a hard drive crash, theft or other malfunction.

One of our best data recovery software apps might help you retrieve your files, but that’s not a reliable method. Solid-state drives aren’t reliable, either, because they experience more data errors, even though their chance of failure is less than 1 percent. Plus, it’s better to be secure from the start which you can do with cloud backup.

Cloud backup also lets you set up automatic backups, access your data remotely and perform incremental backups to speed up the process.

Relying solely on cloud backup isn’t the best strategy, though. If you want to be as secure as possible, you should have a local backup, too. That’s the 3-2-1 rule, anyway.

Because online backup mirrors the structure of your files in the cloud, it won’t be able to save space on your hard drive. That’s more of a cloud storage thing. If you’re not clear about the difference, read our explanation.

Best Online Backup for Home 2019

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$ per month
top features
Starts from $ 434 per month for 2000 GB
Free plan available

What Makes the Best Online Backup for Home

You should get more for less, and the plans should be tailored for home. That means they offer backup space for multiple users without requiring you to pay an arm and a leg for it. It’s best if a service has several plans to choose from because it’ll be easier to find one that fits your home setup. If you need a lot of space, though, read our best unlimited online storage providers guide.

It shouldn’t be difficult to use the service. Most home users are probably mainstream users who don’t want to grapple with the service. Instead, they’d prefer a straightforward and enjoyable user experience. Because of that, the service should work on most operating systems and make it easy to backup and restore files.

The security of a service should be strong. Its strength depends on the level of file encryption, how safe the data centers are, which protocol and encryption protects your files in transit and more. It’s best to have private encryption because it prevents anyone but you from reading your files. Two-factor authentication will help, too, if someone steals your password.

That’s all well and good, but it won’t amount to anything if it takes forever to upload files. Initial uploads take a long time, but they shouldn’t drag on indefinitely. How fast your upload speed is will depend on how close you are to a server, the infrastructure of the backup service and your internet service provider. Block-level transfer will help with subsequent uploads.

Best Cloud Backup for Home: IDrive

IDrive sits at the top of our best online backup ranking. Though it doesn’t have a plan that provides access to multiple users, you can use its plans to backup unlimited computers and devices. They’re cheap, too.

IDrive has two plans that are good for home users. The first provides 2TB of backup space and the second 5TB. There’s no option to pay on a month-to-month basis, so you’ll have to pay for one or two years in advance. Both plans are currently discounted 50 percent, so the 2TB plan is $52.12 per year and the 5TB plan is $74.62 per year.

IDrive provides 2TB or 5TB of sync space in addition to your backup space. That gives you 4TB or 10TB of space to work with depending on which plan you choose.

Unlike most backup services, IDrive offers a free 5GB plan. That’s not enough space to backup your home devices, but it’s enough to test how IDrive performs.

The desktop client is available for Windows and macOS, but not Linux. If you need a service that cooperates with the penguin, read our best online backup for Linux. If you’d rather stick with IDrive you can use scripts or the web client as a workaround.

The web client is straightforward and easy to use. The default page shows your backup, sync folder, share and web logs. It also lets you preview your connected devices.

You won’t have issues using the mobile app, either. It has a minimal and intuitive design. You can use it to access your backup and photo timeline, but it can also backup your phone data. Thanks to that, it’s our top pick in our best online backup for mobile list. Plus, it can use facial recognition to analyze individuals from your photos.

Other Reasons We Like IDrive

IDrive uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect your files at rest and the SSL protocol to protect them in transit. By default, IDrive will keep the key to decrypt your data. Because of that, the company can reset your password if you ever forget it.

If you’d rather retain the key so that only you can read your data, you can. You have to enable private encryption when you sign up, though. Because you won’t be able to retrieve your password, make sure you save it using one of the best password managers.

IDrive’s hardened data centers are in the U.S. They have temperature control, raised floors, seismically-braced racks and systems with separate cooling zones. They also have fire suppression systems, motion sensors, 24/7 secured access, video surveillance and security breach alarms. Plus, its data centers undergo third-party security reviews

IDrive isn’t among the fastest backup services when it comes to the initial backup. That said, the closer you are to IDrive’s data centers in the U.S. the better your speeds will be. IDrive uses block-level backup to speed up subsequent backups, though.

We’ve placed IDrive first thanks to its inexpensive plans and the option to backup unlimited devices. That said, the service offers more features which we talk about in our IDrive review.

Pros:

  • Unlimited device backup
  • Inexpensive plans
  • Block-level backup

Cons:

  • Complex desktop app
  • Slow
Starts from $ 434 per month for 2000 GB
Free plan available

Zoolz Home Backup

Zoolz is a UK-based company and its Home Backup product is a good option for, well, home users.

You can use Zoolz Home Backup’s plans to backup several computers for multiple users. The Family plan is $39.95 per year and provides 1TB of backup space for five users and five computers. The Heavy plan lets you do the same, but it provides 4TB of backup space. It’s $99.95 per year. Those prices include the hefty discount that’s been active for a while now.

The Zoolz Home Backup desktop client is available for Windows and macOS. It’s easy to initiate the backup process because you can automatically backup files based on categories such as pictures, documents, music and videos. You can select specific folders in your file system for backup, as well.

The web client will help you manage your account. Its dashboard shows your active computers, along with account status, how much storage you’re using and system alerts.

You can also access your backup on the go by using a smartphone app for Android or iOS. They’re attractive and easy to use. They also let you backup documents, videos, contacts and more from your phone.

Other Reasons We Like Zoolz Home Backup

Zoolz Home Backup scrambles your files at-rest using AES 256-bit encryption. It manages your encryption keys by default, but you can enable private encryption. As with IDrive, you have to set up your private key before your first backup.

The service integrates with Amazon S3 which has a global network of servers. If you’re unfamiliar with it read our Amazon S3 review. That didn’t help Zoolz Home Backup reach faster than average speeds for initial uploads during testing for our Zoolz Home review, but a block-level transfer algorithm and multi-threaded backup are available to speed it up.

Pros:

  • Private encryption
  • Multi-threaded backup
  • Block-level backup

Cons:

  • Slow download speed
  • No two-factor authentication
Starts from $ 583 per month for 1000 GB

BigMIND Home

Like the previous entry, BigMIND Home is made by Zoolz. The difference is that BigMIND Home has more features, faster speeds and stronger security, but its plans provide less backup space for more green bills.

BigMIND Home’s plans let one or more users backup multiple computers and devices. There are three premium plans to choose from and all require you to pay per year.

The Personal plan is $35.88 per year and provides a puny 100GB of backup space for one user and three computers.

The Family plan costs $83.88 per year and gives you 500GB of storage space for three users, nine computers and six mobile devices. It’s better than the previous plan, but it’s still not a lot of space for three users.

You can get more if you subscribe to the Family Plus plan which provides 1TB of cloud backup space for $155.88 per year. That’s a better deal, but it pales in comparison to our top two picks. The plan enables you to share with five users across 15 computers and unlimited mobile devices.

If you want to test BigMIND Home before subscribing you can use its free plan. It lets you backup one computer, one external drive and two mobile devices using 5GB of backup space.

The desktop client works on Windows and macOS, but not on Linux. It’s straightforward, easy to use and shows important backup information, including your backup status, when the last backup was, when the next one will be and how much backup space is in use. It also lets you launch the web client.

The web client’s default view is the dashboard, which shows a lot of information including your backup traffic, connected devices, a pie chart detailing your data types, activity stream, your media and how much storage you’ve used. It might seem like it has too much information at first but it’s clear and easy to use.

The mobile app isn’t as straightforward as apps from other services because you need to do more to select data for backup. That said, you can use it to access your backup, create a backup for your phone and delete videos and photos you’ve backed up from your phone to save space.

Other Reasons We Like BigMIND Home

BigMIND Home uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure your files at rest and the SSL protocol to protect them in transit. You have to opt in for it, though, by checking the “use SSL” checkbox in the settings menu of the desktop client.

Your files are kept in multiple data centers, which makes them redundant so a single disaster won’t affect them all. That’s similar to a RAID setup. Data centers undergo security reviews at least once per year.

BigMIND Home has two-factor authentication so you can enjoy another layer of security for your account.

As you can see in the tests in our BigMIND Home review, the service is faster than average on initial upload. That’s thanks to Amazon Web Service’ global network of servers. If you need more speed, though, you can enable multi-threaded backup. Plus, subsequent uploads benefit from the block-level file copying algorithm.

Pros:

  • Fast uploads
  • Multi-threaded backup
  • Block-level backup

Cons:

  • Only up to 1TB
  • HD video only on Family Plus
  • Could have better deals
Starts from $ 299 per month for 100 GB
Free plan available

Acronis True Image

Acronis True Image is the newest release from Acronis, but it doesn’t provide the best value because its pricing plans can’t compete with the top services on our list.

The reason for that is they don’t offer a lot of backup space for cheap. Instead, they offer a small amount of backup for a hefty price. You can use Acronis True Image on multiple computers, and that’s its redeeming quality.

Its Advanced plan provides 250GB of backup space for one computer for $49.99 per year. You can increase the number of computers from three of five, but each step increases the price by $20. The same goes if you add 250GB of space.

The next plan, Premium, starts at 1TB for $99.99. It can protect the same number of computers as the previous plan, but every addition raises the price by $50. You can also add 1TB or up to 5TB of backup space which costs $40 per bump. The pricing scheme is flexible, but we wish it could be cheaper.

If you think Acronis True Image is a good fit, you don’t have to reach for your wallet just yet. You can use the free 30-day trial to make sure you’re getting what you need.

The desktop client has a modern and intuitive design. You can backup your computer instead of selecting specific files and folders, even though you don’t get unlimited space. It makes creating backup faster, though. To make sure you don’t run out of space, you can exclude files from your backup. It’s available for Windows and macOS, but not on Linux.

Smartphone apps for Android and iOS are easy to use and let you access your files and backup your mobile data.

Other Reasons We Like Acronis True Image

Acronis True Image uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure files at rest and the TLS/SSL protocol protects your data in transfer. There’s also an innovative feature called Acronis Active Protection 2.0 that protects you from ransomware attacks. If it fails, you can use file versioning to retrieve your files. There’s no two-factor authentication, though, which is a big miss.

You can encrypt files using your password, which Acronis True Image doesn’t have access to. That means it has private encryption.

Unlike the competition, Acronis has a proprietary global network of servers, giving it an edge over services that keep their servers in one region. Thanks to that, Acronis True Image is one of the fastest services we tested. You can see the results in our Acronis True Image review. A block-level file copying algorithm that speeds up subsequent uploads is available, too.

Pros:

  • Fast backup
  • Desktop & mobile backup
  • Private encryption
  • Ransomware scanning

Cons:

  • No two-factor authentication
  • Could be better value
Starts from $ 417 per month for 250 GB

Carbonite

Unlike most services, Carbonite has three unlimited plans to choose from. You can also use them to protect multiple computers. That said, adding multiple computers quickly raises the price because everyone you add increases the price by the base amount.

The cheapest plan, Basic is $71.99 per year and provides unlimited backup without extra features. The Plus plan adds external drive backup and automatic video backup for $111.99 a year. Prime  ups the deal with the addition of a courier recovery service for $149.99 per year.

You can get a 5 percent discount if you subscribe for two years or 10 percent if you sign up for three. Before paying, you can test Carbonite by using its free 15-day trial.

Carbonite’s desktop client is simple to use and you only have to do one step to create your backup plan. It preselects the most common file types for continuous backup, so if you’re fine with that, you can just start the backup process without changing anything.

Once it starts, Carbonite will color code your files, so you can see their status in your file explorer.

You won’t have an issue using Carbonite’s web client, either. It’s drab, though. Its main page informs you about the computers you’ve backed up and lets you add a computer, view or restore your files or reinstall Carbonite.

The mobile app is straightforward. You can use it to check your backup and enable files from it for offline access.

Other Reasons We Like Carbonite

Unlike the previous entries, Carbonite uses AES 128-bit encryption by default to protect your files at rest. That said, you can turn on private encryption, which makes Carbonite use AES 256-bit. The SSL protocol protects files during the data transmission process.

Initial backup can take a long time, but Carbonite takes the cake in that department. It took more than an hour to upload a 1GB folder, making it one of the slower services we’ve tested. You can see the speed table in our Carbonite review. You can’t increase the number of backup threads to boost the speeds, but block-level file copying helps with later uploads.

Carbonite is slow and doesn’t have competitive plans for multiple computers which makes it fit for the tail end of this list.

Pros:

  • Unlimited backup
  • Backup by file type
  • Private encryption

Cons:

  • Slow
  • Could offer better deals
  • Limited mobile backup
Starts from $ 600 per month for Unlimited GB

Final Thoughts

The first three services on our list are great choices for home backup, but the last two are below our cutoff point. That’s because Acronis True Image and Carbonite are more expensive and their plans don’t scale well when you need to backup multiple computers.

Unlike them, IDrive has cheap plans and lets you backup unlimited devices. It doesn’t have an option for multiple home users, but it gets the job done. That said, your setup might not be compatible with a one-user plan, so you can pick one of the next two services on our list. They have plans for multiple users, but they don’t offer as much value as IDrive.

What do you think about our choices? Do you use a different service for your home backup? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

Starts from $ 434 per month for 2000 GB
Free plan available
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