Here at Cloudwards.net we know how tough it can be for members of Team Penguin to find a compatible service from our selection of the best online backup providers. We’ve done some digging and come up with the five best online backup services for Linux that are guaranteed to work with your open-source OS.
On top of that, we’ve also decided to have them face off against each other in a winner-takes-all competition. Well, not quite, but what we want to know is which of our best online backup services for Linux is really the best. The only way to find that out is to put them to the test.
One of the key attractions to Linux is its stability, even under heavy computing loads. No horrible “Blue Screen of Death” due to a simple buffer overrun or “sudden death syndrome” just because you’re doing something outside of what the Apple team thinks you should be doing. Linux up times are legendary.
Still, though, we’re all just one software update away from potential oblivion at all times. The necessity of putting our home folder in its own partition is a lesson most of us have to learn the hard way, especially since most distros aren’t configured to do that by default.
Even this clever move, however, won’t be enough to save you if your hardware glitches or your house burns down, which is where you’ll appreciate the true value of having a backup plan.
$ 2.00 per month 100 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit Cloudberry BackupCloudberry Backup Review|
$ 5.99 per month Unlimited GBStorage All Plans
|Visit CrashPlanCrashPlan Review|
$ 4.99 per month 500 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit pCloudpCloud Review|
$ 5.00 per month 100 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit SpiderOak ONESpiderOak ONE Review|
$ 2.50 per month 100 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit ADriveADrive Review|
What Makes an Online Backup Service Best for Linux?
The typical Linux user tends to place a high value on things like freedom, control, and security. Where the Windows or Mac user simply wants the reassurance that “everything will just work,” Linux users prefer to know how it works, even if that means sacrificing some usability and compatibility.
Following from this, we can conclude there are three main things a service needs to provide in order to win a loyal following among Linux users: trust, reliability and performance. Get this part right and you will make a lot of money, because there are so few competitors in the pool right now.
All five of the services below offer all these three qualities and more. The winner is CloudBerry Backup, mainly for its amazing flexibility and ease of use, though the other four have plenty to offer as well.
CrashPlan, for instance, offers great proactive security as well as unlimited backup space, while the privacy-conscious will probably appreciate the service offered by pCloud as this Swiss provider likely has the best protections around.
Fans of zero-knowledge encryption can opt for pCloud, though some may find SpiderOak a little easier to use. Both are, however, among our best zero-knowledge cloud services, so when it comes to secure backup you can’t go wrong with either of them.
Last is ADrive, which we hesitated to include at first due to the service’s questionable security, but it is one of the cheapest backup options out there and plays very nicely with Linux. With that out of the way, let’s get into the meat of this article and take a look at our five contenders in detail.
CloudBerry Backup is radically different from a typical online backup solution because it doesn’t directly provide storage space to its customers. Instead, it allows you to consolidate storage space from multiple different providers into one single, easily managed space.
It’s a novel approach and you can probably already see the scope here for what can be achieved. Currently the service provides integration with around 30 different providers, with more being added every few months (for more information on the service’s features, check out our CloudBerry Backup review).
There are no monthly fees with CloudBerry Backup; instead, you renew your license fee annually. This means that if you feel like pinching every possible penny, you could set up free accounts with various providers and easily accumulate more than 100GB for the amazing sum of $0 per month.
Sure you can do that without help from CloudBerry, but then you wouldn’t have access to all of the various spaces through a single interface. You can also set up local backup in conjunction with cloud solutions thanks to CloudBerry’s handy hybrid features.
Reliability could be a bit of an issue, but the chances of a major disruption are minimal. The potential for a problem lies in the fact that you’re dealing with a multitude of services instead of just one, so if one of the services is down for any reason, you’ll lose access to the files it contains.
This weakness is also a strength, because your files are compartmentalized, which is the same security method military and clandestine agencies use to help prevent information leaks. Hypothetically, somebody could compromise some of your data security, but unless you’ve used the same password for all your providers, they can’t access all your data.
You may see some slight fluctuations in performance due to the multi-hosted approach to file storage, but because CloudBerry is likely to be able to retrieve your files from those hosts more quickly than you probably can, you may actually see speed improvements compared to if you accessed each service individually.
Other Reasons We Like CloudBerry Backup
CloudBerry grants you the potential for high capacity storage at low cost, with the protection of built-in compartmentalization to boost security. Over time, it’s expected the number of services you’ll have access to will increase, which will give you even greater value on your purchase in years to come.
You’ll be subject to a multitude of privacy policies and T&C agreements, but any way you look at it, using CloudBerry Backup is a fantastic idea and a great deal for the price.
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Image-based backup
- Restore images as VMs in the cloud
- No included storage
- Not for casual users
- No mobile app
The name says it all with CrashPlan. The only drawback is that backup space is only available on paid accounts and the free trial is way too short at just 15 days. At only $59.99 for a whole year of unlimited storage space, however, it’s not a bank breaker for most users.
CrashPlan isn’t as big on features as some other providers, but that’s because the focus is on disaster recovery rather than being a hosting platform for file sharing. This, in fact, is what a backup service should be. It’s nice being able to have confidence your files are going to be there in a genuine crisis.
It was a slight concern to see that CrashPlan uses DoubleClick cookies on its website. DoubleClick was bought out by Google, but it’s still one of the most aggressive tracking services in the marketing industry. You can read about that on Ghostery’s Privacy Report. Apart from this concern, CrashPlan’s approach to security is almost too aggressive. There is active scanning to protect you from insider threats, which is a rare thing among online backup providers.
CrashPlan also shows a bit too much eagerness to co-operate with government and industrial investigators and since it’s not a zero-knowledge service, that’s a concern too. Because it’s pure backup (meaning you don’t need real-time access to the files), the best strategy is to keep your content in encrypted containers. That way only you have the keys to the kingdom.
Reliability is excellent. Files are backed up promptly, can be restored by you on demand, and there’s a 30-day file recovery for accidentally deleted files. CrashPlan also has some of the best customer service in the industry, with the only problem being that phone support is only available during U.S. business hours.
The refund policy is very generous and unused months on annual subscriptions are refunded without a fuss. This is often a concern for storage buyers, and it’s good that CrashPlan is showing respect for customers in this way.
Other Reasons We Like CrashPlan
CrashPlan is a solid performer with an affordable unlimited storage solution. To protect your personally identifiable information, consider blacklisting DoubleClick and to protect your data consider wrapping it in encrypted containers.
With good upload and download speeds, no limits on what you can store, and reasonable prices, the only thing CrashPlan is lacking is zero-knowledge encryption. Check out more details in our CrashPlan review.
- Free local backups
- Seeded backup
- Windows, Mac & Linux
- A lot of options
- No sharing or syncing
- Slow backups when outside of the U.S.
The interesting thing about pCloud is that it’s one of the few services that actually works better on Linux compared to Windows. There are more options accessible the system tray icon, which (somewhat ironically) means improved ease of use on Linux systems.
pCloud offers affordable basic plans that can be upgraded to zero-knowledge storage for a small additional monthly fee. Depending on what criteria you use for measuring, and whether the zero-knowledge feature is activated, only SpiderOak ONE seems to have a higher trust rating.
pCloud does not appear to have any negative reliability concerns. Data is stored safely and can be downloaded almost instantly, and will be available on any device you choose to connect (it supports Linux, Android, OSX, iOS, and Windows).
Customer service is very good, with acceptable response times, a comprehensive online knowledgebase and quality FAQ information.
Performance was impressive, especially in comparison to SpiderOak ONE. File uploads are acceptable and download speed is fantastic. pCloud is also remarkable for its excellent file sharing abilities, including the ability to receive files from other people. For all this great service’s features, make sure to read our pCloud review.
Other Reasons We Like pCloud
pCloud gets the job done and provides better value than SpiderOak ONE on zero-knowledge storage. SpiderOak ONE is more flexible, however, so it’s a very close contest between those two, read our pCloud vs SpiderOak comparison article for more information.
- Zero-knowledge encryption
- Good file sharing
- Fee for zero-knowledge
- File encryption is a paid add-on service
- No FTP access
What makes SpiderOak ONE impressive is its great user interface and faultless ability to cross platforms without any visible change. It’s a great system for beginners because it clearly differentiates between sync and backup, and is very easy to use.
SpiderOak has a legendary reputation for trustworthiness. Because it has been built for zero-knowledge from the start, even if SpiderOak ONE wanted to betray your trust, it couldn’t possibly do so.
Service is very reliable, and proactively informs users of any potential problems that may possibly affect that reliability (which has never actually happened so far, because vulnerabilities are patched so quickly). Because data is securely encrypted, provided you chose a good password, there is no way it can be compromised.
Customer support from SpiderOak ONE is good, with acceptable response times and a good online knowledgebase to search.
Unfortunately SpiderOak ONE is the slowest service on this list when it comes to uploading. Downloads are acceptable but still far from impressive. We’d have to say if speed is a priority, SpiderOak ONE is not for you.
Other Reasons We Like SpiderOak
SpiderOak ONE has great security and privacy, but high prices and slow performance. If those issues could be fixed, SpiderOak ONE would be one of the best services around. For a full balance, read our SpiderOak review.
It’s a great service for those new to online storage and backup, with a gentle learning curve and a very user-friendly interface. As things stand, unless privacy is your most important criteria, you can find better value.
Which is a shame, because in so many ways SpiderOak ONE deserves to be better.
Strong focus on privacy & security
On the expensive side
File syncing is slow
Based in the U.S.
In addition to loving freedom and security, Linux users also tend to be fond of a bargain. After all, the operating system is nearly always a free download and most of the software is free or donationware. This is a point the ADrive marketing team hasn’t overlooked, which is why you can score yourself a whopping 100GB for just $2.50 per month, or $25 per year.
The deal also comes with what might be the most generous free trial offer ever given for a paid online backup service account. As Hansel and Gretel discovered on their walk through the woods, however, not everything is as sweet as it first appears. This deal from ADrive will suit many purposes, but there’s a few gotchas to watch out for (make sure to read our ADrive review for a full list).
First, individual file transfer is capped at 16GB, so you can forget about backing up that huge Truecrypt container. Second, if you accidentally delete a file from your backup, you only have seven days to retrieve it before it’s lost forever. Third, that amazingly low price is only available because the service is ad-supported. Finally, the only way to achieve zero-knowledge encryption with ADrive is to manually encrypt each file yourself before uploading.
Security is fair at ADrive, with 256-AES encryption provided as a server-side only option. Since ADrive accepts no responsibility for the security of your data, it’s not a very reassuring security policy.
There are also multiple concerns about the reliability of ADrive: first of all, ADrive prohibits the use of personal accounts for business use, without specifically defining what is considered to be business use.
ADrive also outsources the actual storage of your files to server farms. You’ll have no idea what the true location of your files actually is. Because of this, ADrive occasionally enters what is known as “maintenance mode” to perform housekeeping on your files which may be spread across multiple servers owned by multiple different companies.
Because ADrive can be accessed via FTP for all file transfer purposes, you can expect better performance than what you’d get using a web interface. Many FTP programs like FireFTP (which integrates with Firefox) can automatically recover after transfer errors or disconnections occur.
Other Reasons We Like Adrive
ADrive is best for those who really need a rock bottom price, to the exclusion of all other concerns.
ADrive accepts payment through PayPal in addition to credit card payments, which is something we always like to see.
- FTP Access
- Android and iOS apps
- File sharing
- 50GB free storage lacks encryption
- Clunky interface
- Rather expensive
Though all five of the above services have something to recommend them, even if it’s only a bargain-basement price point like with ADrive, we would recommend Linux users try out CloudBerry Backup thanks to its flexibility. The service offers a great free trial, which you can check out by going to the website at www.cloudberrylab.com.
Penguin fans who place a premium on privacy and security, however, may want to check out pCloud or SpiderOak, instead, while CrashPlan is a must for the no-frills crowd. ADrive is a steal for those with empty pockets. Thank you for reading, Linux users may also want to check out our articles on best cloud storage for Linux and the best VPN services for Linux.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.