HDD failure is inevitable, studies have shown it to be simply a matter of time. Which is why an off-site cloud backup solution is important in 2017, and why we loved Carbonite and runner-up CrashPlan as the two best services when it comes finding the best online backup for PCs.
While Linux and Macintosh systems are renowned for their stability, unfortunately, Windows PCs are not, since viruses, failed system updates, the blue screen of death and general glitches can turn a powerful computer into a lump of formerly useful plastic. Once you get a system back up and running, it’s not uncommon to have lost everything. While in some cases apps will have to be reinstalled, at least you can access important files anywhere if they’ve been backed up online.
By saving information to online backup services, it’s possible to ensure that your information is always available, no matter what happens. Most responsible PC owners will at least have an external hard drive to backup information. However, while that is a great idea, it is not foolproof and shouldn’t be the only way users save their data, since external hard drives are just as easily corruptible as internal ones.
While an external drive is good in a pinch, it is impossible to access files from anywhere other than a home terminal, unless you carry the drive everywhere. All online providers allow clients access to files from anywhere there’s an Internet connection, via a web browser or mobile application.
$ 5.00 per month Unlimited GBStorage All Plans
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CrashPlan for Business
$ 10.00 per month Unlimited GBStorage All Plans
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$ 5.00 per month Unlimited GBStorage All Plans
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$ 4.34 per month 2000 GBStorage All Plans
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SOS Online Backup
$ 4.99 per month 50 GBStorage All Plans
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Why We Use It
Almost everyone knows about the importance of backing up files. It goes without saying that being able to restore information in the event of a system meltdown is important.
Which is where we need some sort of external storage device, to safeguard precious information and memories. So in order to help you find the right service for the job, we’ve compiled a list of the five best online backup services for PC in 2017.
Online backup is the single most important service we pay for when securing our computers from data loss. Some online backup services give access to files from mobile devices, and provide the ability to share them with friends and family.
However, keep an eye out for hidden limitations, such as file-size restrictions or versioning availability. Sometimes, external hard drives can be automatically excluded from online backup applications, so it’s a good idea to ensure that your app is allowed to detect and backup external hard drives as well.
Carbonite offers unlimited file backup, and accepts unlimited file sizes, it also accepts a wide variety of file types. While there’s no free plan, they do offer a 30-day free trial. The evaluation period allows a user the chance to become familiar with its interface and determine if Carbonite will meet their needs.
After the free trial, a year of service costs $59.99. Users can choose the Plus or Prime options, which come with cool perks such as external hard drive backup, mirror imaging and auto video backup. The service also allows file access from anywhere in the world, through a handy innovation called the Internet.
Unfortunately, at this time, each account is limited to one PC at a time. So basically, five PCs will need five accounts.
Other Reasons Why We Like Carbonite
Unlimited online backup, free external hard drive backup and mobile access, are just a fraction of the features offered by Carbonite.
Carbonite is our top choice when it comes to backing up data, because of its limitless backup potential and no file size limitations, not to mention the varied file type support. The easy-to-setup software is simple enough for even the most technologically illiterate user to use and get their backup up and running.
- 15-day free trial
- Automated backup system
- 30-day deleted file restoration limit
- Lacks sharing or syncing
- Basic plan lacks auto-video backup
- Each computer needs a new plan
CrashPlan is certainly a behemoth among online backup companies. We love the service for its unlimited storage, free local backup and wealth of customization options. CrashPlan is one of the few services that has a free option, which acts as a secondary system or external hard disk drive. Unfortunately, the free plan does not provide an option to backup online.
Apart from online backup, paid subscriptions come with the benefit of unlimited file versioning, which restores any previous version of a file to your desktop whenever you want. With CrashPlan, users can choose to automatically save files when the system is not busy. By choosing to backup during downtime (like late at night for example), a user doesn’t have to worry about the backup process eating CPU resources.
For those who want to access files from anywhere, a paid plan is obviously the better option. Plans start at $59.99 per year for a single system. Unlike the competition, this service has a multi-system option which costs $149 per year. Customers can also choose monthly payments as well.
Other Reasons Why We Like CrashPlan
CrashPlan has been in my arsenal for years. CrashPlan runs quietly in the background and will backup everything on your computer. You can create customized rules to determine which files and folders will be backed up first and set bandwidth limits, which are useful on slow Internet connections or metered plans.
Being unlimited is just the tip of CrashPlan’s iceberg – under the hood, there are nifty features such as peer-to-peer backup, unlimited version history and mobile access to files.
- Free local backups
- Mobile access via apps
- Windows, Mac & Linux apps
- A lot of options
- No sharing or syncing
- Slow backups outside of the U.S.
Backblaze is probably the easiest to use online backup service out there. The system works on an exclusion based model: Backblaze backs up everything on your computer, unless you tell it otherwise. A novice user needs something without a complex interface or a lot of confusing features, Backblaze is that something, and it comes with great security to boot.
Backblaze offers military grade security with end-to-end encryption; so users do not have to worry about their data getting stolen once it is on the company’s servers. In addition, users don’t have to worry about information being intercepted during a PC-to-server transmission.
Like the other providers on our list, Backblaze offers unlimited storage space. Customers can upload any file type, and also choose to backup an external hard disk drive to their online service, giving consumers added protection.
Backblaze is a no frills service and has one of the easiest to use interfaces — noobs can start working with the system right away. Setup takes just a moment and consumers can choose which files to save and which ones they aren’t as concerned about saving at the moment. They can also decide when to auto-upload, therefore freeing up CPU resources.
Other Reasons Why We Like Backblaze
Backblaze is one of the most reliable online PC backup services. Not only that, it’s also the easiest to use, which makes it a perfect solution for yourself or family members who don’t want anything too technical.
Backblaze’s simple motto is to just backup everything that’s on your computer, if you don’t want it to backup a file or folder, it need to be manually exclude. For power users, this online backup service maybe a bit too limiting, due to lack of fine-tuning features.
- Military-grade security
- Encryption key stays with user
- Backup to external hard drives
- No file sharing features
- No network drive backup
- Backup is exclusion based
IDrive impressed us with a plethora of backup features, which are likely to satisfy even the most sophisticated backup enthusiast. Also, IDrive has been one of the fastest services in our tests.
IDrive offers remote access and file management. Files can be restored online, up to 3TB of data is retrievable via a physical storage device sent directly to a user’s home. This service is called IDrive Express, and was made to easily restore large amounts of data without using any bandwidth.
Users can also save important social media photos, from Instagram and Facebook for example, including any photos in which the user maybe tagged by their friends. Another nifty bonus of using IDrive is the tying of multiple social media sites, computers, tablets, and phones to one account. And IDrive’s apps work across various diverse OSs.
Our tests revealed IDrive to be one of the fastest services around, but a lot of the offers come with restrictions. For example, unlike CrashPlan, IDrive only allows 10 file types.
Other Reasons Why We Like IDrive
IDrive is a feature-packed online backup service that works excellently on any computer. The standard plan provides 1TB of cloud-based backup storage, which should be plenty enough for the average user.
But if it isn’t, there’s always IDrive express to the rescue, which now provides up to 4TB of storage if required. De-duplication is missing, meaning several copies of the same file need to be uploaded individually each time.
- Military-grade encryption
- Free local backups
- Social Media backup
- Overwhelming amount of features
- No monthly payment plans
- Limited storage space
SOS Online Backup
Last but not least, there’s SOS Online Backup a dinosaur of the online backup world. While we do appreciate the switch to unlimited backup, they do lack a few features the competition doesn’t. For those who want to set hourly, daily, weekly, or even monthly backup schedules, SOS Online Backup is a trusty solution.
There’s even a timed backup feature which can save content from a USB device or external hard drive.
SOS Online Backup never deletes anything, files located in the archive can be restored if desired, at anytime. Unfortunately, this can be a problem for someone who wants things to permanently disappear. SOS Online Backup offers month-to-month payment at $7.99. Annual prices start at $79.99 per year.
Other Reasons Why We Like SOS Online Backup
Users can protect up to five computers for $39.95 per month or $399.95 a year. Each plan also allows for unlimited tablets and smartphones. SOS Online Backup backs up your files fast.
It is one of the fastest online backup services we have tested so far. Also, restores are a breeze and equally quick. We love the unlimited file versioning feature, that gives you a lot of leeway when it comes to user errors.
- Military-grade online backup
- Personal employee accounts
- NAS backup protection
No free trial
No file syncing
Clunky iOS features
No matter how well you take care of a PC, there’s always the chance something could go wrong. Viruses, hackers, and even accidents can erase everything.
By choosing an online backup service provider you can keep precious information from getting lost forever. If you have any advice or experience to share on the topic, go ahead and start the conversation in our comments section below.
Thanks for reading all the way through!