From selfies to sunsets to photoshoots for our food, we chronicle our lives with enthusiasm and urgency. As the meme goes, “pics or it didn’t happen.” With smartphones in hand, we collectively captured an estimated 1.2 trillion digital photos in 2017.
Not only is it easier to amass photo collections today thanks to smartphones, digital images are easier to preserve than rolls of film. Nothing is foolproof, though. Phones get stolen or break, data gets deleted or corrupted and computers crash. To ensure your photos stay safe for future generations to mock, we’ve assembled a list of the best online backup for photos.
To get our list picture perfect, we evaluated providers in our online backup reviews library to find those most suited to image files. Two services stood out for slightly different reasons: Backblaze and SpiderOak ONE. We added three alternatives to those to complete a snapshot of five backup services to focus on for protecting your photo albums.
Before we get started on our photo backup list, a look at the criteria we used will provide clarity into our thought process. Don’t worry: we promise to make it snappy.
Best Online Backup for Photos 2018
What Makes the Best Online Backup for Photos
You may already use pCloud, Google Drive or another cloud storage service to protect your photographs. For some, that approach will work fine. In fact, we have a separate article devoted to the best cloud storage for photographers.
Others, especially those with dozens or hundreds of gigabytes of images to protect, will want an online backup instead of a cloud storage service. Online backup continuously replicates your hard drive in the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about moving photos manually or overlooking those surprise birthday photographs.
Continuous backup and the ability to protect your hard drive easily are two of the criteria we considered while assembling our list. Another one is storage space. Your photo collection isn’t likely to shrink and smartphones with higher resolution cameras produce bigger image files, so it’s important to have plenty of room both locally and in the cloud.
Some of our selections, including Backblaze, provide unlimited backup for a reasonable cost. Others, such as SpiderOak, limit storage, but can be used to backup unlimited devices.
The need for more local storage may lead you to store photographs on external drives. Some online backup services support external drive backup, so we took that into account. If you’re considering only backing up your photos locally, read our 3-2-1 backup piece to find out why you should rethink that approach.
For the privacy-conscious, we looked for strong cloud security. Data breaches, man-in-the-middle attacks and ransomware are just three types of cybercrime that can put your photo collection at risk, and the dangers are increasing. Backup features such as versioning, two-factor authentication and private encryption will help.
There are many less common features that we considered in building our list that we’ll mention as we progress through it. For now, let’s focus our lens on the top pick for photo backup in the cloud, Backblaze.
Best Online Backup for Photos: Backblaze
Backblaze has been a mainstay of the home backup market for years, a success attributed to providing unlimited backup. There are no invisible 10TB caps, no monthly upload limits and no file-size limits. Being truly unlimited, Backblaze is a perfect pick for insatiable shutterbugs.
The service costs $5 a month, half the price of our second-favorite unlimited backup service, CrashPlan for Small Business (read CrashPlan versus Backblaze). While a Backblaze subscription only covers one computer, you can use it to backup unlimited external drives by connecting them to the computer you’re backing up.
$ 5 00monthly
$ 50 00yearly
$ 95 002 years
Plan is for one computer.
We’d like to see Backblaze add smartphone backup, though you can, at least, access your stored photos from apps for Android and iOS. Use the app to view and share photos with others by email and text. We’d like to see a family plan, but even without a multi-computer discount, Backblaze is still a considerable bargain.
Aside from the cost, what makes Backblaze better than other unlimited providers, for photos or otherwise, is how easy it is to use. Install and start the Backblaze desktop client, and it will automatically scan your file system. Backblaze takes advantage of being unlimited by marking all file types for protection, other than system and temporary files.
The advantage of that approach is that you don’t have to remember where your photos are kept, nor do you have to remember to check your backup plan to ensure your latest album is safeguarded in the cloud. Every other backup solution on this list requires that you manually tag folders and files for inclusion.
Other Reasons Why We Like Backblaze
Unlimited backup, affordability and simplicity are all good reasons to pick Backblaze, but, without strong security, they aren’t enough. Backblaze gets data protection mostly right, including encryption in transit and at rest.
In-transit encryption will protect your files as they’re moved over the internet, while at-rest scrambles them server-side to keep them safe from data breaches.
Backblaze uses the AES 128-bit encryption protocol.. While not as strong as AES 256-bit, there’s no known method of cracking an AES 128-bit key, short of acquiring a supercomputer and letting it spend a few billion years guessing.
Weak passwords are much easier to crack. To protect against that possibility, as well as stolen passwords, Backblaze has a two-factor authentication feature that you can enable. 2FA requires an additional security credential to be entered when logging in to the Backblaze web interface from an unknown computer. This credential is sent by text to your smartphone.
Another nice feature offered by Backblaze is private encryption, though, as we note in our Backblaze review, the implementation of this feature is flawed because it isn’t end-to-end. Backblaze requires your password to restore files.
Another flaw is that Backblaze only maintains previous file versions for 30 days. Versioning can help roll back file corruptions, including those caused by ransomware. We’d prefer at least 90 days of protection, if not indefinite versioning.
Those looking for guaranteed privacy and security may want to consider our next pick, SpiderOak ONE, though it isn’t as good a deal. If Backblaze sounds like a fit for you, try the service first with a 15-day trial.
- Unlimited backup
- Easy to use
- Flawed private encryption
- No mobile backup
- Only 30-day versioning
Like Backblaze, SpiderOak ONE has been on the Cloudwards.net radar as a top backup provider for years. The biggest knock on the service used to be limited backup space, but SpiderOak recently doubled its 1TB plan to 2TB, making it appealing for photo backup.
The cost of a 2TB subscription is $12 a month. If 2TB of backup isn’t enough, there’s a 5TB plan for $25 a month. There are also 150GB and 400GB subscriptions.
|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.
SpiderOak pricing will be more than some consumers want to pay for a service they hope to never use. That’s alleviated with backup for unlimited computers and a handful of uncommon features for a backup provider, such as file sync and share.
SpiderOak supports external drive backup. Smartphone backup isn’t included but you can access protected photos on your Android or iOS device using mobile apps.
File synchronization between devices is another SpiderOak ONE feature. Sync means that as changes are made to a file, those changes are reflected in corresponding files on other devices in near real-time. That’s an advantage if you’re into photo editing, using tools such as GIMP or Photoshop.
SpiderOak provides file sharing features to show your photos to others. You can share individual files by generating links to them or creating spaces called “ShareRooms” to share multiple photos. We talk ShareRooms in detail in our SpiderOak ONE review.
SpiderOak isn’t as easy to use Backblaze. While backup runs continuously, you have to manage backup plans more to ensure your photo albums are tagged for backup, unless you’re careful about keeping everything in a single photos folder.
Other Reasons Why We Like SpiderOak ONE
SpiderOak ONE provides zero-knowledge encryption by default using AES 256-bit. Unlike with Backblaze, file encryption is end-to-end, meaning SpiderOak doesn’t need your password to decrypt files.
The company doesn’t even maintain a database of file metadata, choosing to create and use a local database on your computer instead. On the downside, files added to ShareRooms lose their encryption and get stored in plain text, which can be risky.
Another advantage SpiderOak has over Backblaze is that it doesn’t limit versioning to 30 days. You can keep previous file versions as long as desired, which means better protection against image file corruption.
SpiderOak doesn’t support two-factor authentication for new customers. 2FA used to be offered — the feature can still be accessed by legacy customers — and we’re led to believe the feature is slated to return. For now, though, it’s a reason to look elsewhere.
Before subscribing, take advantage of SpiderOak’s 21-day trial to make sure it’s the right online repository for your photo collection.
- Zero-knowledge encryption
- Unlimited computers
- File sync & sharing
- No two-factor authentication
- ShareRoom files aren’t encrypted
For those who want to backup photos taken on their smartphone, Acronis True Image provides more versatility than Backblaze or SpiderOak. True Image makes our list of best mobile backup tools, in fact, by providing wireless backup to your computer and the Acronis Cloud for Android and iOS devices.
By setting up automatic backup to the Acronis Cloud on your smartphone, you don’t have to take time to transfer photos to your computer before backing them up to the cloud. That saves time and ensures more consistent photo protection.
Acronis True Image doesn’t provide eye-popping value, though it’s far cheaper than services such as SOS Online Backup and MozyPro. Discounts are available for backing up multiple computers, making True Image one of the best backup providers for multiple computers.
|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
There is no unlimited backup subscription. The most backup space you can get with True Image is 5TB for a little more than $20 a month.
Other Reasons Why We Like Acronis True Image
Backblaze and SpiderOak have relatively small cloud networks, which result in slower upload and download speeds. Acronis True Image, meanwhile, comes with a global data center network, stretching from St. Louis to Singapore. That means fewer server bottlenecks and faster speeds. Check out the speed test results in our Acronis True Image review.
True Image provides good security measures, including AES 256-bit in-transit and at-rest encryption. Private encryption can also be set, if you’d prefer that no one else be able to decrypt your files.
Acronis True Image is one of the best backups for ransomware protection, thanks to a technology called Acronis Active Protection. It scans for possible file corruption caused by ransomware and blocks processes when detected. Multiple file versions are kept, as well, so you can always roll back photo corruption.
For all the good security features it has, Acronis True Image doesn’t have two-factor authentication. Hopefully, that’s a feature the company will implement, since storage in the cloud without it will always be a more risky proposition.
A 30-day trial will let you test Acronis True Image before committing to a subscription.
- Smartphone backup
- Good backup speeds
- Ransomware protection
- No unlimited backup plan
- Doesn’t protect unlimited devices
- No two-factor authentication
CloudBerry Backup is the most complex tool on this list. It’s also the most advanced, which makes it a strong choice for photo backup. The most important thing to know about CloudBerry is that the company doesn’t have its own cloud. You have to purchase storage space separately.
CloudBerry Backup pairs with over 50 cloud options, including storage services such as Google Drive and cloud infrastructure providers such as Microsoft Azure. We cover the options in our CloudBerry Backup review.
For finding a cloud service, our best cloud IaaS guide is a good place to start. For help pairing CloudBerry Backup with IaaS, our guide to backup with Microsoft Azure will give you an idea of how it’s done.
If you’ve got a massive photo collection to backup, we recommend Wasabi Cloud Storage (read our Wasabi review). At just a half-cent per gigabyte, a terabyte of storage only costs $5 a month. Unlike most cloud IaaS providers, Wasabi doesn’t charge for file downloads.
For those who want faster backup speeds, pair CloudBerry Backup with Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3 or Google Cloud to get a backup solution that will outpace any other tool on this list. Turn on block-level copying and multi-threaded backup for even faster performance.
The software only requires a one-time purchase and multiple versions are available.
|CloudBerry Backup Plans||Windows Desktop:||Windows Server:||Mac:|
Other Reasons Why We Like CloudBerry Backup
The safety of photos you backup using CloudBerry Backup will depend, in part, on the cloud provider you store them with, but the software does provide a private encryption feature to scramble files before sending them to the cloud.
Like Acronis True Image, CloudBerry Backup actively scans for ransomware. The software checks for possible signs of corruption and, if it detects them, automatically keeps the previous file version. Customizable retention policies are available, as well.
Try CloudBerry Backup with a 14-day trial or a limited freeware version.
- Packed with features
- Fast & flexible
- Good security
- Steeper learning curve
- Can be expensive
- No mobile apps
Our fifth pick for photo backup is IDrive. In many ways, this provider is the best on the list for photo backup, combining features of both SpiderOak ONE and Acronis True Image. The reason we ranked it fifth is that the service runs slow and many people have complained that their initial backups never complete.
We suggest trying the service with its free 5GB plan before subscribing to make sure the speeds meet your needs. If you’re based in the U.S., you can use a free courier backup service called IDrive Express to get that first backup done faster.
IDrive provides 2TB of backup for just over $50 and 5TB for around $75, making it one of the best deals we’ve covered. That storage space can be used to backup unlimited devices.
|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|
IDrive can backup more than just computers, too. Use the service to backup external storage, including network-attached storage devices such as Western Digital My Cloud. IDrive mobile apps for Android and iOS can be used to backup photos taken on your smartphone, which is an advantage over every provider on this list except Acronis True Image.
Other Reasons Why We Like IDrive
In addition to backup space, an IDrive subscription comes with an identical amount of cloud storage space, making it a worthwhile Dropbox alternative. Use this cloud storage to free up hard drive space and sync photos and other files between devices. File sharing lets you grant others access to those files.
IDrive has a private encryption feature you can enable so even the company can’t read your files. Files are encrypted at-rest in the cloud using AES 256-bit and protected in transit. IDrive doesn’t have two-factor authentication, so make sure you use a strong password that’s not easy to crack if you go with this provider.
- Mobile access
- No file-size limits
- Unlimited storage
- No free trial
- No phone support
- Unlimited archive difficult to search
Finding a suitable backup solution for your photos will help ensure they’re not easily lost in the event of a hard drive crash or other incident. Every provider in our online backup reviews library can be used to protect digital photos, but some just work better than others.
At the top of the list is Backblaze, thanks to a $5 subscription, unlimited backup and ease of use. Give Backblaze a look with a 15-day trial. If it doesn’t meet your needs, SpiderOak ONE, Acronis True Image, CloudBerry Backup and IDrive are all excellent alternatives that come packed with features perfect for protecting your memories.
Share your thoughts about photo backup in the comments below, and thanks for reading.