- What Makes the Best Versioning in Online Backup
- 1. Best Cloud Backup for Versioning: CrashPlan for Small Business
- Other Reasons We Like CrashPlan
You’ve backed up your files, but something’s wrong. You (or someone else) made changes to your financial report, novel outline or other important file and the proper version is no longer available. File versioning, which is like a saved history of your files, can help. We’ve chosen the best online backup with file versioning for you.
The backup service will record your changes in its system (how many depends on the service). You can use file versioning to go back and retrieve the version you need.
You might need to do that because of hackers. They can use specialized malware, called ransomware, to encrypt your files, then demand a ransom from you to decrypt them. There’s no guarantee you’ll get your files, even if you pay. Versioning allows you to avoid that by doing a rollback to retrieve them.
Here, we’ll give you a rundown of the services that provide the best versioning capabilities from the best online backups. Refer to best cloud storage for versioning, if you’re looking for that. Before we start the list, we’ll go over the criteria we used to make it.
Best Online Backup with File Versioning 2021
What Makes the Best Versioning in Online Backup
Some services offer unlimited versioning, while others give you a limited time window to retrieve your files — 15 or 30 days, for example. Focusing on file versioning alone might make it difficult to determine which service is better, so we’ll look at other aspects, as well.
Our second criterion is value. You don’t want to empty your bank account to pay for a capable service. It’s better if a service has more plans, because you’ll be able to choose the one that fits your needs without overpaying. Some services are among the best unlimited online backup.
It’s always good if you’re able to use a free plan or trial before subscribing.
User experience shouldn’t overwhelm you with settings. It’s best if using versioning is straightforward. That should hold true for the rest of the service, as well. We’ll look at how attractive and functional the interface is and on which operating systems the client runs.
Versioning will help protect your files from ransomware attacks, but encryption helps guard against other threats. We’ll see how strong it is and whether it’s used both at-rest and in-transit.
We like zero-knowledge encryption, as it means only you can read your data. Two-factor authentication helps if someone steals your password. Secure data centers are a must.
A good and stable connection is key when creating your backup. How fast you upload files will depend on the infrastructure of the service, as well as how close you are to the servers and how much bandwidth you have. Block-level transfer is a great feature that will help speed up transfers after the initial backup.
1. Best Cloud Backup for Versioning: CrashPlan for Small Business
CrashPlan launched in 2007, but withdrew from the consumer market 10 years later. Still, its business plan makes up for it, as it’s cheap, offers good features, such as versioning, and can be used by home consumers.
You can set your versioning policy from CrashPlan’s desktop client. Versioning isn’t quite unlimited, but considering you can retain file versions at 15-minute increments indefinitely, it might as well be. You can keep your deleted files forever, too, which is much better than other services that remove them after 30 days.
Each computer you backup will cost $10 per month. You’ll get unlimited backup and the option to backup unlimited external drives. It’s a monthly subscription, so you can cancel at any time. The price isn’t great when you compare it to Backblaze — it’s twice the cost — but it’s a good deal versus other services.
It’s easy to install the desktop client and only takes a couple of minutes. Using it is not hard, but setting up your backup operation could be simpler. There’s no way to backup based on file type. You’ll have to build your backup plan manually, even though it’s unlimited.
The client is intuitive and easy to navigate. If you need to supervise your backup, the web interface should do the trick. You can use it to check user statistics, create reports and monitor file restoration. There was an app for smartphones, as well, but it was discontinued.
Before your files leave the computer, CrashPlan encrypts them using an AES 256-bit encryption. In-transit, AES 128-bit protects them. The service will hold your encryption key, but you can enable private encryption, if you wish. If it’s enabled, CrashPlan won’t be able to retrieve your password, so don’t lose it.
Either way, make sure you have a strong password, because CrashPlan doesn’t offer two-factor authentication. Data center security is on the level. CrashPlan maintains 24/7 surveillance and other measures to prevent intrusion. Centers can resist power failures, natural disasters and fires.
Other Reasons We Like CrashPlan
It’s hard to like CrashPlan’s speed, because it’s not fast. You could disable some of the processes it uses while backing up your files, but we don’t recommend it. If your system resources are low, you can enable throttling and set the client to remove the limit once you’re away. Block-level copying will speed up subsequent backups.
CrashPlan offers unlimited backup, almost-unlimited versioning you can customize, great security and private encryption. While it could be simpler to use and achieve faster speeds, it’s a good service, overall, and that’s why it’s number one on our list. Learn more about it in our in-depth CrashPlan review.
- Excellent versioning
- Competitive pricing
- Backup external drives
- Doesn’t backup by file type
- No two-factor authentication
2. Acronis True Image 2018
Acronis lets you keep older versions of your files until you reach the criteria set for cleanup. You can set it to delete file versions up to three years old. You can also set how many recent versions Acronis should keep (up to 99). Acronis keeps your deleted files unless you enable their deletion.
There’s a lifetime plan, but, since it has several caveats, we can’t recommend it. Advanced plans net you 250GB of backup space for $4.16 a month or 500GB for $5.83 a month. Premium plans start with 1TB for $8.33 a month and end with 5TB for $21.66 a month. The service costs more than its competitors, but not overly so.
The desktop client is clear and intuitive. The navigation menu on the left is straightforward to use. Acronis lets you backup everything, rather than select specific files. While this takes up more space, it makes creating a backup plan much easier. If you choose to do that, you can exclude files you don’t want to backup. Email notifications will keep you informed.
Using the online dashboard, you’ll be able to execute manual backups and recover files, which is useful for remote management. The online interface is as good as the desktop one.
The level of encryption is AES 256-bit. TLS/SSL protects your data in-transit. For protection from ransomware, you can use a novel feature called Acronis Active Protection. If it fails, you can rely on versioning to help retrieve your files. There’s no two-factor authentication.
Acronis lets you scramble your files before sending them to the cloud. The process requires you to use a password that only you know. The files will remain encrypted until you decrypt them. That means Acronis is zero-knowledge.
Acronis’s data centers use key cards, biometric scanning, patrols and monitoring to discourage intruders. You don’t have to worry about natural disasters and fires, since the infrastructure can handle them.
Other Reasons We Like Acronis True Image 2018
Surprisingly, Acronis is fast for initial backups. It only took 15 minutes to backup a 1GB folder in our tests. That’s one reason to overlook its higher cost. To get a detailed look at the pricing and features, read our Acronis True Image 2018 review.
- Ransomware scanning
- Fast backup
- Custom versioning
- No two-factor authentication
IDrive is at the top of our best cloud backup list thanks to its ease-of-use and thorough processes. IDrive will keep the previous 10 versions of every file you’ve backed up.
You can choose between two personal plans: the 2TB ($52.12 a year) or 5TB ($74.62). There’s no monthly subscription. If you pay for two years in advance, IDrive will give you a discount. In addition, you’ll get 2TB or 5TB of sync space which amounts to 4TB or 10TB of actual space. There’s a free plan, which gives you 5GB of space to test the service.
IDrive leaves it up to you to manage your backup, unlike other unlimited services that backup everything. That’s not a straightforward user experience. There are many options, and mainstream users might take a while to get comfortable with them. When you setup the backup plan, it can run in the background. There shouldn’t be any issues.
AES-256 encryption protects your data at rest and in transit. There’s private encryption but you’ll have to enable it before your first backup. Otherwise, IDrive will keep your encryption key. To our surprise, there’s no two-factor authentication to help you if someone steals your password. The only way to protect it is to make it strong.
IDrive keeps its servers in secure data centers in the U.S. They can endure fires and natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. Against human threats, they employ motion sensors, surveillance and alarms.
Other Reasons We Like IDrive
Initial backups always take a while, but IDrive takes it too far. We want to see better speeds. There’s a courier service called IDrive Express, which can help. You can use it for downloads, as well. After the initial backup, things get better as block-level backup kicks in. To learn more about its speed, read our IDrive review.
- Unlimited device backup
- Inexpensive plans
- Private encryption
- Not easy to use
- No unlimited backup plan
Backblaze is one of the most popular services and for good reason. We placed it near the top of our best online backup list. The service backs up previous file versions, but only for up to 30 days. Even though it provides unlimited backup, there’s no way to extend the versioning policy. That makes it less useful against ransomware attacks.
You can get unlimited backup for one computer for $5 a month ($50 a year). It’s nice to see a monthly plan, because most other services don’t offer it. Backblaze places no file restrictions on your backup, so you can backup files of any size without having to select them manually.
If you find Backblaze works for you, paying for a year or two in advance will get you a $10 or $25 discount.
As simple as its pricing scheme, the desktop client makes things easy. You don’t have to manually manage your backup, because Backblaze does it for you. It backs up everything except system and temporary files. Everything is done by the client, so there’s no need to create a backup plan. It’s the easiest user experience we’ve encountered.
The web interface works well. It’s intuitive and navigation is user-friendly. You can check your account status using the “overview” tab, while the “view/restore” tab will let you access your files.
There’s no lack of security features. While your files are at rest, AES 128-bit encryption keeps them safe. It’s not AES-256, but it does the job. While transferring, SSL takes care of files.
Private encryption is available. You can disable it, if you want Backblaze to keep your encryption key. Regardless, you’ll have to send your passphrase to Backblaze so it can recover your files. The company claims it deletes your passphrase after recovery.
You can enable two-factor authentication to prevent access to your account if someone steals your password. There’s even an option to require a security code whenever you log in.
Other Reasons We Like Backblaze
Backblaze doesn’t limit your upload speeds, which helps with initial backup. You can increase the number of backup threads that are running to achieve faster speeds. What you (probably) can’t get around is the distance to the servers in California. Encryption and file compression slow it down, as well. Read more about the service in our Backblaze review.
- Unlimited backup
- Low cost
- Limited to one computer
- Keeps older file versions for only 30 days
Carbonite is one of the oldest backup services, as it’s been in business since 2005. It targets home users and small businesses.
The service supports versioning, but not for Mac. It keeps, at least, three versions of files, regardless of age. Beyond that, it will keep versions for up to three months, including one version for each of the previous seven days, one version for each of the previous three weeks and one version for each of the previous two months. Deleted files remain for 30 days.
Unlike other unlimited backup services, Carbonite lets you choose between three plans. Basic will cost you $71.99 and offers bare-bones unlimited backup. Plus will add external drive backup and automatic video backup to the deal for $111.99. Prime will cost you $149.99 and give you the option to use courier recovery service. Plans charge per year.
You ‘ll get a discount if you pay for two (5 percent) or three (10 percent) years in advance. There’s a free 15-day trial, if you want to test the service.
Working with Carbonite is simple and the desktop client is easy to install. You only need to perform one step when initiating backup, because most of the process is automated (consult the list of files and extensions that Carbonite excludes on its website). Carbonite even makes it easy to check the status of your files by providing color codes.
You can do the same using the Carbonite mobile app, which is available for Android or iOS. Its interface is minimal and provides clear layout and navigation. You can access stored files and automatically backup photos using the app. It would be nice to have the option to backup other file types, but you still get unlimited space for your photos.
Carbonite protects all data stored on its servers using 128-bit AES encryption. It will retain your key, but you can enable private encryption. If you do so, Carbonite will use 256-bit AES, instead. The service will require you to make a strong password. You can use two-factor authentication to make sure you’re safe if someone steals it.
Other Reasons We Like Carbonite
Backup isn’t fast, so it doesn’t come near its competitors, such as Backblaze and IDrive. After the initial transfer, its block-level algorithm will help speed up the process. If you’re interested to learn more, read our Carbonite review.
- Unlimited backup
- Backup by file type
- Automatic photo backup
- No monthly subscriptions
While all the services feature decent versioning, CrashPlan and Acronis stand head and shoulders above the rest. They’ll allow you to exercise finer control over how many versions you retain and for how long. Other services place a hard cap on the number of versions or days you get to keep them.
Looking at other criteria, such as value, security, speed and ease of use, puts IDrive and Backblaze much closer to the first two spots on our list. Carbonite lags behind both.
Which versioning capabilities work best for you? Is your favorite service missing from this list? Tell us in the comments below. Thank you for reading.