One of the most important questions you need to answer when looking for an online backup service is whether you prefer unlimited storage space or the ability to backup as many devices as you’d like.
Many backup services — such as IDrive or BigMIND Home — don’t offer unlimited file storage. Because of this, we’ve put together this list of the best unlimited online backup providers to help you find a service that lets you backup all your data, regardless of file size.
Generally, unlimited online backup services will restrict you to one computer per license. So if you’re looking to protect all of your computers and gadgets, head over to our list of the best online backup to find some backup services that cover multiple or even unlimited devices.
With that covered, let’s dive into the best unlimited backup providers, where Backblaze is the clear winner owing to its competitive price, ease of use and excellent file security.
The Best Unlimited Backup Providers
- Backblaze — Easy to use and cheap backup that’s fast and secure
- Acronis True Image — Feature-rich backup with great privacy
- Carbonite — Cheap and simple online backup service with private file encryption
- CrashPlan — Well-designed online backup with lots of features
- Jottacloud — Great online backup for photos and mobile devices
- Easy to use
- Good speed
- Great security
- Flawed private encryption
Backblaze is by far the most well-known unlimited online backup service out there, and if you’re a fan of podcasts, chances are that you’ve heard one of its ads. The hype is well-deserved, as Backblaze is a fantastically easy-to-use service that also boasts good speed and excellent security.
The service values simplicity and ease of use, rather than providing a wealth of features or a large degree of control over the backup process. Setting up and running your initial backup is about as easy as it could possibly be, with your involvement essentially confined to installing the client and deciding on a backup schedule.
However, there are some drawbacks to this approach. The fact that you have to manually exclude anything you don’t want to backup can be quite a hassle if you’d like to be more selective with the process.
It also means that there are some pretty big gaps in Backblaze’s set of features. There’s no disk imaging, which means you can’t create a one-to-one copy of your hard drive, something that would be nice considering you have unlimited storage space.
There’s also no way to perform mobile backups, though you can manage your files remotely from the iOS and Android apps. Backups for servers and NAS devices, as well as support for hybrid backups, are likewise not included, but this probably won’t be a problem for the vast majority of users.
That said, it’s not all bad in terms of features. For the backup itself, Backblaze supports all sorts of scheduling, including continuous backups. This means you’ll never have to worry about any changes to files being left out because your computer crashed before its scheduled backup run.
You can also enable both multithreading and throttling, and Backblaze’s block-level file copying avoids wasting resources reuploading entire files when only parts of them have changed.
In terms of file versioning — meaning the retention of changed or deleted files — Backblaze is OK but not amazing. Deleted and old file versions are kept around for a maximum of 30 days, at which point they’re deleted.
The Backblaze pricing structure is simple, as there’s only one backup plan available, which is very reasonably priced. It will cost you $6 per month for one computer, but there are discounts applied for those who are willing to commit to one or two full years, reducing the total one-year cost from $74 to $60 and the two-year cost from$144 to $110. If you break this down, it comes out to $5 and $4.58 per month, respectively, which is very cheap.
Backblaze Encryption Key
By far the biggest problem with Backblaze is its implementation of private encryption. Although the company does let you manage your own encryption key, you’ll have to hand the key over to Backblaze to restore your data.
This means that from the moment you restore anything, Backblaze gains the capacity to decrypt your files whenever it wants to, and so it fails to qualify as a zero-knowledge service. What makes this even worse is the fact that all of the company’s servers are located in just two countries, the U.S. and the Netherlands, both of which have terrible digital privacy laws.
For the U.S., this is pretty obvious, with famous examples including PRISM, the Patriot Act and covert spy-sharing programs like the Five Eyes. The Netherlands might come as more of a surprise to some, but as we covered in our guide to the best VPN for the Netherlands, the Dutch are only marginally better in this regard than the U.S.
Other than this significant problem, Backblaze’s security and privacy are excellent. The encryption itself is strong, and TLS/SSL is used to protect your files while they’re in transit. Two-factor authentication is also supported, and the data centers themselves are hardened against both physical and digital threats.
All in all, Backblaze is an excellent unlimited backup service that is especially attractive to users looking for a quick and easy way to backup all of the data stored on their desktop device. The flawed private encryption and lack of certain features — such as disk-imaging and mobile backups — is unfortunate, but not enough to knock it off the top spot on this list.
- Lots of features
- Supports all platform types
- Flexible data center locations
- Great privacy & security
- Unlimited file versioning
- Confusing interface
- Sluggish client
While Backblaze focuses on being a simple service that’s easy to learn and set up, Acronis True Image takes the opposite approach by offering a wealth of features and a large degree of flexibility. Once again, this is a trade-off, as the Acronis client is significantly more complicated than Backblaze’s, and its non-intuitive interface design doesn’t help.
In terms of features, Acronis has nearly everything you could ask for. You can backup pretty much any kind of device, including desktops, phones, tablets, servers, NAS devices and external hard drives. You can also enable throttling to limit the client to a certain speed or to save your device’s battery.
Block-level copying is used when uploading files, and every kind of scheduling is available, including continuous and incremental backup. File versioning is also unlimited, which is great for those who want to be able to restore deleted or changed files long after they’ve been archived.
The one thing that’s lacking is multithreading, but this doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem, as Acronis manages acceptable speeds anyway. The client is also far more complicated than it needs to be, meaning that it can take some time to get used to and set up your backup plan. On top of that, it’s often quite sluggish, which is incredibly frustrating.
When it comes to price, Acronis True Image does very well. All its plans — Essential, Advanced and Premium — are annual, but when you break the prices down, they cost $4.16, $5.83 and $8.33 per month. All the plans let you perform a complete disk image of one device, and the two more expensive plans also come with 500GB and 1TB of additional storage.
Acronis does offer a basic version — called Standard or Acronis True Image 2020 — that’s available for a one-time purchase, but this offer seems to be in the process of being phased out, so we’d steer clear of that one.
Acronis True Image Data Centers
Another great thing about Acronis is its wide selection of data centers. Where most unlimited online backup services limit you to a handful of countries that more often than not are terrible with digital privacy, Acronis lets you pick and choose between many. More importantly, the list includes countries like Switzerland, which is probably the best country in the world to store your data.
This is a great thing for privacy because even if you’re a U.S. customer, you won’t be forced to store your data there. Furthermore, you can handle your own encryption key, which makes Acronis a zero-knowledge service. Plus, it uses strong encryption as well as SSL to keep your files safe from cybercriminals.
If you’re looking for an unlimited online backup service that provides a bunch of functionality for a reasonable price, then Acronis True Image is it. That said, users who don’t have the patience or desire to navigate the confusing and sluggish interface would be better served by a simpler solution, such as Backblaze or Carbonite.
- Easy to use
- Private encryption
- Poor download speed
- Complicated pricing scheme
Carbonite shares a lot in common with our top pick; it’s another service that prioritizes ease of use and simplicity over features and flexibility. However, it differs from Backblaze in that it offers a bit more control over your backup plan and private encryption.
Like Backblaze, Carbonite is incredibly easy to set up and use. It supports both throttling and block-level file copying, as well as continuous, incremental and scheduled backups. Unfortunately there’s no disk imaging, and you can’t backup mobile devices or perform hybrid backups.
In terms of price, Carbonite is pretty reasonable, though the pricing scheme itself is convoluted. The Basic plan costs $6 per month, but it comes with some strange limitations. If you opt for this plan, you won’t be able to automatically backup video files, nor does it support external hard drives.
The two more expensive plans do include these features, so not having them in the Basic plan feels arbitrary.
The two more expensive plans — Plus and Prime — cost $9.33 and $12.50 per month, respectively, and allow you to backup NAS devices. The Prime plan also comes with a hefty discount on the courier recovery service. Finally, there are two more plans that add server backup to the list of functionality.
For speed, Carbonite does well when performing the actual backup, but the fact that you have to restore via a web browser means that download speeds are severely lacking.
Carbonite Virtual Hard Drive
In addition to the regular interface, Carbonite also sets up a virtual disk on your system, which you can use to manage your backup. From here, you can easily add new files, delete existing ones and restore everything to your local drive. This translates to a lot more detailed control over your backup plan, compared to what Backblaze offers, which is good.
As mentioned, Carbonite supports strong private encryption, and it uses SSL when your files are on their way to the server. Two-factor authentication and hardened data centers further improve the security, but unfortunately privacy takes a hit due to all of the servers being located in the U.S.
That said, the ability to manage your own encryption key makes this less of a problem than it is for Backblaze. If you do opt for private encryption, bear in mind that Carbonite won’t be able to restore your password, so protect yourself by installing one of the best password managers first.
All in all, Carbonite is a solid choice if you really like the idea of Backblaze but the lack of private encryption worries you. If you’re looking for a bunch of features or fast download speeds, though, you’d better look elsewhere.
- Lots of features
- Easy to use
- Great data security & privacy
- No disk imaging
- No mobile backup
Back in 2017, CrashPlan changed its business model to focus entirely on small business customers, discontinuing its plans for personal users. However, that doesn’t mean that only businesses can use the software, as it’s still easy for private individuals to sign up for an account.
Doing so comes at a price, though, as CrashPlan is significantly more expensive than others on this list. Each device you want to backup will run you $10 per month, which is almost double the price of Backblaze or Carbonite.
CrashPlan Backup Features
That said, you get what you pay for, to a certain extent. CrashPlan comes with a lot of features while also being exceptionally easy to learn and use.
Besides your regular desktop computer, you can use CrashPlan to perform hybrid backups as well as backup external drives and servers. As always with unlimited online backup services, though, you’re limited to one computer or device per license.
Sadly, there’s no support for disk imaging, nor mobile or NAS backups, but there is a mobile app that you can use to manage your files and backups remotely.
You can set your backups to run on any type of schedule, including on set times or days of the week and continuously as files are changed or added. You get a lot of control over the process, as you can create individual backup sets each with their own settings including scheduling, throttling and security.
You can set different priorities for each of these sets, which is great if you have a slow connection and want to make sure that certain files are backed up before others. There’s no multithreading, but CrashPlan is still a very fast unlimited online backup service, so this doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.
Besides all these features, there’s also a bunch of business-focused functionality, such as user and group management. However, this is unlikely to matter to personal users, so we won’t cover them here.
Security and privacy are both very strong, featuring AES 256-bit encryption, private key management and two-factor authentication. SSL is used to protect your files from man-in-the-middle attacks while they’re in transit, and CrashPlan’s data centers are hardened to guard against both physical and digital threats.
All in all, if you’re willing to pay a bit more than you would for some of the other unlimited online backup services on this list, then CrashPlan is an excellent option.
- Servers located in Norway
- Great for photos
- Sync and share functionality
- No private encryption
- Can’t select individual files
- Limited file versioning
Rounding out our list is Jottacloud, which comes with a rich feature-set, great speeds as well as good security and privacy, all for a reasonable price. There are some notable problems, though, so it’s not all good news.
One of those problems is that there’s no way to tag individual files for backup, as only folders are available for selection. This isn’t the biggest deal, but it does mean that you might have to reorganize your files if you want to be selective about what gets uploaded within any given folder. File versioning is also a bit lacking, as you can only restore the last five file versions.
By far the most important omission in Jottacloud, though, is its lack of block-level file copying. This is something that pretty much every other unlimited online backup service out there uses, and the fact that Jottacloud doesn’t have it means that you can easily waste quite a bit of resources and bandwidth reuploading entire files when only small parts of it have changed.
These problems aside, Jottacloud does include a lot of functionality. You can backup any kind of device you can imagine, plus features like hybrid and continuous backup, scheduling, multithreading, throttling and disk imaging are all there.
Jottacloud doesn’t let users manage their own encryption key, which means that the company technically has the ability to decrypt your data at any time, if it’s forced to do so by the authorities. Luckily, the company’s servers are located in Norway, which has some of the best digital privacy laws in the world, making the lack of private encryption less of a problem than it could be.
In terms of security, Jottacloud uses strong encryption on its servers, TLS/SSL in transit and hardened data centers. If you want some extra security on top of your password, you can enable two-factor authentication, as well.
Jottacloud is reasonably priced, even if it’s slightly more expensive than some of the cheaper alternatives on this list, like Backblaze or Carbonite. There’s a free version available, but this gives you only 5GB of storage space. However, the paid plan offers unlimited storage for $7.50 per month, which is not bad.
Jottacloud Mobile App
The online backup service also comes with an excellent mobile app that can be used to manage your remote backups as well as upload photos and files from your phone or tablet. The app is especially good for photo backup, taking cues from Google Photos both in terms of functionality and design, which we think is great.
If what you need is an affordable online backup that works great with mobile devices and photos, then Jottacloud is the ideal choice. However, if your internet connection has limited bandwidth or you feel that you require private encryption regardless of the privacy-friendly location of the servers, then you’ll want to pick one of the other options above.
That concludes our list of the best unlimited online backup services. All five options are excellent choices, but which one is right for you depends on how highly you value private encryption as well as whether you prefer ease of use or a rich feature-set.
If a simple backup process is what you’re looking for, then Backblaze or Carbonite are ideal choices, with the latter being the better option if you care about private encryption. On the other hand, if you want an unlimited cloud backup service that packs a punch in terms of features, then something like Acronis or CrashPlan will probably serve you better.
What do you think of our list of the best unlimited cloud backup? Did we skip some online backup services that offer unlimited storage? Or perhaps you think we rated one of our five choices too highly? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.