obrBy Joseph Gildred — Last Updated: 18 Jun'18 2018-01-03T03:47:59+00:00

Carbonite Safe Pro vs CrashPlan for Small Business

If you’re trying to decide whether CrashPlan or Carbonite is the best online backup for business decision for you, you’ve landed in the right place. During this head-to-head review, we’ll examine these longtime disaster recovery rivals round by round before picking a winner.

We’ll compare the costs, then turn our attention to the backup and restore processes of each. Then, we’ll finish up with a look at security and support. It’s going to be a bit divisive, we’re sure, but we think we’ve landed on a clear winner for most of the small business owners out there: CrashPlan, though Carbonite comes close.

If neither service meets your needs, don’t fret: we have a full collection of online backup reviews for you to peruse. We’ve also put together a number of other business backup comparisons for your consideration, including a CrashPlan vs IDrive review and one for CrashPlan vs Backblaze.

Of course, we also have a complete CrashPlan for Small Business review and a Carbonite for Office review that you can check out, too.

The Battle: CrashPlan for Small Business vs Carbonite Safe Pro

While neither CrashPlan nor Carbonite are the fastest or even most feature-packed backup tools for businesses on the market, both are capable services that are easy to use and provide good value relative to more expensive options out there.

CrashPlan, for its part, now devotes its entire infrastructure to disaster recovery for businesses, having ditched its personal online backup solution in 2017 (to some dismay). While Carbonite has a personal plan available that ranks among the best unlimited online backup tools, its business plans are a compelling alternative to CrashPlan for Small Business, at least on paper.

Up next, we’ll look at each service over the course of five rounds, as promised: price plans, backup process, restore process, security and support. After each round, we’ll declare a winner, then sum up our findings to crown an overall backup champion.

Starts from$ 22 50monthly for 250 GB
Visit Carbonite Safe ProCarbonite Safe Pro Review
  • Backup unlimited computers
  • Backup NAS & servers
  • Remote file access
  • Good versioning policy
  • Very expensive price plans
  • Slow file upload speeds
  • Limited deleted file retention
  • No versioning for Mac
$ 10 00monthly for Unlimited GB
Visit CrashPlan for BusinessCrashPlan for Business Review
  • Unlimited backup
  • Competitive pricing
  • Backup external drives
  • Mobile file access
  • Doesn’t backup by file type
  • No two-factor authentication
  • No mobile device backup
  • Backup for just one computer
1

Price Plans

Bottom line isn’t everything in backup, but for SMBs looking to limit expenses, it’s pretty critical. On that note, up first we’ll evaluate value by reviewing the price plan costs of CrashPlan and Carbonite relative to the total amount of storage and supported devices.  

CrashPlan for Small Business

CrashPlan makes things pretty simple when it comes to picking a plan for your business: there’s only one. It’s a good deal, too, with unlimited backup space for just $10 per month.


PlanCrashPlan for Business
Price Plan
$ 10 00monthly
Storage Unlimited GB
DetailsPrice is per computer you're backing up.

The plan is called CrashPlan for Small Business but the name itself is something of a relic left over from the days when the company also offered an unlimited backup plan for personal use, too. (If that’s your need, Backblaze has $5 a month unlimited plan for home use.)

While great value for those without terabytes of data to backup, a single subscription is only good for one computer, and CrashPlan doesn’t have discounts for purchasing protection for multiple employees. It also doesn’t provide smartphone backup, like those services in our best backup for mobile article.

On the other hand, you can attach as many external drives as you want to your computer and add those to your backup plan at no additional cost. That doesn’t include NAS devices but its still useful for those with stacks of HDDs to protect.

The plan itself doesn’t impose any file-size restrictions, either, and CrashPlan claims not to throttle your bandwidth if you upload too much data (translation: feel free to go nuts).

We recommend giving the free trial a spin before committing, although you can cancel anytime you like after signing up. The trial is good for one month and like the subscription, it’s unlimited.

Carbonite Safe Pro

While Carbonite’s personal use plan is unlimited, its business options aren’t. They’re also not nearly as affordable.


PlanBasicPlusPrime
Price Plan
$ 59 99yearly
$ 99 99yearly
$ 149 99yearly
Storage Unlimited GB Unlimited GB Unlimited GB
Details

Doesn't include external hard drives.

Includes external hard drive backup and automatic video backup.

Includes courier service.


There are three Carbonite Safe plans available for businesses: Pro, Power and Ultimate. Each can be used to backup unlimited computers. Carbonite Safe Power also lets you backup one server, while Ultimate includes unlimited server backup.

While we love the unlimited computer backup, the problem with Carbonite is that you don’t get much cloud space for your money. A Carbonite Safe Pro subscription, in fact, comes with just 250 GB of backup for around $270 per year. That works out to over $20 a month.

You can add more backup if that’s not enough, which it’s likely not going to be for more than two or three computers. However, each additional 100GB of backup will cost you another $100 per year.

Subscriptions also have to be paid for annually, so you’re stuck with the cost if you decide to take your business elsewhere. Make sure you take advantage of the 30-day trial before locking yourself in.

Round One Thoughts

If stuck choosing between CrashPlan for Small Business and a Carbonite Safe plan, many businesses would have no choice to go with Carbonite due to the fact that its Power and Ultimate plans include server backup. However, there are many other server backup options out there like those in our best server backup guide that are better, overall.

When it comes to affordable computer backup for your business, we have to give a strong nod to CrashPlan. $10 a month for unlimited backup is a much better deal than $22 a month for 250GB, and CrashPlan doesn’t lock you into a one-year commitment.


Winner (Price Plans): Crashplan Pro
Carbonite Business
Crashplan Pro
2

Backup Process

Next, we’ll introduce you to the basic backup features and processes for CrashPlan and Carbonite, and figure out which provides the best combination of convenience and features.

CrashPlan for Small Business

Backup with CrashPlan isn’t quite as easy as using unlimited rival Backblaze, but the overall experience is still satisfyingly simple. To create a backup plan, you’ll use the desktop client to tag objects in your file system for backup.

Click on “backup” in the navigation options down the left side of the client, then click the “change” button under “files.” You’ll be able to select both folders and files for backup.

We recommend backing up at the folder level, then excluding files you don’t want to be backed up later. You can actually exclude by file type if you want to skip over system, temporary files and the like.

You’ll also be able to set a backup destination. While the destination is the CrashPlan cloud by default, you can backup to external drives if you’re looking to implement both cloud and local backup, which is recommended if you subscribe to the 3-2-1 backup school of thought (and you should).

The CrashPlan for Small Business client runs continuous backup, meaning files are protected in near real-time when new files are added or existing files changed. If you prefer less regular backups, you can make use of the client’s scheduling features to restrict operations to certain hours or certain days.

However, in general, you should be fine running with continuous backup since, in order to conserve bandwidth, only the delta of altered files gets copied over to the cloud rather than the entire file (if that was Greek to you, check out our block-level sync article to find out what we’re talking about).

On a final note, CrashPlan compresses files by default. Generally, compression is used to decrease file space in the cloud, however with CrashPlan that shouldn’t be a problem for you (because unlimited).

CrashPlan states that the compression process also speeds up your backup and that it’s lossless, meaning it won’t degrade your files in any way. However, in our experience compression more often tends to slow a backup down. We’d recommend shutting it off if you’re experiencing slow uploads to see if that helps move things along.

Carbonite Safe Pro

In many ways, setting up backup plans with Carbonite entails much less work than CrashPlan. That’s because it takes the Backblaze approach of scanning your computer and backing up all files of a certain type, including documents, images, videos, emails and most other common file types.

While we like that approach for unlimited backup, Carbonite caps your total data, which can make simply grabbing everything a terrible approach, especially if you have multiple employee computers attached to your account.

If that’s a problem, you can login into the Carbonite browser interface and create backup policies that can be applied to computers on your account, restricting backup to certain folders and file types.

In fact, you might want to tweak it anyway since Carbonite has a default policy in place that restricts backup to the desktop folder, documents folder, Outlook data folder, my pictures folder, my music folder and my videos folder (on Windows). Temporary and system files are also excluded by default.

Backups run continuously with Carbonite Safe to help keep your drives protected in near real-time, but you can opt out if you want to only backup once a day or disable backup during certain hours.

Carbonite only backs up the changed parts of edited files, like CrashPlan, so it should run pretty efficiently without disabling continuous backup. Carbonite also compresses files using what the company states is lossless zlib compression. There’s no option to turn it off.

Round Two Thoughts

The biggest problem most people will have backing up their files is the same for both CrashPlan and Carbonite: speed. While that’s not a huge issue once you complete your initial backup process, getting over that hump will test your patience.

We’ve tested both services, and in both cases, it took us well over an hour to backup a gigabyte worth of files. If you have 500GB of files to backup, you’d be looking at probably close to a month to complete the initial stage.

You can read our general article about expectations for backup speed to learn more regarding impacting factors, but the central issue with both services seems to be an absence of much infrastructure.

If backup speeds are a big concern, consider a service with multiple data centers around the world, instead, like Rackspace Cloud Files. (Paired with CloudBerry Backup to manage the backup process, of course, as detailed in our getting started with Rackspace guide.)

On to the matter at hand, we’re giving round two to Carbonite. The use of file-type backup combined with file-location backup, in addition to the ability to create backup policies, makes it easy to design complete backup plans.


Winner (Backup Process): Carbonite Business
Carbonite Business
Crashplan Pro
3

Restore Process

Just as important as getting your files into the cloud is being able to quickly and easily get them back when disaster strikes. With that in mind, round three is all about file restoration.

CrashPlan for Small Business

You can restore backup files directly from the desktop client by clicking on the “restore” tab. A file tree will let you check and uncheck folders and files. When you’re ready to restore, just click the “restore” button near the bottom of the screen.

You can also restore past versions of files. CrashPlan can be set to save every version of every file, which is useful for both rollbacking unwanted changes and file corruptions. Because you get unlimited backup space with CrashPlan, there’s no harm going with unlimited versioning, either.

CrashPlan will also let you restore files to their original location automatically or download a .zip file to your hard drive to work with manually.

In addition to the desktop client, you can access files from the CrashPlan browser interface and mobile apps for Android and iOS. This provides a convenient means of getting at files on the road and on computers that don’t belong to you.

Carbonite Safe Pro

Carbonite also supports file recovery directly from the desktop client. However, it’s only for recovering everything at once. There’s an option to recover individual files, too, but it’ll redirect you to the browser interface to manage the recovery process.

When recovering all of your files using the desktop client, you can choose to recover everything back to its original location or download a .zip file.

Web restores let you select content to download by checking the box next to it. There’s no option to restore individual files to their original location, so you’ll have to handle that part on your own.

Carbonite also has mobile apps for Android and iOS that you can use to access your files. By default, Carbonite always retains at least three versions of files backed up on Windows computers. However, versioning isn’t offered for the Mac client for some reason.

Round Three Thoughts

There’s really not much to separate the restore process between CrashPlan and Carbonite. Both are relatively easy to use, have good versioning capabilities (unless you’re a Carbonite Mac user) and let you restore files to either their original locations or download them in a zip file. Both also have smartphone apps to access your files from.

CrashPlan, however, offers a more flexibility. For one, you can restore individual files to their original location, while Carbonite only lets you do so if recovering your entire backup. Also, Carbonite forces you to recover individual files via the browser GUI, while with CrashPlan you can do so using the desktop client, too.


Winner (Restore Process): Crashplan Pro
Carbonite Business
Crashplan Pro
4

Security

The security of files stored in the cloud is always a big deal, especially for business users. Next up we’ll cover the encryption options and everything else you’ll want to know about before letting either company safeguard your files.

CrashPlan for Small Business

When you send files to CrashPlan for backup, they’re encrypted end-to-end. That means your files are rendered unreadable before leaving your computer and don’t get put back together until you recover them. In transit, they’re also protected using transport-layer security (TLS).

By default, CrashPlan manages the encryption keys for you, which allows the company to reset your password if you forget it. However, it also means your files could be decrypted either by the company through the request of law enforcement, or by someone who steals those keys from the CrashPlan server (breaches are usually inside jobs).

To secure against those possibilities, CrashPlan has an option for private encryption that you can and should enable. Doing so means that only you can decrypt your files.

The encryption protocol used by CrashPlan is AES, which is the same protocol used by most other cloud providers, most banks, and most government organizations. The level of AES used is 256 bit, which with present technology would take many billions of years to crack through with brute force.

We mentioned versioning earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again here as this feature lets you potentially undo the damage caused by ransomware programs like CryptoLocker and CryptoWall. Once you remove the offending malware, just rollback corrupted files to clean copies, and you should be good to resume business without having to shell out thousands of dollars.

One big miss with CrashPlan is two-factor authentication (2FA). By not including this feature, stolen passwords are much easier to use since no additional security clearance will be required for logging into your account on unfamiliar machines.

If you’re sold on CrashPlan except for the absence of 2FA, the good news is that the service is compatible with many single-sign-on (SSO) services like OneLogin. Setting up the integration will cost you more money but will give you more control over user passwords, minimize phishing opportunities and let you enable 2FA.

SSO use also decreases user password fatigue by letting your workforce use the same credentials for multiple tools, including many of those services mentioned in our best enterprise sync and share guide.

Carbonite Safe Pro

Carbonite takes most of the same steps as CrashPlan in keeping your files secure. Files kept server-side are encrypted using AES and protected in transit with TLS. The encryption is end-to-end, though not private by default.

If you prefer to keep your encryption keys to yourself and not let the company manage them, you can enable private encryption. However, you have to do so prior to your initial backup; if you change your mind and want to add 2FA later, you’ll need to backup all of your files again.

Of less concern is that Carbonite uses 128-bit AES instead of 256-bit. That’s not nearly as secure a cipher but only relatively speaking. It would still take billions of years to crack, just not as many billions.

Carbonite, like CrashPlan, also has a deep versioning feature as we noted earlier. Like CrashPlan, that makes it helpful for rolling back file corruptions caused by ransomware, which could otherwise sink your business.

Where CrashPlan misses, Carbonite hits by allowing users to enable 2FA. When logging into your account from an unfamiliar machine, you’ll be required to enter a security code sent via text. As long as whoever stole your password doesn’t also snag your smartphone, your files should be safe.

Carbonite also supports SSO integrations if you’d prefer more oversight regarding your employee passwords.

Round Four Thoughts

We have no qualms about recommending either service from a security standpoint, and that’s mostly thanks to the inclusion of private end-to-end encryption and powerful versioning features. However, the absence of two-factor authentication will rightfully dissuade some business owners from choosing CrashPlan to protect their hard drives.

In light of that, we’re giving round four to Carbonite.


Winner (Security): Carbonite Business
Carbonite Business
Crashplan Pro
5

Support

With our battle tied at two rounds each, this final round is for all the marbles, and for this final round, we’ll be covering support. Finding responsive and reliable help when needed is a critical concern for businesses dealing with disaster recovery.

CrashPlan for Small Business

We love the fact that CrashPlan provides multiple avenues for direct help for technical problems. Those include two options for live contact in chat and telephone support. While live help isn’t available 24×7, the hours are reasonable: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT, Monday through Friday.

For evening and weekend support, you’re not totally on your own since CrashPlan monitors its email queue around the clock. CrashPlan triages tickets to determine severity, meaning your critical issues should prompt reasonably fast responses. Even on non-critical issues, our test emails to CrashPlan usually resulted in emails back within a few hours.

If you’re more of a DIY type, the company also provides a searchable knowledgebase packed with support articles, in addition to guides for both users and account admins.

Carbonite Safe Pro

Carbonite offers telephone support during weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST. However, there’s no live chat option for those who prefer written communication.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with Carbonite via email 24×7, providing a means of getting help when the call center is closed. Our test emails resulted in responses usually within a half day and often within a few hours.

Help is also available via a support knowledgebase if you need it. Carbonite maintains a dedicated section for its business backup solution, which includes articles on using its various admin features.

Round Five Thoughts  

Both services offer decent technical help options. While we’d like to see 24/7 live support, that’s uncommon among providers unless you go with a service like Acronis Backup, which offers 24/7 premier support for businesses if you’re willing to pay for it (read our Acronis Backup review).

While it won’t make a difference for many business owners, we’re going with CrashPlan for its inclusion of live chat.


Winner (Support): Crashplan Pro
Carbonite Business
Crashplan Pro
6

Final Verdict

If we’re going by round victories, this battle falls in favor of CrashPlan, three to two. We’d be woefully amiss, however, to suggest that each round victory should carry the same weight. Many of the features we touched on will be more important to some business owners than others, which could potentially sway the victory either way.

However, for the bulk of business owners out there, we believe CrashPlan is a better overall choice than Carbonite. The biggest difference between these two services is cost and device support. There are variances in backup processes, restore processes, security and support, but for the most part, they’re less convincing reasons to choose one or the other.

CrashPlan gives you unlimited backup for your computer for just $10 a month, and that includes local drive backup. A Carbonite Safe Pro subscription, meanwhile, can be used to backup unlimited computers, but you only get 250GB of backup for the base price, which is more than twice the cost of CrashPlan on a per month — and you have to pay for a year up front.

The only case in which we’d really recommend Carbonite over CrashPlan is if you have NAS devices or servers to backup since CrashPlan doesn’t support those machines.

However, if you’re looking for server backup, you probably want a backup service with better data-transfer rates, such as CloudBerry Backup (read our CloudBerry Backup review) paired with a cloud IaaS service like Rackspace or Amazon S3.

For businesses looking for an affordable computer backup solution, there just aren’t many better solutions out there than CrashPlan for Small Business.  

Winner: CrashPlan for Small Business

If you remain unconvinced that CrashPlan will be the optimal choice for your business, don’t forget to give our best backup for business article a looksie. We also welcome questions and comments, which you can leave below. Thanks for reading.

36 thoughts on “Carbonite Safe Pro vs CrashPlan for Small Business”

  1. I tried to install Crash Plan on my Mac. The first thing that pops up is “There is a known problem with installing on Mac. Please follow these steps…” No way. If they can’t get it to work the first time, I’m done. Went with Carbonite.

    1. If your gonna have a sub standard, poorly written Operating System you can’t expect that every 3rd party software is going to be optimized for it. Anyway your loss.

  2. You wrote
    “What makes CrashPlan compelling is that they never delete any data that you upload to their servers, even if you delete those files from your machine”

    I created an account and while selecting folders to be backed up, I unchecked one folder and immediately got a warning:
    Something like :”pls note that any folder you remove will be erased from our servers, for good”

    Does it mean that, as long as I keep the same one folder for my videos, they will keep forever all those videos, even if I erase them after viewing. This would be great for me, but could cause some headaches for Crashplan, as it could add up quickly to terabytes of storage

    1. Hi Bob,

      You’re right. Crashplan keeps your data even if you delete it on your local hard drive – provided you leave the folder checked and backed up. Of course, Crashplan knows that there might be users with huge amounts of data, but this is only a minority. They basically make money on the “average Joe” who only has a couple of important gigabyte to backup.

      Hope that helps.

  3. This is tremendously helpful- thank you! I travel full time and need backup I can depend on. These two stand out among the crowd of alternatives, but I was struggling a bit to clearly compare them- I greatly appreciate the shortcut.

    1. You’re welcome. Any questions you have just leave them here and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

  4. I have used both. Both have great features.

    I found Carbonite backed up faster initially AND had an small icon on each file to indicate if that file has been backed up, backing up, or not selected to back up – helpful sometimes to know your files are backed up. Drawback for me was mp4 or AVI files – and I’m not looking to back up some crazy movie storage – just videos I have from my cell – I shoot alot with the kids and all their activities.

    Crashplan has some issues with really large backups and getting that backed up initially but eventually they back up the whole thing ( I’m dealling w 800G of photos & short videos ). CrashPlan backs it ALL up – so I don’t need to find each mp4 file & select it for back-up like on Carbonite. That’s mainly why I switched – the video backup was by default. Unfortunately Crashplan has no ion on the files to show that the file has been backed up ( not a major but a nice to have feature ). Crashplan also runs on Java so it’s got some issue but I’ve heard they are working on Ver 4 that will deal with the Java issue.

    As I said, the video issue is why I switched.

    1. Thanks for the input. Certainly, not backing up video automatically is something that might be annoying for some customers. We also found that Crashplan running on Java might cause some problems. It’s good because of cross platform availability but could have some performance issues.

  5. Carbonite back up is not unlimited. If you delete a file from your lap top carbonite deletes the back up file after 30 days. In effect, you have to keep a local copy of every file you back up on the device from which you backed it up to keep the file stored with Carbonite. This means that your back up is limited to the size of the drive (device) that you backed up. For example, if you backed up a 300 GB laptop, your Carbonite stored files will be limited to 300 gigs for that device. Delete files on the laptop and they delete them from your backup files

    1. I think everyone should also keep in mind that when using these services they are an online backup, not online storage. They are backups of your files in case the unthinkable happens and you have a local data loss. The backup is unlimited if your data is unlimited, they are not going to keep files that you don’t have because it is only meant to be a backup. They keep the file for 30 days so you can restore it if you lose it, not to increase your overall storage.

  6. Hi Joyce,

    that is true. But as I mentioned in this article those services are backup services with their goal being to mirror files from your HD to their servers. They should not be mistaken for online archiving services. It is always recommendable to have a local copy of your files at home or at the office – never trust one single source.

  7. You mention redundant backups. While l think i understand what this means from the context, please define redundant. And why doesn’t crashplan’s reduntant backups give it a clear advantage?

  8. Carbonite worked great on two machines with under 200Gig of data. Added a 3rd (an iMac) with about 320Gig and all was fine until I hit about 220 GB. From here on in…it just shut down. Help Desk calls for Tech Support, several installs/unistalls…and nothing. It seems the rumours on the Net that Carbonite throttles uploads after 200GB are in fact true. I’m on my Trail with Carbonite for this machine and will delete/remove and try Crash plan. Too bad…the Carbonite app is very nice. Oh well.

  9. Your review compares the standard product for each site. One PC / one year for $59.99 / year. However, in your comparison, which is very good, you state that with Carbonite, “you can backup external hard drives for free”. Because this is an important feature for me it’s what I’ve been looking for. The correct product offering free external backup is CrashPlan. To get that with Carbonite you must upgrade to the “Plus” plan (99.99/year).

  10. (Typo above “never pulished” should be “published.” I’m a proofreader at heart.) However, I am also pretty old and therefore am an immigrant in the land of technology. My son is the native. I have decided to back up my laptop computer and am researching options. I have read several comparisons of CrashPad and Carbonite and have a couple of questions. I am looking to back up my entire laptop (about 100 GB on the hard drive–lots of photos, many duplicated in more than one file, I think, but oh well, I guess? Very few videos. I fair amount of music, most loaded from CD’s.) Questions: First, what exactly does “Sync” mean here? I think it might push me to Carbonite, because one thing I very much would like is to edit a document on EITHER my laptop or iPad (or even iPhone) and have it done both places. Is that syncing, and how would it work? Second, re speed, how much time for that 100 GB and how inconvenient would it be? Thanks for any help you can give me.

    1. Hey Nancy,

      OK, let’s explore your questions:

      1) What does sync mean?
      Sync means you can allocate storage in your online backup plan with Carbonite to be synced to other computers. So yes, you can edit one document on your laptop, save it, and have it available on your PC once it is “synced” through Carbonite’s servers. Crashplan has no syncing option, yet.

      2) How long does it take to upload 100GB?
      Well, that depends mostly on your internet connection. But let’s assume your behind a broadband internet connection, so you might be able to upload anywhere from 500MG to 3GB per day. As a rough estimate I’d think of a couple of weeks for 100GB to be fully uploaded.

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

  11. Hmm. I left a rather detailed comment/question earlier today. I thought it appeared at that time, but it seems to be gone now. I guess I’ll see what happens to this one.

    1. HI Nancy, thanks for your detailed comment – very valuable. We’re moderating our comments and on the weekends it can come to some delay. Sorry for that. You comments should now appear on the web site.

  12. Thanks for the reply. (Yeah, I did figure out after I posted the second comment that the first had gone to moderation.) Anyhow, just a little more clarification, if you would be so kind. On the syncing question: can I actually edit a document on either the laptop or iPad, save it, and it becomes the new version immediately on both devices?
    On the time question: Yes, we have broadband. Now, regarding that couple of weeks estimate–when and how does that happen? In other words, is the laptop unavailable for use in any way while this is going on?

    Thanks for much for your help. (You still need to make pulished under the email space into published…. Nag, nag.)

  13. We have a TON of information here where I work and we decided to go with CrashPlan, mainly because we found the seed package to be worth the extra money. Something Carbonite doesn’t offer when you’re dealing with TB of data it’s your best option for your money. Carbonite does have a cheaper plan, however the extra money you spend on CrashPlan goes to features that are worth it.

    Carbonite offers network drive back up, which is something that CrashPlan you need to set up a work around, not like it was all that difficult to figure out.

    1. I’ve been using CrashPlan for over 1.5 years now for several small businesses I manage. I haven’t had any problems with the service or the software. However I feel dubious about their “champion” support. First of all, it’s almost impossible to talk to a live person and secondly the responses to the technical inquiries I received were unprofessional at the very least. Perhaps I dealt with one incompetent egg… Looking to switch to another provider now.

  14. I’ve been testing out crashplan this weekend. So far I’m medium level impressed. I started my backup Friday of 102 GB. By Sunday, that backup was done and I was ready to begin my restore test. It should note, it appears 2 of my folders are almost completely identical, so the total amount of unique data was about 70 GB. I’m now restoring the 32 GB folder to my desktop. Estimate is it will be complete by tomorrow morning. If so, it means both for uploads and downloads I’m getting around 30-40 GB per day. Not great, but better than the minimum of 10 GB crashplan promises.

    In total I have 12 TB worth of unique data to backup. It would take more than a year to backup all this data. If a fire happened, and I had to restore all 12 TB the restore would take equally long. So in the disaster recovery scenario I would probably have multiple drives sent via e-mail. Expensive, but probably better than no restore.

    But what this points out is there probably is little need for “unlimited”. Realistically, if I always plan to upload and download by internet. Then a 1 TB limit is effectively unlimited. In that I would probably never attempt to restore more than 1 TB across the internet.

    A bigger concern is privacy concerns. Granted miltary grade encryption is being used before I upload the data. But how do I confirm that? How do I know if there is a backdoor, or a second key used in the encoding that would allow access to my data? How do I know meta-data like the filenames is also protected? Or is it?

    I can well imagine the following scenario. The movie industry starts using subpoenas to access cloud providers data. Lets say the files are protected, but the file names and sizes are not. They see the list of movie titles I have backed up and assume I must be a pirate. I’m not even sure if Canada still considers it fair use to backup my own movies. So they show up on my door with a lawsuit. This having been after the fire for which I wanted to protect my data from, I no longer have any of the blue-rays and DVD’s. Just a pile of ashes that were sent to a landfill, and the insurance check that covers replacing a small fraction of what I owned. So now I have a multi-million dollar piracy lawsuit, just because I wanted to protect myself by backing things up.

    Will this happen? I don’t know. I do not have a way to do the due diligence to find-out.

  15. “Although we’re pitting two well-known cloud providers against each other, we’re not big fans of either of them”

    What online backup service(s) with unlimited storage are you a big fan of??

  16. Thank you for this comment (and thanks to the person who put together this comparison). The things you mention about CrashPlan are complete show-stoppers for me.

    I’ve been using Carbonite and my main interest in CrashPlan was that it never deletes anything– I have not needed a full restore in all the years I’ve done this– and I’m an average user with a small business, not a techie– but the way I lose files is either by a) accidently over-writing them or b) accidently deleting them. I thought the fact that CrashPlan doesn’t sync and doesn’t delete might be the solution I needed.

    However, now that I’ve read about speeds, crashes, and losing data, I’ll stay with Carbonite for another year.

    Thank you!

  17. Great comparison article overall! I would like to weigh-in with my real world experience with each.

    For years, I’ve handled all system backups at home with external drives. Quite frankly, any time there has been a major system issue, the most important things that needed to be saved and restored have been the nearly countless YEARS of photos and videos my wife keeps. I’m primarily a cloud-based user so everything that is of utmost importance to me is saved in Google Drive. Anyway, this year I decided (after re-building our main home PC) to try out these services to see how they would work out so I would have to worry about loosing any pictures/videos on one of the external drives I have been using (which happened, but I restored them – that’s a different story!)

    I initially started with Carbonite. I personally didn’t find the initial upload to be too bad. It took about 8 days to upload 1.7TB worth of storage. I thought, “cool – Carbonite it is for my home!”. I also have a PC with external drives that is used as a media server, and 2 laptops. Once I decided to go from free Carbonite to a subscription, THAT’S when I decided to shop around. I also tried Backblaze – similar experience.

    For me, it ultimately came down to the math. Simple as that.
    To stay with Carbonite or Backblaze, my cost would have been (for a total of 4 systems) $239.96 / year. But since one of the systems have external drives I want to keep backed up, for Carbonite that costs jumps to $279.96 /year.

    With Crashplan, my cost for all systems with external hard drives is $149.99.

    As for the upload speed / time – YES CrashPlan can be VERY slow. At first. There are some settings that can be adjusted to help this along. But, there is also a somewhat hidden setting that doesn’t really “jump out”. Unlike the others, CrashPlan has a command line that is actually easy to find by clicking on the little “house” symbol. There is a java command that can be entered/adjusted (depending on the drive you have). I found this out from a friend who runs the CrashPlan Enterprise edition for a company and I had complained about how slow the uploads were taking because I got the “1 year left” completion notification as well.

    After a couple of tweaks, I haven’t had further issues. As for losing data – I can’t speak on that. Other than price, I took into account my friend’s recommendation, as he is a trusted fellow IT professional who has been using CrashPlan at the company he is the IT Admin for.

    Again, great review. And I have to agree – there truly is no “one size fits all” solution to data backup. What works for some may not work for others. Fortunately, there are some great choices out there!

  18. A couple of years ago I switched from Carbonite to Crashplan, and until very recently, was happy with that switch. However, 3 problem have arisen in the past few weeks which have turned me very sour on Crashplan:

    1. I used to love being able to retrieve backed up files onto my Android phone – very useful in meetings when I need to quickly access a file. The Android app no longer works. Crashplan admits this, and does not know when it will be fixed.

    2. My backups are hosed. I am backing up to 3 different locations – 2 local and 1 cloud, but my backup jobs for the past week or so keep disconnecting, retrying, backing up for a little while, disconnecting, retrying, etc. At this point, I don’t have any valid backup at all.

    3. There is supposed to be customer support, but I have found it to range from very slow to non-existent. I reported my backup problem on Sunday, and have asked twice since then for a status. It is now Thursday, and I have not heard a word.

    I am extremely disappointed with Crashplan, and am now looking for alternatives. For now, I am using Dropbox for cloud and FBackup for local backups.

  19. I found a couple of very serious flaws with Carbonite
    1) If you run your machine 24/7, you *will* need to reboot your machine once a month because the program simply stops backing up. You’ll end up getting an email after a weeks ‘you haven’t backed up in a week’
    2) After the initial backup, there is no progress indicator as to how close you are to completing a backup.
    3) Get used to calling support. I’ve probably reinstalled the software 10+ times. Support staff don’t care why something stopped working, they just want to get it going again and move on
    4) External backups are unreliable – I could not restore after a serious crash.

  20. I did find a gotcha with CrashPlan. I backed up a computer with CrashPlan and reformatted the hard disk with the intent of restoring the data back onto the disk. I found out the hard way, that if the computer doesn’t sync with Crashplan after 180 days, they will purge your data. I only found this out the hard way by going to perform the restore and my computer was listed but had no data. I chatted with support and they directed me to the policy that stated they will purge the data.

  21. I am not sure which service is best. I just want to tell you, that I have been using Carbonite for 10 years without any problems – technical, customer service or otherwise.
    I like Crashplans “never delete” policy, though.

  22. I’m looking for a way to get 10,000 photos off my computer but keep accessible. It would be useful–in fact, it’s a dealbreaker, to be able to see thumbnails of the photos within a directory or folder on the actual backup site. Does Crashplan do this? Since Carbonite syncs, meaning once I get them all of my computer, Carbonite mirrors this action (deletes the only remaining ones forever), no good for my needs. So my one question: can I see thumbnails from which to peruse my backed-up library on line, with Crashplan?

  23. I have used Crashplan since 2009 and have about 50 customers backing up to my server with 8 – 4TB disks in 2 raids and this works wonderful. Crashplan automatically balances the load and keeps them equal.

    I have restored several times and one time the customer was flying back from japan on a Friday and Flying back out on Sunday and his computer had been stolen. He called his office admin and she got to me with the urgent matter. He does presentations in front of large groups.

    I was able to get him a new MacBook Pro and restore his data from my server here and give him a new computer to fly out with on Sunday.

    Because I had the data here and I was able to restore his whole computer. He was a very happy man.

    So speed is important sometimes and backup for sure.

    Crashplan sends me a report everyday of any computers not backing up.

    Also if a client starts having a backup problem there is a reason and it is usually a failing drive that needs to be replaced… What a wonderful help.

  24. CrashPlan does backup NAS devices. Just not with a Windows machine. They claim it has to do with windows access rights.

    They do say it will work with a MAC. I have tried using a MAC mini and it seems to backup NAS devices/folders with no problems ( note – I did this as a test – backup and restore – and do not have it backing up on a regular schedule like my windows machines, but it did work).

  25. Hello Joseph,

    Very detailed and useful comparison. You mentioned Crash plan is not HIPAA complaint? Is it still the case?

      1. Thanks for clarifying that. I was confused between idrive vs crashplan, but the fact that crashplan is HIPAA compliant makes it an easy choice.

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