obrBy Joseph Gildred — Last Updated: 27 Jan'18 2018-01-03T03:47:59+00:00

Carbonite vs CrashPlan: We’ve Got a Clear Winner

If you’re an SMB owner searching for a budget-friendly online backup solution, Carbonite and CrashPlan are options you should consider. Among our best online backup for business providers, these two may not be the best, but they definitely fit certain needs perfectly.

Both services are both similar and different enough that comparing them side-by-side can help get you acclimated to the types of backup options out there, even if you ultimately decide with a different service in our online backup reviews library.  

Of course, evaluating and testing both solutions can take a lot of time, too, distracting you from your main focus of running your business. Solution: let Cloudwards.net do the work for you.

Coming up, we’ll explore the key features of both Carbonite and CrashPlan side by side. For a more complete look at each service — including speed tests — don’t miss our dedicated Carbonite Safe Pro review and CrashPlan for Small Business review.

$ 10 00monthly
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
Starts from$ 22 50monthly
Visit Carbonite for OfficeCarbonite for Office 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

Carbonite or CrashPlan: Which is the Best Business Backup for You?

Here’s how it’s going to go down: we’re going to detail and mull the essential features of both Carbonite and CrashPlan over the course of four rounds of comparisons. Each round will include a point-by-point analysis for each service, followed by  a summary of our thoughts before naming a round winner.

Rounds includes cost of backup space, file backup experience, file restore experience and security.

At the end of the article, we’ll also declare a final winner. However, note that our pick might not be the one that works best for you, which is why it’s best to read through this article completely and consider how each service might meet or not meet your business requirements.

Before you can successfully make that determination, you may also want to review the importance of backing up your business data, in addition to making sure you understand the difference between online backup and cloud storage. If it’s better workplace collaboration you’re after, you might want to have a look at our best enterprise sync and share guide, instead.  

You’ll also want to decide if you want to backup data to the cloud or an on-premises server like those mentioned in our best small server for business guide.

Alternatively, you may want to reap the best of both approaches by building a hybrid backup solution to simultaneously backup data locally and remotely. Our guide on how to setup a hybrid backup for business will get you started down that path.

Finally, you may also want to read through some of our other online backup comparison articles to make sure you know all of your options and how they stack up against each other. Here are a few to get you going:

All that said, sometimes the best approach is to just dive right in. So, let’s get to it: it’s Carbonite vs CrashPlan, and one of these two services is leaving in a body bag. Or at least with a slight limp.   


Cost of Backup Space

First, we’ll take a look at how much a subscription to either service will cost you, how much backup space your get for your money, and how many and what type of devices each service supports.


Carbonite has multiple plans available, including a personal plan called Carbonite Safe that will get you unlimited storage for $60 a year. This plan, which you can read more about in our Carbonite review for home use, isn’t really suited for businesses. It doesn’t have admin controls, or FERPA, GLBA and HIPAA support, for example.

Carbonite doesn’t offer any unlimited backup plans aimed at businesses, in fact. Instead, you’re left to choose between various capped Carbonite Safe Pro plans.  

Price Plan
$ 269 99yearly
$ 599 99yearly
$ 999 99yearly
Storage 250 GB 500 GB 500 GB

Protects unlimited computers (additional backup costs 100GB/$99)

Protects unlimited computers + one server (additional backup costs 100GB/$99)

Unlimited computers + unlimited servers (additional backup costs 100GB/$99)

While your backup space isn’t unlimited, Carbonite Safe Pro can be used to backup unlimited computers, external storage devices and NAS devices. There’s are also plans that support server backup, if that’s a need. Carbonite ranks among the best online backup for server options, actually.

Supported operating systems include Windows and Mac, but not Linux. Android and iOS mobile apps are available, but they cannot be used to backup mobile data, just to access and share files you’ve backed up from your computer.

While the platform support is excellent for businesses with advanced needs, the cost of online backup with Carbonite doesn’t match up well with some of  the competition.

The cheapest Carbonite Safe subscription, which doesn’t include server backup, costs $269 per year for 250GB of backup. Each additional 100GB of backup costs $99. That means that 2TB of backup will cost just over $2000.


Picking a subscription plan with CrashPlan is quite a bit easier than doing so with Carbonite: there’s only one to choose from.

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

CrashPlan no longer supports home backup and its sole business plan grants you unlimited backup for a single computer. It’s one of two unlimited online backup for business options that we’d recommend, along with Backblaze (read our Backblaze for Business review). The cost is reasonable at just $10 per month, too.

The downside to CrashPlan as a business backup isn’t so much that a single plan only supports one computer, since the cost makes that more than palatable. Rather, the issue is that CrashPlan doesn’t support server or even NAS backup.

You can, at least, backup unlimited external drives with CrashPlan, which is good since unlimited backup doesn’t mean too much if you can only backup a single hard drive.

CrashPlan does support Linux, too, and ranks as one of our picks for best online backup for Linux. Of course Windows and Mac are also supported, and there are mobile apps for Android and iOS that you can use to access your backed up and shared files.\

Round One Thoughts:

It’s clear from the cost of service, backup space offerings and supported devices that Carbonite and CrashPlan should appeal to very different sorts of business customers.

Carbonite is more likely to appeal to those businesses with NAS devices and servers to backup in addition to computers — not to mention those with somewhat deeper pockets. CrashPlan, meanwhile, is best suited for small businesses with less robust needs and less capital to work with.

That makes choosing a winner in round one a bit of a pickle. Ultimately, we landed on CrashPlan as our choice  because if you are looking for server or NAS backup, there are more affordable and capable options than Carbonite Safe Pro, including Acronis Backup (read our Acronis Backup review).

For those looking for a backup solution for just their business computers, however, you won’t find much better value than what CrashPlan provides.

Winner (Cost of Backup Space): CrashPlan for Business
CrashPlan for Business
Carbonite for Office

File Backup Experience

Up next, we’ll take a look at general backup process and backup features to see which service, Carbonite or CrashPlan, delivers the best backup experience.


Backup operations with Carbonite are run through the desktop client. Somewhat problematically, the desktop client used for Carbonite’s business plans is the same used for Carbonite personal plans.

The issue is that the client works better for unlimited backup because once you install and run it, it automatically scans and tags files for backup based on file type, including documents, images, videos, email files, financial files and all other common file types.

When you’re dealing with space limitations, that grab-all approach can cause some obvious issues. Prior to completing installation, there is an option to turn off automatic backup by file type, but you need to know to look for it.

If you’ve turned automatic backup off, you’ll be able to tag folders and files manually for backup. However, the process to do so is more complicated than necessary: Carbonite makes you use your file system to find content, then right-click on it and select “back this up.”

When you do so, Carbonite doesn’t mark the folders or files in your files system to tell you that they’re being backed up, either. The only way you can check to see what’s included is to log into the web interface.

It would be much easier if you could tag folders and files directly from the Carbonite desktop client, like you can with most other online backup tools. The Carbonite approach is not only more time consuming, its likely going to lead to more user errors as it’s easy to overlook files.

This concern is somewhat lessened by the fact that as the account owner, you’ll have access to an admin console to set backup policies for your associates like requiring backup of objects such as their user folder.  

By default, Carbonite runs backup continuously. This means that as files are created and changed, those new files and file changes are reflected in your online backup in near real-time.

While continuous backup is the approach that best protects your computer, you can also schedule backups to run overnight or during other times.

Carbonite also uses block-level file copying to keep the backup process running smoothly. This means that when a file changes, only the parts of the file that changed get copied to the cloud, rather than copying the entire file all over again


Backup with CrashPlan is also run through the desktop client. Unlike Carbonite, you can tag folders and files directly through the desktop client to create your backup plan.

However, as an unlimited online backup service, CrashPlan would actually work better if the client simply tagged common file types for backup — just like the Carbonite client does by default.

You can makes things a bit easier for yourself by just tagging folders for backup a high level, such as your “user” folder. Unfortunately, CrashPlan doesn’t let you set employee backup policies like you can with Carbonite, mandating certain folders be part of any backup plan.

CrashPlan does let you backup to both the cloud and an external drive, making it great for a hybrid backup solution if you want to reap the benefits of both remote and local backup.

Backup defaults to continuous, but, as with Carbonite, you can set a schedule if you prefer.

While the initial backup process will take some time, once finished, CrashPlan should run smoothly thanks to the use of block-level copying, so in general continuous backup shouldn’t cause any issues.

Round Two Thoughts:

Neither Carbonite nor CrashPlan makes backup as easy as it could be. Carbonite should really develop a separate client for business backup, as the backup-everything approach doesn’t work well with limited backup space, and the alternative approach of manually tagging folders and files just isn’t user friendly.

CrashPlan, meanwhile, would work better if it backed up all common file types by default, like Carbonite does. However, the fact of the matter is that you can just tag folders at a higher level and accomplish something similar.

The bigger change we’d like to see the CrashPlan development team implement are the inclusion of backup policies like those you can set with Carbonite.

In the end, both Carbonite and CrashPlan would do well to take some lessons from Backblaze, by far the easiest service to implement a backup plan with. Both plans are also missing some backup features that many business uses will want, including image-based backup (see best image-based backup software).

Forced to pick a winner, we’re once again going with CrashPlan, because the Carbonite backup process seems so unbalanced that, even with backup policies, it could lead to more workplace confusion that most SMB owners will want to deal with.  

Winner ( File Backup Experience): CrashPlan for Business
CrashPlan for Business
Carbonite for Office

File Recovery Experience

Key to any disaster recovery process is the ability to actually recover from a disaster. Round three will focus on how easy Carbonite and CrashPlan make it for you to do just that.   


You can recover individual folder and files by tagging them. Or, you can choose to recover everything, although you’re “limited” to 5,000 recovery items or 10GB of data per restore.

If you decide to restore individual files, you’ll be redirected to the Carbonite web GUI to pick which files you want to restore.

After making your picks, the files will download as a .zip file. There’s no option to restore individual files to their original file system locations, which is an annoyance that SMB owners short on time probably won’t be thrilled with.

Strangely, if you choose to restore everything, the process takes place entirely through the desktop client and you do have the choice of restoring files to their original location (along with a .zip file download option).

Rather than split the restore process between desktop client and web GUI depending on whether you want all or specific files, it would be better for user experience to align the processes.  

If you have many files to recovery, you may not be up for waiting for the download process to complete, which can takes days or weeks. To help, Carbonite provides courier recovery service, which is available so long as you’re not using private encryption.

Using this service, Carbonite technicians will load your data onto an external hard drive and mail it to you. Courier recovery isn’t free like it is with IDrive (read our IDrive review), however. You’ll be charged $179.99 per computer, plus an addition $130 if you don’t return Carbonite’s external drive to them.

Sometimes, rather than recover a current state of a file, you might want a previous state instead. The ability to recover previous file states, called versioning, is a common feature with both cloud storage and online backup.

However, Carbonite’s versioning policy is more generous than most, albeit a bit complex. At least three versions of any file are kept, so long as there are that many to keep in the first place. On top of that, Carbonite keeps one file version for each of the previous seven days, one for each of the previous three weeks and one for each of the previous two months.

Deleted files are kept by Carbonite, too, for 60 days in case you accidentally erase something critical. After 60 days, deleted files are permanently removed from the Carbonite servers.


Unlike Carbonite, CrashPlan does let you run the entire restore process directly from the desktop client. To do so, just click on the “restore” tab.

You can select objects to restore at the folder or file level. Click the drive letter to restore everything.

Below the file selection pane, there are multiple toggles for restore options. These include options to change the restore location between the original file location, your desktop or another location. You can also change file permissions and file versions.

CrashPlan is one of the few backup services with a better versioning policy than Carbonite. You can actually, in effect, tell the client to retain all previous versions of your files — a handy capability, given that CrashPlan provides unlimited backup space to store them.  

All of the restore capabilities available via the desktop client can also be found in the CrashPlan web GUI. That means if you’re on a new computer, you don’t have to install the CrashPlan desktop software to access your files.

While CrashPlan recovery is pretty well designed and convenient to use, the company did discontinue its courier recovery service in 2016. That’s a shame, particularly since CrashPlan only works with business customers now, who are likely more often in need of expeditious disaster recovery than home users.

Round Three Thoughts:

Carbonite offers courier recovery and CrashPlan doesn’t. However, at $179.99 per recovery, that advantage is much less convincing than it could be.

Beyond that, CrashPlan recovery simply works better than what Carbonite is doing. Most of that has to do with the fact that CrashPlan offers powerful, full recovery experiences from either its desktop client or online GUI, while Carbonite uses one or the other depending on what you need.

We don’t like to feel like we’re picking on the services we review (usually), but for the third straight round, we’re choosing CrashPlan over Carbonite.

Winner (File Recovery Experience): CrashPlan for Business
CrashPlan for Business
Carbonite for Office


With an advantage of three rounds to none, Carbonite needs a convincing win in our fourth and final found. During this round, we’ll be taking a look at one of the most important aspects of online backup for any business, too — especially those with intellectual property or client data to protect: security.


The encryption protocol used by Carbonite is AES 128, which means your files are being scrambled using 128-bit encryption keys. While not as strong as AES 256, there have been no known cracks of AES 128, and the less complex algorithm should mean faster backups.

By default, Carbonite manages your encryption key for you. That way, if you forget your password, the company can reset it. However, if you prefer, you can manage your encryption key yourself by turning on private encryption.

Doing so means nobody but you can decrypt your files, which are encrypted end-to-end (i.e., from the time you back them up the time you recover them. This approach is sometimes called zero-knowledge encryption.  

Take note, however, that you have to opt for private encryption during your initial install and backup. Decide you want it later, and you’ll need to backup your computer all over again.

If you opt for private encryption, Carbonite actually uses AES 256 instead of AES 128, too. We’re not entirely sure why, both are fine to use.

However, while the encryption is rock solid, weak passwords are always a risk for brute-force cracking. To lessen the chance of damage if somebody does get ahold of your Carbonite password, the service provides an option to turn on two-factor authentication.

Activating this feature — which you should absolutely do — means that an additional security code will be required when logging into your device from an unfamiliar machine. This code is sent to your smartphone, meaning anybody who steals your password will also need to steal your phone to access your online backup.

On a final note, if you work with patient health data, Carbonite is HIPAA compliant and will sign a business associates agreement (BAA) agreeing to promptly report certain system failures and virtual attacks, as well as take other steps mandated by U.S. law.

Overall, Carbonite does well when it comes to security. Let’s see if CrashPlan can beat it.


CrashPlan uses AES 256 to scramble your files while at rest and in transit, so they should be pretty safe in the event of data breaches or cybercrime attacks designed to intercept internet activity.

Like Carbonite, the company keeps control of your encryption key by default.  However, you can opt for private encryption if you’d rather it not be able to decrypt and read your files.

Private encryption with CrashPlan maintains the same level of encryption as managed encryption, AES 256.

That’s all great, but CrashPlan misses big by not also offering ,two-factor authentication. For businesses, particularly, the lack of this feature seems like a big oversight on CrashPlan’s part.

The company also isn’t HIPAA compliant, likely in part due to the lack of 2FA.

Round Four Thoughts:

While both services let you opt into private encryption, only one service offers two factor authentication and is HIPAA compliant: Carbonite. For some SMB owners, those two misses alone will take CrashPlan out of the running for consideration.

If you’re not deterred by the lack of two-factor authentication and decide CrashPlan makes the most sense for your business, we’d recommend making sure your employees understand how to create strong passwords.

Also, if they’re using public WiFi, its best to use a VPN to make sure their credentials aren’t compromised (read our best VPN guide).

Winner (Security): CrashPlan for Business
CrashPlan for Business
Carbonite for Office

The Verdict

While Carbonite and CrashPlan often get mentioned as close competitors, the reality is that today they each seem better suited to customers with very different needs.

Carbonite provides better overall security than CrashPlan thanks mostly to its inclusion of two-factor authentication and HIPAA compliance. It can also be used to be backup NAS devices and servers, while CrashPlan cannot. Those are all fine reasons to pick Carbonite over CrashPlan.

CrashPlan, meanwhile, should appeal to business users with simpler needs. The service is ideal for those with just a handful of computers to backup, limited technical knowledge and a limited budget.

In preparing this article, the most compelling difference we noticed between Carbonite and CrashPlan — at least when it comes to making a buying decision — is that CrashPlan is much better positioned to appeal to customers than Carbonite, even if the ideal customer for each service is different.  

The fact is that when it comes to security and server backup, there are solutions that can do everything Carbonite can do, while also offering better user experiences, faster backup and oftentimes cheaper backup, too. The closest niche competitor that CrashPlan has right now is Backblaze for Business, and that’s a toss up.

In light of all of that, along with the fact that it took three of four rounds, we ultimately landed on CrashPlan as the winner of this matchup. It’s a strong service that, now that it focuses exclusively on its business customers, will hopefully on continue to get stronger.

Think we goofed? Let us know what we missed in the comments below, and let us know any questions you might have, too. Thanks for reading!  

Final Winner: CrashPlan

33 thoughts on “Carbonite vs CrashPlan: We’ve Got a Clear Winner”

  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).

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