Carbonite vs Crashplan: We’ve Got a Clear Winner

obrBy Mauricio Prinzlau — Last Updated: 20 Jan'16 2014-12-03T03:47:59+00:00Google+
Looking for the business version of Carbonite and Crashplan? Click here.

Comparing online backup services is never an easy task, as each provider serves different purposes for different needs. Here at Cloudwards, we know that a comparison between Carbonite and CrashPlan is a very popular topic of discussion on and off Google. While both services offer unlimited online backup, they certainly differ in the audiences they target.

Carbonite vs Crashplan – Quick Comparison

#1: winner
www.crashplan.comwww.carbonite.com
Starts from
$ 10.00 per month
Starts from
$ 5.00 per month

Syncronisation

Syncronisation

File Sharing

File Sharing

Free Storage

Free Storage

Mobile Access

Mobile Access
CrashPlan ReviewVisit CrashPlanCarbonite ReviewVisit Carbonite
Update 11/30/14: We’ve added a quick-comparison table due to high demand and comments via email.

Update 12/04/2014: We’ve added an in-depth comparison video to the article. Hope you enjoy it. Please leave your questions below.

Update 05/18/2015: For your listening pleasure we’ve added an audio version of this article. Enjoy!

Table of contents 


Carbonite vs Crashplan – Comparing the Behemoths of Online Backup

Carbonite vs Crashplan – Comparing the Behemoths of Online Backup

Check Out Other Popular Comparisons

 

Carbonite vs Crashplan - The Ultimate Battle

Tech Headaches

Tech Headache Choosing Carbonite OR Crashplan
We know it can be terribly confusing which service to choose. There are so many features, plans, and things to consider, such as security and speed. Nobody should have to spend hours investigating the pros and cons of any one service. 

We did our homework, and even for us, it was agonizing. 

Although we’re pitting two well-known cloud providers against each other, we’re not big fans of either of them, so remember that this is a comparison based purely on what we’ve observed of their services.

We have used both services, and they’re all right. They have cheap plans for consumers and more-expensive plans for businesses. While you may already know which is right for you, you can always ask us in the comment section or shoot us an email, and we’ll get back with help and guidance. 

So without further ado, let’s dive right into the battle. 

Online Cloud Backup Is a No-Brainer

We just love the way the Internet has developed. Now it is possible to back up your data offsite without having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars. Online backup starts from as low as $5 per month, and it’s all set-it-and-forget-it. 

Automation is key. The easier your backup, the more likely you are to stick with it and be prepared in case of disaster. 

And disaster will eventually happen. Hard drives fail. Accidents happen. There are bad people out there who might steal your laptop at the airport. Or your grandma is just a bit tipsy today and spills her coffee over your machine. There are countless scenarios why we think backing up your data online is indispensable.

Carbonite Online Backup

Carbonite Online Backup vs Crashplan Which is the best?

Carbonite is one of the first online backup services to offer unlimited backup and storage to their customers. Carbonite started back in 2005, when online backup was still a very small niche. Today, they’ve grown into one of the biggest players in the cloud backup market. Whether this is due to a good product or to good marketing remains to be seen. 

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

Doesn't include external hard drives.

Includes external hard drive backup and automatic video backup.

Includes courier service.

We have an exclusive Carbonite offer code waiting for you

CrashPlan

Crashplan vs Carbonite: Is This The Best Service

CrashPlan, too, has a couple of years on its back. Founded in 2007, CrashPlan already has a very solid user base. 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. Also, their client software is available on a variety of operating systems, so even Linux and Solaris users are able to use CrashPlan.

PlanCrashPlan for Business
Price Plan
$ 10 00monthly
Storage Unlimited
Details

Price is per computer you're backing up.

Round 1: Ease of use

Especially for users who are new to online backup and cloud storage, ease of use is tremendously important because they should get to their first backup as fast and frictionless as possible. 

Carbonite Online Backup

Carbonite online backup guides new users through an easy-to-understand wizard that allows them to select the most important files right away. If a user doesn’t select a file, then Carbonite automatically backs up the My Documents folder. If you are a Carbonite Home user, be advised that Carbonite does not automatically back up video files. So make sure you select them to put them into your backup stack.

CrashPlan

CrashPlan also uses a setup wizard to guide you through your first backup. However, it is a little harder to understand as CrashPlan has several methods to back up your data: you can back up to CrashPlan Central, use peer-to-peer backup, or use the CrashPlan software to manage your local backups. As CrashPlan offers unlimited online backup, we recommend just selecting all your files and backing them up to the cloud. Do not worry about excluding files from your backup stack. Also, to use the full potential of CrashPlan, you really have to dig deeper into the menus and invest a little bit of time in understanding the software.

  • Round 1 Winner (although it’s close): Carbonite Online Backup

Round 2: Reliability

Online backup reliability is one of the most important things to consider when deciding on a provider. What we mean with reliability is how the service provider manages your files uploading to (backing up) and downloading from (restoring) its servers.

A well-known saying among data backup specialists, which we quote all the time here at Cloudwards.net, is your backup is only as good as your restore. So reliability has to work in both ways—in backing up and in restoring your files.

Carbonite Online Backup

Carbonite took a long time in backing up all of our test files, 10 GB in total. Once your data is uploaded, incremental backups are slightly faster. Looking at our files online, we find that everything seems to be fine. We can search for any file that we backed up. However, finding files is not the same as restoring them.

So we did the following: First, we randomly selected files from our backup stack and restored them to our hard drive. Then we emulated a full computer crash, performed a full restore of our files, and then randomly checked if all of the files were intact.

Carbonite performed well on the individual file restore. However, we had some issues with our full restore: First, it took a very long time to get our files back. Then, we couldn’t open the archive with restored files. Only after downloading our restore for the second time were we able to get to all of our files. When you’re in a hurry, this can be very frustrating. 

CrashPlan

Backing up your files with CrashPlan is a joy. Your files are uploaded flawlessly, and you can access them anytime from the browser or the mobile app. While browsing our files online, we couldn’t find any differences from the original files that we had uploaded. Partial and full restore were accurate and worked as expected.

  • Round 2 Winner: CrashPlan

Round 3: Speed

As with all other online backup services we test here at Cloudwards.net, we performed an extensive speed test, measuring upload and download speeds as well as looking at the network graph. We used our 10 GB test folder with a variety of files, such as photos, movies, text documents, and presentations. We thought that would resemble a realistic backup scenario.

Carbonite online backup

Carbonite used to be severely flawed because they considerably limited the upload speed after around 25 GB of uploaded files. Fortunately, Carbonite has removed this limitation. Now you don’t have to worry about your online backup taking months to finish. Our initial test folder of 10 GB took quite long to upload (over 10 hours). So we can’t really say if there is no bandwidth throttle in place. Restoration was pretty fast and was completed as expected. 

CrashPlan

CrashPlan holds true to its promise of unlimited online backup because it does not limit storage, bandwidth, or file size. So it is a truly unlimited online backup service. Our test folder of 10 GB was uploaded in no time (below 3 hours). This is a good and solid result. As restoring is more important than backup, we also measured the restoring speed. CrashPlan is among the fastest when it comes to restoring your files: we performed a full restore in only 2 hours. 

  • Round 3 Winner: CrashPlan

Round 4: Features

Features are difficult to rate because they depend too much on user preference and needs. Also, you cannot say that just because one provider has an X number of features, it is better than another. This is simply not true. However, we can evaluate how well those features that are offered blend in. Backblaze, for example, has a very limited feature set but does one thing very well: backup. While there are not a lot of features, you cannot say that Backblaze is worse than online backup services that offer more.

Carbonite online backup

Carbonite has quite a limited feature set. You can back up your files and access them in the cloud from any device. Carbonite gives you the features you expect from a good online backup service: you can either schedule your backup or select automatic backups to never forget about backing up again. Also, you can back up external hard drives for free. If you’re going for a Home Premier Plan, you can even have Carbonite send you a thumb drive with your files on it in case you need to restore quickly. However, Home users have to pay for that feature.

Carbonite Feature Overview


  •  Unlimited online backup — check!
  •  Back up everything, even settings files
  •  High level of security (128-bit)
  • Continuous backup protection
  •  External hard drive backup
  • Sync and share files (This is unique to Carbonite and cannot be done with CrashPlan.)

CrashPlan

With CrashPlan, it’s features galore! There are a lot of backup features that geeks will love. You can adjust network settings in a very fine-grained level and fiddle around with CPU power.

You can either back up continuously or choose a schedule that fits your needs best. A very nice feature that we haven’t seen in other online backup services is peer-to-peer backup. If one of your friends has CrashPlan installed, she can allocate storage on her hard drive for you to use for free.

Your files are sent to her computer in an encrypted way so that you have additional offsite backup for free. Of course, you can also back up external hard drives for free. However, beginners will have difficulty learning about all the features and might be overwhelmed.

Crashplan Features Overview


  • Triple-destination protection, which allows you to use cloud backup, local backup, and peer-to-peer backup in one client
  •  Truly unlimited; no limits or restraints
  •  High level of security (448-bit)
  •  Mobile access to your files
  • Continuous backup protection
  •  External hard drive backup
  •  Deleted-file protection: This is great. Crashplan keeps your files even if you delete them from your computer.
  •  Seeded backup: If you don’t want to wait for your files to be backed up, you can send a hard drive, and CrashPlan takes care of the rest (at additional cost).
  • Round 4 Winner: CrashPlan

Round 5: Security

Online backup security is of utmost importance when sending your files over the Internet. It is non-negotiable that backup services encrypt your files locally and on their servers.

Carbonite Online Backup

Carbonite’s security is very solid. You can select a personal and private security key that encrypts your files locally with a 128-bit Blowfish key. That gives you a great deal of security for your files.

Of course, your files are sent via a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connection, which is also used by banks and other institutions. The data centers are guarded 24 hours a day, and server exes are controlled through electronic key cards and PIN codes. Your files are also backed up, and if there is an electricity outage, backup generators switch on.

CrashPlan

If you are a CrashPlan+ user, then you get a 448-bit Blowfish key and can search for your files after choosing your personal passphrase. You have to be careful, though, because if you lose the passphrase, nobody will be able to restore your files, not even CrashPlan. Also, CrashPlan has data centers around the US and the rest of the world, guaranteeing redundant backups of your files. Plus, CrashPlan has video surveillance, power, and cooling redundancy, which also protect CrashPlan’s own server infrastructure from physical harm.

  • Round 5 Winner: Tie, although CrashPlan has the higher technical standards

Bottom line

With three runaway wins CrashPlan is the clear victor of this competition. However, while CrashPlan is the winner in this article, it still might not be the perfect solution for your needs. Nevertheless, we think that CrashPlan will satisfy the needs of more people than Carbonite.

Audio Version

45 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.

  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. Actually, there are settings for that. In the CrashPlan application, go to Settings:Backup:Frequency and versions:
      There, you’ll see a number of sliders, for how frequently you want
      New version (every day to every minute),
      Last week (every week to every minute),
      Last 90 days (never to every thirty minutes),
      Last year (never to every 12 hours)
      Previous years (never to every 6 months).

      And finally, the all important selection:
      Remove deleted files (every day to NEVER).

      If you set the last slider to NEVER, your deleted files will be kept by CrashPlan.

      P.S. I’ll say in all my comments here that I do not work for CrashPlan, even though I am a fanboi. I have tried most of the others, and as I’ll write in another comment, CrashPlan is substantially better and a better financial value than the others.

    2. 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?

    1. It means you should never rely on one backup. You should ideally be using cloud storage, local storage, and if possible and if it’s cost effective, make a backup and store it in a fireproof lockbox somewhere.

    2. The classic description of best practices of archiving policy is written by Peter Krogh, called the DAM Book (Digital Asset Management).
      A very good summary of how to do this, summarized in the 3-2-1 rule can be found at:
      http://www.dpbestflow.org/, the web site of the American Society of Media Photographers.

      The reason digital photographers, rather than radiologists (I’m a physician), were first to establish best practice is that they digitized their work before radiologists did. They were one of the first areas of work whose livelihood depended directly on the ability to have reliable nearly certain backups.

  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.

    1. Carbonite hasn’t throttled backups over 200gb since early 2014. It’s likely something else, call support to have them figure it out for you.

  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 am always worried of accidentally deleting a file and only realize it when it is already too late, several months latter, for example. Would crashplan, carbonite or any other online backup service protect me? And in the case I accidentally modify a file. How old is the older version I can restore?

    1. Hi Bernardo, when using Crashplan you have to go into the settings and set the file retention rate to “unlimited”. Crashplan will automatically keep every version in your backup stack even if deleted from your computer.

  15. I narrowed the choice to Carbonite vs. CrashPlan and we performed some tests.

    Important, the tests were in different cities, one where my son lived in New York City and mine in Ann Arbor Michigan.

    The most important difference was the speed of backup. If you took the fastest speedtest.net result for upload as a measure of upload bandwidth, we found CrashPlan would achieve about 40-60% of that speed. Carbonite was vastly slower. Between both our backups, the fastest (steady state) was 1-2% of that speed. Finding this hard to believe, we tried setting up new accounts with friends, one in Ann Arbor, and one in NYC using different ISPs from our own. While our friends didn’t perform as long a backup, they had results on both CrashPlan and Carbonite consistent with our own.

    The next most important difference is price. They vary from year to year, but if you are willing to commit to a few years with CrashPlan, the savings is 30-45% compared to Carbonite.

    Finally, we compared restore. Crashplan, again, did about 40-50% of the potential download bandwidth measured by speedtest.net. Carbonite, in percentage terms, did better than it did during upload, but was still in the 9-12% range. Still a factor of roughly 4!

    My own take on this is, as the article hints, that Carbonite has done a better marketing job. They advertise very heavily on all the tech shows.
    This has another chilling effect: the hosts of those shows shy away from criticizing one of their sponsors. I’ve written to several of them, given them my results, and asked them to verify or disprove them. The responses spoke volumes: lots of verbiage about “your mileage may vary.” That’s true, but my son and I, with the partial corroboration of our friends, found a consistent and very strong difference in speed. If they believed in their product, they would have taken up the challenge. It’s not as though backup is an obscure topic in which their listeners/viewers are not interested.

    Finally, I want to commend CrashPlan for a very important feature. If all hell breaks loose, and my local backups go up in smoke, and I need my 2.5 TB back in a hurry, the CrashPlan service wherein they send you your data on hard drives by Fedex overnight is a wonderful service. Yes it costs nearly $200, but for the worst case situation where the other two versions (see my notes in another post on 3-2-1 rule of Peter Krogh outlined on http://www.dpbestflow.org/) are gone, this could be a godsend. Something to think about for the person who needs a lot of their data back soon, which is a quasi-business use, I guess.

  16. P.S. On previous long comment re: pricing.
    The price for a single computer is higher on CP than on Carbonite.
    However, I subscribe to the family plan. It costs $150 per year for 10 computers!
    Note, in the family, there is one account to which all the communication about the backups goes (so we set up a gmail account for this purpose). CrashPlan allows you to set up alerts if any computer hasn’t been backed up in X amount of time, for example. Members of the family do not have to be physically close or connected by the same ISP.
    For the right combination of people (professional colleagues, actual family, etc.) this can be as little as $15/year per computer.
    All the benefits apply: covers connected external storage for each computer for example.

  17. 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.

  18. I’m pretty sure Cloudwards are the only people reporting fast upload/download speeds with CrashPlan. This is entirely inaccurate, and makes me think CrashPlan intentionally bumped up the bandwidth for CW to look good in this comparison. CrashPlan uploads/downloads are the absolute slowest I have ever encountered with any cloud service. Thousands upon thousands of users of users are reporting atrocious speeds, and CrashPlan’s response seems to generally be “Oh sorry, this totally isn’t typical. Check out this pointless blog post that won’t help you at all.” On top of this, many users are reporting lost data (IMMEDIATE DEAL BREAKER), crashing applications, overall system slowdown/freezing, and frequent backup errors without any notification. Crashplan is simply unacceptable as a backup solution, period. I happen to work in the industry so I got a free year from a Code42 rep, and it still is not worth it. It doesn’t do anything but slow down my system and give me the false impression that my data is backed up.

    To give you an idea of how horrible this service is:

    I first tried to backup 4tb when initially installing and setting up the product. After a week of attempting to upload my life’s work, the CrashPlan app was still reporting “over a year” left to upload my documents. Just to be clear, I had a 1-year sub to CrashPlan, so technically my backup would NEVER finish. Completely pointless.

    Okay, so maybe 4tb is too much for CrashPlan to handle. Despite their insistence that CrashPlan provided unlimited backup (total BS in a real-world setting), I caved and reduced my backup to 140gb just to see if it actually worked. 7-1/2 days later my backup finally finished. Seriously? SERIOUSLY CrashPlan?!? Over a week for a measly 140gb, a mere fraction of the files I needed backed up offsite. I’ve used Backblaze to backup 6tb of data in a matter of days on the SAME connection, even transferred hundreds of GB of data to services like Dropbox, MS OneDrive, and other file-based cloud apps in a fraction of the time CrashPlan takes. I have contacted support and edited my local settings to no avail.

    My computer will regularly hang or freeze with the CrashPlan app running, making it unusable. I have no idea why this may be other than poor coding, as very little of my CPU and RAM are being used by the process. It just seems to break my system unlike any other application I have ever used.

    I have many more qualms with this farce of a “service”, but BOTTOM LINE:

    CRASHPLAN IS A TERRIBLE ATROCITY IN THE WORLD OF CLOUD BACKUP. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

    1. Hi Milo,
      I can guarantee you that Crashplan didn’t purposefully bump our transfer speeds because we haven’t informed them of our test. Full disclose: we do receive a small commission for services compared here at no additional cost to you. Personally, I’ve seen Crahsplan bandwidth fluctuate quite a bit over the last couple of years, it seems to perform worse for international users (for example from Europe), but in the US it shouldn’t that slow (I’ve tested this myself on business trips in the US).

      Another thing you have to keep in mind is that the “guestimate” on how long it’s going to take to upload your files is a really rough estimation, and in general is very very off from real world time it takes to backup files to Crashplan’s servers.

      For some people Crashplan simply doesn’t seem to work. That’s why they have a free trial and why there are other services such as backblaze and carbonite to try out 🙂

      1. Hi Mauricio,

        Thank you for the prompt response! It is good to know that you are not communicating this test to Crashplan, which gives me a bit more confidence regarding the accuracy of this review. I am still vehemently against this scam of a service. It just takes one quick glance at their product page on Amazon to see the majority of user reviews are not only overwhelmingly negative, but are mostly responses to catastrophic failures in the CrashPlan service that have left MANY people with years of lost data. To make matters even worse, CrashPlan support is worse than nonexistent, it is downright offensive. I have not seen a single negative review with a successful follow-up and resolution from the service provider, and in fact have seen many instances where CrashPlan support blatantly blames the user and attempts to skirt responsibility. This is appalling.

        As I type this, my CrashPlan backup is reporting that it cannot connect to the backup server. This is a VERY common issue among CrashPlan customers with no resolution whatsoever for years. Most of the time it seems to result in total data loss. This not only defeats the purpose of this service altogether, it basically confirms it as a money-grubbing scam. If you can’t handle the amount of users that are signing up for your service, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Make an announcement, terminate the fools that wrote the company’s expansion plan and roadmap, reallocate budget and take a hit in profit to make things right for the end-user…ANYTHING. In the years and years that CrashPlan has been pushing their false ads, nothing has been done to actually bring their service up to speed.

        CrashPlan is not a backup service. It is a scam and a joke. Just because a handful of users are reporting a pleasant experience, consumers should not ignore the numerous glaring issues with this company and their product. There is a good chance that if you use CrashPlan, you will lose your archive. You are basically paying for a service that might (possibly, maybe, HOPEFULLY) be able to store an archive for you, even though you’ll probably already have another form of backup in place already because you’ve just gone and read all of the horror stories with CrashPlan restoration.

        1. Hi Milo,
          now, I’m not a brand advocate of either Crashplan or Carbonite (I use them both) but I think it’s a little harsh to speak of Crashplan as a “scammy” service. What product page on amazon are you referring to btw.? Sorry to hear that you had a negative experience with a Crashplan support rep, that indeed should be on Crashplan’s agenda. On the other hand, it’s perfectly “normal” that sometimes even the best service has some hiccups, for example not being able to temporarily connect to the servers, temporarily being the key here. Also, you need to make sure, it’s not an ISP problem on your end which is very often the case (firewall setting, IP-range blocking, throttling etc. etc.,) Now, I’m not saying that this is the case with you, I’m just pointing it out for other users to read. If you’re really unhappy with Crashplan, I’d just ask for a refund, and see what they reply.

    2. 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!

  19. “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??

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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?

  26. 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.

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