In some ways, Backblaze and CrashPlan are very similar backup providers, offering unlimited backup and streamlined, easy-to-use clients. However, they also have completely different target audiences, with Backblaze focusing on individuals and CrashPlan on businesses. Keep reading this CrashPlan vs Backblaze comparison to find out which is the best cloud backup for you.
- Backblaze and CrashPlan are two backup providers with unlimited backup space that cater to very different customers.
- Backblaze focuses on simplicity and making the backup process as hands-off as possible, whereas CrashPlan is a business solution with a lot more features to play with.
- Both providers have excellent security, though neither have true private encryption.
If neither service appeals to you, you may want to look at our list of the best cloud backup and our cloud storage comparison chart to find some alternatives. If these sound like the same thing to you, our breakdown of cloud storage vs online backup will help you understand the difference.
Updated comparison with new speed tests, features and pricing information.
CrashPlan Home was discontinued in 2017 as Code42 (CrashPlan’s parent company) decided to shift its focus to business and enterprise customers.
Backblaze, like other unlimited backup services such as Carbonite, is able to offer a lot of storage for cheap because the vast majority of its users will use less storage than they pay for.
Yes, Backblaze uses private (or end-to-end) encryption. However, in order to recover your backup, you’ll have to hand the encryption key over to Backblaze, which means it’s no longer completely private.
CrashPlan is owned and operated by Code42, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The software uses backup servers located in the U.S., the EU, Australia and Singapore.
CrashPlan vs Backblaze: Unlimited Storage Compared
To decide which service is better, we’ve structured this CrashPlan vs Backblaze comparison into eight rounds, each focused on a specific criterion from our cloud backup reviews. Each round awards one point, which means one of our competitors needs to win five rounds to secure the overall victory.
Although both services offer subscription plans for business users, Backblaze is primarily focused on providing a simple backup solution for individuals, whereas CrashPlan’s entire focus is on business backup. This results in CrashPlan having a much richer feature set than Backblaze, even if the latter still does well for what it’s trying to be.
Device & Backup Types
Both services offer unlimited cloud storage, but each individual license covers only a single device. For CrashPlan, these devices can be either desktop machines or servers, whereas Backblaze supports only regular computers. Neither offers backups for NAS (network-attached-storage) or mobile devices, so there’s not much difference in that regard.
You can also back up any external hard drive connected to your device using either online backup service. This is good, as many other backup solutions — such as Degoo (read our Degoo review) — won’t recognize external hard drives at all.
If you don’t like the idea of relying entirely on the off-site backup servers, CrashPlan includes support for hybrid backups, meaning you can store your data simultaneously on a local device and on cloud storage.
Backup & Recovery Settings
If you want to create a complete clone of your hard drive through disk imaging, neither service will have what you’re looking for. If disk imaging and hard drive cloning is important to you, check out other services like IDrive (read our IDrive review) instead. You can also read our IDrive vs Backblaze comparison to learn how the two services compare.
In terms of backup scheduling, the two services are pretty similar. Both support continuous, incremental and scheduled backups. Throttling and block-level file copying are also included in both, which will save you a lot of bandwidth by uploading only the parts of your files that have changed, rather than the whole thing.
If you routinely perform large restore operations that take up a huge amount of time and bandwidth, Backblaze offers a courier recovery service to get around this problem.
Instead of downloading a massive zipped file, you can instead have the service ship you a physical external hard drive (with up to 8TB of space) containing your data. This is one area where Backblaze has an edge over CrashPlan, as the latter doesn’t offer this kind of service at all.
Another advantage of Backblaze is its use of multithreading. CrashPlan doesn’t include this feature, which in theory should make Backblaze quite a bit faster at uploading and downloading your data from the server. We’ll see whether or not this bears out in our speed round.
File Versioning & Retention
File versioning is another big difference between the two backup providers. CrashPlan lets you customize this in great detail, allowing for unlimited retention of deleted files and old versions of files that have been changed.
However, Backblaze limits versioning to 30 days by default, which you can extend to a full year for an extra $2 per month, or forever for that same $2 plus $0.005 per GB of files older than one year.
Managing Users & Groups
CrashPlan is far superior when it comes to user and group management. This isn’t terribly surprising, since the software is designed entirely for business use (and tops our list of the best online backup for business), instead of the dual approach of Backblaze.
Although Backblaze does include some rudimentary user and group controls, CrashPlan goes further by giving you more in-depth control and the ability to import users in bulk.
Backblaze also comes with some miscellaneous features, including file sharing and the ability to inherit backup states across devices. Another unusual feature is the “find my computer” function, which lets you locate your device in case it’s lost or stolen.
Despite these extra features, we have to give this one to CrashPlan, largely due to its superior versioning, more extensive user management and support for hybrid backup.
|Unlimited GB$5.42 / month(All Plans)||Unlimited GB$10 / month(All Plans)|
|External Drive Backup|
|Mobile Device Backup|
|Block-Level File Copying|
|Courier Recovery Service|
|Mobile App Access|
|Deleted File Retention||30 days|
|Encryption Protocol||AES 256-bit||AES 256-bit|
|Hardened Data Centers|
|Proxy Server Settings|
|Live Chat Support|
Many backup services feature complicated pricing schemes involving multiple plans and tiers, all with different features available. Luckily, both Backblaze and CrashPlan for Small Business make pricing incredibly simple.
Unlimited Backup Storage
Both services offer only one plan, which covers a single device and provides unlimited storage space for that device.
For Backblaze, the subscription will run you $7 per month, $70 per year or $130 for two years. CrashPlan is slightly more expensive and offers only a monthly small business subscription (formerly known as CrashPlan Pro) with a price tag of $10 per device per month.
This makes Backblaze the cheaper option — especially if you’re willing to commit to one or two years up front — because CrashPlan doesn’t offer annual billing discounts.
CrashPlan also offers an enterprise plan, but the pricing is not public and most likely customized for each customer, meaning you have to reach out to Code42’s sales department for a quote.
Courier Recovery & Free Trials
Besides the subscription cost itself, Backblaze also offers a courier recovery service for an additional fee, which will be mailed to you in the form of an external drive.
This service will cost you $189 for restores up to 8TB in size. You can either choose to keep the external drive, which at this price point is not a terrible deal, or return it to Backblaze within 30 days to get a full refund.
When it comes to free trials, Backblaze gives you a 15-day free trial, whereas with CrashPlan you can get 30 days for free.
With all of this in mind, the pricing round is a win for Backblaze. Its low monthly cost and unlimited online backup makes it one of the cheapest cloud storage options out there. This evens the score to 1-1. If you’d like more details on its subscription model, check out our Backblaze pricing guide.
Because you want to make sure that your data is protected as quickly as possible after you make a change or create a new file, it’s critical that backup services are fast. Backblaze focuses on simplicity and making the backup process as hands-off as possible, whereas CrashPlan is a business solution with a lot more features to play with.
This is even more true for your initial backup, as these often include a huge amount of data that can take a very long time to upload. Unfortunately, neither CrashPlan nor Backblaze perform particularly well here, especially in terms of upload speed.
To test the speed of each service, we uploaded and downloaded a 5GB folder filled with various types of files, including video, pictures and text. The data was uploaded on a 1 Gbps connection throttled to 100 Mbps for both uploads and downloads in order to ensure the most consistent results.
|Upload/Download:||First attempt||Second attempt||Average|
As you can see from these results, both services struggle greatly when it comes to uploads. With an available bandwidth of 100 Mbps, we’d expect to see upload times of just under seven minutes, but both services took closer to an hour. Backblaze was slightly faster, but still didn’t achieve anything to write home about.
That said, the download was much faster for both services. They both took around 8 minutes, with CrashPlan being slightly faster.
Although neither service performed all that well in this round, we’ll have to give it to Backblaze for being almost 20 minutes faster on average when uploading files, even though CrashPlan had a slightly faster download speed. That means the score is now 2-1 in Backblaze’s favor, with five rounds to go.
4. Ease of Use
Both of the online backup solutions we’re looking at are easy to use, but for different reasons. Where Backblaze is designed with simplicity as the obvious top priority, CrashPlan contains far more features and as such is more complex. However, Backblaze looks and feels incredibly dated, and some features are needlessly cumbersome.
Backblaze vs CrashPlan Clients
Starting with Backblaze, the entire client is contained in just two panels. A main window shows your backup and its status, and a basic settings panel lets you adjust things like throttling, backup schedules and file exclusions.
The application certainly isn’t winning any awards for design. It looks even worse if you have dark mode enabled in Windows, and there’s no way to override this without changing the setting for your entire system.
CrashPlan, as we already mentioned, is quite a bit more complicated. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s difficult to use, but there’s definitely more effort involved in learning where everything is and how to effectively utilize the backup software. Instead of a single options menu, there are global device preferences and individual menus for each backup set.
This is great for flexibility, and is something that Backblaze is sorely lacking, but it does increase the complexity of the software. CrashPlan’s interface also looks like it was designed in the last two decades, which isn’t something we can say for Backblaze.
Backblaze also feels pretty clunky the moment you move past setting up a simple backup. As we’ll get to in the next round, excluding files can be a painfully long process, and to restore your backup you have to use a web browser or download a separate application that looks just as ancient and performs terribly to boot.
Web Dashboards & Mobile Backups
Both providers have a web dashboard in addition to the desktop client. For Backblaze, this is pretty basic. It exists mostly to facilitate restore operations and to let you change your account settings, but not much else. Meanwhile, CrashPlan’s web dashboard is incredibly in depth, and thus quite complex, containing all the same features as the desktop client.
Although neither service lets you perform mobile backups, they do have mobile apps for both iOS and Android that give you remote access to your data. These are both pretty bare-bones, consisting of a list of your devices and their stored data, which you can download and manage from the app.
At the end of the day, these are two very different pieces of software designed for different types of users. Although CrashPlan is more complex, that’s largely by design and it also looks and feels a whole lot better than Backblaze does.
That said, Backblaze’s simplicity can be its main selling point if all you need is a basic backup solution. Because of this, we’re calling this round a tie, which brings the score to 3-2 in Backblaze’s favor.
5. Backup & File Recovery
If all you’re looking for is a way to back up all the data on your device at once, Backblaze does this very well. However, if you want to be a bit more selective about which files you upload to the off-site backup server, then managing this with Backblaze is a big hassle.
Setting Up a Backup
With Backblaze, instead of choosing the files you want to back up, you’ll need to do it in reverse and list everything you don’t want to back up in the file exclusions list.
Because of this, those who like to have as much control as possible over the process may find Backblaze quite frustrating to use. Furthermore, if you only want to back up specific folders, it can take a long time to exclude everything else.
Meanwhile, CrashPlan gives you way more control over the whole process. You can create multiple backup sets that contain different files, and you can adjust the settings for each of these sets individually. For example, you can set them up with different priority levels, destinations, schedules and throttling limits.
CrashPlan also gives you a lot more information about your backup while it’s running, including what data is currently being uploaded, how much time is left and a proper progress bar. Backblaze is a lot more vague about this; it doesn’t tell you how much time it expects to take, nor does it show a progress bar.
Backing up your files is only half the equation; good online backup also needs to make it convenient and easy to restore your files. CrashPlan does this, as all you need to restore your backup is click a button and wait for the files to appear in whatever location you’ve designated.
Restoring your online backup data with Backblaze, on the other hand, is inconvenient and clunky. To start the restore process, you need to sign in to the web panel and hand over your private key (more on that later) before downloading through the browser. You can opt to use a separate restore app, but it’s incredibly unresponsive and laggy.
As you can probably guess, CrashPlan easily wins this round, bringing the score back to a tie at 3-3 as we proceed to the sixth round, focused on data security.
Both backup solutions offer excellent encryption and data center security, as well as two-factor authentication. As for data center security, both providers harden their servers against all kinds of potential failures, including natural disasters, fires and physical break-ins.
In terms of encryption protocols, both providers use AES 256-bit for files on their servers and SSL/TLS while files are in transit, protecting users from man-in-the-middle attacks.
Two-factor authentication is simple to activate on either service, and provides additional security, so cybercriminals won’t be able to access your files simply by cracking your password.
What this means is that it’s almost impossible to declare a clear winner in this round. At the end of the day, you can trust both providers to keep your data secure from outside access. Whether or not that’s true for internal access is something we’ll look at in the next round, which means that we still have a tie on our hands with only two rounds to go.
When it comes to privacy, there’s really only one thing that matters, and that’s zero-knowledge encryption — also known as private encryption or end-to-end encryption. This means only you have access to the key that can decrypt your files, protecting them from “legitimate” access from the company itself or the authorities.
Unfortunately, neither service really offers this, at least not in a way that isn’t fundamentally flawed. CrashPlan used to, but ditched the option a few years back. Backblaze advertises zero-knowledge encryption, but its implementation is less than ideal.
That’s because — like we mentioned earlier — in order to restore your backup, you’ll have to hand the supposedly private key over to Backblaze to decrypt your files for you, rather than performing this yourself locally on your device.
This means that while your files are safe from any and all access initially, it’s theoretically possible for Backblaze to access your backed-up data once you’ve recovered it at least once.
Backblaze claims that it flushes these encryption keys immediately, but we’d prefer not to have to take a company at its word, and the idea behind zero-knowledge encryption is that you don’t have to.
Backblaze’s servers are located in the U.S. and the Netherlands. The former has terrible online privacy laws, and the latter isn’t that much better. This means it’s probably not a service you should use if you’re concerned about the authorities gaining access to your files.
That said, CrashPlan also uses servers hosted in the U.S. It does have a few servers in other locations like Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands and Singapore, but you can’t choose the location yourself — you are assigned one based on your location when you initiate your backup.
Examples of the U.S. government’s willingness to violate digital privacy have come in many forms over the years, including PRISM, the Patriot Act and the Five Eyes network.
Privacy Policies & Regulatory Compliance
As mentioned, this is all pretty standard, and both cloud backup providers claim that they never sell this information to advertisers. They state that they will only share it with trusted third-party partners or with the authorities if they are compelled to do so by law.
Both services comply with GDPR, but only CrashPlan includes HIPAA compliance, provided you sign a business associate agreement with Code42.
Once again, there’s not much separating the two services. That said, although Backblaze’s private encryption stops being zero knowledge the moment you restore your data, at least it’s halfway there, which is more than CrashPlan can say.
Backblaze also lets the user choose between data centers, which despite the lack of options is still better than the automatic assignment you get with CrashPlan.
For these reasons, we think Backblaze manages to squeak out a win in this round, although it’s still nowhere near top of class if you’re a privacy-minded consumer looking for a zero-knowledge backup provider. Backblaze now takes the lead with a score of 5-4 with just one round to go.
We’ll finish by taking a look at each service’s customer support, which is CrashPlan’s last chance to secure at least a tie. Both of our competitors are excellent in this regard, offering support by email and chat, as well as extensive knowledgebases.
We tested the responsiveness of each service’s customer support by sending them an inquiry by email, and we got good results with both. Backblaze responded within a day, but CrashPlan exceeded our expectations and got back to us within just two hours.
Opening times for the chat support are similar for both services. CrashPlan’s support is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. Backblaze’s support is available in two windows: from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. PST, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. PST.
In addition to the email and chat service, CrashPlan offers support via phone, which is available during the same hours as its chat option.
Because of its excellent response time by email and the additional phone support option, CrashPlan wins this round, which leaves us with the somewhat disappointing result of a tie and a final score of 5-5.
That concludes our Backblaze vs CrashPlan comparison. Both services are excellent choices for backing up a desktop device or external hard drive — especially if you need unlimited cloud storage — and which one is right for you mostly depends on what kind of backup software you need.
Business users or those looking for more flexibility and functionality with their backups will no doubt want to pay the extra money for CrashPlan. Personal users just looking for a simple and easy backup for their whole device, on the other hand, will be much better served by the cheaper Backblaze.
What did you think of our CrashPlan vs Backblaze comparison? Do you agree with the tied result, or do you think that CrashPlan should have won by being a more feature-rich service with a smoother backup process? Or did we underestimate Backblaze or miss something that you think makes it the better service? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.