IDrive and Backblaze are both online backup services. However, while IDrive offers a wide array of features and storage space that can be used for multiple devices, Backblaze users get unlimited storage for a single computer that’s incredibly easy to use. This IDrive vs Backblaze comparison will find out which one is better overall.
- Backblaze is a great value with its unlimited storage and is also easy to use.
- IDrive has plenty of features and a solid backup process.
- Security and privacy is where Backblaze falls behind and IDrive excels.
Regardless of how these services stand up to one another, both are great options for your online backup and take the top two spots in our list of the best online backup services. However, they both get there for very different reasons.
By the end of this article, it should be clear which provider is better for you. If you’re still not sure, you can read our IDrive review and our Backblaze review to find out more.
06/02/2022 Facts checked
Updated to account for changes in the services and include our standard speed tests.
Updated to reflect an increase in IDrive’s free plan to 10GB of storage.
Updated to remove IDrive’s discontinued free plan and add its new free 30-day trial.
Updated IDrive’s pricing information.
IDrive vs Backblaze: Online Backup Criteria
The criteria we’ll be judging these backup services on are the same eight categories we use in our reviews: features, pricing, ease of use, file backup and restoration, speed, security, privacy and customer support.
For each section, we’ll look at what both providers offer and declare a winner. We’ll also keep a tally and wrap up our thoughts at the end, considering every aspect.
Although every backup provider has to be able to save your data to cloud storage and must have an option for restoring files from that backup, many services offer something more. Between IDrive and Backblaze, it’s pretty clear which one goes further here.
Naturally, there are a lot of features both services have. For example, you can create either a continuous, scheduled or manual backup with either service. However, IDrive wins out here with its powerful scheduler, whereas Backblaze’s scheduling is limited to once per day, at a set time.
Both services can obviously make a cloud backup, but only IDrive lets you create a local backup. You can do these together, as a hybrid backup, or separately, with only the most important files going into cloud storage.
Another issue for Backblaze is the supported operating systems. It has a desktop app for Mac and Windows computers, but no Linux version. The mobile app lets you see what files are in your backup and download any that are under 5GB, but you can’t upload files to create a mobile backup.
On the other hand, IDrive supports Linux through terminal commands and works on many common servers. It also has one of the best mobile apps, making IDrive one of the best backup providers for mobile devices.
Anyone who uses network attached storage (NAS) should also choose IDrive. You could use Backblaze B2 with Cloudberry Backup, but IDrive lets you add a NAS natively.
Syncing and Sharing
Something else you might not normally consider is whether cloud backup services can replace your cloud storage software. While we stop short of claiming that IDrive beats out providers like Sync.com and pCloud, if you’re looking for a basic way to sync data or some file sharing features, IDrive can cover you.
Syncing files between devices is as simple as going into the “sync” tab in the IDrive desktop app. There, you can turn on file synchronization and navigate to the IDrive sync folder. All your devices will then receive these files.
You can also use the web app to share files through IDrive. Simply find the file you want to send, right-click it and click the “share” button. You can then add a password and download limits and send it to any email address.
Benefits of Backblaze
Although IDrive beats Backblaze in most features, this isn’t always the case. While both services keep previous versions of your files, IDrive is limited to 30 file versions while Backblaze is limited to 30 days. The two services are comparable, assuming one file version per day, except Backblaze lets you pay $2 per month to extend your file versioning to a full year.
There’s also the courier recovery service. IDrive offers this, but personal users only get one free recovery per year. Backblaze requires a refundable deposit, but the first five recoveries in a year are free, assuming you send back the external hard drive.
With features, it all depends on what you need. If you just want a basic backup, or need longer file versioning, then Backblaze is a fine choice. However, with support for local backups, cloud storage features and more, we have to give IDrive the first point here, making the score 1-0.
|Unlimited GB$7.88 / month(All Plans)
|100GB - 5TB$0.25 / month(All Plans)
|External Drive Backup
|Mobile Device Backup
|Block-Level File Copying
|Courier Recovery Service
|Mobile App Access
|Deleted File Retention
|Hardened Data Centers
|Proxy Server Settings
|Live Chat Support
Assessing the value of a backup service can be complicated. IDrive clearly has more features in its backup software and can back up multiple devices, unlike Backblaze.
- No credit card required.
- One user.
- One user, multiple computers. Plans starting from 5TB up to 100TB. Big discount for first-time signup.
- 5 computers, 5 users. Starting at 5TB up to 500TB. Big discount for first-time signup.
- Unlimited users, multiple computers and servers. NAS devices. 250GB storage. Starting at 250GB up to 50TB. Large discount for first-time signup.
However, this is only useful if you need those features or have lots of devices. If you only have one computer and a mobile device, then that 5TB storage limit might be wasted.
IDrive has a free 30-day trial and deals for the first year on personal plans. However, after that first year, the 5TB plan costs $99.50 (around $8.29 per month). On the other hand, Backblaze costs just $5.42 per month, if you choose to pay for two years at a time. Read our IDrive pricing guide to learn more.
You’ll also notice that, unlike IDrive’s 5TB and 10TB limits, the Backblaze unlimited backup is, well, unlimited.
Is Backblaze Really Unlimited?
Despite being unlimited, Backblaze is cheaper. This might make you wonder what the Backblaze storage limit really is and how much data you can actually store. However, as Backblaze says, there isn’t a limit.
By charging you for the average amount stored in a Backblaze personal account, prices are kept low and without limits on the storage space of any one user. Check out our Backblaze offer code guide to claim a significant discount.
IDrive can be a better value if you have multiple devices, want the extra features or need a business-grade online backup. However, since Backblaze is the cheaper option for long-term cloud storage and gives you more space on a single computer, it’s our winner here, evening the scores out to 1-1.
3. Ease of Use
While having more features is usually better, it can come at the expense of usability. Being able to set up your backup in just a few clicks and having it run flawlessly in the background is often just as important as being able to do a lot with that backup.
IDrive’s Mix of Ease and Features
Even for beginners, IDrive is far from complicated. After downloading the desktop app and signing in, you’ll be given a list of folders that’ll be backed up and a big button labeled “backup now.”
Adding more files and folders to this backup is easy, and you can even create a backup schedule with the “schedule” button or by going into the “scheduler” tab.
The “restore,” “sync” and “settings” tabs are all pretty self-explanatory, giving you the option of restoring your files, setting up file syncing and changing the settings, respectively.
However, as with any feature-rich service, it can be easy to get lost in the sea of settings. You can change IDrive’s response to permission errors, set up automatic updates, throttle the bandwidth it can use, perform an “archive cleanup” to remove deleted files from your account and more.
As powerful as IDrive has the potential to be, it’s easy to miss specific settings, or even forget to add certain files to your backup.
Backblaze does almost everything for you. After downloading the app and signing in, it’ll immediately back up everything that isn’t in the exclusion list. Note that Backblaze ignores easily replaceable files like your operating system by default.
There is a settings menu for Backblaze, but it’s much lighter and easier to navigate. This might not be ideal for power users, but it makes finding the features you’re likely to use much easier.
This approach to limiting features to those that are enabled by default leaves behind some potential. However, if you want your backup software to just work, then Backblaze is the clear winner. This puts Backblaze in the lead at 2-1, thanks to its foolproof design.
4. File Backup & Restoration
Although Backblaze is easy to use if you want a backup of all your data, the story changes if you’re more particular about what ends up in your cloud storage. The Backblaze exclusion list is fine in theory, but best left alone if you don’t want to remove anything by mistake.
Instead, IDrive lets you add folders to your backup. This means that you can’t accidentally upload anything you haven’t added yourself (other than the six default folders) and it’s much clearer about what you can add.
If you prefer, you can simply make an image-based backup of your entire device, with the “clone/computer backup” button in the bottom-left corner. This lets you upload everything on your device to the cloud and makes sure nothing gets left behind.
Restoring files in IDrive is also easy. You can restore files from any snapshot inside the app. Just go to the “restore” tab, select the date of the backup and the files you want to download, then click “restore now.”
Backblaze doesn’t make it quite as easy. The standard way of downloading your files is to go into the web interface, sign in to your account and go to “my restores.” Enter your private encryption key (if you’ve turned on private encryption), select the date and files you want to download and then click “continue with restore.”
Eventually, you’ll receive an email with a link to your data. This will download through your browser as a zip file, which you can extract your files from.
Not only is this process long, but it’s a pretty blunt tool and a security issue. The Backblaze downloader app is better, as you can do everything from your desktop, but it doesn’t resolve the issues with sending off your private key and receiving everything in a single zip file.
The Backblaze backup process is limited and its restore process is flawed. These problems aren’t massive, but compared to IDrive’s clear, simple and powerful tools for backing up and restoring files, Backblaze falls behind. Because of this, we’ll give IDrive the point, leaving the score tied once again.
Speed is one of the few categories that we can actually measure, so we’ve done just that. Using a 1 Gbps connection throttled down to 100 Mbps, we uploaded and downloaded a 5GB folder to and from both services. You can see our analysis of 10 major providers in our fastest online backup comparison, but these are the numbers for IDrive and Backblaze.
The download speeds for both providers are surprisingly close, with the average transfer times differing by just 42 seconds. This puts IDrive in the lead, but is still close enough that it’s worth running your own speed tests.
However, upload speed is just as important, and Backblaze’s 47 minute 55 second average transfer time isn’t the kind of issue that disappears if you’re closer to the specific server or have a bit more internet bandwidth.
Although Backblaze isn’t the worst backup service we’ve seen — read our SpiderOak One review to see an even slower provider — IDrive beats it in both categories. That brings our score up to 3-2 as we head into the sixth round.
Storing your data in the cloud can be a great way to protect it from harm, but it isn’t without its own risks. That’s why it’s important to look at a provider’s data center security and encryption standards before you entrust them with your data.
IDrive’s data centers are built to withstand natural disasters and keep out malicious actors. Even if someone got hold of your files, they would have to crack the 256-bit AES encryption — which would take a supercomputer trillions of years — or steal your encryption key.
Since someone taking the encryption key is a risk to your data, IDrive has an option for zero-knowledge encryption. This is where you have control over your own encryption key, and IDrive never gets to see it. Even if IDrive’s staff wanted to snoop around, they simply wouldn’t be able to.
Luckily, Backblaze also offers pretty much the same experience as IDrive. Data center security is taken seriously, and they use the 128-bit AES standard for encryption. It’s not quite as good as 256-bit encryption, but your private key would still take so long to crack that it’s not our primary concern. The bigger concern is how Backblaze offers private encryption.
You can choose to add your own encryption key in the desktop app at any time, and we still recommend most users do this to protect their data. However, when you need to restore your files, you have to send Backblaze your key. They claim to not hold it in storage, but this is still an unnecessary security risk.
Because of Backblaze’s flawed implementation of zero-knowledge encryption, the point for security has to go to IDrive (the best Backblaze alternative), bringing the score to 4-2.
Much like the security of a service, zero-knowledge encryption is a powerful tool in the pursuit of privacy. The other major factors are the provider’s privacy policies and data center locations, as these affect how easy it is for the company and law enforcement to access your data.
Sadly, both services are largely based in the U.S., which isn’t exactly one of the best countries for cloud privacy. Backblaze does offer centers in the Netherlands, which isn’t as bad, but as one of the most wiretapped countries in Europe and a member of Nine Eyes, it isn’t all sunshine and tulips.
Not only are both policies short, easy to read and mostly devoid of complicated legalese, but they also outline good data privacy practices. Both services store only small amounts of necessary data (such as billing information) and only share it with your consent or when required by law.
Overall, these services are both fairly trustworthy. However, there’s no reason to trust a service with your encryption key, so until Backblaze solves that issue, this point has to go to IDrive. This means that we’re going into our last round with a score of 5-2 to IDrive.
Finally, we have to look at customer support. This is essential in the event that something goes wrong with your backup and can also be a great way to learn more about the service.
Although neither provider has a user forum, both offer pretty extensive knowledgebases. This can be a great way to look up frequently asked questions, such as how to use a certain feature or troubleshoot common errors.
However, for more complex issues, you might have to speak to a member of the customer support team. With Backblaze, there’s a live chat available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, with a break around midday. You can also email them and expect to get a response within a day.
IDrive’s email responses are also usually received within a day, but it benefits from a 24/7 live chat and a phone support line that’s available Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. PST.
Since we don’t have a problem with either support team, IDrive’s 24/7 live chat support and the option of a phone line put it ahead here. That brings us to a final score of 6-2, although it isn’t quite the one-sided fight that this score suggests.
At the beginning, Backblaze and IDrive fought on a fairly even playing field. Backblaze is cheaper and easier to use, while IDrive has all the features you could want and superior backup and restoration processes. Looking at security and privacy makes it worse for Backblaze, as its flawed use of private encryption is simply too much to overlook.
Overall, if you need security, speed or features, IDrive is clearly the better provider for you. However, Backblaze is a better value if you need to back up one computer without any hassle, and you aren’t too worried about the other issues.
If you’re interested in how our winner compares to CrashPlan — another top-tier online backup service — be sure to read our CrashPlan vs IDrive comparison. You can also check out our IDrive vs Carbonite and Backblaze vs Dropbox comparison guides.
What do you think of IDrive and Backblaze? Are you looking for a simple provider with better value? Do you prefer a feature-rich service with solid security and speed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading.
Although you should check your backups regularly to ensure they’re working, we’ve had no reliability issues with IDrive.