IDrive vs Backblaze: Two Different Approaches to Online Backup in 2020

Aleksander Hougen
By Aleksander Hougen (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2020-07-06T16:37:52+00:00

IDrive and Backblaze are two cloud backup services with very different approaches. While IDrive provides you with a whole bunch of features and unlimited devices, Backblaze instead offers a simple backup process with unlimited storage. We’ve created this IDrive vs Backblaze comparison to help you decide which approach is right for you.

In order to determine which backup service is superior, we’ll compare them based on our eight regular review criteria for online backup, awarding one point for each win.

If you’d like to learn more about the two services, you can read our Backblaze and IDrive reviews, as well as our Backblaze vs Carbonite and IDrive vs Carbonite comparisons to see how they stack up against another popular backup service. There’s also our list of the best online backup services to give you a wider view of the online backup market as a whole.

  1. 1
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    5 GB - 12.5 TB
    $ 579
  2. 2
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    Unlimited GB
    $ 458
    Save 24 %

1. Features

Going by our introduction above, it should come as no surprise that IDrive massively outperforms its competition in this section. It’s hard to fault Backblaze for this, though, since this is clearly a result of differing design philosophies.

When it comes to supported operating systems, you can install either backup software on both Windows and Mac, but not on Linux. If you use the latter, you can check out our list of the best online backup for Linux to find an alternative, such as CrashPlan or CloudBerry Backup.

However, IDrive and Backblaze are our top two picks for both the best online backup for Windows and best cloud backup services for Mac, making them excellent choices, as long as you’re not a Linux user.

Backup Features

IDrive supports all kinds of backup types, including external drives, NAS, mobile devices, servers and hybrid backup (meaning a combination of cloud and local backup). Out of these, Backblaze supports only external drives and NAS devices. Backblaze does have a mobile app, but it’s just for managing your files remotely and doesn’t let you backup your device.

IDrive also comes with image-based backup, which means creating a complete clone of your hard drive so that you can restore it at a later date. One feature that Backblaze has that IDrive doesn’t is courier recovery, meaning that the former will send you a physical device to restore your data for an additional fee.

IDrive-Image-Based-Backup

In terms of versioning, IDrive keeps a copy of deleted or changed files indefinitely, while Backblaze limits this to 30 days. Both backup services use a block-level algorithm for data transfers, meaning you won’t waste bandwidth and time reuploading entire files when only parts of them have been changed.

IDrive-Versioning

Multithreading is also a part of both services, which in theory should significantly increase upload and download speeds.

Backblaze-Performance-Settings

Other Features

Outside of each service’s backup features, there are some miscellaneous functionality included, as well. IDrive includes a bunch of features more common to personal cloud storage than backup software, which is a nice inclusion. If you’re not sure what the distinction between these two categories is, check out our guide on cloud storage vs online backup.

These cloud storage features include a sync service that synchronizes files placed in dedicated folders between devices. There’s also file sharing — accessed through the web interface — which lets you easily share files and folders that you’ve backed up with other people.

IDrive-File-Sharing

Backblaze also has sharing functionality, but nothing in terms of syncing. However, it does come with a “find my computer” feature that helps you locate your device in the event of theft or loss, as well as the ability to inherit the backup state of a different computer.

Backblaze-File-Sharing

All of this makes the first round an easy win for IDrive, considering it’s chock-full of features compared to Backblaze’s relatively sparse list of functionality. If you’re more interested in IDrive’s sync and share features than the backup itself, our comparison chart lists some of the cheapest cloud storage services.

Round: Features
Point for IDrive
Visit IDrive1
Visit Backblaze0

2. Pricing

Both of these cloud backup services are very reasonably priced, though what they offer is quite different. While Backblaze provides unlimited backup for one computer, IDrive instead lets you backup as many devices as you’d like, but with a storage limit that depends on what plan you choose.

Backblaze’s pricing scheme is very simple. There’s only one plan, which costs $6 per month. If you sign up for longer, you instead pay $60 for a year or $110 for two years. IDrive’s pricing, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated, with multiple tiers that offer different amounts of storage space.

Unlimited Personal
  • Unlimited GB Storage
1-year plan $ 5.00/ month
$60.00 billed every year
Save 17 %
2-year plan $ 4.58/ month
$110.00 billed every 2 years
Save 24 %

The personal plans come with 2TB or 5TB of data and cost $69.50 and $99.50 per year, respectively. If you sign up for two years instead, the plans come to $139 and $199. Unlike Backblaze, IDrive offers only annual billing.

If you’re a small business looking to secure your files, IDrive also offers several business backup plans. These provide storage ranging from 250GB to 12.5TB and cost between $99.50 and $2,999.50 per year.

IDrive currently offers a discount for new users, so if you sign up for your first year with the service, you only have to pay $52.12 or $74.62 for the 2TB and 5TB personal plans, respectively. The first-year discount applies to business users, as well, lowering the price range to $74.62 to $2,249.62.

Free
  • 5 GB Storage
Personal 5TB
  • Large discount for first-time signup.
  • 5000 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 5.79/ month
$69.50 billed every year
2-year plan $ 5.79/ month
$139.00 billed every 2 years
Personal 10TB
  • Large discount for first-time signup.
  • 10000 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 8.29/ month
$99.50 billed every year
2-year plan $ 8.29/ month
$199.00 billed every 2 years
Business 250GB
  • Large discount for first-time signup.
  • 250 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 8.29/ month
$99.50 billed every year
2-year plan $ 8.29/ month
$199.00 billed every 2 years
Business 500GB
  • Large discount for first-time signup.
  • 500 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 16.62/ month
$199.50 billed every year
2-year plan $ 16.62/ month
$399.00 billed every 2 years
Business 1.25TB
  • 1250 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 41.62/ month
$499.50 billed every year
Save 17 %
2-year plan $ 41.62/ month
$999.00 billed every 2 years
Save 17 %
Business 2.5TB
  • Large discount for first-time signup.
  • 2500 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 66.62/ month
$799.50 billed every year
Save 17 %
2-year plan $ 66.62/ month
$1599.00 billed every 2 years
Save 17 %
Business 5TB
  • Large discount for first-time signup.
  • 5000 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 124.96/ month
$1499.50 billed every year
Save 17 %
2-year plan $ 93.73/ month
$2249.50 billed every 2 years
Save 37 %
Business 12.5TB
  • Large discount for first-time signup.
  • 12500 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 249.96/ month
$2999.50 billed every year
Save 17 %
2-year plan $ 249.96/ month
$5999.00 billed every 2 years
Save 17 %

IDrive also has a free plan that gives you 5GB of storage, so if you don’t need to backup a lot of files, this could be a great option.

If you prefer a one-time purchase over a recurring subscription, you can check out Acronis True Image instead, which offers its basic plan for $59.99. If you’re looking for unlimited backup for your small business, we recommend considering CrashPlan (read our CrashPlan vs Backblaze comparison).

Although this round is a close one, we’ll give it to Backblaze for its uncomplicated pricing structure and unlimited storage. When you compare the two service’s yearly plans, Backblaze is also slightly cheaper, as long as you don’t account for IDrive’s temporary first-year discount. This brings the score to 1-1 as we head into our third round focused on speed.

Round: Pricing
Point for Backblaze
Visit IDrive1
Visit Backblaze1

3. Speed

When you perform your initial backup to cloud storage, it’s important that the online backup service does it as quickly as your connection allows. 

This is one of Backblaze’s biggest drawbacks because although it downloads your backed up files very quickly, it’s rather slow when it comes to uploads. However, IDrive also struggles with speed; it does fine on a slow connection, but it scales poorly for users with higher bandwidth.

IDrive-Log

When performing these tests, we uploaded a 3.51GB folder filled with files of various file types, including video, text and image files. The tests were performed on a connection with a 120Mbps download speed and 15Mbps upload speed from Oslo, Norway, to each service’s data centers in the U.S.

Backblaze does offer a data center in the Netherlands for European users, which would’ve given us better speeds for our test, but we wanted the results to be as comparable as possible. 

In theory, the downloads could finish as quickly as five minutes and the uploads in just over 30. More realistically, we expect the downloads to fall somewhere in the 10 to 15 minute range and the uploads around 45 minutes.

 First Attempt:Second Attempt:Average:
IDrive Upload2:23:082:39:202:31:14
IDrive Download1:14:051:11:021:12:33
Backblaze Upload1:06:000:50:000:58:00
Backblaze Download0:07:000:08:000:07:30

As you can see from these results, IDrive is painfully slow, both for uploads and downloads. Backblaze doesn’t do great with its upload speed, either, but they’re still about twice as fast as IDrive’s and the downloads are very fast. This makes the speed round an easy win for Backblaze, which lets it pull ahead to a score of 2-1 in its favor.

Round: Speed
Point for Backblaze
Visit IDrive1
Visit Backblaze2

4. Ease of Use

Ease of use is often inversely correlated with features, as the more functionality you cram into a piece of software, the more unwieldy and difficult-to-grasp it can get. Although IDrive certainly isn’t that difficult to use, for Backblaze, simplicity was clearly at the forefront of the designers’ minds when they were creating the software.

In fact, the whole thing is contained in two panels: the main backup panel and a settings menu. The former gives you some basic information about the data you’ve packed up, including the total number of files and how large they are. This is also where you initiate a backup and perform a scan of your hard drive.

Backblaze-Main-Panel

In the settings menu, there are some very basic options you can play with, including performance settings like throttling and multithreading, exclusions, scheduling and security.

Backblaze-Settings

IDrive, on the other hand, is significantly more complicated. There are six different panels listed in a menu on the left-hand side: “backup,” “restore,” “scheduler,” “sync,” “server backup” and “settings.” 

Although this is a lot more than what Backblaze offers, the panels are all fairly self-explanatory. The bigger problem is that the IDrive client is somewhat sluggish and unresponsive, especially when you’re performing a backup or restore.

IDrive-Main-Panel

Aside from the desktop applications, both services also have web control panels. These are similar to their desktop counterparts, in that IDrive’s web dashboard lets you perform all sorts of actions, whereas the one for Backblaze is relatively basic.

IDrive-Web-Dashboard

As for mobile apps, Backblaze’s app simply gives you an overview of your backed up devices and the ability to manage your files. IDrive lets you do all this as well, but also includes mobile backup. There’s also a “timeline” section that gives you an overview of the photos and videos that you’ve uploaded.

IDrive-Mobile-Backup

We’ll give this round to Backblaze for how incredibly simple the whole thing is. Although IDrive certainly isn’t bad here, either, it’s definitely more complicated. This means that Backblaze is pulling ahead even further, as the score is brought to 3-1 in its favor.

Round: Ease of Use
Point for Backblaze
Visit IDrive1
Visit Backblaze3

5. Backup Process

Although Backblaze scores highly on ease of use, it’s perhaps a little too simple when it comes to the backup process itself. Rather than letting you choose specific files and folders to backup, it instead scans your hard drive and designates everything not listed under “exclusions” for storage.

Backblaze-Exclusions

If you just want to perform a (nearly) complete backup of your computer, this is fine. However, users who want to be more selective with what they upload will have to essentially set it up in reverse by picking the files they don’t want backed up, rather than the ones they do.

IDrive, on the other hand, is much more flexible. You can pick any file or folder and manually designate it for backup, as well as specify specific file exclusions.

IDrive-Setup-Backup

IDrive also gives you a lot more information than Backblaze does about your backups and restores while they’re in progress. In a similar vein, it also provides you with detailed logs of all your actions, which is something that Backblaze leaves out entirely.

IDrive-Backup-In-Progress

Because of this much greater level of control and information that IDrive offers, it takes the win in this round, bringing the score to 3-2 in Backblaze’s favor.

Round: Backup Process
Point for IDrive
Visit IDrive2
Visit Backblaze3

6. Security

It’s important to know that any file or hard drive you backup is safe from attack or data loss, whether that’s physical or virtual in nature. To protect against the former, both services employ hardened data centers that can resist natural disasters and power cuts, and that have tight security to ensure there isn’t a physical break-in.

Backblaze-Security-Settings

Virtual attacks are significantly harder to guard against. To do so, both IDrive and Backblaze protect your data with the SSL protocol while it’s in transit and AES 256-bit encryption when it’s sitting on the server. If this just sounds like technobabble, be sure to check out our description of encryption to learn more about these terms and what they mean.

Both services also allow you to set up two-factor authentication, which provides an extra layer of security in the event of a cybercriminal obtaining your password.

IDrive-2FA

The big difference between our two contestants when it comes to security is in their implementations of encryption. Backblaze requires you to upload your private key when restoring your data, so its encryption isn’t truly private. This means that it’s not a zero-knowledge service, which potentially leaves the door open to man-in-the-middle attacks.

IDrive, on the other hand, lets you manage your own encryption key and never asks you to upload it to its servers to restore your files. Because of this, IDrive wins this round, bringing the score to 3-3 with only two rounds remaining.

Round: Security
Point for IDrive
Visit IDrive3
Visit Backblaze3

7. Privacy

Privacy is essentially the other side of the coin as security. Similar factors come into play here, and once again the ability to manage your own encryption key without uploading it is going to be the deciding factor.

First, however, it’s worth taking a look at each service’s privacy policy. They both admit to collecting some personal data on their users, mainly registration info such as your name, email address and payment information. This is fairly standard, and both services claim to never sell your information to advertisers.

The policies state when your personal data may be shared with other entities. This happens in only two scenarios. First, certain information is shared with trusted third-party partners that provide essential services to each company. Second, if the companies are required by law to share your data with the authorities, they’ll do so.

This is where the private key for your encryption comes into play. If law enforcement serves IDrive a warrant for your data, the actual files themselves will be useless because only you possess your encryption key, meaning no one else will be able to decrypt the files.

IDrive-Private-Key

If you’ve ever restored your data with Backblaze, though, they’ll have a copy of your private key. This means the company can decrypt your files and hand them over if they’re forced to do so.

GDPR and HIPAA

Moving on from the encryption issue, both backup providers comply with a variety of government regulations on digital privacy, including the GDPR in Europe and, in IDrive’s case, HIPAA in the U.S. Both also store most of their users’ backup data in the U.S., which is less than ideal given the country’s poor digital privacy laws.

Examples of this include the infamous PRISM program, as well as legislation like the Patriot Act. Since the U.S. is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, any information collected on you may well be shared with several other countries, as well.

Although Backblaze does operate a data center in the Netherlands for its European users, this is only a minor step up from the U.S. This is because Dutch government agencies certainly aren’t angels when it comes to digital privacy, either, as we detail in our guide to the best VPN for the Netherlands.

Backblaze-Change-Region

Because of the huge flaw in Backblaze’s implementation of encryption, IDrive wins this round with ease. This brings the score to 4-3, and with only one round remaining, this means that the best Backblaze can hope for is a tie.

Round: Privacy
Point for IDrive
Visit IDrive4
Visit Backblaze3

8. Support

Finally, it’s time to take a look at both services’ customer support. Both offer email and chat support, as well as extensive knowledgebases. IDrive’s chat is open 24/7, though, which is a huge advantage, especially for users not in an American time zone. On top of this, IDrive also lets you call them if you prefer to actually speak with someone to get help.

IDrive-KnowledgeBase

Although the difference between the two services is pretty minimal in terms of customer service, we’ll give this one to IDrive for offering phone support and for making their chat support available 24/7. This brings the final score to 5-3 in IDrive’s favor and means that we have our winner.

Round: Support
Point for IDrive
Visit IDrive5
Visit Backblaze3

9. The Verdict

That concludes our Backblaze vs IDrive comparison. Although it was a close battle, we prefer IDrive for its rich set of features, including local backup and hard drive cloning, as well as the ability to sync and share your files. It also lets you backup mobile devices, which is a big deal. Plus, IDrive’s security and privacy are better, as well, owing largely to its private encryption.

However, if you just need a simple way to backup your files and external drives to online storage, then Backblaze is probably the better solution for you. If you’re not convinced by either service, you can read some of our other online backup reviews to find one that you like.

Winner: IDrive

What do you think of our IDrive vs Backblaze comparison? Do you agree that IDrive achieves victory on the back of its rich feature set, in-depth backup process, and excellent security and privacy? Or do you prefer Backblaze’s simple approach to cloud backup and think the number of features included in IDrive is excessive? Let us know in the comments below, and check out our IDrive alternatives list. Thank you for reading.