Figuring out exactly what you get for your money and the value of different online backup services requires a lot of research. Whether you’re confused about unlimited vs limited storage or wondering what cloud backup solution gets you the most storage for the least amount of money, this online backup pricing guide will make it all clear.
- IDrive is by far the best deal among cloud backup services if five or 10 terabytes is enough for your needs.
- Backblaze and Carbonite are the cheapest unlimited storage providers, but they lack the features of IDrive or Acronis.
- BigMind Home and SpiderOak One in particular are terrible deals on essentially all of their plans.
For illustration purposes, we’ve taken the online backup service providers featured in our list of the best online backup services (minus Duplicati and CloudBerry, since neither offer storage) and broken down all the different plans and their prices, both in total and per gigabyte of storage and number of devices covered.
That depends. Cheap unlimited backup costs between $6 and $10 per month, while the best deal for multi-device backup is around $60 per year for 5TB of storage, courtesy of IDrive.
Online Backup Pricing & Storage
The best way to understand online storage pricing and what is or isn’t a good deal is to break it down into two categories.
Some services offer unlimited storage, but each device requires a separate license or subscription. If you’re mostly looking to back up your primary system or device, these are the services that will probably get you the best value. Examples of this model include Backblaze and Carbonite.
The second category of backup pricing is more reminiscent of how traditional cloud storage is priced. You get a set amount of storage, but the ability to utilize it across multiple or even an unlimited number of devices. IDrive and SpiderOak are both examples of this approach to pricing.
Unlimited Online Storage
Out of the providers we’ve selected for this comparison, there are eight unlimited storage plans spread across three providers: namely, Backblaze, Carbonite and Jottacloud. There used to be a lot more unlimited storage providers out there, but the selection has gradually dwindled over the years to just these three.
|Service Name:||# of Devices||Monthly Price||Yearly Price||Yearly Price (Monthly)|
Backblaze and Jottacloud both have incredibly simple pricing models, with a single unlimited plan that covers one device. Backblaze is just $7 per month (or $70 per year), making it among the best value propositions out there.
Jottacloud is only slightly more expensive at around $9 per month (or $99 per year). However, Jottacloud’s prices are in euros, so the exact price will vary depending on the current conversion rate.
Unlimited Backup Yearly Price
Carbonite has three unlimited plans (as well as several business plans that aren’t unlimited, but more on those later). The Basic plan costs $83.99 per year and is comparable to Backblaze, both in terms of functionality and price.
The two more expensive tiers, priced at $119.99 and $149.99, are called Plus and Prime. The Plus plan adds external hard drive support, automatic video uploads and antivirus functionality, and the Prime plan throws free courier recovery on top of that.
At the end of the day, Backblaze is easily the cheapest unlimited backup, with Carbonite not too far behind.
Limited Backup Storage Space
On the more traditional side of things, we have IDrive, SpiderOak, pCloud, BigMind and Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office (or just Acronis for short). Jottacloud offers plans in this category in addition to its unlimited plan.
In the case of Acronis, we’re using the prices for a single device. You also have the option to subscribe for three or five devices, but we’ll touch on that in our section on paid extras at the end of the article. You can check out our Acronis review for a detailed breakdown of the differences between all its plans.
|Backup Plan:||Devices||Monthly Price||Yearly Price|
|Acronis Premium 5TB||1||N/A||$284.99|
|Acronis Premium 4TB||1||N/A||$244.99|
|Acronis Premium 3TB||1||N/A||$204.99|
|Acronis Premium 2TB||1||N/A||$164.9|
|Acronis Premium 1TB||1||N/A||$124.9|
|BigMind 1TB||15 desktop + Unlimited mobile||N/A||$155.88|
|Acronis Advanced 500GB||1||N/A||$89.99|
|BigMind 500GB||9 desktop + 6 mobile||N/A||$83.88|
|BigMind 100GB||3 desktop + 3 mobile||N/A||$35.88|
|SpiderOak 10GB||Unlimited (mobile only)||N/A||$55.00|
|SpiderOak 5GB||Unlimited (mobile only)||N/A||$43.00|
As we’ll touch on in the next section, there are some pretty stark differences here when it comes to the amount of storage you get and what you have to pay for it. You may have already noticed that IDrive dominates this pricing category — something that becomes only more apparent when you break down the numbers.
Online Backup: Understanding Value
To really figure out if an online storage provider is offering a good deal, you have to break it down to cost per terabyte. We’ll start by taking a look at the average across all the plans from the six providers.
Average Yearly Cost
Average Yearly Cost per TB
*SpiderOak excluding mobile plans
On average, IDrive completely trounces the online backup competition in terms of value. Jottacloud and pCloud aren’t bad either, with the latter performing much better when compared to regular cloud storage (which is what it primarily is).
Acronis is a bit more expensive, but it also comes with a large number of security features that none of the other providers can match.
SpiderOak and BigMind are unmitigated disasters in the value department though, even when cutting the former some slack and ignoring its tiny mobile-only plans. However, this isn’t the full picture, since the plans offer different value propositions with each service. Let’s move on to the cheapest plan offered by each.
Cheapest Plan: Yearly Cost per TB
With this above graph, a picture is starting to form. BigMind and SpiderOak performed even worse than before, which suggests that their incredibly small 100GB and 150GB plans are what’s driving up their average cost.
Acronis also performed a lot worse, with its cheapest plan having less than half the value of its overall average. IDrive’s dominance continues, as even pCloud and Jottacloud are significantly more expensive per terabyte.
1TB Plan (or Closest) Yearly Cost
1TB Plan (or Closest) Yearly Cost per TB
Next we wanted to compare each service’s 1TB plan, or the closest equivalent. Once again, IDrive is far cheaper than any of the other services. SpiderOak performs much better though, narrowing the gap with pCloud and Jottacloud.
BigMind is still incredibly expensive for what you get, and Acronis improves only marginally compared to the rest of the pack.
Largest Plan Yearly Cost
Largest Plan: Yearly Cost per TB
Finally, there are the large plans. These range from BigMind’s 1TB plan — which barely qualifies as large — to Jottacloud’s humongous 20TB plan. The trend of IDrive providing the best value continues, with pCloud, SpiderOak, Acronis and Jottacloud all costing roughly five to six times as much per byte.
This is definitely where Acronis looks the best though, as its 5TB plan is much more competitive value-wise than anything else it has to offer. BigMind remains the overall loser, tripling the cost of its closest competitor SpiderOak.
Cost-to-Storage Value Ratio
All in all, it seems that if you exclude the extreme outliers, a reasonable cost-to-storage ratio lies around $60 per year per 1TB of backup data. If you’re looking for a smaller plan, then around $100 per year per 1TB of data becomes the norm.
Online Backup Limits, Caps & Throttling
Switching gears back to the unlimited backup space, these cloud backup services aren’t always as unlimited as they might seem at first glance. It’s always important to read the fine print, with Jottacloud being a prime example.
Although the plan is technically unlimited, if you store more than 5TB your upload speed will be dramatically reduced. Most users are unlikely to need this much storage, but if you’re planning to upload vast amounts of data with your “unlimited” backup, it’s worth bearing in mind.
Online Backup Free Plans & Trials
Free plans are far less common for online backup than they are for cloud storage. There are obviously no unlimited free plans, and only IDrive, SpiderOak, pCloud, Jottacloud and BigMind offer free account options.
pCloud is the most generous at 10GB for free (though you need to invite friends to get more than 7GB), while SpiderOak, IDrive and Jottacloud all give you 5GB for free. BigMind’s free plan is incredibly stingy at just 1GB.
Additionally, you can try Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office free for 30 days with 1TB of storage.
Online Backup Yearly Plans vs Monthly Plans
For the value comparisons above, we used the yearly price for each service. This is because not every backup provider offers a monthly subscription, so using the yearly price is the only way to keep the playing field level.
However, the services that do allow for monthly billing often offer discounts if you opt for a yearly subscription instead, and many offer even two- or three-year plans. We’ve compiled a table below with one plan from each provider to give you an idea of the discounts that are on offer.
|Provider Name:||Monthly Plan||1-Year Plan per Month||2-Year Plan per Month||3-Year Plan per Month|
|SpiderOak One 2TB||$14||$12.41||N/A||N/A|
If you compare these differences with how regular cloud storage pricing is structured, they’re pretty minor overall. The biggest savings to be had is from SpiderOak with a $1.59 per month difference.
IDrive is an oddity, as it offers both a one-year and two-year plan, but the monthly price comes out to be exactly the same.
Online Backup for Business Pricing
Almost all business-focused backup operates on a limited storage model, with the notable exception of Backblaze, which has the exact same pricing for personal users as it does for business.
That leaves us with six other providers that offer business-focused plans. We’ll exclude Acronis as its business plan pricing warrants an entire guide of its own, narrowing it down to IDrive, Carbonite, pCloud, BigMind and Jottacloud.
|Service Name:||Number of Devices/User||Monthly Cost||Yearly Cost|
|pCloud 1000GB||Unlimited (price per use)||$9.99||$95.88|
|BigMind 100GB||10 users/1 server||$15||$150|
|BigMind 250GB||100 users/10 servers||$20||$200|
|BigMind 500GB||500 users, 50 servers||$37.50||$375|
|BigMind 1000GB||500 users, 50 servers (cold storage)||$40||$400|
|Jottacloud 1TB||2 users||$12.99||N/A|
|Jottacloud 1TB||10 users||$18.99||N/A|
|Carbonite 250GB||25 computers||N/A||$287.99|
|Carbonite 500GB||50 computers + 1 server||N/A||$799.99|
|Carbonite 500GB||Unlimited Servers+ 25 computers||N/A||$1,299.99|
Once again, this doesn’t tell us all that much about value at quick glance, and the picture is made even more complicated by the various number of device types and users that are supported by each plan.
Once again IDrive performs really well, but pCloud and Jottacloud both outperform it in terms of business pricing. BigMind Business is still a terrible deal, though not as bad as the personal edition, and Carbonite is even worse.
Online Backup Paid Add-Ons
Finally, we get to paid add-ons. Not all backup providers offer anything like this, but some do. pCloud for instance sells zero-knowledge encryption separately, calling it pCloud Crypto. Acronis and Carbonite also let you heavily customize your plans by adding additional devices, storage unrelated to your main backup and more.
Besides these anomalies though, there are a few main things that backup services often offer at an extra cost.
While some services, such as IDrive, allow for unlimited devices, most cap you at a certain number. For most unlimited plans this number is one, but services like BigMind and SpiderOak cap the number of devices at more than just a single device.
Providers like Acronis and Carbonite both let you choose between certain numbers of devices, at an additional charge.
|Plan:||Number of devices||Yearly price|
|Acronis Advanced 500GB||1||$89.99|
|Acronis Advanced 500GB||3||$129.99|
|Acronis Advanced 500GB||5||$189.99|
|Acronis Premium 1TB||1||$124.99|
|Acronis Premium 1TB||3||$189.99|
|Acronis Premium 1TB||5||$209.99|
|Acronis Premium 5TB||1||$284.99|
|Acronis Premium 5TB||3||$349.99|
|Acronis Premium 5TB||5||$369.99|
For example, both the Advanced and Premium versions of Acronis let you choose between one, three or five devices. Obviously adding additional devices makes the subscription more expensive, but it doesn’t triple or quintuple the price along with the device count.
Unlimited providers often include some extra storage on top of your device backup. This storage can usually be accessed from multiple devices, unlike the unlimited backup itself. Acronis and Carbonite both offer extra storage like this either as part of more expensive plans or as an optional add-on.
The first of these is extended versioning. The most common versioning policy among the providers we’ve been comparing is 30 days, which isn’t a whole lot depending on the size of your backup and how often you’re accessing it.
Some services like Backblaze let you pay an additional monthly or yearly fee to extend your versioning to a full year or even forever.
The final — and probably the most common — extra that a lot of backup services offer is courier recovery and backup. This is a process by which you can physically ship your data on an external storage device rather than upload or download it over your internet connection.
This is especially useful if you’re working with huge amounts of data or a slow connection, though it will usually cost around $100 per restore or backup depending on the provider.
Some providers also offer a limited number of free courier transactions per year, such as IDrive, which gives you one free courier backup per year on the personal plan and three per year on the team and business plans.
Final Thoughts: Best Cloud Backup Service Value
That wraps things up for our pricing guide for online backup services. The main thing to take away from this is that if all you need is endless amounts of storage, then an unlimited backup provider will be a better value than any other online storage solution.
On the other hand, if you need to protect multiple devices or need more advanced features, consider a backup service like IDrive or a fully fledged cloud storage service like Sync.com. Read our cloud storage vs online backup guide to learn how the two differ.
What did you think of our guide? What is the best cloud backup solution when considering value? Do you know what kind of online backup you need now that you’ve seen all the prices broken down? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.