Good Online Backup

Good cloud backup with teensy caveats.
★★★ Best Unlimited Cloud Backup ★★★

Backblaze Review

Our favorite backup service for so many reasons.

Backblaze is Cloudwards.net's top online backup provider thanks to its stellar ease of use and friendly pricing. That's not to say it's perfect, though, so read our full Backblaze review before you commit and make sure it's the best option for you.

By Branko Vlajin14 Aug'162019-04-03 23:40:41

Starts from$ 458per month for Unlimited GB
Visit BackblazeBackblaze Review
★★★ Best Cloud Backup ★★★

IDrive Review

Fast and reliable, IDrive has a few usability issues

Though not the easiest to use, IDrive ranks among the very best online backup providers thanks to its many features, decent pricing and speeds, as well as the ability to backup an unlimited amount of devices. Read our full IDrive review to see if it's for you.

By Branko Vlajin14 Aug'162019-04-03 23:35:51

Starts from$ 434per month for 2000 GB
Visit IDriveIDrive Review

Acronis True Image Cloud Review

Very fast cloud backup with file syncing and full OS backup.

One of the best backup services out there today, Acronis True Image offers a wealth of features and amazing speeds.

By Branko Vlajin04 Sep'162018-04-07 06:03:57

Starts from$ 417per month for 250 GB
Visit Acronis True Image CloudAcronis True Image Cloud Review

BigMIND Home Review

The possible future of online backup.

BigMIND Home, a product from the same team behind Zoolz Backup, gives us a glimpse into the future of online backup. It offers AI-assisted facial recognition, scans files and more besides. The downside is that it can be a bit slow sometimes as its backend is provided by Glacier.

By Branko Vlajin22 Aug'182018-08-27 23:34:45

Starts from$ 299per month for 100 GB
Visit BigMIND HomeBigMIND Home Review

Cloudberry Backup Review

Amazing flexibility aimed at tinkerers

CloudBerry Backup is very different from all our other backup providers in that it allows you to store files on a cloud storage system of your choice, and provides an easy to use interface to manage all your backups in one place. Read our full CloudBerry Backup review for the details.

By Branko Vlajin01 Apr'172019-01-17 00:06:55

$ 200per month for 100 GB
Visit Cloudberry BackupCloudberry Backup Review

Carbonite Review

An easy to use, fast provider of unlimited backup

Offering ease of use and unlimited backup for one device, Carbonite is without a doubt one of Cloudwards.net's favorite online backup providers. However, slow backup speeds are a big a concern.

By Joseph Gildred14 Jun'162018-11-07 03:11:44

Starts from$ 600per month for Unlimited GB
Visit CarboniteCarbonite Review

Duplicati Review

An open-source provider without bells and whistles

A basic, open-source backup solution that lacks features, but still works surprisingly well.

By Joseph Gildred16 Sep'172018-08-17 01:17:16

Free
Visit DuplicatiDuplicati Review

Decent Online Backup

OK cloud backup solutions, but with major deal breakers for some people.

SpiderOak ONE Review

A top-notch backup provider that emphasizes security.

SpiderOak ONE is a super-secure online backup provider with a host of features more common to cloud storage, including file sync and sharing. Improved pricing has only increased its standing.

By Joseph Gildred14 Jul'162018-08-09 23:11:30

Starts from$ 492per month for 150 GB
Visit SpiderOak ONESpiderOak ONE Review

Zoolz Home Review

Slow speeds hamper this otherwise good service.

Zoolz Home is a pleasantly easy to use online backup solution that has Amazon Glacier as its backend. This is, however, also its weakness as file recovery times are slow. Glacially, slow, even. Other than that it's a good service, as you can read in our Zoolz review.

By Joseph Gildred13 Aug'162018-09-20 06:25:28

Starts from$ 583per month for 1000 GB
Visit Zoolz HomeZoolz Home Review

Keepit Review

Basic but gets the job done

A solid old-school backup provider that gets the job done for a reasonable price. Though it could do with a few more bells and whistles, Keepit should be enough for most users.

By Jacob Roach14 Sep'152018-04-13 09:44:45

Starts from$ 454per month for 1000 GB
Visit KeepitKeepit Review

Livedrive Review

A not particularly noteworthy service with payment issues.

Livedrive is a decent backup tool that also offers some storage space. However, the service is extremely expensive and we have had countless reports of payment and support issues. While we like it well enough in our full review, we hesitate to recommend it.

By Branko Vlajin14 Aug'162019-02-14 07:51:27

Starts from$ 800per month for Unlimited GB
Visit LivedriveLivedrive Review

Jungle Disk Review

A fast service with some flaws.

Jungle Disk is fast and gets the job done, but simply doesn't offer the features or user experience of our top backup providers.

By Joseph Gildred20 Feb'182018-04-25 05:53:26

Starts from$ 400per month for 10 GB
Visit Jungle DiskJungle Disk Review

Arq Review

An old-school backup service that isn't aimed at novices

Arq provides a lot of great features and works well, but needs some lessons in user friendliness.

By Joseph Gildred15 Sep'172018-08-17 01:16:41

Free
Visit ArqArq Review

ElephantDrive Review

A good service with bad privacy

ElephantDrive is a good provider that offers a little of everything but privacy. Read our review for the full picture.

By Jacob Roach01 Sep'152019-01-16 22:33:33

Starts from$ 833per month for 1000 GB
Visit ElephantDriveElephantDrive Review

Jottacloud Review

Easy to use but otherwise mediocre

A very affordable backup provider with great upload speeds, Jottacloud falls short of the bigger names in the market.

By Jacob Roach01 Nov'152018-04-13 09:52:37

Starts from$ 825per month for 10000 GB
Visit JottacloudJottacloud Review

SOS Online Backup Review

A decent service with questionable pricing.

Though SOS Online Backup does an okay job overall, its pricing scheme should give buyers pause.

By Joseph Gildred11 Apr'162018-05-14 05:13:23

Starts from$ 375per month for 50 GB
Visit SOS Online BackupSOS Online Backup Review

Time Machine Review

Highly limited, but does what it does well.

Time Machine is the go-to backup solution for most Apple fans, but the cloud offers just too many benefits to recommend this prepackaged, hardware-based program.

By Joseph Gildred12 Sep'172018-03-22 15:06:31

Free
Visit Time MachineTime Machine Review

Data Deposit Box Review

A limited service with a long road ahead.

Though it offers unlimited backup, Data Deposit Box strikes out in every other aspect. Best look elsewhere.

By Joseph Gildred21 Feb'182018-03-22 15:07:42

Starts from$ 799per month for 60 GB
Visit Data Deposit BoxData Deposit Box Review

Memopal Review

Hard to use and missing features.

Though the intentions behind it are obviously good, Memopal Online Backup suffers from an unfriendly interface as well as having all the wrong features in all the wrong places.

By Joseph Gildred26 Feb'182018-03-22 15:12:41

Starts from$ 808per month for 500 GB
Visit MemopalMemopal Review

Not Recommended

Avoid these services if you can.

Degoo Review

Degoo provides 100GB of free cloud backup space

Degoo snags attention with the promise of 100GB of space to backup files in the cloud, and the chance to earn up to 500GB more, with referrals.

By Joseph Gildred12 Apr'172018-04-13 10:04:10

Starts from$ 093per month for 2000 GB
Visit DegooDegoo Review

Norton Online Backup Review

Best avoided by all but the biggest Norton fans.

A service that feels badly dated in almost every aspect; though it has some saving graces, none of these are convincing reasons to recommend it.

By Joseph Gildred01 Sep'152018-03-22 15:23:30

$ 417per month for 25 GB
Visit Norton Online BackupNorton Online Backup Review

AltDrive Review

This service is defunct.

This service is no longer in business and should not be used.

By Mauricio Prinzlau14 Sep'152017-12-26 10:51:17

Starts from$ 371per month for Unlimited GB
Visit AltDriveAltDrive Review

MyPCBackup Review

This service is defunct.

This service is no longer in business and should not be used.

By Mauricio Prinzlau14 Sep'152018-04-13 10:06:06

Starts from$ 761per month for 75 GB
Visit MyPCBackupMyPCBackup Review

Review

By Fergus O'Sullivan08 Nov'182018-11-08 07:01:00

Free
Review

People generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data single day. That’s a lot of high-definition movies, photos and posts, but it’s all a hard drive malfunction away from the digital graveyard. If not that, someone could steal your laptop or some other accident might cause you to lose your data.

You can use our selection of the best data recovery software to recover your files, but doing so isn’t a reliable fix. You can’t depend on solid-state drives, either, because they experience more data errors, even though their failure rate is less than 1 percent.

A better strategy for preventing data loss is to use online backup services to protect your data. That’s the 3-2-1 rule, anyway. With a cloud backup service, you can access your data remotely, set up automatic backups and do them in increments to speed up the process.

Tagging specific files or file types for backup will keep your data safe because you will have a copy of it on a remote server. Your data will be replicated on multiple servers, so it will remain accessible if one fails.

You can’t use online backup services to clear space on your hard drive, though. That’s a cloud storage function. You can learn more about the differences between the two types of services here. To find out which cloud storage service works best for you, consult our best cloud storage services list. If you’re focusing on collaboration, read our best cloud storage for collaboration article.

If you’re not sure how much backup space you’re going to need, read our best unlimited online backup guide. Network-attached storage enthusiasts should check out our best online backup for NAS piece.

How We Rate

Online backup services are similar to one another, with slight variations in the features they offer. We use common categories such as file backup and restoration, speed and pricing to rate and rank services. We’ll explain in more detail below.

File Backup and Restoration

File backup is the most important step in sending your data to the cloud. Some services make you tag specific files and folders for backup, while others scan your hard drive and show you an overview of selected files. Backblaze uses the latter approach and we like how simple it is. If you want to learn more about Backblaze read our Backblaze review.

After the initial backup, which can take weeks depending on how much you need to backup, you can schedule backups to run automatically. You can set a specific time or day, make them run once every day or fire them up manually. Incremental backup, which runs every time there’s a change, is by the far the most useful feature.

Once you’ve backed up your files, changes to them will trigger the service to upload on the changed portions, rather than replacing them entirely. That’s known as block-level file copying, and it speeds up backup processes while limiting the drain on system resources.

Instead of just backing up to the cloud, you can send your backup to other partitions on your hard drive, external hard drive, NAS device and more. When you want a complete backup, you can create a disk image, which is ideal in case your hard drive crashes.

You’re not limited to backing up your computer. Services such as IDrive let you backup unlimited devices. In fact, IDrive is our top pick, so be sure to learn more about it in our IDrive review.

When you want to restore a file, you’ll generally use the restore feature of the desktop or web client. You can restore everything that’s backed up or specific files. You also get the option to restore files to their original location or a new one. Some services, including IDrive, have a courier service that will send you your data on an external drive in the mail.

Features

In this category, we look at features that are atypical for backup and restore. Unlike cloud storage services, which can integrate with many third-party apps and have native collaboration apps, online backup services aren’t that versatile.

Most offer smartphone access, versioning, speed throttling and the ability to enable multiple backup threads to increase transfer speeds. That said, there are those, such as Acronis True Image and SpiderOak ONE, that have additional features. They include archiving, sync, share, cloning tools and more. We’ll talk specifics in our “top five” category, below.

Services such as Backblaze let you play audio files that you’ve backed up. Backblaze isn’t the only service that lets you do that, so read our best online backup for music piece for more options.

CloudBerry Backup has a powerful set of features, including cloud-to-cloud backup, the ability to make a bootable USB drive and retention policies that you can use to specify when it should delete previous versions from your storage. For more information on the service, read our CloudBerry Backup review.

Security

Uploading your data to the cloud without proper security isn’t smart. Cybercriminals might steal your credentials, someone might read your secret information and the government might browse through your photos. Having good security is a must, so we consider how strong the security of each service is.

Online backup services use many methods to secure your data against potential threats. For example, two-factor authentication will stop hackers who’ve stolen your password from accessing your account. Still, you should make sure you have a strong password to start.

Private encryption prevents anyone other than you from reading your files. The drawback is that services that provide it won’t be able to reset your password if you forget it. To avoid losing access to your content, use a password manager.

The TLS protocol prevents man-in-the-middle attacks from succeeding, while encryption secures your data in transit and at rest. Ransomware can take your cloud data hostage and demand payment for its release, but our ransomware protection article can help you avoid it.

One of the most secure services is SpiderOak ONE. It uses zero-knowledge encryption with AES 256-bit to secure your files and encrypts your metadata, which it never uploads to a server in the first place. Read more about it in our SpiderOak ONE review.

Privacy

Strong security doesn’t guarantee your privacy. Some governments spy on their citizens. The PRISM surveillance program in the U.S. is one example of that. The USA Patriot Act and CLOUD Act help the U.S. government keep a firm grasp on cloud data, too. Other major players in the surveillance game are Russia, the UK and Australia.

With that in mind, it’s critical that you ensure the privacy of your information on the web. How strong your privacy is depends on the country in which the cloud backup service is based. Some countries, such as Canada and Switzerland, take better care of users’ privacy rights than others. You can take advantage of that by consulting our best online backup for Canada piece.

We like to see services that adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation, the EU’s ironclad approach to cloud privacy. BigMIND Home has a clear and straightforward GDPR-compliance page that you can consult to see how the service implemented it. If you want to learn more about BigMIND Home’s privacy and features, read our BigMIND Homes review.

Pricing

How much you pay to use a service is one of the most important criteria when choosing an online backup service. There’s no point in getting a great service that will bankrupt you. It’s best if it has premium plans with good value.

Good value is determined by how much you get for the price. The more plans a service has, the better your options will be. It’s great if the service offers a free plan or trial, too, so you can test it before committing. If you’re only concerned with good value, read our cheapest online backup guide.

Most services offer a trial and some offer a free plan. For example, you can subscribe to IDrive’s free 5GB plan. CloudBerry Backup provides up to 200GB of free backup space, which means you can pair it with a free account on any cloud storage service.

Ease of Use

How easy it is to use the service is important because no matter how many great features it has, they won’t be enough if it’s difficult to backup and restore files.

The user experience should be straightforward. That way, you can focus on your work and not your data. The desktop client should work on most operating systems and its interface, along with those of the web and mobile apps, should be pleasant and intuitive to use.

Most desktop clients work on Windows and macOS, but we like to see them work on Linux, too. You can see which do in our best online backup for Linux piece. Besides those that we’ve mentioned, CrashPlan for Small Business and Duplicati are on that list, so read our CrashPlan for Small Business review and Duplicati review to learn more about them.

If you work on Windows, consult our best cloud storage for Windows comparison.

Speed

Initial backups can take a long time. How long depends on many factors, including your distance to a server, your internet service provider and how much data you have to backup. We looked for services that let you tweak transfer settings to improve your connection and use a block-level transfer algorithm. Services that let you put a cap on your bandwidth get a plus, too.

To grade services, we perform several upload and download tests using a 1GB folder and measure how much time they take. We take into account our distance to a server, too.

One of the fastest services on the online backup market is Acronis True Image. It took only 14 minutes on average to upload our test folder. We used a connection with an upload speed of 14 megabits per second from southeast Asia. It helps that Acronis True Image has a network of servers spread across the globe.

Support

Everything’s fine while the service works, but it’s another matter when it doesn’t. That’s where technical support comes in, and good technical support is priceless. Services usually have email support, and some offer chat or even phone support.

Before contacting the support team, though, users can consult the FAQ, knowledgebase and in many cases, user forums. There will often be tutorial videos, too. We take into account what types of support services offer and how long they take to respond to our questions.

The Best Online Backup Providers

Most online backup services are similar, with the odd one having novel features. We created this ranking by comparing their overall performances across the criteria we outlined in the previous section. This section will give you a quick recap of the top five services on our list, starting with IDrive.

IDrive

IDrive is based in the San Fernando Valley in California. The company was launched in 1995, which makes it a veteran. Its age doesn’t show, though, except in its rich experience.

IDrive doesn’t offer unlimited backup, but it does let you backup unlimited devices, including NAS. There are two annual personal plans to choose from: 2TB or 5TB. The 2TB plan will set you back just over $50, while the 5TB plan costs around $75. IDrive offers a free plan with 5GB of backup space to test it, too.

IDrive uses AES 256-bit to encrypt your data at rest and in transit. It keeps the key to decrypt your data, but you can retain it if you want to ensure you have private encryption. You need to opt to do so prior to running your first backup, though.

It’s more complicated to work with IDrive because it doesn’t offer unlimited backup. You have to pick and choose the files you want to backup. You can do so by location, but not by file type. Plus, IDrive has many options for settings, so you have to get used to that. That shouldn’t be a problem for most people, though.

You can use IDrive on Windows, macOS and Linux. There are smartphone apps for Android or iOS, too.

Backblaze

Backblaze launched in 2007 and is one of the most popular online backup services. With such a long history, it’s no surprise that it’s near the top of our best online backup list.

It doesn’t place file restrictions on your unlimited backup. You can backup files of any size without manual selection. With only one plan, the pricing scheme is simple. It costs $5 a month or $50 a year. The monthly plan is convenient, considering that most backup services don’t offer it.

If you decide to use Backblaze for the long term, you can opt to pay for a year or two in advance, which will get you a $10 or $25 discount.

Backblaze has a lot of security features that we hope to see in a backup service, including private encryption. To prevent hackers from stealing your password, which they can do if it’s weak, you can enable two-factor authentication. You can also set an option to require a security code every time you log in.

Backblaze encrypts your files using AES 128-bit. No one has cracked that as far as we know, but we like the heavier version, AES 256-bit, more. SSL will protect your files in transit.

Like its pricing plan, Backblaze’s user experience is simple and easy. There’s no need to manage how much or what you’re backing up, because Backblaze does it for you, though the service excludes system and temporary files. You don’t even have to create a backup plan. Everything is automated.

Acronis True Image

You can get a lifetime license for Acronis True Image. It doesn’t allow you to backup your data to the cloud, though, only to local storage. That’s why we recommend getting an annual plan. There are two to choose from: Advanced and Premium.

Advanced costs $4.16 per month, or $49.99 a year, for 250GB. It includes full image backup, active disk cloning, universal restore and social media backup. Premium costs $8.33 a month, $99.99 a year, for 1TB. It adds electronic signatures and blockchain certification for files to the list of features.

Acronis True Image has a useful archival tool that can be used to free space on your hard drive. The service lets you sync files across devices, too. Its client comes with a set of tools that help with data management tasks, as well.

Acronis True Image uses AES 256-bit encryption and the TLS/SSL protocol to protect your data during transfer. It’s zero-knowledge, too.

CloudBerry Backup

CloudBerry Backup isn’t a standard online backup service. Instead, it’s a control center that helps you manage backup plans on other cloud storage services. Technically, it’s an infrastructure-as-a-service solution that doesn’t offer backup space. Because of that, you need to pair it with a service such as Wasabi. Read more about that in our Wasabi review.

Wasabi charges 0.0049 cents per gigabyte of storage. That means 1TB only costs $5 per month, and unlike other IaaS services, Wasabi doesn’t charge for downloading.

CloudBerry Backup only requires a one-time license. The Desktop license is the cheapest option at $ 49.99. You can test it with a 15-day free trial before deciding to subscribe. Once that’s done, you need to get a cloud service that provides storage space.

CloudBerry Backup supports many standard security methods for cloud solutions, but their availability depends on the partner service, too. With the right partner, CloudBerry Backup can use up to AES 256-bit on the client side.

A lot of services only support server-side encryption, but CloudBerry Backup provides it on the client side, as well. During transfer, the service uses the TLS protocol to protect your files. It also offers versioning, which helps if you get hit by ransomware. Wasabi supports at-rest encryption and gives you two-factor authentication.

CloudBerry Backup isn’t for mainstream users because it’s not that easy to use, but power users will feel at home.

BigMIND Home

BigMIND Home is another product from the company that created Zoolz Home Backup. It’s not surprising that they are similar, but BigMIND Home packs features fueled by artificial intelligence

BigMIND Home’s Personal plan costs $2.99 per month, but it’s paid annually and gives a meager 100GB of backup space for one user and three computers.  The Family plan costs $6.99 a month and gives you 500GB of storage space for three users, nine computers and six mobile devices.

You can get 1TB of cloud backup space for $12.99 by subscribing to the Family Plus plan. The plan lets you share with four more users across 15 computers and unlimited mobile devices.

You can test the service by using the free plan, which provides 5GB of backup space for one user. It lets you backup one computer, one external drive and two mobile devices.

BigMIND Home encrypts files on servers using the AES 256-bit algorithm. You can opt for private encryption while setting up your backup plan, but you can’t do it afterward. Files are protected by the SSL protocol in transit, but, curiously, you have to enable it. BigMIND provides two-factor authentication to protect your credentials.

The desktop client is helpful, and the interface is attractive and easy to use. The web interface, which displays file categories and devices, is more colorful and enables you to browse your content in the cloud. BigMIND Home is available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.

Starts from $ 434 per month for 2000 GB
Free plan available

Online Backup Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s take a look at a few of the questions we’ve encountered from readers over the years.

What Is Online Backup?

Online backup is a method of off-site storage in which data is regularly backed up over the internet and typically hosted by a service provider.

Which Online Backup Service Is Best?

IDrive is the best online backup service, according to our ranking. It has strong security and cheap subscription plans, lets you backup unlimited devices and includes zero-knowledge security.

How Much Does Online Backup Cost?

The cost depends on how much backup space you need and which service you use. For example, IDrive’s 2TB Personal plan will cost you $52.12 per year, while Backblaze’s one and only plan, which has unlimited space, will cost you $50 per year.

Acronis True Image’s prices depend on how much storage you need and how many computers you want to backup. Its Advanced plan costs $49.99 a year and provides 250GB for one computer.

How to Use Online Backup?

To use online backup, you need to subscribe to a service. You can click the “visit” button in the ranking above to go to the website of a particular service and register for the intended plan or trial.

Next, you need to download and install the desktop client or, if you plan to backup your mobile device, the mobile app. There are slight variations on how the services work, but they all require you to choose which files or file types you want to backup. After doing so, you can start your backup and soon your data will be safe in the cloud.

For a more detailed walkthrough of how to backup your data, read this article.

Where to Backup Photos Online?

You should use Backblaze to backup your photos. It provides unlimited backup space for cheap and has no hidden caps. Using it also ensures that there are no upload or file size limits. You can learn more about why it’s good for photos in our best online backup for photos article.

Final Thoughts

No matter what or how much you need to backup, our ranking will help you choose the best online backup for your needs. We considered many criteria, including file backup and restoration, security, privacy and features.

IDrive is our top choice because it has great value deals, strong security and the ability to backup unlimited devices and private encryption.

Backblaze is right behind it thanks to its great ease of use, simple and cheap plan and unlimited backup space.

Acronis True Image has features that are taken out of the cloud storage handbook, including sync and a library of tools. It’s fast, too.

CloudBerry Backup is great for enthusiasts who want to tweak everything and get an overview of multiple backup services in one place.

Though not least, our last pick is BigMIND Home, which doesn’t offer a lot of backup space for cheap, but does have novel features, including face recognition and object detection. Its security and privacy are strong, too.

This article is an overview of the best online backup services, so when you think you’ve found a service that works for you, we recommend consulting its review to find out more. Thank you for reading.

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