Key Takeaways: Backblaze B2 Backup Review
- Backblaze B2 has affordable plans and is easy to use, even if you are unfamiliar with online backup IaaS services.
- Each bucket you create has customizable file versioning, giving you full control over how long older files are held.
- Backblaze B2 has fewer features than many of its competitors and its speeds can be slow.
Backblaze B2 positions itself as an affordable and easy-to-use infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider, offering some of the best prices available. You’ll find it in most of our cloud computing roundups. However, Backblaze B2 isn’t the best choice for everyone as it has a few limitations. We explore the IaaS service in detail with our Backblaze B2 review.
IaaS products excel at providing a large amount of cloud storage backup space, perfect for businesses or large organizations. Backblaze B2’s biggest advantage is its lower prices. Even if you are unfamiliar with online backup services, it’s easy to start with Backblaze B2.
Backblaze B2 is not the same as Backblaze — if you need a cloud backup solution, check out our Backblaze review. Additionally, if you need online backup for business, check out our Backblaze for Business review.
Updated information, conducted new performance tests and replaced images.
09/24/2023 Facts checked
This article was rewritten to include updated features and current pricing.
What Is Backblaze B2?
Backblaze is a low-cost personal online backup service — which is different than cloud storage — that offers scalable storage. It was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in San Mateo, California.
Backblaze B2 is an IaaS product offering online business cloud storage that’s not tied to a specific computer or limited by an operating system. Files stored in Backblaze B2 are accessible through the user interface (UI) or the command-line interface.
Backblaze B2 Review: The Cloudwards Expert Opinion
Backblaze B2 is an excellent option to back up your data in an IaaS service. Its plans are among the most affordable, and with only a web interface, it’s accessible with any operating system. A mobile app for iOS and Android gives you access on the go.
However, Backblaze has limited servers and speeds can be slow if you’re not located in the U.S. or Europe. Additionally, it’s not the most feature-rich IaaS.
Backblaze B2 Pros & Cons
- Affordable plans
- Minimal setup
- Customizable file versioning
- Many third-party integrations
- Mobile apps
- Light on features
- Few data centers
- Slower speeds
Features: What Can Backblaze B2 Do?
This section will dive into Backblaze B2’s features.
Creating buckets is the primary way to store data in your account. Buckets are how Backblaze B2 categorizes your data. You can upload any file size or number of files within your storage limits. Files over 500MB can’t be uploaded using the web interface; you’ll need to use the command-line interface. Additionally, you can only have 100 buckets on your account.
When you create a bucket, you have a few options. You can keep the bucket private or make it public. Encryption is disabled by default, but you can enable an encryption key. Backblaze creates and manages the key, although you can manage it yourself — more on that below. You also have an option for object lock, which protects a file from being modified or deleted.
Bucket names have specific requirements. They must be unique, meaning they can’t match anyone else’s bucket anywhere. Additionally, names can be alphanumeric and can include a short dash “-.” You can’t add spaces or special characters, including the underscore.
Backblaze B2 lets you modify the file versioning policy of each bucket you create. You access this by clicking the “lifecycle settings” link in the bucket. The default is to keep all versions of a file. If you want to change the file versioning, you can choose from only keeping the last version, keeping prior versions for a specified number of days or setting custom rules.
Creating custom lifecycle rules has three required fields: file path name, days till hide and days till delete. The file path name is the prefix that specifies the files to which the rule applies. If you leave it blank, you could delete all the files in a bucket.
The days till hidden rule hides a file for a specified number of days. Similarly, entering a number in the days till deleted field will automatically delete a file or files when the day limit is reached.
Backblaze B2 supports many third-party integrations for backup, synchronization workflows, moving files or archiving. If a third-party integration requires a fee or license, it is separate from your Backblaze B2 account. Some of the supported integrations include Fastly, Iconik, Syncology, Cloudflare and Qnap.
Using integrations varies depending on which one you use and what you are trying to do. For example, with Fastly, you can cache your data on its servers, speeding up end-user access. Integrating with Cloudflare provides a way to reduce data transfer costs.
Application keys control access to your account and any buckets you create. When you create your account for the first time, Backblaze B2 generates a master application key. The master application key grants you access to your account, letting you create application keys — non-master — to control your buckets.
You have the option to generate a new master key, but doing so will cancel the old key and any application keys you created.
Application keys have a unique key ID, and you’ll want to store them in a safe place. When you create an application key, you’ll have several options, including giving it a key name, a dropdown menu with the buckets you want to apply the key to and the type of access you want to grant (read and write, read-only or write-only).
Your Backblaze B2 account has a few other features, including snapshots, reports, caps and alerts, Fireball to upload data, and cloud replication. Snapshots lets you download several files in a zip format from a specified point in time.
The “reports” tab shows you a graphical breakdown of your data transactions and storage. The information includes the average size stored in GB, how much you’ve downloaded and the number of transactions.
Caps and alerts give you a breakdown of your daily caps, like storage, bandwidth or transactions. There’s a dollar amount associated with each one, so keep it under the cap to maintain a free account.
Using a Fireball lets you upload data to an external hard drive. Backblaze will send you a Fireball external hard drive. When you finish uploading, send it back and Backblaze will upload the data into your account.
Cloud replication automatically copies data in your account from a specified bucket into another one you choose. This creates data redundancy in the event of unexpected data loss or corruption.
User-Friendliness & Hands-On Testing
Using Backblaze B2 is intuitive, even for those unfamiliar with cloud backup services. There are some advanced features, and familiarity with basic database programming language helps, but it is not required. Creating buckets and uploading data is easy, as Backblaze B2 has a walkthrough tutorial.
When you upload data, even if you drag and drop them into your account, Backblaze removes any folders. You’ll notice this when you click on “browse files.” Even if you create a folder after you upload your files, there’s no obvious way to move your data into a folder. Your best bet is to create a folder first and then upload files into it to keep things organized.
Backblaze B2 does not have a desktop interface, as it is designed to be accessible no matter the operating system. You can use the web interface, a third-party integration, the command-line interface or APIs. However, there is a mobile app for both iOS and Android.
How to Install Backblaze B2
To install the mobile app, go to the app store for either iOS or Android.
- App Store
Open the app store on your device, either the Apple app store or Google Play. Search for “Backblaze” and download the app.
- Log In
Open the app and log in to your account. You’ll see any buckets you created and any files you’ve uploaded.
How to Set Up & Use Backblaze B2
The quickest way to get started with Backblaze is to create an account.
- Go To Backblaze
Navigate to Backblaze B2 cloud storage and create an account, if needed. You have the option to choose your data region from a dropdown menu.
- Log In
Once you have an account, log in to it. You’ll get a short tutorial that will show you around.
- Create a Bucket
Create your first bucket and upload your files into it.
- Browse Files
Click the “browse files” link on the left side of the page to see all your files. You’ll see options for upload, download, new folder, delete or snapshot.
Using the command-line tool gives you greater control over your account than with the graphical user interface.
- Open the Command Line
On an Apple computer, you’ll need to download Homebrew. Windows and Linux have the B2 CLI Tool for download. There’s a Python version, available on GitHub, which Mac users can use. For more, check out the Backblaze command-line interface help page.
- Install Backblaze
You won’t need this step if you downloaded the Windows or Linux B2 CLI tool. From the command line after installing Homebrew, enter brew install b2-tools. Python requires a few steps, which you can find here: command-line tools.
- Get Commands
Once you have the terminal open and connected to Backblaze B2, enter “b2” for a list of all the commands available with Backblaze.
Backblaze B2 Pricing: How Much Does Backblaze B2 Cost?
Backblaze B2 IaaS storage is affordable as it adopts a pay-as-you-go model rather than a flat, fixed fee. What you get charged depends on how you use it. The different categories are storage, download, transactions, data by mail and product support.
Those who want a set price can opt for Backblaze B2 Reserve. The reserve plans offer more predictability, with bundles starting at 20TB for $1,560 annually. The Backblaze B2 reserve plans include API calls.
Backblaze B2 Free Plan
Backblaze B2 has a free account with 10GB of storage. The free account includes 1GB of daily download bandwidth, 2,500 class B transactions connected to downloads and 2,500 class C transactions. More on transactions below.
Pricing Plan Breakdown: Cost & Cloud Storage Capacity
Storing data on Backblaze B2 costs $0.005 per GB per month. This cost is calculated hourly and is free while under 10GB. The daily download cost is $0.01 per GB. It remains free as long as you stay under 1GB per day.
If needed, you can use Backblaze B2’s data mail service to transfer large amounts of data or avoid slow connection speeds. Pricing is tied to the upload or download size. For uploads using Fireball, the cost is $550 for up to 96TB. Downloads up to 8TB on a USB cost $189.
Backblaze B2 does not charge for transactions that upload data into your account or for bandwidth used during uploads. Transactions are classified into three categories: A, B and C. Class A transactions are free and consist of uploads or deleting files.
Class B and Class C transactions include downloading, creating buckets, and creating keys or copying files. Once you go over 2,500 transactions in a day, the cost is $0.004 per 10,000 transactions for class B and $0.004 per 1,000 transactions for class C.
Backblaze B2 Server Network & Speed
Backblaze B2 isn’t the fastest IaaS, especially when compared to some of the larger names in the space, such as Google, Amazon or Microsoft. The lack of an extensive array of data centers is the primary reason. Backblaze has three in the U.S. and one in Europe. However, as you’ll see in the speed tests, Backblaze B2 gets the job done.
Backblaze B2 Speed Test Results
We tested Backblaze B2 using a combination of files that totaled 5GB. This data was uploaded and downloaded twice to get an average. Our expected ceiling speeds for uploads and downloads is 6 minutes, 40 seconds. Unfortunately, Backblaze B2 doesn’t break any speed records.
Uploading took an average of 18 minutes, 12 seconds, nearly double the expected number. Downloads were quicker with an average of 7 minutes, 39 seconds, which is still slightly higher than what we’d like to see. As such, Backblaze is not one of the fastest online backup services, as we show in our roundup.
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During testing for this article, we used 1GB of data comprised of images, videos and documents. Backblaze had little trouble uploading the files and completed the process in a few minutes. Downloading, especially larger files, took more time than uploads.
Security & Privacy: Is Backblaze B2 Safe?
Backblaze B2 Security Features
Every Backblaze B2 account has the option to enable two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication adds a step to the login process, typically requiring you to enter a code after using your login credentials. With Backblaze, you can use a code sent to your mobile device or you can use authenticator apps like Google Authenticator or Authy.
Each bucket you create has security options you can enable. You can make your bucket private and enable server-side encryption. To take advantage of this security feature, you’ll need to create an application key and connect it to the bucket for which you want additional security.
Detailed Security Analysis: Encryption & Cloud Security
It is hard to overstate the importance of security for cloud services. It is a critical factor as no one wants their data stolen. When opting for server-side encryption, you can choose from SSE-B2 or SSE-C. Either choice uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect data that’s stored on Backblaze B2’s servers. Additionally, you can use the API to encrypt at the file level.
SSE-B2 uses Backblaze-managed keys, meaning that your data is not protected by private encryption. However, choosing SSE-C means that you manage the unique encrypted key, adding what is essentially zero-knowledge encryption. Backblaze manages the encryption process when uploading, but only after you provide the correct key.
When creating a bucket using the web interface, you’ll notice that the only encryption option is the Backblaze-managed one. If you want to configure customer-managed encryption keys, you’ll need to use the command-line tool and follow the SSE-C procedure.
Backblaze uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption during file transfers, which protects your data from man-in-the-middle attacks. A man-in-the-middle attack attempts to intercept your data transfer by impersonating your intended recipient, thus stealing your data.
Backblaze collects personal information, including your email address and the password you provide. If you enable two-factor authentication using text messages, it will collect your phone number.
Other information Backblaze collects is common and includes your IP address and the types of files you upload. These are standard when using a cloud service. The important part is that Backblaze does not share your information with or sell it to outside entities for marketing purposes. It only shares your information with third parties that assist in providing services.
Since Backblaze owns and maintains a data center in Europe, it is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Additionally, Backblaze complies with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework.
Backblaze B2 Customer Support
Backblaze B2 gives its account holders several tools to use that provide help and assistance, although all of it is self-guided. On the Backblaze B2 section of the website, there’s a tab for “docs.” This area is the first stop for questions, information and how-to instructions when using Backblaze B2.
Live Chat Support Speed & Quality / Email Support Speed & Quality
If you can’t find an answer on the “docs” page, there’s a larger help page with information for all Backblaze products. Account holders can email the support team and expect a response within 24 hours on business days. The response to our inquiry proved informative and helpful.
You’ll need to be a paying customer for help beyond searching articles and emailing the help desk. Backblaze offers three tiers of paid customer assistance, including phone support. However, you’ll need to contact sales to get a quote.
Backblaze has a chatbot that can help guide you to the correct area if you need assistance. It is not open-ended, as you get two options. The responses are predetermined, and it’s more of a sales tool than it is proper help.
Backblaze B2 vs Other IaaS Services: How Does It Compare?
There’s no shortage of competition for IaaS services. We conducted a roundup of the best IaaS providers you can use. As you’ll see, Backblaze B2 competes with some of the biggest and most common names.
Carbonite is an easy-to-use online backup service that does not limit how much storage you get. In the event of a disaster, you can use its courier recovery service. Your data is protected when stored by AES 256-bit encryption and by TLS/SSL encryption during transfer. Overall, Backblaze offers a few more features than Carbonite. Learn more in our Backblaze vs Carbonite article.
IDrive is another solid alternative as it combines cloud storage elements with online backup services. When you sign up, you can make your account zero-knowledge encrypted, although this is not retroactive. We put these two services up against each other in our IDrive vs Backblaze article.
The Verdict: Is Backblaze B2 Worth It?
Backblaze B2 is a solid choice as an affordable IaaS provider, as it is easy to use, even for those with minimal online backup experience. It connects with dozens of third-party apps that support a variety of workflows and use cases.
Backblaze does not have a desktop app, as it uses a web interface. However, it is available on mobile devices. For advanced users, the command-line tool provides the most control over your account.
Do you use Backblaze B2 cloud storage? If not, what are some other backup service alternatives to consider? If so, what do you like best about the service? Let us know in the comments section below. Thanks for taking the time to read our article.
FAQ: Backblaze B2 Backup
Yes, Backblaze B2 is a reliable IaaS service as you can access it from any browser and create up to 100 buckets to backup your data.
The likely reason is lower overhead, as Backblaze’s data centers are not located worldwide. Additionally, it’s designed with fewer features to lower the overall cost as a deliberate choice, as outlined in a Wired interview with Backblaze co-founder Gleb Budman.
Yes, Backblaze B2 does have unlimited backup storage. However, it is only free up to 10GB before being charged for storage. Additionally, you are limited to 100 buckets.