Overall Rating 86%Very Good
The Client
85%Very Good
Pricing
90%Excellent
Backup
90%Excellent
Speed & Performance
90%Excellent
Restoration
80%Good
Security
90%Excellent
Mobile Access
80%Good

Backblaze Overview

I have been in the backup game for a very long time now. I watched companies come and go, especially the ones offering unlimited online backup. Yet there are a few contenders that are here to stay and Backblaze is one of those services. Despite not being “perfect”, I have recommended it to friends, family and colleagues ever since its inception in 2007. Since then, Backblaze is now storing over 100 petabytes (that is 100,000,000 GB) with their custom tailored storage pods whose ingenious engineering make it possible to have an unmetered plan for as low as $5 per month.

Our Backblaze Review 2017

Visit www.backblaze.com

I’m a customer for more than 3 years and have written reviews about this service for just as long (and interviewed the CEO Gleb Budman, you can listen to it here) – Backblaze has never raised their rates, never experienced any meaningful outages, never emailed me about overuse (I store more than 3 TB with them). In fact, it has been quite inconspicuous in those years, running quietly in the background doing one thing very well: backing up my data to the cloud.

And that’s what I want my cloud backup service to do. I do not need fancy bells and whistles. I do not need a syncing client if this sacrifices backup speed and/or reliability. While I would consider myself a geek that does like to go into the nitty-gritty details of software, the older I get the less energy and goodwill I have towards spending my time on options and menu items.

Backblaze strips away the pain many consumers and businesses feel with software. It just works out of the box – and backs up every file you have on your computer (more on Backblaze’s backup principle later in this review).

In those three years of using Backblaze I’m fortunate to say I have never used it once to restore my files. I had one hard drive failure but I always keep a local backup of my files and non-cloud restores are just so much faster. Backblaze is just another security layer that I can use just in case. I have done several test restores of core files to gauge Backblaze’s file restoration ability, though.

Backblaze is also very prolific when it comes to satisfying the geek in me who likes to read about hard drive performance: their annual review of what are the best hard drives is always on the front page of HackerNews and worth a read if you consider purchasing hard disks for your NAS or external hard drive. As Backblaze uses thousands of drives and constantly performs infrastructure upgrades they have the necessary data to show for it. Transparency is something this Silicon Valley company embraces and those who want to know more about them can read stories and company insights on their blog.

What

Infinite Cloud 

Unlimited storage in the cloud seems very en vogue today. These offerings cater to a need consumers have: digital cameras have higher resolutions, thus images take up more space; aunt Jane wants her VHS videos from the 80’s digitalized and store them on her hard drive. Next generation smart phone sensors have more than quadrupled image and video resolutions leading to more data – more data that can be lost forever if it’s not backed up properly.

That’s why we at Cloudwards.net try to convince people that backing up files is crucial and failing to do so will lead to an unhappy feeling of “if I only…” at best and disaster at worst.

Infinite Online Backup

Backblaze is one of those solutions that helps you get the cloud backup or off-site backup out of your way. It is certainly not without fault, though I’m aware that the intro may suggest otherwise. In this Backblaze review we’ll go over the pros and cons, backup and restore process and look at how Backblaze compares with other services in the field.

This review is mainly focused Backblaze’s personal plan, yet they do offer a business version which, I’ve heard, runs smoothly, too. If your business is in need of serious image or bare metal backup though, you need to look elsewhere as Backblaze only offers a limited feature set according to their overall philosophy.

Disclaimer: Cloudwards.net receives a small monetary compensation if you signup through one of our links at no additional cost to you. In you doing so, you help us create more awesome content in future and help keep this website alive. Thank you.

Alternatives for Backblaze

Starts from
$ 5.00 per month
Carbonite Review
  • Easy to use
  • Backs up most important files
  • Supports File versioning
  • Tends to be slow
  • No automatic video backup
  • Windows only mirrored backup
www.carbonite.com
Starts from
$ 5.99 per month
CrashPlan Review
  • Free local backups
  • Seeded backup
  • Mobile access via apps
  • Windows, Mac & Linux
  • A lot of options
  • No sharing or syncing
  • Slow backups when outside of the US
www.crashplan.com
Starts from
$ 4.08 per month
Sync.com Review
  • Good syncing speeds
  • Good attitude towards privacy
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • 1h Email support response time
  • Encryption slows down uploads and previews
  • Mobile client doesn't allow file sharing
www.sync.com

Getting Started

Where most cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, MEGA, SpiderOak amongst other offer users free storage for life, Backblaze comes with a free 15 day trial version. Why don’t they offer a free version with limited space? Backblaze is a backup only service, so you don’t get all the cloud collaboration features you might expect in a typical Dropbox, Egnyte or Box where you can sync your files or share links with your peers.

It wouldn’t make much sense to offer 2GB, 5GB or 10GB of backup only space because this simply wouldn’t be enough for most people. So, a free trial does make sense, in that you’ll get an idea how the software works and if you like it or not. Don’t expect to upload your whole 100GB hard drive files in those 15 days, though, that’s not likely to happen. Online backup takes time and patience, even with a broadband connection. If you’re lucky you can upload 1 or 2 gigabytes per day. More on backup and upload download speeds in this section.

Backblaze wants your email address to get started, there is no credit card needed to sign up for the free trial. Once provided the client download starts automatically. I’m using a Macintosh but obviously it works for Windows computers just as well.

The client comes as a component of the systems panel and while I’d prefer a standalone version, it’s very inconspicuous and doesn’t get in your way. I’m running both Backblaze and Crashplan in the background and I’ve never had any problems with either Backblaze or Crashplan being a resource hog. Backblaze always hovers around 1 or 2% CPU usage so it will even work with older computers that your grandma might be using.

The Client

85% – Very Good

An In-Depth Look at the Client

You can either access the client from the systems menu or from the top sys tray where a nice icon of a stylized flame watches for data to be backed up. When opened, it presents the most important piece of information up front: are you backed up or not. Most likely when just downloaded you see an exclamation mark that it’s currently in process of backing up your files.

After installing Backblaze it starts with the backup automatically, backing everything up except system and application files or any files you specifically exclude in the exclusion list:

The overview panel also gives an update of which file is being transferred and what backup mode you’ve chosen. Most people should use the continuous backup feature as this will allow Backblaze to run hands-off. You can schedule your backups to take place once per day or manually when you hit a button. Some may wish hourly backups or backups only on specific dates but scheduling is not a feature Backblaze focus is on and most likely won’t be in future iterations. If anything, they’ll strip down the client even further to make it easier to use. As broadband is becoming more and more abundant, it’s likely they’ll get rid of the scheduling feature entirely.

The reports tab provides a deeper look into the kinds of files you have backed up and it allows a user to identify which are the files that make up most of the space of your hard drive. For me this is clearly “movie files” because I work a lot with video and keep the raw video files on an external hard drive that I have backed up with Backblaze (currently, more than 1TB).

Further settings can be applied: the security tab lets you set a personal encryption key that I can only recommend. Local encryption ensures your data cannot be decrypted except by yourself. This key resides on the hard drive and is not stored on Backblaze’s servers. We’ll have a closer look into Backblaze’s security here.

In the performance tab you can either let Backblaze determine the bandwidth usage or set it to manually. I always use manually and set the slider to faster backups.

Pricing

90% – Excellent

Backblaze has the most simple pricing plan I’ve come across in the online backup/cloud storage field. As pointed out previously, they remain true to their overall $5/month per computer pricing for years and probably always will be. But for your reading convenience here is their pricing: 

PlanPrice PlanStorageDetails
Unlimited Personal
$ 5 Monthly
$ 60.00 1 Year
$ 50.00 (-17%)
$ 120.00 2 Years
$ 90.00 (-25%)
Unlimited GB

Plan is for one computer.

Backup

90% – Excellent

Backing up data

Looking at other backup services like Crashplan (review here), Carbonite (review here) or SpiderOak (review here) you need to select folders or files that you want to back up first. Backblaze’s philosophy is different. They don’t want to burden users with having to make such decisions as to what they want/need or must backup. For the average Joe or Jill that makes sense; when I talk to my friends about backup I feel that laziness is one of the core issues why people don’t back up. “I don’t know how this works”, “I already have Dropbox”, “I use an external hard drive for backup” etc.

It always takes time to explain why a single backup is not enough and an off-site backup is really a smart thing to do. So the less hassle a user faces with backup the better. But even amongst backup professionals there is a saying: the easier the better, the more automated the better. So Backblaze fits right into this area, yet not without nuisances.

Truly Unlimited?

So let’s discuss this unlimited thing once and for all. I have covered it in a couple of my popular comparison articles (especially Crashplan vs Backblaze and Carbonite vs Crashplan). Is Backblaze truly unlimited? My answer to this question is somewhat ambivalent depending on the perspective you assume. Looking at it only from a storage perspective, yes, Backblaze offers unlimited storage. Backblaze will not limit the amount, size or kind of files you upload – be it a 20GB disc image or a 5KB text document. Nor do they limit the overall bandwidth which you can upload with. My backups encompass a couple of terabytes and I’ve never had any issues, “fair use” or otherwise with this service.

There are a couple of restrictions though, that you won’t find with Crashplan for example: what’s hurting the overall experience is, in my opinion, that you need to select your hard drives individually for backup. As a true hassle-free service I’d expect this to be done automatically for me. Obviously, backing up external hard drives would result in extra amount of storage needs that in turn would drive the overall cost per user up. I believe Backblaze is already operating with tight margins with $5 per month.

What’s worse is that one needs to connect the external hard drive every 30 days to keep Backblaze from deleting those files from your cloud backups. Now, you will get notified of this process in a count-down like fashion via email but it’s nevertheless an experience that doesn’t fit into the overall positive recognition this providers enjoys in most reviews (including this one).

People who travel frequently, connecting and disconnecting devices this could be a deal breaker and they might want to look at Crashplan (direct link) instead. For me, it’s less relevant of an issue because I mainly work from my office where I have all hard drives connected all the time. Backblaze frames this like so on their FAQ page:

“Backblaze works best if you leave the external hard drive attached to your computer all the time. However, Backblaze will backup external USB and Firewire hard drives that are detached and re-attached as long as you remember to re-attach the hard drive at least once every 30 days. If the drive is detached for more than 30 days, Backblaze interprets this as data that has been permanently deleted and securely deletes the copy from the Backblaze datacenter. The 30 day countdown is only for drives that have been unplugged”

The 30 day countdown doesn’t apply if the computer is shut down for a prolonged vacation or something similar. You should make sure, however, to reconnect your external hard drive when you come backup.

Speed & Performance

90% – Excellent

How speedy is Backblaze?

Backblaze doesn’t want you to think. While for many beginners this might be a good strategy this can be a little frustrating for people who are looking for advanced backup options. Backblaze’s mission is actually quite honorable: just back up anything that is on a PC where Backblaze is installed, except application and system files. It’s a shame there are no “advanced options” to customize your backup a little better.

Backblaze backup speed

Normally, we have our test folder of 10 GB in size and we go manually through the backup software to select that folder for backup. However, this not really possible with Backblaze. We described Backblaze’s strategy earlier in this review. When normally you have to select the files and folders you want to backup, with Backblaze it’s the other way around: you only select the folders that you don’t want Backblaze to backup.

That made it actually quite difficult to grab the test folder because I would have to go and unselect everything else. This was quite a tedious process and we didn’t manage to only select our test folder so we backed up a little more than the 10 GB. Backblaze had to show how fast it could transfer 11 GB onto their servers. And also, how fast the restore would be. I could have transferred all my files onto a new partition though.

Backblaze backup speed

In terms of speed Backblaze is certainly one of the top performers. Our 11 GB of files have been transferred in record time: it only took 9 hours and 17 minutes for everything to be backed up. Which was faster than I personally expected, because my regular backup of my own files seem to take much longer. 

Big Data

Backing up a lot of data

Unlimited online backup is theory sounds awesome and it really is. But there is one caveat many people miss:

The bottle neck is almost always a user’s own bandwidth provided by the ISP (internet service provider). Even if you’re lucky and got yourself a 10Mbit/s upstream broadband connection your backups will take a certain amount of time. Let’s assume you’re one of the lucky guys with a nice bandwidth and you can upload 1GB per day. It doesn’t require a PhD to figure out how long your backup is going to take. 100 days. Of course, this may be faster a slower depending on a plethora of factors, such as

  • Do you have your computer running day and night?
  • Are there any other apps and services requiring upload bandwidth?
  • Do you, for example, use Dropbox or another data backup service provider?

Overall, you need to bring some patience to the table if you seriously consider cloud backup. Especially, if you’re dealing with very large files like movie files it can get tough. That’s why we recommend to always do a local backup first and switch to cloud backup when all your important stuff is secured. So even if your hard drive crashes along the way there is always a local backup copy which is faster to restore anyways.

Some online backup services offer hard drive shipping service where they’d send an external hard drive. Users can load their files and send it back. Obviously, this comes at a fee (generally around $200, depending on the size of the hard drive) and is only available for US customers. This process is called “seed backup”.

Take a note on that one if you cannot wait for months to have your terabytes backed up. You won’t find this option with Backblaze, though. However, they do offer a restore-to-door service where they send a hard drive to your home. Again, Crashplan maybe an alternative to Backblaze as they offer seeded backups.

Restoration

80% – Good

The nitty-gritty: file restoration

This wouldn’t be a proper review if I didn’t look at how Backblaze restores files. For some people it may a little bit counter intuitive but restoring files works entirely from their web interface, which means it’s possible to get a file technically at any place with an Internet connection. Backblaze then sends a link to a ZIP file with the contents of your backup to your inbox. But beware this can take a long while if restores are large (above 10GB), in this case using the Backblaze Downloader is the better option. There are some people in the comments suggesting that Backblaze has problems with larger restores – I couldn’t reproduce these problems on my end.

I would highly recommend to only use the web interface for smaller files that you need urgently, for example when working on another person’s computer and getting to your files is impossible.

Version history: go back in time

Backblaze allows for time travel of up to 30 days in the past. Any service not offering at least 30 days of file versions is not worth being called a backup service. I have come to love file versioning that helps me recover past versions of my writings that I find better than the current version I’m working on.

30 days is OK, but not great. Here’s another limit to the “unlimited” service, but this is a restriction most users can live with. I’m sure Backblaze will soon make the leap towards unlimited versioning and hard drive backup to catch up with some competing cloud backup offerings.

The search feature in the web interface works fast and finds pretty much every file you’ve backed up. In my last review I noted that I’d love to see a search feature by file type of size. That’s still a request I have today. There are some workarounds but it is not natively supported by the web app, yet.

Security

90% – Excellent

Backup encryption & Security

Encryption should be an essential part of your cloud backups and any service worth considering should offer two types of encryption methods:

  1. SSL/TLS encryption for files that are transferred from the sender to the recipient (service). This is called transit encryption.
  2. AES encryption at rest (the service’s servers) – this method is used to protect your files with a key that is stored on the servers in a secure format.

Backblaze offers both types for your files and they add another security layer which is called local encryption. That means you get to choose a personal passphrase unknown to anybody but yourself. Any time you want to restore from Backblaze’s servers you need this personal passphrase to get to your files. This key is stored locally and only temporarily used by Backblaze to decrypt the requested data.

When you’ve requested a restore, a secure copy is assembled on Backblaze’s data centers and automatically deleted after 7 days or you can delete it manually.

By using triple encryption (local, transit, and off-site) you get maximum protection for your files. There is only one caveat with ultimate security: if you forget your personal passphrase there is no way to get your files back.

Mobile Access

80% – Good

Anywhere Access

Everything is mobile these days, and online backup services have come up with pretty nifty apps for file access on the go. Backblaze released their app a year ago and provides you with basic file access. So in case you need a file or photograph, it’s easily accessible via the native app. The app works on both iOS and Android devices so the majority of mobile phone users can make use of it.

Once you’ve downloaded the file from your backups you can preview them on your iPhone and share it with your friends and family. I have used this feature a lot when on business trips: sometimes there is this one file you forgot at home. It doesn’t work as intuitive as the Dropbox app but it’s worth having it installed on your phone just in case.

Missing Features

What features are missing?

For most users Backblaze is all they need. Yet, there are some advanced features I wish Backblaze had. One example is backing up network attached storage devices (NAS). I use a Synology DiskStation to access some of my files when I’m away via their Dropbox like service CloudStation. Obviously, I have setup a RAID so that if one hard drive fails, I can simply replace it without data loss. But a RAID is not a backup. So, currently I transfer the files once per week to my external hard drive that is connected to my computer. Backblaze backs up the external hard drive but not my NAS.

If I could spare this extra step this would be the ideal backup service for me and I guess for most advanced users with special needs. The alternative would be to use Amazon Glacier which is much more expensive and requires another client to run on my computer. Or, for total control, one could manually push files to Glacier and cut out the middleman.

Crashplan has a workaround for NAS devices for the Synology but it is only offered by a third party and I cannot rely on an app that hasn’t been approved by the vendors.

Metadata

There are concerns by some user of Backblaze not backing up metadata, e.g. file permissions, symlinks, finder flags etc. It failed pretty much all but one of Backup Bouncer tests in this regard. So if backing up meta data is important to you you should check Crashplan or another manual backup option instead. Backblaze is not intended to be a disk imaging or bare metal backup.

Yay or Nay?

Backing up with Backblaze, yay or nay?

You might have already guessed my conclusion for this year’s Backblaze review: it’s a pretty awesome backup service that will keep your files backed up and secured in the cloud. Of course, no software or service is perfect and I’ve listed my complaints in this review, especially the 30 day file history limit. We’ll see if Backblaze becomes more generous as storage prices decrease.

It’s important to note that I do recommend cloud backups only as a secondary backup for your local backups never as a replacement. So make sure to have a solid, fool-proof solution in place and then head over to Backblaze to start your free trial.

Backblaze is best for users who are not willing to fiddle with the details – it simply works and the exclusion principal is ideal for mom and pop who think Google is the Internet (sorry mom). But even I do find myself heading for simpler, less time consuming apps and services. The times of clunky, resource heavy apps is clearly over and Backblaze certainly is the best contender in the “don’t make me think” category.

We’d love to hear what you think about Backblaze. Do you currently use it? What’s your experience so far? Leave a review below.

Founder Interview

Listen to our founder interview

Gleb Budman CEO of Backblaze answer all of my questions in this interview. 

Alternatives for Backblaze

Starts from
$ 5.99 per month
CrashPlan Review
  • Free local backups
  • Seeded backup
  • Mobile access via apps
  • Windows, Mac & Linux
  • A lot of options
  • No sharing or syncing
  • Slow backups when outside of the US
www.crashplan.com
Starts from
$ 4.34 per month
IDrive Review
  • Military grade encryption
  • Blazing-fast transfer speeds
  • Free local backups
  • Overwhelming amount of features
  • No monthly payment plans
www.idrive.com

Features

Backblaze Features
www.backblaze.com
Free Storage
Free Trial15 Days
System
  • windows
  • mac
PriceStarts from $ 5.00 per month
Mobile Access
Mobile Apps
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android
Syncronisation
Free External HD Backup
Continuous Backup
Incremental Backup
Backup Scheduling
Bare Metal Backup
Exclude File Extensions for Backup
Network Drives
Bandwidth throttling
Web Access
HIPAA Compliant
File Size LimitUnlimited GB
Included Machines1
File Sharing
Multiple Accounts
Share Photo Albums
Music Streaming
Folder Collaboration
Outlook Backup
Local Encryption128-bit
Server Side Encryption256-bit
Keeps deleted files30
File Versioning30

Backblaze Review

Simple, no-frills unlimited online backup. Period.

Easiest online backup service I've used. Very limited features. Good as a secondary backup solution. Unlimited backup storage.
Starts from
$ 5.00 per month
Visit Backblaze

27 thoughts on “Backblaze”

  1. Hi,

    I have been using Backblaze for quite a while now and I am totally happy with it. I actually almost forgot that I was backed up at all until last week my PC crashed and just wouldn’t start. Fortunately, I could recover all my data thanks to this amazin piece of software.

    I had, however, some trouble with installing Backblaze but support helped me (it was some weird configuration I had no idea about). Could have been a little faster (waited 3 days) but they contacted me as soon as I reached out to their social media team.

  2. overall i will give backblaze 4 stars – there are a couple of things that i miss and that i think could be done better for example file restore can only be done via the web client and give you very little control over your restore. i was very satisfied wiht the speed of the backup (backed up 100gb in aournd 10 days). I had one little issue wiht my backups and contacted their support their response time could be improved it took them 4 days to get back to me but anyway – overall great service i feel like my files are pretty safe now.

  3. Hi,

    I’m actually a long time user of Backblaze and overall I’m quite happy with how my backups are running so far (that’s why I gave 4 stars). Backblaze does everything it should – it backs up everything you have automatically and it does it in the background. Their client is very light weight so you don’t have to worry about getting into trouble with your system resources.

    Performance is OK. You guys say it took you 9 hours uploading everything of your 10GB folder – for me it took longer but I don’t care as it runs in the background anyway and I can get my local backup on my NAS.

    Speaking about NAS: I’d love for Backblaze to have the ability to back that up, too, then it would certainly be the perfect online backup service for me. Instead, I have to look for other solutions that will back that up, too.

    Even though the software runs in the background, sometimes I’d love to have more options especially when it comes to back up scheduling but then again, this is online backup for absolute beginners and I’m just using it as a secondary backup solution for my files.

    I highly recommend Backblaze for people who are afraid about backups and don’t know where to start. If you have some technical background probably a different provider like Crashplan would be ideal.

  4. I’ve been using Backblaze for several years and have a few TB backed up so far. I love the lightweight client and how it is very unobtrusive in the recommended “continuous mode”. I don’t even know its there backing up all my data while I’m working. The performance is fantastic as it maxes out my 5Mbps upload speed when I’m not otherwise using it. I’ve backed up almost 50GB of photos in 24 hours before. That’s a lot of piece of mind. The incremental back ups are also great as I’ve had to restore files to a previous version before.

    For users that are wanting to back up a NAS to Backblaze, just connect the NAS to a computer locally via USB and set it up as an external drive for that machine. Then install the client and pay your $5/month to back up your NAS.

  5. The Backblaze downloader does not work. If you want more than 2 gig of your data back this forces you to buy the $189 drive, which is not 3 TB as advertised if your data will fit on a smaller drive.

    Support was unresponsive to my questions about known issues with the downloader.

    I lost my C drive. I’ve downloaded the same 9 gigs of critical data three times now. The files fail to unzip correctly. The data is corrupt and unusable. Backblaze support failed to respond to my yell for help.

    1. I personally haven’t run into this issue in my test with restoring large amounts of files. Large zip files could be the culprit in your situation. Maybe you should try requesting smaller chunks of files?

  6. Here in New Zealand, we have monthly data caps.
    This renders cloud backup effectively useless for users with large amounts to back up – to back up my desktop Mac would require 11 months of my entire monthly allowance!
    ADSL is also very slow upload – only 1 mbps – so it would probably take 11 months too!

    I do successfully use Backblaze for my Macbook Air when travelling, however.

  7. I tried using backblaze to backup my personal photos and files. It would take 66 days to upload to backblaze and during that time I would need to have my computer running 24 hours/day. This is not acceptable. I did not attempt a restore but if my internal HD crashed, it would be almost impossible to download a complete set of files from their website. It would take forever. Backblaze charges $189 to send a flash drive no matter how many or few files you need to restore. That is a very expensive way to restore. There has to be a better way.

    1. Unfortunately, that’s a general problem with cloud backup and pretty much the bottle. You can consider yourself lucky with only 66 days. But this is not Backblaze’s fault. Transferring files over the internet takes time and it depends a lot on your internet connection. You should always make a local copy first and then start your cloud backup, that way you can access all of your files in case of emergency.

      1. “Always make a local copy first.” Many of us newbies could use suggestions as to how to do this. Can you be of any help? Thank you.

        1. For local backups, such as to an internal drive or an external (USB) drive, you could try the ACRONIS program. I have been using it to backup my computers for many years. It works well. I have successfully used ACRONIS to recover my full system, when I screwed up some disk partitioning. The thing I like most about Acronis is that you can restore individual files from a disk image backup.

  8. You talk about the ‘tedious process’ of selecting your test files for backup. Couldn’t you just move it to it’s own partition and then only select that “drive” for backup?

    1. Hi Atakartal,

      more than 4TB is absolutely no problem with Backblaze. But it will take its time depending on your internet connection.

  9. I’ve had a Backblaze subscription for 6 months and I have to say that it works fine to backup your data and do an occasional restore. It’s not a big deal that file permissions are not backed up, because I’m the only person who can access the backup anyway. But I do have a problem with the fact that Backblaze insists on making a local copy of each file that it wants to back up. That means that the amount of free space you need is the size of your largest file. At least it warns you when you don’t have enough space, but it doesn’t tell you which large file is being skipped when there’s not enough space available.

    The big problem that has me on the lookout for another solution is that restoring large amounts of data completely sucks. You can pay them to send you a USB stick or hard disk with your data (which makes me wonder how safely encrypted my data is, by the way), and it appears that they deliberately keep their free download-restore feature crippled to encourage people to pay 4 times the annual subscription rate to get a hard disk.

    If you want to download your data for free, you can select the files to download from a (slow) web interface that prepares a ZIP file from your data and then sends you an email when the ZIP file is ready. It recommends that you don’t create ZIP files of more than 20GB or so, and you can only create 10 restore-zips at a time. Once you create a ZIP file, you can’t see what’s in there, so if you have a large tree of big files to restore (let’s say a disk full of movies), you have to somehow manually keep track of what goes in each ZIP file.

    Creating a ZIP file goes pretty fast (though you can’t check for progress: it only says whether the file is available or not) but downloading it through the web interface is extremely slow. I think the web interface is throttled to 1 megabit per second or so, which is about 1/50th of the capacity of my connection. You can only download one ZIP at a time and various download managers that would normally be capable of creating multiple simultaneous download connections to increase speed, don’t work because the download is handled from a script.

    They have a downloader program that helps you download the ZIP files faster. I could download a 20GB file in less than an hour using the downloader. But that program has to be downloaded separately (it’s not part of the main user interface), and it doesn’t come with an installer, you have to just drop it on your hard disk somewhere and run it from there. Every time you want to download a ZIP, you have to restart the downloader, and every time you start it, you have to enter your account information, password, and restore location, and set the number of download threads (they recommend 1, I recommend 10). You can’t use common key combinations (such as Tab to navigate from the user name to the password field) so you have to use the mouse. But worst of all: the downloader always downloads only the latest ZIP file you created; you can’t simply choose which prepared ZIP file to download, and there’s no button “next ZIP file” or even a button to start over without re-entering everything.

    I was in a situation where I had almost 2TB on an external drive, which I lost in a move. When BackBlaze doesn’t see the external drive every so often, it deletes the data from the server (it warns you about this every few days) so if you lost the drive and need to restore its data, the clock is ticking. Fortunately I had most of my data on other disks, too, so I only had to restore a few hundred gigabytes. But I imagine people with slower internet connections would really have a race against the clock in situations like that, which is exactly what you DON’T want in an emergency situation where you lost a lot of data at once.

    As long as the restore process is as cumbersome as it is now, I have to say I can’t recommend BackBlaze as a primary backup solution.

  10. Backblaze is easy to use and it works quietly in the background updating my files. 5/5

  11. I would be careful about relying on BackBlaze to be there when you need it. I have seen instances of files being uploaded and never making it to their servers. I uploaded over 500 GB of data that just disappeared due to bugs in their program. If you have a slow internet connection and lots of data I would NOT use BackBlaze at all since their code is so flaky.

    1. Hi Kolya,

      have you contacted their support? I have more than 1TB with them and never experienced any issues. They might resolve your problem quickly. It does take longer when you’re behind a slower Internet connection no matter the service you use (without wanting to take sides for Backblaze).

      1. I did contact support. I provided extensive data showing that the amount of data available for restoration was not increasing even though I was uploading > 75GB per day. Initially they said everything was fine. Eventually they admitted that there was a bug in their client code (versions 4.0.X before 4.0.2). But they would not consider that more bugs remained or pay much attention to my observations. From this interaction I learned two things: 1 – BackBlaze is not transparent about their problems with their customer base. 2 – BackBlaze is not receptive to bug reports from their customers – especially about complex bugs affecting a small portion of their customer base.

        I don’t trust this company any more – I will probably do my own archival using Amazon Glacier or Google Cloud Storage Nearline since I do not trust consumer grade online backup companies to be competent enough at handling my data. They are “best effort” outfits – most of their customers probably never attempt significant restores and when they do are not likely to notice missing or corrupted data unless it is very obvious. There are few online sources for information / reviews about these companies so they can get away with shoddy service.

        BackBlaze’s motto should be: we’re cheap, we’re friendly and we are better than nothing. Unfortunately I need better than nothing.

  12. I wanted to give 2.5 stars but rounded up.

    I have worked with many cloud backup service providers and while BackBlaze has it’s place it is not my solution of choice.

    BackBlaze is cheaper than most other providers, but this is reflected in their product in a number of ways. While for the most part it does the job to back up your files, it is an extremely no-frills solution.

    In short it is fine if you have a few users, (I’d say 10 or less). If you have more than that however, BackBlaze lacks the reporting, permissions, support, and other features needed to make it a viable solution and it will become a big administrative burden.

  13. I began my search for a cloud backup service for my MacBook Pro (mid-2010 model now 6 years old, but with upgraded 1TB hyrbid drive) about 5 weeks ago. Carbonate was my first thought as it has been advertised in podcasts I have listened to for years but after 4 weeks of it sucking 45% of the CPU turning the fans on loudly, there were only numerous upload errors such that just over 100GB of data made it online and the tree mapping was all messed up so I just said no thank you and canceled it. Immediately after canceling it I tried BackBlaze and like this article says, I set it and could forget it. It uploaded all the 300GB of data I wanted it to very quickly, in less than 3 days! I averaged over 100GB a data essentially leaving my Mac on 3 days straight, but it only took up about 3% CPU so m MacBook Pro was still silent while it churned away, even with setting the upload speed in the settings to max and using all 10 threads. After Carbonite I was very impressed.

    Tommy I just checked again and BackBlaze does not permit the backing up of the Applications folder. Did you put your apps in another folder to “trick BackBlaze into uploading your apps or something? If you know a way to get the Applications folder backed up, please share because as of May 2016 this version of BackBlaze cannot.

    Since my initial upload just finished today, I do not have any experience with recovering files, but if 300GB can upload in less than 3 days, Iw would expect the download to be at least as fast if not faster, plus there is the option just to get a hard drive mailed to you.

    I am very happy with my BackBlaze experience through the initial upload process.

    One thing to note is using the iOS app it will not show any files larger than 30MB, but since you have to download any file to your phone to view via the app, this does not bother me.

    Give BackBlaze a chance and avoid Carbonite as I was told by their tech support 45% CPU usage is forever, not just during the initial backup!

  14. I am very disappointed with Backblaze, I keep all my pictures on an external drive backed up by Backblaze.
    I have been traveling this summer and now I find that the data is no longer backed up at my storage at Backblaze and there is no way to recover it. The 30 day rule for external drives is the opposite of backup! I assumed that backup means keep it safe for me whatever happens, not just for the next 30 days. Any service where the core functionality is not available to those that don’t read the small print should be considered a scam.

  15. Backblaze is based on the idea “users are dumb, they don’t make backups because they find it too complicated to select folders and so we backup all”.
    This makes things very slow, not to mention that stuff will be included you don’t need/like. Files can be excluded but this make things not easier.

    Backblaze doesn’t support many platforms because they don’t use some cross-platform framework or some newer technologies for the GUI.

    They don’t support sftp which could be a workaround if people like to backup from (or to) other machines eg. Linux.
    They don’t support other cloud providers.
    To sum it up: featureless.

    I don’t like the the idea of Backblaze, tested and uninstalled.

  16. Since some time Blackblaze is offering B2 for backup. I think this can be your answer to backup your NAS.

  17. I have used Backblaze now for awhile, and tested several random restores with everything being really good. It took about 3 weeks for my initial backup to get done, but it happened in the background anyhow, so what’s the difference? I did have one question, which they answered the next day. Now, I have the peace of mind that my data’s safe if something happens and I need it. Of course, I have local backups as well – Clones of my hard drives and Time-machine of my system disk as well, but what if…? If I ever needed a lot of data from my backups at Backblaze, I can get it on a hard drive, and since they welcome me to return that hard drive later, to get my money back, it’s the best of all situations! I know I need to plug-in my external hard drive at least once a month, so that’s no problem. I really don’t want to spend a lot, but I also don’t want to lose any files! I really can’t complain.

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Backblaze Review

Simple, no-frills unlimited online backup. Period.

Easiest online backup service I've used. Very limited features. Good as a secondary backup solution. Unlimited backup storage.
Starts from
$ 5.00 per month
Visit Backblaze
Starts from
$ 5.00 per month
Visit Backblaze
  • Really easy to use.
  • No frills. Just backup.
  • Private encryption.
  • Few features.
  • Slow restores through web interface.
www.backblaze.com