Decent backup speeds. Cross platform Java client. A near perfect balance between ease-of-use and features.
Last Updated: 17 Sep'17
Please note that as of August 22, 2017, CrashPlan no longer offers its Home plan, focusing exclusively on SMB solutions, instead. For more details as well as ideas for other backup solutions, please read our article on CrashPlan alternatives.
A service that was developed by Code42 back in the year 2007, CrashPlan is one of the oldest and most established cloud backup services in the market today. CrashPlan is part of Code42’s main product that comes in a variety of shades:
- CrashPlan Enterprise
They’ve been in the backup and storage business for quite some time now, starting in 2001 as a software development firm that quickly dived into becoming a data storage and backup provider for home and business users.
With plans costing as little as $6 per month, it’s accessible to just about everyone.
CrashPlan is fast, easy-to-use and even easier to install. Besides offering backup, the service also offers local backup. However, it’s not all good news: there are a few downsides to this service as well, which we’ll talk about in more detail below.
The company’s services and features serve an audience of both home users and business people. To cater to different types of consumers, CrashPlan offers a wide range of plans and deciding which one will work best for you may feel a little overwhelming.
However, most individuals will be able to find the perfect plan, and some of them will be free, to boot. Additionally, CrashPlan’s unlimited backup capability makes it great for businesses that want to protect themselves against data loss.
- Offers both 256-AES and 448-bit Blowfish encryption
- Can restore an unlimited number of past file versions
- CrashPlan mobile supports iOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Provides unlimited backup for each connected computer
- Compatible with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux
- Files backed up online can be restored from all supported devices
- The interface is very user friendly
- CrashPlan will refund any unused months when paying annually
- Some information on CrashPlan can be hard to find
- Does not provide a physical backup service
- No file sharing and syncing features
- Can only restore up to 500MB of data
- Can only restore up to 250MB on the Pro plan
- Slimmed down options for mobile users
- No way to easily search the web portal
CrashPlan’s pricing is not as straightforward as that of Carbonite or pCloud. Code42 reserves the right to agree on business plans on a case-by-case basis, so the only hard figures available are for personal plans.
$ 5 99monthly
$ 59 99yearly
$ 12 50monthly
$ 149 99yearly
$ 10 00monthly
Includes 1 computer. 448-bit personal encryption key.
Same as Individual plan. Best plan for 2-10 computers.
Includes: Real time dashboard/reporting and user level access. File sharing and syncing available through Shareplan.
For most, the standard individual plan is the right choice. If you have more than one computer, look at the family plan to save some money. Business users will enjoy more control and an excellent backup dashboard of all machines and current system states.
CrashPlan comes in three different packages, and not all of them sport the same features. One of the biggest differences is that the home package comes with 448-bit encryption, while the business package comes with AES-256 encryption, a more secure option for sensitive data.
Although the service predominantly markets itself as an online backup application, CrashPlan can also backup external drives and devices connected to the same account, including tablets and smartphones. This extra feature is complimentary and adds a great deal of protection against network related data loss.
The actual backup space offered is unlimited on any but the basic plan, a bold claim that seems to bear out. CrashPlan can schedule backups and even lets users decide how to prioritize them, so critical data is almost certain to be secure.
Restoring backups is not only quick and easy, but since CrashPlan lets you keep an unlimited amount of versions of files, rest assured that your data is safe from those pesky meddling kids. Last but not least, CrashPlan also allows users to track all backups connected to an account and cover their digital tracks by disabling history.
The first step was testing CrashPlan’s speeds.
So I ran the Internet speed test kit and found out that although our speeds were low compared to previous sessions, they were still sufficient and stable enough for uninterrupted data uploads.
I initiated my backup of data at exactly 9.34AM. Honestly, I expected it to take as long as Carbonite’s 12 hours, but amazingly, my entire local disk had been backed up by 11.07 AM- in just 1 hour 27 minutes.
That translates to an average upload speed of 57.6 Mbps.
Pretty smooth for a cloud backup application. I then tried to backup Cloudward’s 10GB test folder, just to see how CrashPlan compares with the rest. Oddly enough, it took 2 hours and 22 minutes to backup the folder, translating to an average upload speed of 8.82 Mbit/s.
One of the best features of CrashPlan is its ability to move files around using a central hub: it’s very easy to, say, move a file from your phone to the computer and then on to a friend’s tablet, using CrashPlan’s client.
Any computer can be backed up using your CrashPlan account as long as you install the client and use a unique six-digit code. It’s handy for personal use but truly shines when used for business purposes.
Though CrashPlan is a backup app, through their handy P2P feature, it can also be used for secure online collaboration as all files get kept in a central hub, and thanks to versioning, anyone can easily see changes made. Few cloud backup providers offer a proper sharing function, and technically, neither does CrashPlan.
CrashPlan has excellent security, though it scales the more you pay: the free plan, for instance, comes with 128-bit encryption, while paid personal subscriptions to the Pro plans have 448-bit Blowfish, a much more robust solution.
Business plans get protected by AES 256-bit and 128-AES communication encryption systems, which are considered among the best when protecting large files. The only downside to AES however, is that it gets often targeted by hackers.
CrashPlan encrypts data at the local level before sending it securely through SSL. One major security concern for anyone using cloud services is government policy, CrashPlan is fully compliant with data management and privacy laws in the:
Where its servers are located, unfortunately, users don’t get to choose where their data is stored, as CrashPlan reserves the right to transfer data to the nearest server.
Of all the different applications it offers, CrashPlan’s PC client works the best for file restoration. Once backed up, files are easily restored using the “restore” tab going through a Windows-style file tree. The system works great and users are not likely to encounter any problems.
Scrolling through, you’ll notice a couple of buttons at the bottom of the page, which provide additional restoration options. Users can pick specific file versions, a new folder to restore data to or they can even overwrite and rename files.
There is also a handy tool available which lets you pick which version of a file you’d like. Once you’ve decided which files to restore by checking the appropriate boxes, hit the “Restore” button and the download will start.
Though slightly more cumbersome, restoring through the web application works much the same way, users are however limited to 500MB of data at a time on the Home plan and 250 MB on Pro.
CrashPlan’s mobile applications are available for:
- Windows Phone
Once users sign in to the app, they can view and download any backed up files. Just like with the PC client, all files are accessed through a folder tree, though the search function is missing.
A downside is that CrashPlan’s mobile applications only offer remote access to existing backups. Unlike IDrive and Carbonite, users don’t have the option to backup files, photos, contacts and social media accounts from their smart phones.
CrashPlan does, however, offer the option to stream media files from a phone or tablet, meaning your local storage needn’t be filled up with videos and music.
CrashPlan’s web application may not win any design awards, but it’s very straightforward and intuitive. Finding your way around and exploring file options is very quick and direct.
Via web access, you can download zipped folders of backups and manage:
- Account/Billing preferences
- File destinations
The web app might look a little too simply designed and limited at first, but logging in gives you an accurate picture of what it’s capabilities.
In the Account tab, users can edit critical account and profile information, view time remaining on active subscriptions, manage subscription renewals, and edit billing information.
To view and manage backups, go to the Computers tab, from where you can see and manage files to restore, CrashPlan’s backup history, the percentage of selected files that are currently backed up, plus the total number and size of files already backing up.
Sadly, although users can restore files through the web app, it’s practically impossible to backup computers connected to an account.
Backups can only be conducted through the PC application. CrashPlan’s web application also provides a calendar, which comes in handy when tracking files backed up during a certain period.
I was able to use it to find past file versions, which would otherwise have taken me a couple of minutes of digging through my folder tree. This feature is quite useful, because CrashPlan, unfortunately, does not provide a much-needed search tool on their web application.
I wonder how they forgot about that.
In addition to a comprehensive knowledge base, user forums, and documentation, CrashPlan allows users (including the free tier ones), to submit tickets on various questions through the main site, and they will subsequently respond via email.
Staff took about 18 hours to answer my ticket, which is rather slow, but then again, I assume they’re already dealing with thousands of requests on a daily basis.
If you’d like queries solved faster, my advice would be using the online chat option– though it’s only available during certain hours.
Alternatively, paid users can directly call Code42’s on any working day between 9 am and 5 pm US Central Time. As a matter of fact, it’s completely free of charge for domestic callers. After paying a year’s worth of subscription, CrashPlan will refund any unused months if you decide to discontinue a subscription early.
This is a plus for Code42, especially when compared to Carbonite, which is still facing many complaints on pending refunds — going by our readers’ experiences and reviews. For the period I was testing out their services, I was glad that CrashPlan did not spam my mailbox with unsolicited promotional material.
As a matter of fact, during sign-up, the service indicated that it would keep my email address private, and safe from spammers. I like my mailbox clean, thanks.
Although CrashPlan’s free tier is useful for primary backups, I’d advise you proceed and subscribe to the Pro plan, which provides secure, unlimited storage with a high degree of control. The Family Plan is even better, thanks to additional features at a significantly reduced cost, consequently making it worthwhile.
As an individual, finding a couple of friends and family members to split the cost shouldn’t be hard, considering the bargain. That plan will also be ideal for businesses, although the small business plan is more suitable, considering AES encryption, which is perfect for large volumes of data.
CrashPlan’s biggest downsides are a lack of file sharing and syncing features (which cannot be mitigated through SharePlan anymore), and lack of free backup options, which I think can be overlooked if you find ways of backing up files to the PC.
Regardless of whether you choose to go with CrashPlan or any of its competitors, it’s always advisable to backup data on physical drives before proceeding to the cloud. The cloud is useful as a secondary backup option, particularly for businesses, where downtime may be as long as the cloud restoration process in case of a disaster.
What are your thoughts on CrashPlan? Share them with us in the comments section below,
|Free Trial||30 Days|
|Price||Starts from $ 5.99 per month|
|Free External HD Backup|
|Bare Metal Backup|
|Exclude File Extensions for Backup|
|File Size Limit||Unlimited GB|
|Share Photo Albums|
|Server Side Encryption||256-bit|
|Keeps deleted files||Unlimited|