CrashPlan is a slightly expensive backup provider aimed at businesses. Because of this, it doesn’t have some features personal users might need. As you’ll see in this CrashPlan review, it’s easy to use and has a great backup and restore process. However, it isn’t without drawbacks.
- CrashPlan has a decent selection of features, especially if you need user management tools.
- At $10 per month per device, plus taxes, it’s more expensive than many other services.
- CrashPlan is incredibly easy to set up and use, with no storage limits.
- A few years ago, CrashPlan removed the option for zero-knowledge encryption.
If you’re looking for a service that has excellent backup capabilities and good user management, CrashPlan might be for you. It’s a reliable backup solution and even makes our list of the best backup providers for small businesses.
However, it isn’t without problems. The biggest issues we have with CrashPlan are its slow upload speeds, mediocre tech support and high price. These hold back an otherwise excellent provider that has the potential to be one of the best backup services, if these problems are fixed.
01/31/2022 Facts checked
Cloudwards.net updated this article to reflect changes to CrashPlan and update the images. Review used version 8.8.1, Build Number 36 (PC/Linux), Version 1.0.15 (Android).
Code42 is a genuine company, and CrashPlan is a decent product. It will let you create and store backups of your data and recover them if something goes wrong.
Code42 is the company that makes CrashPlan.
CrashPlan Home is no longer available, but you can still get CrashPlan for Small Business or CrashPlan Cloud.
CrashPlan has a 30-day free trial, but after that, it costs $10 plus taxes per device per month.
CrashPlan Review: Alternatives
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Unlimited backup
- Good user management
- Backs up external drives
- Customizable versioning
- Retains deleted files for 90 days
- No mobile backup
- No zero-knowledge security
- No multithreaded backups
- No courier recovery
- Business hours support only
Although CrashPlan isn’t as feature-rich as IDrive (read our IDrive review) and there are no syncing or sharing features included, it still gives you some great options for backing up your device, especially if you’re a business user.
When creating your backup set, you can choose which files and folders you want to include. CrashPlan is an unlimited backup provider, so you can even select your entire hard drive and turn off exclusions. This isn’t a true image-based backup, but it will protect everything on your device, including system files.
You can also schedule your backups, choosing when you want the backup to run and how often a new version should be saved. You can recover these file versions from up to a year ago. There’s even a 90-day file retention period for deleted files. It isn’t as good as SpiderOak’s versioning (read our SpiderOak One review), but it’s still great.
If you set up a bandwidth throttle for your backup, files will update without slowing down your computer too much. This will slow down the backup software, but it will make sure your network isn’t being used when you’re using your device. You can also set CrashPlan to increase its speeds when you’re away, allowing the backup process to catch up while you’re not working.
You can include external hard drives that are attached to your device in your backup. However, network-attached storage (NAS) devices can only be added if you’re using macOS or Linux. This probably isn’t a problem for businesses, as you can set up a computer specifically to back up your NAS, but it’s worth considering if you only use Windows computers.
CrashPlan also supports Windows servers, Ubuntu and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). This should cover most servers, as the RHEL and Ubuntu versions should cover most other versions of Linux as well.
However, official support is limited to just 13 operating systems, and it misses some major ones, including Windows 7. You may still get it to work, but be sure to check the list of supported operating systems before you commit to CrashPlan.
Tools that let you control multiple devices from one account are essential for many businesses. With CrashPlan, you can see all your users and devices from the browser UI. You can view how much each device is storing, see when they were last backed up and change the default settings for new backups.
By going into a specific device, you can view and change anything as if you were on that device, including which files are included in the backup set. You can also deactivate the backup or force the current user to log back in by deauthorizing the device.
User roles can also be set in the browser UI. This allows you to manage administrators, see what users are doing and stop regular users from accidentally breaking something. By default, users can log in, back up files and recover their data. However, you can change this for each user to suit their specific job requirements.
CrashPlan’s mobile app is average. You can’t back up files through it, so you’ll have to use an online backup for mobile devices if you have lots of company phones. However, you can check all the backups you have access to.
There’s also an option to download individual files from your backup to your phone. While it won’t be useful often, if you need a file and only have your mobile on you, having it available through an easy-to-use app is always handy.
CrashPlan Features Overview
|External Drive Backup|
|Mobile Device Backup|
|Block-Level File Copying|
|Courier Recovery Service|
|Mobile App Access|
|Deleted File Retention|
|Set User Roles|
|Set Business Backup Rules|
|Access User Backup|
|Monitor Connected Devices|
|Encryption Protocol||AES 256-bit|
|Hardened Data Centers|
|Proxy Server Settings|
|Live Chat Support|
CrashPlan isn’t cheap. However, its lone plan offers all the features and unlimited storage for each device. Compared to the complexity of some backup providers’ pricing structure, this is as simple as it gets.
At a flat $10 per month per device, plus taxes — which is $3 more than Backblaze’s pricing — CrashPlan definitely comes at a premium. However, it’s still not terrible pricing. For example, Carbonite’s Plus and Prime plans are both around this price. Read our Carbonite review to learn more.
You can test CrashPlan with its 30-day free trialgetting the free trial and checking it out. before you buy it, and you won’t be locked in to any long-term plans, like with some other providers. However, that also means you won’t get any deals for subscribing for a longer period.
Most online backup providers will either give you a set amount of space or a limited number of devices. CrashPlan opts for the latter, charging you for each device you back up, but giving you unlimited space for each of these computers.
This is great for companies where each employee is storing significant amounts of data on their device, since the company doesn’t have to pay more if employees save large files. However, a computer with almost no backed up files will still cost the whole $10 per month plus taxes.
Overall, CrashPlan can be great if the features make it worth the cost, but be sure to make use of the unlimited storage by using your licenses on devices with lots of used storage. If you need to back up computers with little important data, you can get a cloud backup service that limits your space rather than devices, such as pCloud (read our pCloud review).
Ease of Use
CrashPlan is one of the easiest backup services to use. Getting started is as simple as downloading the desktop client and logging in to your user account. Once you’re in the app, you can pause or manage your backup and restore your files.
Almost everything else is in the settings menu in the top-right corner. This button will open a new window with six tabs: general, usage, destinations, network, security and backup sets.
First is the general tab, which is fairly light. Here you can find your device ID and language as well as the option to remove the Code42 icon from your notifications area. There’s also a useful link to the browser app at the bottom of the tab.
Next is the usage tab. Here you can set alerts, which is great for small businesses, especially those with a few dozen machines, as any devices that haven’t been backed up recently will show a warning in the browser app. There are also usage limits, so even a continuous backup won’t slow your computer down while you’re using it or drain your battery until it’s flat.
The destinations tab lets you check and delete your local backups and those on cloud storage. Then there’s the network tab, which lets you throttle your bandwidth. Most online backup services have some kind of network throttle, but the option to automatically increase your backup speed when you’re away is a nice touch.
Fifth is the security tab, which is less useful now that the encryption key settings are gone. The only option left is whether to require the password every time you open the app. Normally, this would be great for security, but it’s so eager that it gets quite annoying if your password is actually secure.
Finally, there’s the backup sets tab. Here you can set your schedule, backup priorities, file exclusions and versioning settings. It’s worth looking through these settings when you first start using the app. There’s nothing special, but they’re all useful.
Browser and Mobile Apps
If you want to access your backup without the CrashPlan client, you can use your browser. From there, you can do almost anything you can do on your desktop. It has six tabs: account, users, devices, device backup, reporting and downloads.
The users and devices tabs are particularly useful, as they allow your tech support to monitor all the backups and user roles from one device. You can also select specific devices to monitor and edit, as well as add files to the backup.
The only thing that appears to be missing is the option to download files through the browser. The ability to use browser recovery is the main problem with Backblaze’s security (read our Backblaze review), so it’s understandable that CrashPlan doesn’t want it. However, the lack of zero-knowledge encryption means this security issue isn’t a problem, so it would be a nice feature to see. Read our CrashPlan vs Backblaze comparison to learn more.
On the other hand, the mobile app does let you view and download files. This is pretty much all it can do, which is a shame, as a proper mobile backup would be a nice extra. However, it gives you an easy way to download files on the go and check that everything is still on CrashPlan’s servers.
File Backup & Restoration
Perhaps the most important aspects of any backup are the process to start your backup operations and how easy it is to recover files after something goes wrong. Luckily, both are a breeze with CrashPlan.
CrashPlan does most of the work setting up your first backup. When you sign in to the desktop app, select add a new device, and it’ll create a backup set with your user folder already selected. Click to add a destination and choose whether you want to make a local or online backup.
Once you’ve set a destination, select “manage files” to tell it what to back up. You’ll see all your files, so pick whatever you want. You can also add exceptions in the settings, in case you need to add a folder but ignore all files of a specific file type.
To separate files across multiple backup sets, create a new backup set by clicking “file” in the top-left corner or the arrow next to the device name, then selecting “add backup set.” You’ll be given the option to choose what goes in this backup and where it’s saved.
Note that CrashPlan has data deduplication, meaning files found in multiple backup sets will only be backed up once. This saves space on CrashPlan’s servers, which lowers costs and, in effect, increases your upload speeds, as it eliminates redundant uploads.
Restore Deleted Files
Restoring files with CrashPlan is just as easy as backing them up. In the desktop client, click on the “restore files” button. If you have access to multiple backup sets, you’ll need to select one in the dropdown menu that appears.
Use the buttons in the top-right corner to choose which version you want to recover and whether to include or remove deleted files. Then select which of your backed up files you want to download. You can see how much data and how many files you’ll be downloading in the bottom left corner.
Finally, choose where you want the files to be saved and what CrashPlan should do if there’s an existing file with the same name. Click “go” to start the recovery process and download the files to the selected location.
This process is quick and easy, even if you want to recover all your files or older file versions. You can also check on and pause your data recovery with the “downloads” button.
Your recovery options include any device accessible to you. This is useful if you have multiple computers and you can’t get to the data on one because it has broken. However, the device list can get long and complex if you have lots of connected devices.
Using a slow backup service puts you at risk of losing critical data files, as your system might break mid-backup. File recovery will take a long time, and downtime can result in lost profits. It’s important to choose a service that can back up and restore data quickly.
To test CrashPlan’s speeds, we uploaded a 5GB folder to its servers and restored it. We used a high-speed connection throttled to 100 Mbps for both transfers, so we should expect them to use the full bandwidth and take around 6 minutes and 40 seconds each.
|First attempt:||Second attempt:||Average:|
With CrashPlan, you shouldn’t have a problem with the download speeds. It took just 7 minutes, 46 seconds to do our transfer, which is standard for a decent online backup service. It took around a minute to get to its maximum speed, so you might get a better average transfer speed if you’re restoring data for an entire device.
On the other hand, upload speeds might be an issue. With an average upload time of just over an hour, CrashPlan is one of the slowest providers we’ve tested. This increases the chance you’ll lose data that it hasn’t backed up yet, and the initial backup for a new computer might take a while if its internal storage is almost full.
CrashPlan used to check every box for security, and most of the features that made it great are still there. Two-factor authentication is mandatory, everything is encrypted and there’s an option to add a proxy server.
Even its data centers are strong. Despite Code42 being understandably hesitant to give out too much information, we know there are dedicated security teams, all data is stored in multiple locations and the company is ISO 27001 certified — an important security standard. The only issue is the encryption isn’t as good as we would like.
When it comes to security, encryption should be the backbone. Without it, your data is at risk with every leak or vulnerability, but if it’s done well, it’s almost impossible for anyone else to look at your files.
CrashPlan encrypts files with 256-bit AES encryption — a strong encryption standard for online backup services — and it uses SSL/TLS encryption while the data is in transit. However, this encryption isn’t zero-knowledge encryption.
Zero-knowledge encryption — sometimes called private encryption — is where the encryption key is stored on your local computer rather than alongside your cloud backups. This is great for data protection, as no one can access your data without your device.
Previous versions of CrashPlan offered the option to add a custom key, which let you choose your key and hold it privately. However, this has been removed. If you make a new CrashPlan account, you’ll be stuck with non-private encryption.
This won’t be a problem for everyone, especially since Code42 does a good job of protecting data without zero-knowledge encryption, but if it is a problem for you, check out our list of backup services with private encryption.
Privacy and security go hand-in-hand, especially with online backups. Code42 collects more information than we would like, but even things like your phone number, operating systems and IP address aren’t abnormal for online backup solutions.
CrashPlan is compliant with privacy legislation, such as the EU’s general data protection regulation (GDPR) and HIPAA in the U.S. This means there’s at least a minimum guaranteed level of privacy for your data.
Your files are encrypted while on the servers, so no one can look in without the key. You also don’t have to worry if you delete your account, as everything will be destroyed.
However, because of the lack of zero-knowledge encryption, if a criminal manages to get your data and key or a government subpoenas Code42 to hand over your data, there’s nothing the company can do. Everything you have on CrashPlan’s servers would be at risk, which is concerning if privacy is a priority.
The threat of government subpoenas isn’t one you should ignore. There are countries with strong privacy laws, but Code42 is headquartered in the U.S., which doesn’t have great protections for cloud privacy. Because of laws such as the PATRIOT Act and programs like PRISM, the government could have a look at anything you store, especially if a court orders it.
Using CrashPlan is fine while it works, but if you come across a problem, you’ll need to rely on the customer support. Having plenty of ways to access the support team and being able to talk to them at any time are the two key factors for good support.
CrashPlan for Small Business claims to have a dedicated live chat, as long as you use it during opening hours (Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST). However, we kept getting redirected to email support, even during those hours. You won’t be able to use the phone number, either, as it’s for enterprise users.
The email support team is useful, but our message took three business days to get a response. They claim to prioritize more time-sensitive requests, so an email about a failed backup should be answered faster than our low-priority questions, but compared to providers like BigMind Home (read our BigMind Home review), CrashPlan’s email support was disappointing.
Your best source of support outside business hours is the knowledgebase. It’s big and has an effective search function, which is a great combination. As long as you make sure you’re in the section for CrashPlan for Small Business, you can find good information.
Overall, CrashPlan for Small Business is a decent provider. It’s not our favorite, but it isn’t a waste of time if the feature set appeals to you. If the price and lack of zero-knowledge encryption aren’t a problem, it’s well worth getting the free trial and checking it out.
If CrashPlan isn’t for you, two other great providers are Zoolz (read our Zoolz Home Cloud Backup review) and Acronis (read our Acronis Cyber Protect review). The former is a simple yet secure provider, and the latter comes with excellent features that work well for small businesses that need to protect their data.
Have you tried CrashPlan for Small Business? Do you agree with our CrashPlan review? Is the removal of zero-knowledge encryption a problem for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading.