When selecting the best cloud storage service, you may see something called “versioning” pop up. It’s one of those terms that you may disregard, but it’s actually important as it means that, it some cases, cloud storage services will delete old versions of files after a set period of time.
Services generally do this to free up space on their servers, but it can be a serious problem for people that need an old version of file. In an ideal world, every online backup service should store all versions of your files including the ones you’ve deleted from your PC.
Many, if not most cloud backup providers, however, delete your old versions after a period of 30 or 60 days. Obviously, this limits how much you can go back in time to get any missing information from your previous versions.
For example, let’s say you’ve been working on a document for the last few weeks and now, you feel a bar chart you included in the earlier versions would enhance your presentation. So, you go to the cloud and look for the first few versions and they’re not there because of the service policy to delete old versions after 30 days.
At Cloudwards.net, we understand the frustration that comes with finding your previous versions deleted. This is why we have reviewed different services to come up with a list that will retain your old versions for a longer period of time.
Before going into those list of backup service providers, it’s important to understand how versioning works in services with limited and unlimited storage. You’ll mostly find this problem in services that offer unlimited storage because they delete your files to free up space. It also explains why some unlimited storage services are so cheap.
Limited storage services, on the other hand, work much differently. You can choose to keep as many versions or files you want until you reach your space limit. After that, it’s up to you to delete the older versions. In this sense, you have more control over what files are retained and deleted when you go in for limited storage options.
That said, let’s now briefly look at a few online backup services that offer unlimited file versioning, meaning, they won’t delete any versions at all.
The following online backup services offer unlimited versioning for those that need it.
SpiderOak is one of our top picks, not just because it stores unlimited versions of your files, but also because it’s a zero-knowledge provider. We have a more detailed article on what zero-knowledge providers are, in case you’d like to know more. Do note that unlimited versions in this case means that there is still a practical limit imposed by the amount of GB your plan offers.
To give you an idea, Spideroak encrypts all your data including your login information and only you have the keys to decrypt them. This means, your ISP, the NSA or anyone else who wants to peek at what you do online, can’t do so because no one other than you can access your data. If you want to know more, we have a detailed SpiderOak review.
BackblazeBackblaze is a popular online backup service that helps you keep a history of previous versions. Each file you upload comes with a timestamp, so you know the order in which they were created.
For example, let’s say, you created a file and uploaded it a few days back. It’ll be stored with the date and timestamp. When you make changes to this file and upload it today, it’ll come with a different timestamp. This is how you can know your previous versions, and none of them are deleted as long as you connect your hard drive or other device up once every 30 days.
To know more about Backblaze and all the different features it offers, read through our comprehensive Backblaze review.
CrashPlan ProCrashPlan Pro is another online backup service that retains all your old versions. While its default settings store everything forever, it also gives you the option to customize the settings to suit what you need.
For example, if you decide you don’t want to store more than five versions of a document, you can make changes in the backup settings to reflect what you want. This flexibility is convenient and makes CrashPlan a great choice for teams of people working on the same set of documents.
In fact, file versioning is not the only high point of CrashPlan: you can learn about its other features and customization options in our CrashPlan for Business review.
SOS Online BackupSOS Online Backup is one of the fastest backup services available today. It also offers unlimited version control, so you can save and recover as many versions you want. Do note, however, that unlimited versioning in this case does not mean unlimited storage space; once you hit your GB limit, you can no longer add versions of a document or file.
To top it, you can synchronize data from up to five Macs or PCs and from an unlimited number of mobile devices. External hard drive backup, archiving and no restrictions on file sizes or types are other handy features of this service.
Our SOS Online Backup review gives you a thorough rundown of all that this service offers.
Other than these services, there are a few others that we like, but they come with some form of versioning restrictions.
CarboniteCarbonite doesn’t offer unlimited versioning, but it retains the three most recent versions of your file forever. The older versions, apart from the last three, are stored for a period of three months only. The versioning policy of Carbonite states that it will keep one daily version of the file for each day of the past week, one a week for each of the previous three weeks and one monthly version for the last two months.
While this is not perfect, at least you’ll have access to the last three versions forever. In addition, you know the schedule of deletion, so you can plan accordingly. It works best for individuals and business that deal with limited documents and don’t revise or modify their content too often.
You can read through our detailed Carbonite review to understand how it can fit well into your backup needs.
ZoolzZoolz is another good backup service choice for both individuals and businesses. Zoolz Business gives you control over how many versions of files you want to backup. You can even choose to even keep older versions and deleted files forever.
If you’re using Zoolz Intelligent or Zoolz Home version, you can’t control the number of versions you want to keep, as Zoolz maintains only a maximum of ten versions. Older versions are purged automatically and you’ll have no control over it.
You can take a look at other Zoolz features in our Zoolz review.
IDriveIDrive, like Zoolz, backs up the last ten versions of your files. One advantage of IDrive is you can restore an earlier version of multiple files right away.
This can be a blessing when you accidentally backup a large number of corrupt files and want to access the clean version of your files. To learn more about these other features, go through our detailed IDrive review.
To conclude, online backup services are an absolutely important part of your life and business because they protect your files and keeps them safe in all situations. However, not all backup services are created the same, so it’s important you choose the service that best fits your needs.
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At Cloudwards.net, we believe file versioning is an important, yet often overlooked feature, as there aren’t many times when we’d go back and look at previous versions of our documents. By choosing any of the above services, you can rest assured that at least some of your files’ older versions will continue to be available.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us through the comments section. Thank you for reading.