Best Cloud Backup Services 2015

Best Cloud Backup Service

Disasters happen. When your computer is stolen or destroyed in a flood or fire, or your hard drive unexpectedly fails, it's important to have a backup plan that can restore all your important photos and files. Online backup services are an inexpensive way to give you some peace of mind, saving the entire contents of your computer to the cloud.

Based on my extensive testing of five services, the best online backup option is CrashPlan, with Backblaze coming in a close second. There's one feature that puts CrashPlan ahead: unlimited deleted-file protection. This feature, coupled with unlimited cloud storage, provides the most inclusive disaster-protection solution on the market right now.

Online Backup vs. Online Storage

It's important to remember that online-backup services are different from online-storage services, such as Dropbox and Box. That's because backup services have the ability to continually back up every file and folder on your computer to a safe offsite data center, while the storage services handle only designated folders or items.

Additionally, unlike online-storage services, which have upper limits on capacity, online-backup solutions usually offer unlimited storage, allowing you to back up the entire contents of your computer — and sometimes even external drives — for one flat fee.

How We Tested and Rated

Our testing and analysis focused on three main areas: ease of file restoration, computer resource usage and the cost-to-storage ratio. These are essential features when looking for an online backup service, since most services will install an application meant to constantly run on your computer.

Other aspects were also taken into consideration, such as data-transfer speeds, user interface, ease of installation and any unique features.

We didn't weigh transfer speeds that heavily, because upload speed is only relevant during your initial upload, which typically takes a couple of days to a week. After the initial upload is complete, only new or revised files are backed up on a continuous or regular basis.

For our testing, we sequentially installed and tested five backup services on a 2011 MacBook Air: CrashPlan, Backblaze, iDrive, Acronis Cloud Backup and Carbonite. We used each service to back up a 4.96-GB folder containing images, video and music to the cloud — with Acronis being the only exception, since it supports only full-disk backups. After a service's backup was complete, we then restored a large movie file before moving on to testing the next service.

Metrics such as upload and download speed, as well as computer usage, were measured using two OS X applications: Little Snitch 3.5.1 and OS X's Activity Monitor. All tests were run between the hours of 9 am and 8 pm on Optimum's Online Ultra 50 (up to 50 Mbps down and 25 Mbps up) home Internet service in Brooklyn, New York. It should be noted that download and upload speeds rarely come close to those upper limits.

CrashPlan: Best Overall

Backblaze: Runner Up


Acronis Cloud Backup


    Your comment
  • Only BackBlaze will ship a restoration HDD anywhere worldwide for the same price; CrashPlan will ship a drive to only USA and, I believe, a couple of other countries not including UK - a bummer if you live in UK! That said, I still use CrashPlan, but in the past BackBlaze has proved to be totally reliable - for me it comes down to the any deals the companies have i.e. to get the cheapest, quality backup service.
  • Crashplan offer multi-target backup : in the cloud but also to external drive, other computer and friend's computer (i.e. using internet). It's free when you don't use the cloud.
    You can install it at your mother's computer, do the inital backup to an external drive, copy this initial backup to your computer, and you are done. Database will sync and your mother few data backup for free.
    Because crashplan use block backup it can easily backup your huge Outlook PST file, sending only modified block.
  • What guarantees do any of these companies offer with respect to third party and/or government snooping of stored/back-up files?
    Golden Rule #13: If it goes on the 'Net, anyone can see it.
  • pairof38s said:
    What guarantees do any of these companies offer with respect to third party and/or government snooping of stored/back-up files? Golden Rule #13: If it goes on the 'Net, anyone can see it.

    With Crashplan data is always encrypted and you can install your own encryption key if you wish.
  • I like MyPCBackup because it is really very fast and reliable. If you need a secure, unlimited online backup provider then you have to try MyPCBackup.
  • I've had Carbonite for the past 3 years using Personal Plus (1ry/$100). What I like about it is the local mirror drive feature which allows me to recover my computer in the event of a complete (C: ) disk crash.

    My subscription is up for renewal and I'm look around to see whats new. It seems CrashPlan has better performance for cloud backups. Question is does any other service offer system recovery features in the event of a complete system disk crash?