The best cloud backup services in 2022

Best Cloud Backup Services
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The best cloud backup solutions can help you avoid dealing with data loss as you always have an extra copy of your most important files stored securely in the cloud. Each of these services constantly copies data back and forth from your computer to cloud servers elsewhere in the world that can be easily reached from anywhere you can get internet access.

Cloud backup is a necessary thing to have as you can’t always rely on local backup drives to protect your data. Even with an external drive hooked up to your PC or as a stand-alone backup device on your home network, it could still be stolen or damaged in a flood or fire, leaving you with nothing.

This is why many small businesses utilize “off-site” backups to minimize the threat of physical disasters. Cloud backup services provide the same peace of mind for consumers. Each of the cloud backup services we’ve thoroughly tested and reviewed uses industry-standard encryption on their own servers to protect your data but you can also use your own private key instead.

Top 3 best cloud backup solutions

1. IDrive is the best cloud backup solution right now (opens in new tab)

1. IDrive is the best cloud backup solution right now (opens in new tab)
IDrive ranks highly on every review due to its great features and fair pricing. The software is available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, and there are command-line scripts for Linux machines. Best of all, iDrive currently has an amazing offer for Tom's Guide readers, who can get the 10TB plan for just $3.98 for the first year (opens in new tab); that's a massive 95% off.

2. Backblaze is the easiest cloud backup solution (opens in new tab)

2. Backblaze is the easiest cloud backup solution (opens in new tab)
Backblaze is the easiest cloud storage solution to use  — just set it and forget it. It has a useful restore-by-mail feature and rapid upload speeds. This is a great choice if you're looking for the best bang for your buck.

3. Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office is a powerful and versatile option (opens in new tab)

3. Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office is a powerful and versatile option (opens in new tab)
Acronis True Image, recently renamed as Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office, is the most powerful online-backup solution available for consumers, and now includes antivirus software and ransomware protection.

The best cloud backup service you can get today

Best cloud storage service: IDrive Personal best cloud backup review

(Image credit: iDrive)
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The best cloud backup service overall

Specifications

Number of devices: Unlimited
Storage limit: 10TB
External drive backups: Yes
Mobile device backups: Yes
System and application backups: Yes, but not by default
Two factor authentication: Yes, via email
Drive shipping: Seed and restore

Reasons to buy

+
Free disk-shipping data-transfer option
+
Fast upload speeds
+
Backs up mobile devices
+
Generous syncing option

Reasons to avoid

-
No unlimited storage option

IDrive offers the most bang for the buck, backing up an unlimited number of machines to either a 5TB or a 10TB ($3.98 for the first year for Tom's Guide readers (opens in new tab)) limit, which should be enough for most people. It's our Editor's Choice for best cloud backup service.

IDrive's upload speeds are fast, its mobile apps actually back up the devices they run on (and recognize faces in photos for easy tagging), it provides a generous file-syncing option and it even lets you mail in a full drive instead of spending days uploading data. 

IDrive also keeps old copies of each file forever, which is handy, but you'll have to mind those storage caps. It also has two-factor authentication, which is an essential feature every online service provider should offer.

Read our full IDrive Personal review.

Backblaze best cloud backup review

(Image credit: Backblaze)
(opens in new tab)
The best value in cloud backup services

Specifications

Number of devices: 1 computer
Storage limit: Unlimited
External drive backups: Yes
Mobile device backups: No
System and application backups: No
Two factor authentication: Yes
Drive shipping: Restore only

Reasons to buy

+
Cheap, fast, easy and simple
+
Unlimited storage
+
Generous drive-shipping policy

Reasons to avoid

-
No multiple-computer plans
-
Mobile apps could be better

Backblaze is one of the cheapest cloud-backup solutions, gigabyte for gigabyte, and that's despite a recent price hike. It's definitely the easiest to use — you literally can just set Backblaze and forget it. 

We also like the generous restore-by-mail feature and its rapid upload speeds. Backblaze even lets you locate a lost or stolen computer by geolocating the Wi-Fi network it connects to.

But Backblaze is starting to be left behind as competitors add features such as cloud syncing, file sharing and backups of networked drives. It's also not ideal for anyone who has multiple machines to back up, unless you happen to have have nearly unlimited storage needs. In that case, the reasonable yearly cost to back up each machine may be worth multiple Backblaze subscriptions.

Read our full Backblaze review.

Acronis True Image best cloud backup review

(Image credit: Acronis)
(opens in new tab)
The best cloud backup service for power users

Specifications

Number of devices: Up to 5 computers; unlimited mobile devices
Storage limit: 5TB
External drive backups: Yes
Mobile device backups: Yes
System and application backups: Yes
Two factor authentication: No
Drive shipping: No

Reasons to buy

+
Very extensive, powerful, unique feature set
+
Extremely small system-performance impact
+
Modern, intuitive user interface

Reasons to avoid

-
Can get incredibly expensive, with complicated pricing
-
Home users won't need many of the features

Acronis True Image, recently rebranded as Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office,  may be the most powerful and versatile online-backup solution available, with a terrific desktop application and an insane number of backup and security options. 

It offers mobile-device, external-drive and social-media backups, as well as syncing and sharing options. It will save an image of your primary hard drive — applications, OS and all — to the cloud. It also includes antivirus software, ransomware protection, a vulnerability scanner and a bootable file-restoration tool. 

Yet Acronis can be the most frustrating of the best cloud backup services, with prices that rapidly ratchet up as you add devices and storage, and weak web and mobile interfaces. But may be the best option if you're a power user or someone who's shopping for antivirus software as well.

Read our full Acronis True Image review.

CrashPlan for Small Business best cloud backup review

(Image credit: CrashPlan)
The best cloud backup service for SMBs

Specifications

Number of devices: Unlimited, priced per machine
Storage limit: Unlimited
External drive backups: Yes
Mobile device backups: No
System and application backups: Yes, but not recommended
Two factor authentication: Yes
Drive shipping: No

Reasons to buy

+
Unlimited storage
+
Fast upload & download speeds
+
Lots of security and scheduling options

Reasons to avoid

-
Rather expensive
-
Resource-hungry during backups

CrashPlan had the best cloud backup service for consumers until it quit the market in 2017. Its plan for small businesses retains that service's very fast upload and download speeds, and adds business-friendly features such as support for Red Hat and Ubuntu Linux and unlimited (if you want) retention of old versions of files.

Almost everything is customizable, including frequency of backups, retention of deleted files, account security and where to download restored files. CrashPlan supports full-drive-image backups to local drives and backs up Linux/macOS-formatted networked drives. And you get unlimited backup space for unlimited devices as long as you're willing to pay $10 per month per computer.

What you won't get are the consumer-friendly features that made CrashPlan for Home so appealing, such as drive shipping and mobile-device backups. The mobile apps have great security but are pretty bare-bones. CrashPlan for Small Business also consumes a fair amount of system resources during backups, but you can adjust the application settings to reduce that.

Read our full CrashPlan for Small Business review.

SpiderOak One

(Image credit: SpiderOak)
(opens in new tab)
The best secure cloud backup service

Specifications

Number of devices: Unlimited
Storage limit: 5TB
External drive backups: Yes
Mobile device backups: No
System and application backups: Yes, but not by default
Two factor authentication: Only for legacy users
Drive shipping: No

Reasons to buy

+
Backs up unlimited devices
+
Strong sharing and syncing features
+
Focus on security

Reasons to avoid

-
Steep learning curve
-
Cramped, confusing user interface

SpiderOak was the first online storage (or online-syncing) service to make sure the customer held a private, exclusive encryption key. 

Most other cloud storage services now offer the same thing, but SpiderOak also has strong file-sharing and -syncing features, as well as support for unlimited machines and, if you insist, backups of system files and applications. 

Yet SpiderOak's storage-space pricing is so high that it's more competitive with Dropbox than it is with IDrive. While its file-restoration speed was amazingly fast, its initial upload speed was glacial.

Read our full SpiderOak One review.

Carbonite Safe

(Image credit: Carbonite)
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Best cloud backup service for a single PC

Specifications

Number of devices: Up to 5 computers, priced per machine
Storage limit: Unlimited
External drive backups: With Plus or Prime plans
Mobile device backups: No
System and application backups: No
Two factor authentication: Yes
Drive shipping: Restore only

Reasons to buy

+
Unlimited storage
+
Intuitive backup-flagging system

Reasons to avoid

-
Desirable features cost extra
-
Slow upload speeds
-
Mobile apps no longer available

Carbonite offers unlimited storage, which is always nice to have in one of the best cloud backup services. It also has an intuitive user interface that shows you which files have been fully, partly or not backed up.

But you'd better read the fine print, as Carbonite doesn't automatically back up large files, external drives, or any kind of video file on its Basic pricing tier. To get those functions, you'll have to trade up to the Plus or Premium plans, which have features similar to IDrive or Backblaze's basic plans but cost much more. (Carbonite has temporarily slashed prices by 30%, bringing costs a bit closer to those of its rivals.)

Multiple machines are supported on a single account, but there's no volume discount — each additional machine costs as much as the first. Upload speeds are slow. And Carbonite's appealing mobile apps are no longer available, with the company giving no timetable for their return.

Read our full Carbonite Safe review.

How we test the best cloud backup services

We took several factors into consideration when testing the best cloud backup services: storage costs, ease of file restoration, computer-resource usage, unique features, ease of use and installation. Upload speed also matters even though you only do your initial backup once, it can take days or even weeks if it’s several hundred gigabytes.

We also gave bonus points to the online backup services that let you mail in a hard drive full of data to start the process as well as those that send you a hard drive to restore your data.

Our testing and evaluation was done on a 2017 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro running Windows 10. Meanwhile, mobile apps were run on a Google Pixel XL 2 running Android 8.1 Oreo. We monitored data-transfer rates on the MacBook using GlassWire and CPU usage using Windows’ built-in Resource Monitor.

Each cloud backup service was tested individually and then uninstalled on both devices before the next test. The files used in our tests consisted of 16.8GB of documents, photos, videos and music. We uploaded this data to each service’s cloud servers and then restored a 1.12GB subset of these files to the laptop.

The testing environment itself was a home in Wisconsin, provisioned by TDS Telecom Extreme 300 Fiber internet service. Internet speeds during testing were typically 280 megabits per second (Mbps) down and 120 Mbps up, according to Speedtest.net.

Online backup vs. online syncing vs. online archiving

Cloud-backup services aren't the same as online-syncing services like Dropbox (opens in new tab), Google Drive, iCloud (opens in new tab)or OneDrive (opens in new tab)

An online-syncing service's software creates a cloud-based mirror of a specific set of files or folders on your device, and pushes out identical copies of those files to all of your linked devices so that you can have immediate access to them. Think of the syncing service as the hub on a spoked wheel, with all your linked devices at the ends of the spokes.

Network cables plugged into servers.

(Image credit: asharkyu/Shutterstock)

Cloud-backup services are simpler. They continuously or periodically copy all or most of the files and folders on your computer to their own cloud servers. Instead of the spoked-wheel diagram of a file-syncing service, an online-backup service would look like a straight line between your machine(s) and the cloud server. 

Your data stays on those remote backup servers until you need it, and with luck, you never will. Most cloud-backup services offer generous amounts of storage for a subscription fee that is much cheaper, gigabyte for gigabyte, than an online-syncing service.

Cheapest of all are cloud-archiving services such as Box or Google Cloud. These let you offload files you don't immediately need to online servers, freeing up space on your hard drive. 

Cloud-archiving services can be dirt-cheap, sometimes as little as a few pennies per month per gigabyte, but there's often a fee to download files again. (The assumption is that you will never need to download all the archived files.) Backblaze has its own very affordable cloud-storage service called B2.

Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home. 

  • rocker60
    One needs a careful warning for iDrive. As a customer, I can say that their customer service will infuriate you. Here's the scenario:

    Had less than 5 TB to image for the iDrive Express service (i.e. included in pricing package). If you're a non-techie, you won't know that there is less than 5TB available on the 5TB Express Drive. Or... you just forget. Or you're "close", and figure you'll try it out. So you order the 5TB drive. Not big enough. Send it back.

    Upgrade to 10 TB because they won't send you a 10 TB Express Drive unless you sign up for the 10 TB service. Order 10 TB Express Drive. Won't send it to you free because you've already used your "one free per year". Send you a note to ask why you sent back an empty Express Drive and if you really meant to do that. Reference trouble ticket notes. No response.

    After one year. Request 10 TB drive to backup what is now 5.88 TB. Should be okay, right? Nope. Fails. 9.1 TB available isn't enough to do encrypted imaging on 5.88 TB because the encryption needs space to generate temporary files that are then deleted from your Express Drive. Total space needed? 11.3 TB. Told by support to send in 10 TB drive and order 20 TB Express Drive referencing technical support notes on ticket. Request for 20 TB drive denied. Why? "You have to upgrade to 20 TB storage to get a 20 TB drive."

    What...the...heck. So you want me to pay for 20 TB of storage to store 5.88 TB because y'all can't get your crap in a group and read trouble tickets and make a sane judgement? Company appears to be run out of a call center in India. No particular help from support or sales team. No one at iDrive who has a brain and the ability to actually just put a hard drive in a box to make a customer happy.

    BEWARE! iDrive support is horrible. Not sure what it would be like if I ever need to get a backup. At which point, I'm probably already going to be irritated, so probably not the best time to haver someone holding your data hostage. Caveat emptor, here, y'all. Each function is divided up into a "department" and "departments" don't/can't/won't talk to each other. Service promises much. Can't deliver on simplest functions of that.
    Reply
  • ewolsh
    I agree about I-Drive.
    I also find BackBlaze problematic. I would say, it is not ready for prime time. The calling card seems to be the ease of use?, and lack of set-up required.? It's the little things, 1) The first time you want to recover a files your generated file list appears on a part of the screen that is not visible. You are looking at a black page- ESP helps to figure out what is going on. 2) no set up? that's great until they tell you - oh, they don't have any of your emails. .pst files aren't part of their saved files. They expect you to know this, because you are expected to have worked your way through their detailed set-up instructions, which are just as complicated as everyone elses. 3) Cuntomer service is only occationally available. And now it is email only. They used to have phone techs, some of whom were actually rude, With the nice ones, each one would tell you something different. Now with the e-mail, on a weekend, you have to monitor your email until they respond. That means you have found an alternative solution and the e-mail is irrelevant when it arrives. The answer chat bot is useless, it is easier to search the site yourself- you get the same or better answers... and then there was the time my hard drive blew up and I wanted to save it. I even payed extra to save it, but someone at BackBlaze just changed the name of the new computer, to the old computer name, and the additional saved hard drive disappeared. Luckily I was able to save oldhard drive- or I would have complained to who? Now I'm trying to get the account closed. Wish me luck.
    I miss Mozy!
    Reply
  • Pramodius
    Beware of iDrive - they are the most untrustworthy of all the backup providers our there. While it sounds like an amazing deal to use their iDrive or iBackup products, because they are so cheap, this is a classic bait and switch policy. I signed for 500 Gb of backup space - and accidentally use 750Gb of backups for less than 24 hours. They kept on allowing the backup to run, and instantly debited my credit card with a $450 charge, because they charge you $3 for 500Gb, then $2 per Gb over !!!! This was for going over the limit, instead of just blocking the backup. They make their money by having the most unbelievably crooked business model. I would avoid them like the plague. Rather pay a bit extra - you go over your limit with them and you'll get charged thousands of dollars WITHOUT ANY NOTICE!!! They are outright crooks.
    Reply
  • TomsFactChecker
    Well Tom, you completely missed the boat here. iDrive.com has been horrible. The affordable annual fee has led to substantial fraudulent and unauthorized usage charges from the iDrive company. The idrive app does not display folder sizes so one can not tell where backup capacity is being used. Furthermore, there is nowhere in my account to delete the credit card. Finally, their customer disservice department was completely unhelpful and refused to remove the unauthorized charges even stating that there will be more charges if I do not manually delete backed-up data each month. Just another scam. I used Tom's Guide to pick IDrive and now I regret both choices.
    Reply
  • AlJohnson
    Used the free version for a few months with no problems and then bought the 5TB plan and the problems started.
    I began with the free version, and that seemed to work OK. Switched to the 1 year 5TB discount plan about a year ago. Here is a list of problems:
    Support never responds to website requests for support.
    Error messages are nebulous. For example:a. "Failed to continue the Backup operation. Reason: There are no files to backup]"
    If there are no files to back up, why is that a failure?
    b. Some files could not be backed up because of an unexpected error". However, the unexpected error is never explained. How is the user to know which files encountered unexpected errors?
    I would think that when I have to reboot during a backup, instead of getting an error that the backup failed, there would be a continuation from where the backup left off, but I have never seen anything like that. Instead, the backup starts again from the beginning.
    Sometimes when I reboot or do an update, instead of my mapped drives being shown in the bottom pane, iDrive changes them to the upper pane without notifying me. I have to uncheck those drives in the upper pane and then close the change box and only then will the mapped drives appear in the bottom pane.
    In the logs under 'Operation', the mapped drives are not specified. Why not call the backups operations of the mapped drives, "Mapped Drives"?
    Backups are very slow. I have a 1GB down/500MB upload connection, which I have tested with many broadband speed tests, but backing up, for example, 180GB on my mapped drives, can take 2-3 days. I have the throttles set to between 85-100%.My OS is Windows 10 on an ASUS VIVOBook S15 with 20GB RAM

    I have reported all of these, but never got an answer except once...telling me to go to the support page where I posted all the above but never got a response. 'iDrive support' is an oxymoron in my experience.

    Have cancelled renewal and will look for alternatives.
    Reply