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Backblaze cloud storage review

Unlimited, continuous backups with competitive cloud storage pricing

Backblaze logo
(Image: © Backblaze)

Tom's Guide Verdict

With its easy-to-use unlimited backup product, Backblaze is great for customers with one computer filled with data they need to back up. Its pay-as-you-go cloud storage is also competitively priced.

Pros

  • +

    Attractive, simple pricing

  • +

    Rapid data recovery via USB drive option

  • +

    Unlimited, continuous backup

Cons

  • -

    One device per license

  • -

    Relatively slow backups

Backblaze’s scalable on-demand storage and online backup solution for business and home use has helped the company become one of the best cloud storage (opens in new tab) and best cloud backup (opens in new tab) options available. 

It’s also one of the longest-running cloud storage (opens in new tab) providers in the industry, with over 500,000 customers in 175 countries. In our Backblaze cloud storage review, we look at the unique selling points of the service, so you can decide whether it’s the right solution for your needs.

Backblaze cloud storage review: Snapshot

Backblaze is strong both as a cloud backup solution for personal use and SMEs, and as a pay-as-you-go cloud storage solution for larger companies. Its regularly updated software is easy to use and practical, and pricing is highly competitive.

While it isn’t particularly fast at making backups of your files, you should still consider Backblaze as an alternative to bigger cloud storage providers, and you could potentially save a fortune in ongoing costs.

Score: 4/5

Read on for our full and detailed Backblaze cloud storage review.

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Backblaze’s competitors

How does Backblaze compare to its main competitors?
BackblazeIDriveDropbox
Score4/54.5/54/5
Pros- Outstanding pricing - Unlimited backups - Rapid data recovery options- Excellent pricing - Physical disk backup service - Versatile file-sharing system- Great real-time collaboration tools - Fine-grained user access controls - Integrates with many other systems
Cons- Relatively slow - Per-device pricing doesn’t suit those with many devices- Dated web interface - Lacks real-time collaboration tools- Relatively pricey - Lacks zero-knowledge encryption
VerdictHighly-competitive pricing on solid cloud backup and cloud storage solutions makes Backblaze a top pick.Great pricing for large data volumes, paired with end-to-end encryption and solid backup tools.A feature-packed backup and sync solution that’s easy to integrate with your existing systems.
View dealsVisit site (opens in new tab)Visit site (opens in new tab)Visit site

Backblaze: Key features

Backblaze products can be split into two services: Computer Backup and B2 Cloud Storage. The Computer Backup service includes unlimited backups from a single computer, including all connected external drives. B2 Cloud Storage is a more versatile, yet complex online storage solution for larger organizations. 

Like other cloud storage providers Amazon S3 (opens in new tab), Microsoft Azure (opens in new tab), and Google Cloud (opens in new tab), with B2 Cloud Storage you pay only for the amount of data you store and download each month.

Backblaze’s Computer Backup product’s standout feature is its unlimited storage space. Even if you have multiple large hard drives physically connected to your computer, the data on them will be backed up. 

Network drives won’t be backed up, though. By default, many file types won’t be backed up either, including .exe files and ISO disk images. This cuts down on the amount of time backups take. You can edit which file types are excluded in the Backblaze settings.

If you ever need a copy of your backed-up data, you can download it directly from the Backblaze website. Another option for rapid data recovery is for Backblaze to send you a USB drive with your files on it. This costs $189 per hard drive, but if you return the drive to Backblaze, this will be refunded.

You can only return five drives in every 12-month period, and you must pay return shipping costs, but it’s a useful option that could save you time and network bandwidth.

Backblaze: Key features and highlights

By default, Backblaze runs in the background, continuously checking your files for changes and backing them up. If you find this an intensive use of computer resources, you can disable automatic backups and only back up manually when you want to. Another option is to schedule backups to run once a day. 

Once you upload files to Backblaze, you can share them with other people. This is done through the Backblaze website interface, by simply choosing the files you want to share. You’ll be charged an additional $0.005 per GB a month for storing these sharable files, plus $0.01 per GB each time the files are downloaded.

Backblaze: What’s new in 2022?

At the end of 2021, Backblaze went public on the Nasdaq, under BLZE. In the cloud storage and computing space, Backblaze isn’t as big a name as Amazon, Google, or Microsoft, so the company is aggressively adding features that position it as a serious alternative to these big players. 

For instance, in April 2022, Backblaze added a Universal Data Migration service. This means Backblaze will handle the often complicated process of migrating your files from other cloud storage providers, servers, or from local storage to its cloud storage platform. This service is entirely free, making transitioning to Backblaze appealing for many businesses worrying about initial costs.

Backblaze has also added an improved Partner API, which makes it easier for third-party software to be written to work with Backblaze B2. At the same time, the company has launched a new pricing structure for resellers in an aggressive push to get more users on the platform.

All these new features show Backblaze is a company actively working towards being the best cloud storage and best cloud backup provider available, and should give confidence to businesses looking for a provider that’ll be with them for the long haul.

Backblaze: Pricing

The Computer Backup service has particularly simple pricing. You pay $7 a month for unlimited backups from a single computer. You can pay one year or two years in advance for a modest discount. If you have multiple computers to back up, you can order multiple licenses at one time, but there’s no discount for doing so.

The cloud storage product Backblaze B2 costs $0.005 per GB a month for storage, and $0.01 per GB for downloads. Overall, it’s one of the best-priced cloud storage solutions in the industry, beating Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

Backblaze's pricing plans
Computer BackupB2 Cloud Storage
Cost per month$7$0.005 per GB*
Cost per year$70 (Save 20%)$0.06 per GB*
Unlimited data
Number of devicesOneUnlimited
IntegrationsLimitedExtensive
Mobile app

* Price for storage only. Data download costs an additional $0.01 per GB after the initial 1GB each day

Testing Backblaze

We tested Backblaze’s Computer Backup service on a Windows 10 desktop connected to the internet via a 300Gbps connection. For the mobile app, we used a Huawei Galaxy phone running Android 12. This setup reflected an average home user or an SME, and enabled us to test the average speed and usability of the service.

How fast is Backblaze?

Screenshot of the Backblaze performance settings.

Backblaze includes options for throttling the speed of your backups (Image credit: Backblaze)

Backblaze isn’t particularly fast at making backups of your files, especially when you perform the initial backup. In our testing, backups performed at a maximum of 6GB an hour. So, if you have a lot to back up, the first backup may take several days. This is somewhat intentional. Backblaze includes automatic throttling, so backups never become a burden on your computer or network. 

In the Performance settings dialog, you can manually adjust how many backup threads the software will use, and whether the speed will be throttled. But even when you set these to maximum, your initial backup will still take quite some time.

How secure is Backblaze?

Screenshot of the Backblaze security settings.

You can create a private encryption key, so only you can decrypt your data (Image credit: Backblaze)

Backblaze goes into detail about its approach to encryption on its website. It uses 2048-bit public/private keys, symmetrical AES-128-bit keys, and HTTPS over SSL. In short, your backups are securely transferred and stored. You can create a private encryption key to add another layer of security to your backups, so only you will ever be able to decrypt the stored data. 

Backblaze also supports two-factor authentication through providers like Authy and Google Authenticator. This means accessing your Backblaze account requires you to authenticate your credentials on your mobile phone, or by verifying a login via an alert sent to your email address.

How does Backblaze's backup service work?

Screenshot of the Backblaze website interface.

You can download backed-up files individually, or Backblaze can send you a USB hard drive in the post (Image credit: Backblaze)

Backblaze’s backup product is engineered to be easy to use out of the gate. Create an account with a username and password, download the app, and run it. It will immediately start backing up all the important files on your computer to Backblaze cloud servers.

This makes it different from providers like Dropbox (opens in new tab), which require you to specify the folders you want to back up. Backblaze is designed to be a set-and-forget complete backup of the documents and critical files on your computer, which many users will find appealing.

Besides the installed software, there’s also the Backblaze website and mobile apps. You can use these to browse through the files you’ve backed up, and share files with others.

Alternatives to Backblaze

Cloud storage, compared

• IDrive vs Backblaze (opens in new tab)

• Google Drive vs OneDrive (opens in new tab)

• IDrive vs Carbonite (opens in new tab)

• Google Drive vs Dropbox (opens in new tab)

• IDrive vs Dropbox vs pCloud (opens in new tab)

• OneDrive vs Dropbox vs Google Drive (opens in new tab)

Backblaze aims its products at a few distinct groups. Home users and SMEs will mostly gravitate to the unlimited backup option. 

Where Backblaze takes a one-computer, unlimited-data approach, IDrive (opens in new tab) does the opposite. With IDrive, you can back up an unlimited number of devices, but the amount of data you can store is limited by your plan. This makes it a better option if you have many devices and don’t need to store much data.

The Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage service competes in a different niche, though. As an enterprise-level cloud storage solution with a pay-as-you-go payment model, plus strong support for third-party apps and integrations, it goes up against giants like Amazon S3 and Google Cloud.

Backblaze B2 is undoubtedly less expensive than these bigger providers. Yet, one of the reasons enterprise businesses might choose Amazon S3 over Backblaze is how easy it is to integrate Amazon S3 with the rest of the Amazon ecosystem. Backblaze, on the other hand, exists as a separate entity.

Backblaze’s features compared to the competition
BackblazeIDriveDropbox
Unlimited data✔ (on the Advanced plan)
Number of devicesOneUnlimitedFrom three to unlimited
SupportTicket system, business-hour live chat, paid support options24/7 phone, chat, and emailChatbot, live chat, email, phone, help center
Basic plan$7 a month$6.63 a month$11.99 a month

Backblaze cloud storage: Final verdict

Backblaze is a strong choice for backup and cloud storage. We recommend its Computer Backup product to those with a single computer that’s full of important data and documents they want to back up to the cloud. Backblaze’s unlimited, continuous backup is about as simple as they come, and it’s priced competitively.

If you have numerous devices to back up, that product becomes less appealing. For larger businesses, there’s Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage, which has fantastic pay-as-you-go data storage pricing. It may not be as feature-rich as Amazon S3, and is slower than many competitors, but it’s an excellent choice you should definitely consider when shopping for a cloud storage provider.

Next steps with cloud storage and cloud backup

With so many cloud-focused products on offer, it’s essential to understand all the types of services available. Read our primer on what cloud storage is (opens in new tab) before deciding between cloud storage and cloud backup (opens in new tab), and find out how to choose a cloud storage provider (opens in new tab).

You can get started with free cloud storage (opens in new tab) via the best free cloud storage (opens in new tab) providers, but the top cloud storage (opens in new tab) gives you more storage space, better features, and faster speeds. Finally, you may want to consider a multi-cloud approach (opens in new tab), where you use more than one provider to solve all your cloud requirements.

To see what other options are open to you, see our rankings of the best personal cloud storage (opens in new tab), and the best cloud storage for business (opens in new tab).

Richard Sutherland
Richard Sutherland

Richard brings over 20 years of website development, SEO, and marketing to the table. A graduate in Computer Science, Richard has lectured in Java programming and has built software for companies including Samsung and ASDA. Now, he writes for TechRadar, Tom's Guide, PC Gamer, and Creative Bloq.

  • Justinthecloud
    We tested Backblaze’s Computer Backup service on a Windows 10 desktop connected to the internet via a 300Gbps connection.

    No, you didn't. No desktop can connect at 300Gbps. Maybe you mean Mbps?
    Reply