The 3 Best Online Cloud Backup Services for 2022 | Reviews by Wirecutter

The research

  • Why you lot should trust us
  • Who this is for
  • The differences between deject storage, cloud syncing, and cloud backups
  • What nearly photos?
  • How we picked
  • How we tested
  • Our pick: Backblaze
  • Flaws but not dealbreakers
  • Backblaze’due south privacy and security
  • How to prepare a private encryption key in Backblaze
  • Runner-up: IDrive
  • Also great: Arq Premium
  • The competition
  • Sources

I’ve written nigh and reviewed software for a decade. In that time, I’ve used dozens of fill-in services, migrated data betwixt several computers, and deleted (so recovered) hundreds of files.

Joe Kissell, the previous author of this guide, has been studying, researching, testing, and writing about backups since 2004. He has written several books, including
Backing Up Your Mac: A Joe On Tech Guide
as well equally dozens of articles on backups for publications such as Macworld, TidBITS, and MacTech.

If y’all already accept a fill-in service y’all similar, you probably take no reason to switch. Every backup service we tested had flaws, and finding a one-size-fits-all approach was impossible.

Anybody should regularly support their calculator’south data. Outset, you should copy your important files or your entire computer to an external hard drive, making what’s called a local fill-in. But local backups are susceptible to many of the same hazards that threaten your computer—theft, fire, flooding—so a good backup program should also include some kind of off-site backup in case of emergency. An online backup service (sometimes chosen “cloud backup”) offers the security of off-site storage for your most essential files. Think of your cloud backup equally extra insurance in instance something happens to your main backups.

Virtually online backup services practice not make copies of operating organisation files or application folders, at least not past default. This saves storage space online, but every bit a result, it’s important to retrieve that you lot still need to hold on to license keys for software.

Minor businesses—including professionals who might need to back up many multi-gigabyte files several times a day—have dissimilar needs and expectations for backups that nosotros didn’t test for this guide.

If you prefer taking a DIY approach and don’t mind starting a project that’ll probable become a function-fourth dimension hobby, you tin can repurpose cheap bulk online storage, such as Amazon Glacier or Backblaze B2, using software like Duplicacy, Duplicati, MSP360, or Restic to make your own cloud backup. The price for storage on Glacier and Backblaze B2 is based on usage—often one¢ or less per gigabyte per month—simply the arrangement takes technical know-how to become upwards and running. We call back tinkerers will be happier with the command that these options offer in comparison with about commercial services.

Cloud storage, cloud syncing, and cloud backup services operate similarly, sometimes even with the aforementioned software, but it’southward of import to know the differences:

  • Cloud storage
    is substantially a remote external storage drive. Think of it as putting your files on a storage drive at a friend’south house (your friend in this instance is a corporation). With deject storage, y’all have to manually move your files to the cloud bulldoze, and yous can access them only through the internet. Cloud storage on its own tends to be the cheapest of these 3 options but doesn’t include fancier features like syncing, file sharing, or automated backups.
  • Cloud sync
    is like a shared remote drive, where the contents of a binder are synced across computers. This arrangement is similar storing your files at your regular house and your vacation home, as well as at your friend’due south house. People often apply cloud sync for collaboration—such as when multiple people need access to files—considering when a file is changed on one reckoner, that alter is reflected on the others. But deject sync is typically more expensive than other options, which makes it a poor choice for large files, and it doesn’t ordinarily offer encryption, which makes information technology a bad option for private files. Every bit with cloud storage, it’s upward to you to manually move files to the folder.
  • Deject backups
    are really just cloud storage, only the software behind information technology is different. Cloud fill-in software grabs virtually all the information from your computer’south storage drive and stores information technology in cloud storage, without your having to practice anything. You’d typically admission these backups only in example of an emergency, such as storage-drive failure or physical equipment damage. Deject backup prices are typically lower than those for cloud sync, but cloud backup services rarely take sharing or syncing options. When they do, those features are clunky and don’t piece of work well.
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Services like Box, Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, and Sync can work as either deject storage or cloud sync. They’re bang-up for sharing and syncing files yous’re working on, but they aren’t the right tools to proceed updated backups online. They make it hard to truly secure files—the services themselves have the ways to decrypt your data—and the brunt is always on you to movement files to the correct folder. A handful of existing options, similar Tresorit, exercise focus on security, but they’re not cost-effective equally a backup option for everyone; if you need terabytes of storage, it would cost far more to store all your files on one of these services.

Most people will want to utilize a storage or syncing service for active projects they’re working on or files they need to access for multiple devices, as well equally a deject backup to scoop upward everything else automatically. If y’all’re meticulous and you manage your files closely, you could get away with using only cloud storage or cloud sync, but there’s no room for mistakes if you utilise the wrong folder or forget to move a file one mean solar day.

If yous store full-size versions of your photos on your local drive, they will be backed up in the cloud fill-in pick of your choice just like any other file.

Only if you utilise a service like Google Photos or Apple Photos to store photos from your telephone in cloud storage, be sure to enable the service’southward “download originals” or similar feature on your computer so they’re downloaded and stored properly. Depending on the size of your photo library and the size of your local storage drive, this may or may non push button the limits of your storage capacity.

If you apply a 3rd-party syncing service to shop photos, such as Dropbox or OneDrive, you may need to manually add together those folders to your deject backup. You tin find many photograph-specific backup apps and services, including IDrive’s app for photos, but nosotros haven’t tested them.

We spoke with a scattering of tech journalists and colleagues before updating this guide to go their approaches to photo storage, and every one of them said they had hacked together multiple services in an attempt to support their photos in as many places equally possible. Whatever third-party option you lot apply, we highly recommend ensuring that y’all take local copies that get included in both your concrete local backup also every bit your cloud fill-in.

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Deject backup services are imperfect. Some are too expensive, others are hard to use, and every 1 is ugly by mod design standards. There’s no centralized client-review platform for cloud backup services, and so researching their reliability is difficult. With all that in heed, we ready out to discover the least-worst option that includes the features nearly people need:

  • Annual price of $100 or less: Cloud backup services operate under a subscription model where you pay per calendar month or per year. It’south normally cheaper by the twelvemonth; the almanac toll typically ranges betwixt $60 and $100 based on factors like the corporeality of storage or how many devices a service supports. Nearly people shouldn’t pay more $100 for a deject backup service.
  • Back up for Windows and Mac computers: We looked for services with both Windows and Mac apps. Most services besides take iPhone and Android apps, but we didn’t discover them all that useful, so we didn’t test them.
  • Amount of storage and number of devices: Cloud backup plans can be either unlimited plans that cover one computer or storage-based plans that allow yous to back up multiple devices. The option that’s better for y’all depends on how many computers you ain. We looked for affordable services of both types for this guide.
  • Support to back up external drives: A fill-in service should permit you to back up external storage drives. An external drive is often the chief storage location for important older files, especially for laptops. Some fill-in services also support network-attached storage, simply nosotros didn’t brand that a requirement.
  • Intuitive user experience: The software to dorsum upward your computer should be easy to use. It should never be disruptive almost what data it backs up, and information technology should run reliably in the background without overtaxing your arrangement resources or internet bandwidth. The software should requite yous the power to schedule specific backup times and arrange bandwidth speeds.
  • Back up for versioning and flexible retention periods: Backups should include the most recent version of a file you created and copies of the file from previous moments in fourth dimension, as well as files you deleted. Services should proceed these versions for at to the lowest degree thirty days, merely nosotros preferred longer or customizable retentiveness periods.
  • Continuous backups: Subsequently the initial fill-in flow, future backups should run in the background, continuously uploading the files you change or create.
  • Deduplication: If 2 or more files in your backup are the aforementioned, some online backup software performs “deduplication,” which means information technology uploads only one copy of each unique file. This saves upload time, bandwidth, and storage space while keeping a record that the file existed in multiple places, and then y’all can restore a version specific to whatever of those locations. For case, if you download a bunch of files to the desktop and so motion the files to your documents folder, a cloud backup that features deduplication will upload simply 1 re-create of those files. If a service doesn’t feature deduplication, it stores both sets of files, from the desktop and the documents binder.
  • A simple and (relatively) speedy restoration experience: Most people restore files in one of two scenarios: when they accidentally delete or alter a file, or when an unabridged storage bulldoze becomes inaccessible through loss or failure. For restoring private files, we looked for services that offered options like restoring files in place (to the original folder) or to a folder of your choosing. In the case of restoring an entire drive, we oftentimes saw download speeds as low every bit one megabyte per second from every service we tested. Download (and upload) speeds all depend on the time of day, your internet speeds, the local network speeds, and your computer. Restoring by download was barely manageable for 10 GB of backups in our tests; information technology would be infuriatingly irksome for larger restores. And so we looked for services with the selection for you to ask that they mail a physical drive with your backed-up files to help restore big backups on deadening or capped internet connections.
  • Strong security practices: A good backup service encrypts information by default and details how it secures data in transit and at rest. It should also offer an optional “private encryption key” that increases security past locking your files behind a password that but you accept. In addition, fill-in services should provide basic account protections, such as two-cistron hallmark. The most trustworthy companies likewise provide details about their on-site, concrete security practices. The privacy policy and terms of service should exist easy to read, with clear language describing how the service collects and uses any data from your account.
  • Customer support: Client support is rarely a priority with these services, but you should be able to submit a support ticket or chat request easily and receive a response within 24 hours. Phone support is a bonus, but it isn’t common.
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Because we didn’t love our experience with any cloud fill-in service nosotros tested, nosotros highly recommend keeping a local backup aslope an offsite fill-in. In near cases, the local backup volition exist the improve option to restore a reckoner or lost files, especially large files, which tin can take hours (if not days) to download from a cloud backup service. All backup services offering some sort of trial flow, so nosotros recommend using that trial period to make certain the service fits your needs before signing up for a yearly plan.

We installed and tested backup software on both a Windows ten PC and a Mac running macOS Big Sur, backing up each estimator with the software’s default settings (if the software didn’t select folders, we backed upwards the user folders). In most cases, this process led to a backup of 12 GB to xx GB, depending on which folders the software selected by default and whether a service included hidden files.

During backups, we kept an eye on CPU and bandwidth usage and made sure that nosotros could still work while the backups were running; this work included participating in video chats, having dozens of tabs open in a browser, and streaming music. Because everyone’due south reckoner, abode network, and isp are different, nosotros didn’t bother noting upload speeds during this process. These services are all irksome—if you have a lot of data to back up, plan on your first backup taking days.

We as well tested how well the file-versioning systems worked by making, editing, and renaming files. Nosotros checked the restoration process past downloading and replacing older files, as well as by restoring deleted local files from our backups.

We read reviews on sites like IGN, Lifewire, PCMag, PCWorld, and Tom’s Hardware, after which nosotros combed through as many customer reviews as we could detect on sites like Reddit and Trustpilot.


Photograph: Rozette Rago

Our selection

Backblaze is the most affordable backup software that supports both Windows and Mac, and information technology’s likewise the easiest to use of the group. Its 30-day file retention is plenty for nearly people in case disaster strikes, though you can pay for longer retentiveness if you demand it. Backblaze tin support external drives continued to your computer and offers reasonable customer support. But its implementation of private encryption keys is weak, and its restoration process is convoluted.

Backblaze is cheaper than IDrive if you’re backing up one figurer, and information technology’s the least expensive backup service with unlimited storage. Since Backblaze charges per computer, you never have to worry most overage fees, whereas IDrive lets you dorsum up equally many computers as you want but charges you extra if you get over your data allotment (5 TB for the cheapest program).

You lot can back up an external storage drive to Backblaze, which is helpful if you have a 2nd drive full of media, documents, or other infrequently used files. But Backblaze tin’t handle external drives in every situation: For example, if you lot utilise fill-in software similar Fourth dimension Car with an external drive, Backblaze cannot create its own backup from that drive.

For about people—that is, those who don’t need to fiddle with custom settings—Backblaze is piece of cake to set. Once y’all run the installer and enter your login credentials, the software starts backing upward files immediately. Near people tin leave Backblaze on its default settings, under which it backs up your user binder, including photos, music, and documents. In our tests, at the default settings it operated at a speed that didn’t cause disruptions in our workday. Our initial backup of 20 GB took under three hours on an Ethernet-connected computer with a 20 Mbps upload speed, the same as on IDrive, but if you have hundreds of gigabytes of data, you can await the process to accept days, not hours. IDrive automatically selected most of the aforementioned folders and files every bit Backblaze did, though IDrive included more than system files than Backblaze did by default.

The simplicity of Backblaze and its straightforward default settings should exist a do good to most people. In contrast, Arq Premium asks y’all to choose from 3 different backup options, which can be confusing if you don’t know what yous need: support all drives with standard inclusions (which skips temporary and unneeded files), back up user information with standard inclusions (which backs up only the user binder), and “I will cull folders to back upward” (which tasks you with opting folders in manually). Running at the same speed, the initial upload with Arq Premium took well-nigh half the time of Backblaze and IDrive.

If you do desire to dig into Backblaze’s settings, you’ll find some useful features simply non as many options as in well-nigh other fill-in software. Instead of letting you manually select specific folders to support, Backblaze provides an Exclusions tab and backs up everything else. This arrangement takes some getting used to, and “adding” a folder to “exclusions” might throw your brain for a loop, but one time you become the hang of how it works, it’s easy to utilize. You can as well exclude certain file types or sizes. In add-on, you can change how many transfer threads (simultaneous upload processes) are available, which affects upload speed. Other options include the ability to fix up continuous or scheduled backups (most people should stick to continuous), every bit well as to set up a Wi-Fi network block listing to prevent backups from running on certain networks.

Backblaze opts yous in to its default settings, doing the opposite of IDrive, which asks y’all to manually enable features like continuous fill-in. In fact, both of our other picks provide y’all—or brunt you, depending on your perspective—with more settings. IDrive adds bones abilities like managing bandwidth, while Arq offers the near granular options, including the ability to limit storage, to thin backups over time, and to create “immutable” backups.

Backblaze’due south chief screen is make clean, elementary, and piece of cake to understand.

By default, Backblaze includes a 30-day version history, which means that information technology’s basically a rolling copy of anything you’ve had on your computer in the past xxx days. If you desire more, you have to pay for it: $2 a month for a one-year history, or $2 a month plus $0.005 per gigabyte per month for infinite retention. It’southward best to picture Backblaze as a mirror of the folders on your local storage drive—if you delete files on your reckoner, or if your storage drive gets totally wiped, Backblaze will delete those files after 30 days, besides. In contrast, IDrive maintains upwardly to thirty versions for an unlimited amount of time, while Arq Premium lets you determine exactly how long to keep files around. However, since IDrive doesn’t delete anything, that system often leads to backups of files you don’t need or desire. And considering IDrive doesn’t offer unlimited storage like Backblaze does, you can current of air up with overage fees if you’re not careful.

Continuous backups on Backblaze aren’t quite every bit continuous as we look. Backblaze scans your storage bulldoze and uploads new or inverse files effectually one time an 60 minutes. This means in the worst-case scenario yous’d potentially lose up to an hour of piece of work. But Backblaze tells u.s.a. it does this considering the practice minimizes organization load and keeps usage of both CPU resources and bandwidth low; this approach also prevents the service from creating besides many versions of a file beingness actively worked on. In comparison, IDrive offers more options for frequency with its continuous pick, including uploading files in real time or in increments (10 minutes, 30 minutes, or lx minutes). If you lot move a file from i folder to another, Backblaze notes the alter and moves the corresponding file in the online backup simply doesn’t reupload the file.

Backblaze’southward restoration process is uncommonly convoluted, which we particular in the Flaws but non dealbreakers section below. All the same, we like that Backblaze offers restore-by-mail options, which are handy if you lot have a slow internet connection and need to restore a big chunk of data. With i of these options, you pay an up-forepart fee for a USB flash drive or difficult bulldoze and and then send it dorsum for a refund after you lot get your files. IDrive offers a similar service with IDrive Express, which is free once a yr, though you still need to ship the drive back. These services tin be useful for large restores but may take up to 10 days before shipping the drives out. Arq Premium doesn’t have a similar restore-by-mail option simply does have a much nicer software restore option, allowing you to restore files in place or to a new folder on both Windows and Mac.

If you aren’t certain where to start, or if you find bug, Backblaze has well-organized online documentation that covers many problems you may meet, as well every bit guides for how to use the service. The visitor doesn’t provide telephone support, but it does have live chat and email support, and nosotros received responses to our questions within 3 hours during normal business hours. IDrive had a similar response fourth dimension via email and besides offers phone support, while Arq Premium offers support merely over email and doesn’t take searchable documentation.

A screenshot of the Backblaze backup's folders and files.

Backblaze’s restoration process works entirely through a browser.

Under the default settings, Backblaze encrypts your data, simply that data can be decrypted with your account password. For another layer of privacy and security, we recommend that anybody enable a individual encryption primal, which adds to your fill-in another password that just you know. This means that if you lose your private password, Backblaze can’t help you recover information technology, simply setting upwards this feature makes it impossible for anyone, Backblaze included, to view your fill-in without that countersign.

Although we like that Backblaze supports an optional private encryption key, you have to enter the key in your browser before you can restore files; the files are then decrypted on Backblaze’s servers before you download them. Backblaze then immediately flushes the primal from its system. This ways that theoretically there’due south a brief moment when, if someone had access to Backblaze’south servers, they could decrypt your files, though it’s extremely unlikely. We’d prefer a more secure no-noesis organization like that of SpiderOak 1, where the decryption takes place on your figurer, non on the company’south server. But Backblaze’south private encryption key withal does what it needs to do: Information technology makes your data inaccessible without the password (in case of subpoena or whatsoever other issue). We think information technology’s secure enough for most people backing up personal files, and if you lot don’t similar how Backblaze works, IDrive does a meliorate job in this regard if you lot use the desktop app.

One of the reasons for Backblaze’s odd implementation of a private encryption key is its even odder restoration process, which takes far too many steps. Here’s how information technology works:

  1. Log in to your account on the Backblaze website—you tin can’t restore files within the desktop app itself.
  2. Select how you lot want to restore the files (Cypher files, salvage to Backblaze’s B2 deject storage, USB flash drive, USB difficult bulldoze).
  3. Select the files you lot desire to restore and click the
    Proceed With Restore
    push.
  4. Look for an email notification that your files are ready. The time required depends on how much data you’re restoring.
  5. Download the ZIP file. How long this takes varies depending on your net connectedness and the size of the file, but it took me virtually 40 minutes to download a 1.3 GB ZIP file—far smaller than a full system backup would exist—on a 100 Mbps connectedness while writing this guide.
  6. Unzip the file and move the resulting files to their original folders. If you’re restoring only a single file, that’south the just thing you’ll find in the Nothing archive. But if you’re restoring more than one file (even 2 files located in the same binder), the uncompressed archive contains all the hierarchical folders down to where your restored files are, which takes a while to click through.

This restoration process is bizarrely labyrinthine. Instead of restoring files to the original location—an option in every other backup software we tested—yous may accept to dig through dozens of duplicate folders, on your fill-in and on your reckoner, to find your files and paste them back where they belong. It’s a cumbersome drag, and information technology seems like Backblaze could fix both this process and the private-central issue by moving restoration to the desktop software instead of keeping it in the web portal.

We’ve read complaints regarding the lack of metadata—the details about a file, such as when it was created or last opened—included with restored files. In our tests, we found that both Backblaze and IDrive did not restore metadata such as file ownership and permissions, the creation engagement, and (for Mac owners) Finder tags and comments. While many people are barely aware of the beingness of this metadata, others, and some of the apps they apply, depend heavily on information technology.

The privacy and security of your files is important, and since cloud backups are essentially a mirror of your private, offline storage drive, information technology’south critical that they remain protected. Hither’due south how Backblaze stacks upwardly:

  • Is data encrypted?
    Backblaze encrypts the backup on your computer and stores it with 128-bit AES encryption. Backblaze transfers information between your computer and its servers with HTTPS encryption. Equally mentioned above, we don’t dear how Backblaze handles private encryption keys, but nosotros still recollect its security measures are strong plenty for well-nigh people.
  • Do accounts run into basic security minimum requirements?
    Backblaze supports two-cistron authentication through an app or SMS merely doesn’t require it past default—if you lot use Backblaze, you should ready up 2FA. Backblaze highlights password forcefulness but doesn’t foreclose you from using a poor or previously leaked password.
  • Does the company result security updates to handle vulnerabilities?
    Backblaze updates its software oft with both new features and security improvements. It regularly hires third-political party organizations to test security and participate in a bug bounty through Bugcrowd.
  • How is information shared?
    Backblaze does a reasonable task of protecting your data while yet complying with United States constabulary. Backblaze doesn’t share or sell personal information but does share some account information with third-party services required to make your business relationship work, such as payment processors, also as third-party communication platforms that enable optional email marketing and SMS authentication. Like every cloud backup service, Backblaze shares data with law enforcement when required and uses a number of cookies and ad trackers on its website. These advert trackers aren’t located on signed-in pages, except when placed at that place accidentally, which happened in February 2021 when Backblaze left a Facebook tracker on account pages for its business accounts and sent file metadata to Facebook. The company speedily corrected the mistake, but the episode does illustrate how small-scale errors can atomic number 82 to issues.
  • How is data secured on-site?
    Remote backups are stored on servers in the United States and Amsterdam (you tin can choose where your backups are stored when you create an account but non afterward), in buildings that crave biometric security and ID checks (PDF).
  • Can you lot delete your account?
    Y’all tin can delete backups or your entire account from the My Business relationship page. You lot cannot disable automated renewal of your subscription unless you delete your accounts.
  • Is the privacy policy readable?
    Backblaze’s privacy policy is easy to understand.
  • What could happen if Backblaze gets hacked?
    If y’all don’t have a individual fundamental set up so that only you tin can decrypt your information, everything in the backup will exist attainable.

Backblaze’s security and privacy standards are in line with those of most other options, save for SpiderOak One, which puts a heavier accent on privacy than other cloud backup services we tested.

A screenshot of the Backblaze page, our pick for best cloud based backup service, showing private encryption key settings.

Everyone who has a Backblaze account should set a personal encryption primal. Information technology adds a layer of security that helps forestall anyone merely you from accessing your files, no matter what.

  1. Open Backblaze on your Windows or Mac estimator.
  2. Click
    Settings,
    and so select the
    Security
    tab.
  3. Click
    Enter Your Private Encryption Key
    and create a password. Brand it dissimilar from whatever other countersign you accept. Click
    Set Private Key
    when you’re done.

Do not forget or lose this password. If you write it down, shop information technology in a secure place such as a safe, or put it in a password manager. If you lose the private encryption cardinal, yous will not be able to decrypt the files stored on Backblaze, and the visitor cannot help you lot recover the countersign.

A laptop showing the home screen for IDrive, our pick for best cloud based backup service for those with multiple computers.


Photo: Rozette Rago

Runner-upwards

If you have more than i computer to dorsum up or if y’all prefer to have more than control over different backup settings, cull IDrive. Its Windows and Mac apps aren’t equally make clean and easy to use as Backblaze’s, but IDrive offers more options to customize information technology to conform your needs. Whereas Backblaze gives you unlimited storage but restricts yous to bankroll upwards 1 reckoner, IDrive allows you to back up as many computers equally yous desire just restricts storage capacity. That storage limitation means you demand to continue an centre on your storage space to avoid overages.

The standard IDrive programme includes five TB of storage; yous tin upgrade it to ten TB. Both options are a trivial more expensive than Backblaze’south services if yous’re backing up only a single reckoner. If you exceed your storage limit, IDrive charges you 25¢ per gigabyte (the service sends you an email once you reach 90% of your storage employ). This restriction could force you to spend a lot more than fourth dimension managing storage space than with Backblaze. But from a purely storage-related perspective, IDrive offers more than nearly services do for the toll, including Arq Premium, which provides 1 TB of storage for $sixty a year.

Different Backblaze, which supports only external drives directly attached to your computer, IDrive can back upwards most any drive that your reckoner can admission, including network-attached storage. Merely when it’due south bankroll up your main bulldoze, IDrive is clunkier than born options like Windows File History or Time Machine, and it doesn’t appear to support file versioning locally. IDrive can create (and dorsum up) disk images on Windows but not on Mac. Deejay images are useful if your entire storage drive fails, considering yous tin can roll dorsum to a working version of your estimator—operating system, programs, drivers, and all.

IDrive’s principal fill-in screen makes clear which folders it backs up.

Our initial backup of nearly 20 GB took nether three hours with IDrive, about the same time as with Backblaze and Arq Premium. While IDrive was running, it used more system resources than Backblaze on both Windows and Mac, but it never prevented united states of america from doing normal web-browsing tasks. IDrive’s interface and setup procedure aren’t equally uncomplicated or elegant as Backblaze’southward, merely both are straightforward enough that they won’t confuse virtually people. Although the software selects the most common folders automatically, you need to enable IDrive’s continuous backups manually. Unlike Backblaze, which keeps customization to a minimum, IDrive provides enough of settings to tinker with, including the ability to set up upwards alerts for backups and bandwidth throttling. If you like IDrive’s pricing but prefer the minimalist approach of Backblaze, IDrive also offers simplified software in the course of its Basic Client for Windows.

Like most modern, comprehensive fill-in options, IDrive saves more than than just the terminal version of a given file. Every bit it runs, the software copies and stores upwardly to 30 previous versions of files, which don’t count against your storage quota. This approach can give you more flexibility if you need to restore lost work, but IDrive doesn’t tell yous how to access these previous versions; if you lot don’t know to right-click a file to pull up the contextual menu from the restore screen, you may never realize that the version feature fifty-fifty exists.

If you delete a file from your reckoner, IDrive keeps it in the cloud fill-in forever (Backblaze keeps deleted files for 30 days, while Arq Premium lets y’all choose how long it stores them). Since IDrive holds on to deleted files indefinitely, and they exercise count toward your storage quota, they can needlessly fill up up your bachelor space.

Accounts created after September 22, 2021 back up deduplication, and then you don’t need to worry about a file taking upwardly space in multiple folder locations. But if you created an IDrive account earlier then, IDrive doesn’t have this characteristic. So if you only move a file from one directory to another, IDrive volition have 2 copies of that file in the backup. If they’re large files, y’all’ll encounter your storage fill quickly. Yous tin can partially solve this trouble with IDrive’s Archive Cleanup feature, which you lot can set upwards so that IDrive deletes former files after a set number of days or based on a percentage. Unfortunately, although Archive Cleanup seems useful on paper, we found this feature buggy, oft declining to delete older files. In an electronic mail, the visitor told us there’s no way to enable the new deduplication feature on older accounts, so if that’south something you demand, you accept to beginning over from scratch.

IDrive has an optional continuous-backup characteristic that y’all can gear up to run all the time or in timed increments (10 minutes, 30 minutes, or threescore minutes), though it restricts continuous fill-in to files under 500 MB. We like the control offered hither better than Backblaze’south less structured timing, but both services finish up beingness a little confusing in this regard. Since IDrive doesn’t back upward files over 500 MB with continuous backups, yous should also schedule backups once a twenty-four hours.

Dissimilar Backblaze, IDrive integrates file restoration into its desktop software. On Windows, yous can cull between restoring files to their original location or choosing a new location manually. On Mac, no matter where you restore, the file or folders always start in a binder with the proper noun of your backup, which means yous’ll have to manually move them around to the right locations. On both operating systems, the restore tab as well includes Snapshots, where y’all tin look through historical versions of your backups and right-click any file to download older versions. Arq Premium also allows for a similar restore experience, though unlike IDrive it includes the ability to restore files to their original location for both Windows and Macs.

Since restoring a full system backup takes a long time with whatsoever of the services we tried, you lot may want to do a physical restoration in instance of catastrophe. IDrive’due south choice is IDrive Limited, a service where you lot can mail a storage drive with the original backup to IDrive (useful if your upload speeds are slow) or restore a backup from an external storage drive that the visitor ships you. It doesn’t require a deposit on the drive like Backblaze does.

IDrive supports two-factor authentication through a variety of methods and uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data both when it’s at residuum and when it’s transferring from your computer to the IDrive servers. This is stronger encryption than Backblaze offers, but both levels of encryption are enough for about people, and in either case, yous should apply a individual encryption key. You can enable a key just when you create your commencement fill-in; you can’t exercise information technology retroactively. In the IDrive desktop apps, encryption and decryption are handled locally on your computer. Only if yous utilise the web client, IDrive uses an intermediate server that hosts the encrypted data temporarily and sends it through your web browser over SSL. Backblaze and IDrive have similar privacy policies, and IDrive’due south policy notes that it will share information under subpoena from law enforcement. IDrive’southward servers are in the U.s. in buildings with secure access. Although the company participates in security audits, they’re for internal use but. It besides lacks a formal issues-bounty plan, only the IDrive application is updated often.

If you encounter problems, IDrive offers phone support in add-on to the more than standard electronic mail and chat support. Judging from reader comments we’ve seen on this guide over the years, many people accept found IDrive’s customer service lacking, ofttimes failing to help with basic troubleshooting. In our tests in 2021, someone responded to our emails inside two hours, and a representative answered basic questions over conversation, though the response rate was very deadening. The company has extensive documentation, though it’south poorly organized, and so you’re better off searching for answers to your questions on Google.

Every bit for account management, you tin disable auto-renewal and delete backups from the spider web portal. And IDrive oft offers a disbelieve on the beginning year of service—but be warned that if you sign up at a discounted charge per unit, that price will jump at the end of the one- or two-year contract.

A laptop with the home page for Arq Premium, our pick for best cloud based backup service for users who want to customize.


Photograph: Rozette Rago

If you know your way around computers and are comfy managing setup options on your own, consider Arq Premium. At $threescore a year for 1 TB of storage for upwardly to five devices, it’s the cheapest pick of our picks, and it works on both Windows and Mac. It’s non nigh as like shooting fish in a barrel to use every bit Backblaze or IDrive, simply once you get the hang of it you may capeesh its toolset, which includes the ability to dorsum up to multiple cloud locations. It’due south besides the only software we tested with in-place restore on both Windows and Mac.

Arq Premium’s ane TB of storage is plenty for many people, just if you do become over that storage allotment, the charge is $0.00599 per gigabyte per month, which works out to about $half-dozen per terabyte a calendar month. From a price perspective, if you need 5 TB of deject storage, IDrive is a amend deal. The Arq software is as well available on its ain for a one-time fee of $50. With but the app, yous can then support to a deject storage business relationship of your choosing, such every bit Amazon S3, Backblaze B2, or Wasabi; this is more complicated to do, but it saves you money.

Arq lets you back up to multiple destinations at the same time, if yous choose, including to another cloud storage service and to a local storage drive (which makes information technology easy to implement a iii-ii-1 backup plan). It gives you a lot of control for backup redundancy. In dissimilarity, though IDrive gives you an choice for local storage backups, Backblaze doesn’t, and so you demand to use your operating system’south congenital-in fill-in tool.

But that abundance of options comes at the cost of ease of employ. When you start launch Arq Premium, it asks you lot to create a fill-in plan. The software then guides you through the process of choosing which files to back up. If yous’re not familiar with file structures or where your operating organization automatically saves files, you lot may miss important folders or back up way more than necessary. In one case you do set up it upwardly, Arq Premium gives you full control over how backups run, when they run, where files go, how long it keeps files, and more than. If you just want software that works and does everything for you, stick to Backblaze. If you want to nerd out over every detail of your backups, get with Arq Premium. And if y’all merely need as much space as possible, go with IDrive.

Arq Premium has an abundance of options to customize the software, but learning your mode around how it works takes some fourth dimension.

The broad assortment of options extends to file retentivity. Unlike Backblaze or IDrive, Arq Premium gives you complete control over what’s in your fill-in and how long it stays at that place. You can select how long it keeps files, whether it removes deleted files from backups or retains them, and whether to “thin” files over fourth dimension (remove older versions). We likewise like that yous tin set a limit on the overall backup size, then you don’t cease upwards with surprise overage bills. Similar Backblaze and IDrive, Arq Premium has a deduplication function, so you don’t have to worry about the same file wasting space in several different folders.

Arq Premium doesn’t support continuous backups and instead relies on yous to set up up a schedule. This is a fundamentally different philosophy than Backblaze’s set-information technology-and-forget-information technology mental attitude, only if you’re comfy configuring the rest of Arq Premium’south various options, we remember setting up a timed schedule to run the backup software won’t be an upshot.

It is much easier to restore deleted, lost, or changed files in Arq Premium than in Backblaze and IDrive. From the software you can restore a file anywhere you desire (including in the original location), scan older versions of a file, or restore everything at once. Unlike Backblaze and IDrive, Arq Premium doesn’t offer a way to order a physical storage drive for big restorations.

As for security, Arq Premium supports two-cistron authentication on its accounts and pushes y’all to use a individual encryption key during the setup process to encrypt files. In contrast to Backblaze and IDrive, Arq Premium offers no manner to restore files from a web browser, then there’s never an exchange of your private fundamental across the software itself.

If you take problems with Arq Premium, y’all can get support only via e-mail. When nosotros tried Arq’s support, the company responded in less than a day with customized answers that were conspicuously written by someone interested in helping us accept the best experience. That’s good, because the documentation is unsearchable and filled with difficult-to-understand jargon.

Arq Premium’s account management is pretty unproblematic, but we do like that motorcar-renewal is opt-in as opposed to automated. Otherwise, the web interface is minimal; yous can likewise cheque your current storage use and delete a estimator’s backups there, just that’south it.

CrashPlan for Pocket-size Business is designed for organizational employ, and its pricing of $x per month, per computer, for unlimited backups reflects that. But it’south a well-liked successor to CrashPlan for Home, which the company killed off years agone despite the fact that it was anybody’southward favorite personal backup service (including ours), and then we decided to see what benefits one might expect for near twice the price of Backblaze. As information technology turns out, CrashPlan for Small Business concern offers a significantly amend user experience than either Backblaze or IDrive. While the backup process itself was pretty much the same (slow, briefly confusing) across every service we tested, CrashPlan’s restore options were similar to Arq Premium’s, offer to restore files in identify or downloaded to a specific binder, all from within the desktop software. We too liked the power to set how long file retentiveness lasts. At almost twice the cost of Backblaze, CrashPlan for Small-scale Business is only too expensive for most people who need a basic backup of their files, but it may exist worth the investment if you desire the control of IDrive with the simplicity of Backblaze regardless of the price.

If cost were non a factor, SpiderOak One could accept been i of our picks. Its interface has virtually of the same features equally IDrive does just is more intuitive to use. We like SpiderOak’s default security settings, where no files leave your computer until they’re encrypted. But SpiderOak’s focus on security makes its lack of 2-cistron authentication especially weird. And SpiderOak is expensive—for $70 a yr, you get only 150 GB of storage, and the prices skyrocket from there.

Nosotros liked the experience of using Acronis True Image, simply due to characteristic creep, including additional ransomware protection, antivirus scans, and other “cyber protections,” the software takes up far also many system resource for a simple backup utility. Acronis used to be pretty proficient fill-in software. Now it’s trying to do dozens of things that y’all may non want. Acronis True Prototype is the only cloud backup software nosotros tested that offers full image fill-in for both Windows and Mac, which allows you to restore to a specific state (instead of private files). If you adopt a more traditional fill-in, the software also gives you control over versioning and retentiveness, and its restoration process takes fewer clicks than that of Backblaze or IDrive. Only its pricing model isn’t as generous as the Backblaze or IDrive plans, starting at $90 a year for 500 GB and going upward from there (2 TB costs $165 a year for only one figurer, more twice the price of IDrive for less space).

The cheapest Carbonite plan is $84 a year for unlimited storage for one computer, only it lacks external storage drive support and requires you to manually upload large files. On summit of that, although Carbonite’s Windows software is fifty-fifty easier to use than Backblaze’s, the Mac version is outdated and lacks the same features.

pCloud, which has been in the cloud storage business for a while, launched a backup component to its software. The effect is a messy hybrid of syncing and backup that we call back leaves it more than open to user error. At $100 for 2 TB, it’due south more expensive than iDrive, and pCloud charges an extra $50 a year for client-side encryption, a feature we view as a must-take. We like that pCloud has lifetime plans, which bring the cost down significantly, merely its hybrid style of storage makes it too difficult to set securely.

DollyDrive is Mac only and doesn’t detail whatsoever of its security standards. IBackup, JustCloud, Rhinoback, and SugarSync all accuse too much without offering significant features for most people. We institute ElephantDrive buggy and difficult to apply, and at $100 per twelvemonth for 1 TB of storage, it doesn’t offer any value over IDrive. Livedrive doesn’t support a private encryption key.

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