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There are many advantages to the technology that we have available today, yet that same technology also brings the potential for devastation. Utilizing an online backup service for your business is critical, so we’ve compared some of the most popular services available. There are many great online backup solutions on the market, but as a consumer, how do you know which one is going to be the best fit? Our goal is to make the decision easy for you.
Why Do You Need Online Backup?
Whether it’s your company’s logos and photos, or more important corporate data such as accounting records and file archives, online backup services are often seen as a disaster proof way to store your data. Whether you are an artist, photographer, lawyer or have a larger corporation with 100’s of employees, utilizing this technology on a daily basis should be a high priority for you. Rarely do we stop to think about what would happen to our data if something happened to our hardware like one of the following:
- Technological disasters occur all the time, floods, fires and tornadoes rip apart offices and leave no discernible trace of technology behind.
- Thieves can break into your office and steal laptops, personal computers, hard drives and servers (or employees can misplace laptops while traveling).
- Disgruntled ex-employees can open and alter or destroy files.
- Viruses can completely wipe out every trace of data you have.
Online backup services are designed as a way for you to store your data without having to worry about what happens if your hardware is lost or destroyed. If you don’t need all the automatic syncing features of online backup services (they do the work, not you), and are simply looking for a file storage solution in the cloud, checkout our article on the Best Cloud Storage Comparison Services.
How Online Backup Services Disaster Proof Your Data
Online backup services give you the opportunity to take all of your important data and store it in a secondary location, away from your hardware. When you utilize an online backup service your data is stored at off-site server locations so that even if your computer hardware is stolen or completely destroyed, you can still access your data on the off site server.
Best Online Backup Winners
Below are our picks for the best online backup services. We list the pros and cons for each as well as pricing for all plans available.
SugarSync is our pick for #1, best online backup service, standing out because it syncs across all mobile devices and also have live, around the clock automatic backup. They keep all your devices synced (mobile phones, laptops, tablets), and also offer real-time, 24/7 backup with no interruptions or scheduling needed. It is a seamless backup program and even keeps the five most recent versions of all files just in case you save the wrong version by accident. The one pitfall is that SugarSync does not have a support phone number to call. The good news is that there are very few complaints about this service, so there is a good chance you would never even need customer support. Chances are good that you will be able to sign-up and start running with this program with no issues right away.
- Free 30 day trial – Try it today!
- 100 GB: $7.49/month or $74.99 yearly
- 250 GB: $9.99/month or $99.99 yearly
- 500 GB: $18.95/month or $249.99 yearly
- Business 1000 GB: $55.00/month or $550 yearly
- Custom plans also available for businesses for 10+ users
SugarSync Coupon Code
At this time we are unaware of any SugarSync coupon codes.
Read our Full SugarSync Review
SpiderOak (they call their newest release SpiderOakONE) is our pick for #2 best online backup service because they only bill you for the amount of storage you use for backing up, synchronizing and sharing. This is a great option for many people, especially those that are new to online backup and want to see how much space they will actually need. Just like SugarSync, Spider Oak will keep older versions of all your files while also providing safety in the way of file encryption. The primary downside is that the increased file security creates a bit more of a drain on your computer’s memory use and thus you may see a slight slow down in machine speed. However, their enhanced security measures paired with high customer service reviews give them an edge over many of the competitors.
- 21 day trial (up to 250 GB)
- 100 GB $5/month or $59 yearly
- 250 GB $9month or $99 yearly
- 1,000 GB $12/month or $129 yearly (best value)
- 5,000 GB $25/month or $279 yearly
Read our full SpiderOak Review
Dropbox is our #3 pick. They are one of the most widely used services out there (more than 2 million businesses, and millions more individuals). It’s pretty basic so not the most ideal for business purposes, but it’s super easy to use and clean interface makes it a popular service for personal online backup. Like many of the other services, you get a free account for a limited amount of storage but you can upgrade to a pro account if you need more space. But, unlike others that have tiered pricing, for Dropbox it’s all or nothing making them lower in our rankings. They also have limited customer service (via ticketing system and 24 hour response time). However, Dropbox uses Amazon’s S3 servers which is the most secure option available. They’re a great pick for anyone who is looking for a simple, no frills and no strings attached service.
- 2 GB free for individual users. More storage operates on sliding scale based on incentives like linking to social media accounts and new referrals
- Pro: $9.99/month or $99.99/year for 1 TB (1,000 GB)
- Teams: $15/month per user for standard plan (2,000 GB)
Choosing an Online Backup Provider
Since the introduction of “cloud computing” a great number of online backup services have surfaced and it can be particularly difficult to decide which service offers the best service for you. Depending upon your online backup or cloud service needs, you may find one service to suit your needs perfectly for personal data and yet a different service for corporate data. There are a number of things to look at when deciding whether a specific online backup service is for you, these considerations include:
- Your budget
- Your space allowance versus how much space you need
- Whether the system is compatible with a Windows, Linux or Mac
- Whether it offers file synchronization
- Whether it allows for person to person sharing
- How many devices it covers
- The maximum per file size of data
- Whether the service offers a free trial
- Whether the service offers external hard drive support.
Best Online Backup Comparison Table
Take a look at our Best Online Backup Comparison Table (or click on the image on the left) for details of the companies and services that we review in this article. We will continue to add to this table and article to provide more companies for comparison.
Happy World Backup Day!
March 31st is World Backup Day. Who knew? This day is dedicated around the world to backing up your important data! But don’t wait until March! If you are not backing your data up to a secure location offsite from your computer, today is the day to take action. Don’t worry, you do not need to be too technologically savvy to start backing your data up online and it is not very expensive. After all, aren’t your photos and important files priceless? Make a choice on your online backup company of choice and get started today. Then it will start running in the background for you, providing you the peace of mind that the precious memories and data in your digital files will never be lost again.
Now THAT is something to celebrate. Happy World Backup Day!
Other Online Backup Service Reviews
In this article, we review the following online backup services (listed in alphabetical order):
Acronis | ADrive | ASUS Web Storage | Backblaze | BackUp Solutions | Barracuda Backup | Carbonite | Crashplan | Dolly Drive | Elephant Drive | Files Anywhere | iBackup | iDrive | JustCloud | Livedrive | MiMedia | Mozy | MyOtherDrive | MyPCBackup | OpenDrive | PennyBackup | SOS Online Backup | Symantec (Norton) Online Backup
Previously Reviewed: Skadoit!, ZumoDrive (no longer in business)
Acronis True Image Home is a Windows-based service that can recover every piece of data on your entire system.
- 1 Personal Computer License: $29.99/year for standard plan (up to 50 GB) $99.99/year for up to 1 TB
- 3 Personal Computers License: $69.99/year for standard plan (up to 50 GB) $149.99/year for up to 1 TB
- 5 Personal Computers License: $79.99/year for standard plan (up to 50 GB) $159.99/year for up to 1 TB
- Business Plans also available
ADrive is another backup service boasting superior security and storage space. There is also a digital editing feature called “Zoho” that allows you to upload a file and make necessary changes without having to go back and re-upload a newer version of the file. Beyond that, however, there is little to impress in ADrive’s functionality and feature list. ADrive has recently expanded its services to offer a free plan and customer service for paid subscribers.
- Personal (100GB to 20TB): starts at $2.50/month or $25 yearly
- Business (200GB to unlimited): starts at $7/month or $70/yearly
Asus WebStorage excels as a cloud storage space options to keep your files, photos and videos safe.
- 5 GB: free
- 200 GB: $29.99 per year
- 2 TB: $99.99 per year
- 4 TB: $419.99 per year
Back blaze is a newer entry into the field but is gaining traction rapidly. They just released Backblaze 2.0, which has some of the better features we’ve seen in online backup software. Backblaze gives you the ability to back up just about every type of file, including large ISO (DVD backup) images, and entire virtual operating system backups (VMWare, parallels, and other virtual machines).
- Personal (unlimited): $5 per month or $50 yearly
- Business: $5 per month per person/TB or $50 yearly per computer
Backup Solutions is an online backup service designed more for businesses than home users. It offers good security, but is a pricey option when compared to its competition. Uploading and downloading files are easy to do, but there aren’t many impressive administrative tools or other features that allow Backup Solutions to really stand out.
Backup Solutions Pricing
- Unlimited: $99.95/year per computer
- $0.40/GB per month for server backup
Barracuda is an integrated local and offsite data backup best suited for businesses due to the strong feature set paired with the accompanied high startup cost.
- Varies greatly: The entry-level backup service starts at $1199.00/year including hardware
Carbonate is a publicly traded company with a market cap exceeding $200 million. This means they have a lot of money to spend on marketing (i.e. you’ve probably heard of them). Carbonite offers a solid product, but like everything, it has its cons. Carbonite offers customers 5% off 2 year subscriptions and 10% off 3 year subscriptions.
- Personal Basic: $59.99/year per Mac/PC (unlimited)
- Personal Plus: $99.99/year per PC unlimited (external hard drive backup & mirror image backup)
- Personal Prime: $149.99/year per PC unlimited (courier recovery service & automatic video backup)
- Business Pro Basic (250 GB computer only): $269.99/year
- Business Pro Prime (500 GB computer only): $599.99/year
- Business Server Essentials (500 GB server only): $899/year
- Business Server Advanced (500 GB server only): $1,199/year
- Business Pro Bundle (Server and Computer Backup): $1,299.99/year for 500 GB
In Depth Review
Visit our in-depth Carbonite Review.
Crash plan is an online backup service that backs up your data automatically and encrypts all data. Crashplan has no individual file size limits.
- Individual (1 computer): $5.99/month or $59.99 yearly for unlimited
- Family (2-10 computers): $13.99/month or $149.99 yearly for unlimited
- Business: $10/month per user
Dolly Drive is a Mac-only program designed to work with Apple’s Time Machine.
Dolly Drive Pricing
- 14 day trial for personal plans
- Personal starting at $5.00/month or $50/year for for 500 GB (unlimited devices)
- Small Business $300/year for 500 GB, $600/year for 2 TB (unlimited devices)
Elephant Drive offers a user-friendly experience with easy drop and drag file capabilities. However, don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the interface, it’s also a strong and secure online backup service. This system will integrate seamlessly with all your existing computer operations but there are two limitations. They have made some updates and improvements recently by increasing their individual file sharing from 1 GB to 15 GB and now support Linux. ElephantDrive now also runs on Network Attached Systems (NAS) platforms.
Our readers can get 1 TB of storage for $9.95/month, be sure to use our link above.
- Lite: Free for up to 2GB
- Pro: $9.95 for 1,000 GB
- Business: $39.95 for 2,000 GB
Files Anywhere is an online backup service that allows you to access and share your files anywhere, anytime.
Flies Anywhere Pricing
- 1 GB: free
- Personal (20 GB) $4.99/month
- Personal (40 GB) $9.99/month
- Personal (80 GB) $19.99/month
- Personal (100 GB) $24.99/month
- Personal (200 GB) $48.99/month
- Personal (Up to 5 TB): $1,200.99/month
- Business (3 users, 100 GB): $12.00 per user/month
iBackup is easy to use for novice customers. Support is generally addressed through email, and the rate at which iBackup responds to customer inquiries is reported as slow. However, the interface is easy to understand and the security is also top-notch. We were not impressed with the pricing, as most plans cost about $1 per GB of storage, which is much higher than many other products.
- 10 GB: $9.95/month or $99.50 yearly
- 20 GB: $19.95/month or $199.50 yearly
- 50 GB: $49.95/month or $499.50 yearly
- 100 GB: $99.95/month or $999.50 yearly
- 200 GB: $199.95/month or $1999.50 yearly
iDrive is a great choice for online backup service. We were very impressed with its range of tools and users are able to schedule backups however often they want. We also like that home users can connect up to 5 personal computers to one account for one low price. The software boasts a clean interface, and there is quality customer support and help via online chat, telephone or email.
- 5 GB: free
- Personal (1TB): $44.62/year
- Personal (10 TB): $374.62/year
- Business (250 GB): $74.62/year
- Business (500 GB) $149.62/year
- Business (1.25TB): $49.95/month or $374.62/year
- Business (2.5TB): $79.95/month or $599.62/year
- Business (5TB): $149.95/month or $1124.62/year
- Business (12TB): $$299.95/month or $2249.62/year
Note: all pricing is for first year, then slight increase for subsequent years.
JustCloud is simple and easy to learn and use. With both traditional backup and cloud storage, JustCloud constantly backs up all files chosen by the user. This includes all changes made in the editing processes and new files. Although the amount of space for file syncing is limited, the amount of storage space is not. Just Cloud also has a mobile App.
- Home/Pro (up to 75 GB): $10.69/month or $98.28/year
- Premium (up to 250 GB): $11.94/month or $1113.28/year
- Ultimate (up to 1 TB): $14.44/month or $143.28/year
Livedrive is a cloud backup service that has a plan for everyone. It keeps your files safe and available on every device. With unlimited file storage, this is a good option if you have a lot of photos, videos or other large file size data.
- Backup (for 1 computer): $8/month
- Briefcase (for files on all devices, everywhere you go): $16/month
- Pro Suite (unlimited files for up to 5 computers): $25/month
- Business Express (up to 2,000 GB and 3 users): $50/month
- Business Standard (up to 10,000 GB and 10 users): $16-/month
MiMedia is an online backup service that is known for being able to watch and stream your media on demand. Provides an automatic online backup and effortless file sharing. Mi Media also offer 10 GB of storage for free.
- 10 GB: free (no credit card required)
- 500 GB: $7.99/month or $85/year
- 1 TB: $9.99/month or $100/year
- 2 TB: $15.99/month or $160/year
Mozy is an online backup and file sync service. It allows you to use any files you like and access them anywhere. The software is offered in two flavors: Home and Pro. With Pro you can even opt to have your own servers backed up and protected.
Mozy Home Pricing
- 50 GB: $5.99/month (1 computer)
- 125 GB: $9.99/month (3 computers)
Mozy Pro Pricing
- 10 GB: $9.99/month (unlimited computers without servers)
- 50 GB: $19.99/month (unlimited computers without servers)
- 100 GB: $39.99/month (unlimited computers without servers)
- 500 GB: $189.99/month (unlimited computers without servers)
- 1 TB: $379.99/month (unlimited computers without servers)
MyOtherDrive was based in Dayton, Ohio, but discontinued service several years ago so we have removed their review.
MyPCBackup is a low-cost option that uses Amazon S3 data centers for its backup, which is one of the most heavily monitored stations on the internet. MyPCBackup offers low-price incentives for users to pay for long-term storage upfront. If you plan on paying month-to-month, their rates climb rapidly. Additionally, while there are business options available, this service is geared toward individual users, and businesses will pay extremely high rates for syncing multiple computers to one network.
- Home/Pro (up to 75 GB): $10.69/month or $98.28/year
- Premium (up to 250 GB): $11.94/month or $113.28/year
- Ultimate (up to 1 TB): $14.44/month or $143.28/year
OpenDrive is an option for users looking for low monthly costs, and there is even a free version you can download, but the storage space for the free plan is very limited. Available on Windows and Mac systems, OpenDrive offers solid online storage and backup on their own custom servers, which they monitor in-house. There are hidden costs associated with this product, however, if you are looking to sync between multiple users, or use advanced features offered by Open Drive such as hotlinking.
- 5 GB Free
- Custom Home Plan: Starts at $5.00/month (for 500 GB) or $50.00/year
- Unlimited Home Plan: unlimited for $9.95/month or $99 yearly
- Custom Business Plan: Starts at $7.00/month (for 500 GB) or $70.00/year
- Unlimited Business Plan: for $29.95/month or $295 yearly
PennyBackup compresses all of your files to tiny sizes that allow you to maximize your storage space. Unlike many other programs, there is no installation fee, and you can set up PennyBackup on as many computers as you like at no charge and access your files anywhere. Pricing at Penny Backup is dependent on how much storage you are actually using. This can become costly if you have an account with multiple users. You are able to negotiate pricing if you plan on uploading lots of data, but we recommend looking elsewhere if you plan on doing so. There is also no availability on mobile devices.
- $50 per TB
SOS is an online backup service that claims to be ‘The All-In-One Solution To Secure Your Data’. It is a very fast service and offers a Facebook backup. SOS is one of the more popular online backup choices out there. It was selected 5 years running as the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice for online backup, and is also recommended by The New York Times.
SOS Online Backup Pricing
- 50 GB: $4.99/month or $44.99/year
- 100 GB: $7.99/month or $79.99/year
- 150 GB: $9.99/month or $99.99/year
- 250 GB: $12.99/month or $129.99/year
- 500 GB: $20.99/month or $199.99/year
- 1 TB: $39.99/month or $399.99/year
- 5 TB: $159.99/month or $1,599.99/year
- 10 TB: $399.99/month or $2,999.99/year
Symantec by Symantec automatically safeguards your files and documents from loss. It’s a security and backup system in one (and you can’t get one or the other).
- Standard: 1 computer: $69.99/year
- Standard: 5 devices: $89.99/year
- Standard: 10 devices: $109.99/year
Choosing the Right Online Backup Service for Your Business
Research the Company
Choosing the right online backup service for you can feel overwhelming simply because there are so many different aspects to look at with each service. There are currently far more online backup services available than any one person could ever look through in a lifetime. Sometimes it is easier to narrow down choices by criteria. One of the first things you will want to consider is the reputation of the company that owns the service you are looking at. If a company tends to have more negative reviews than positive, try looking into another company’s product to see if it also suits your needs. The good thing about so many different companies offering similar products is that if one company doesn’t have the reputation you are looking for, you can always try another!
Look at Your Wants Versus Needs
As with any purchase, you want to look at what you want from the product versus what you need from the product. A good example of this is if budgeting is a big concern for you. In order to find a company with a product that fits your budget, you may have to look at dropping a few of your “wants” from the backup service. You can always start small and grow bigger but starting bigger and shrinking smaller, with any service, is going to cost you money that you don’t need to spend.
Things To Look for in an Online Backup Service
The best online hard drive backup services offer the following:
- Install easily
- Integrate seamlessly with your operating system
- Don’t slow down your computer while you work
- Securely transmit and store your files online
- The ability to back up network drives and external hard drives, in addition to local hard drives.
- The ability to synchronize data between your backup storage and your local storage. That way backups occur automatically based on file differences (i.e. you don’t have to manually transfer files for backup).
- Store your files in multiple geographic locations for redundancy (i.e. if a snow storm or earthquake destroys a data center, there should be a mirrored backup elsewhere)
- Not conflict with existing software, especially backup software
- Have a high upload speed (this is especially useful when you do your initial backup – our tests show that some services take days longer for a large data load)
- Offer their service at an affordable price (but remember, the cheapest online backup service is not necessarily the best)
- The company should have been in business for some time, and have a strong customer backing and client base (ie. you don’t want them to go under while your important and sensitive files are backed up with them)
Which online backup provider are you using?