Photo: jon_a_ross via Flickr
Choosing a backup solution for your computer can be daunting to say the least, but it’s World Backup Day so now’s the time to pick a service and go with it.Secure your files and secure some peace of mind using these online services in case your hard drive crashes, your computer gets stolen, or other misfortunes rob you of your precious data.
When you’re picking a backup service, make sure you keep in mind a few things:
- Will you be accessing files from a mobile device?
- Will you be sharing files you have stored in the cloud?
- How many computers do you want to backup and keep in sync?
- How many GBs per month do you need, and how much encryption do you need?
- Do you want a monthly plan or a yearly plan? Yearly plans are much better values, but we’ll assume for now that you want a monthly plan to try out the service.
Note: most of these services come with a free variety that offers 2-5 GB, but we’ll assume that you have in excess of 5GB on your home computer.
SOS is an expensive but terrific online backup tool. For $9.95 per month, you'll get 50GB of online storage that can be utilized by up to five computers, as well as great software that constantly monitors file changes.
You can access your backed up files from a browser or the useful iOS and Android apps. One killer feature is the ability to roll back to any version of a file you've backed up.
SOS also provides an excellent array of video tutorials to show you exactly how to backup the things that matter most.
Best Offer: $9.95 per month for 50GB backup on up to five computers
CrashPlan is a great backup solution, offering several unique features like 448-bit encryption (whoa), multi-destination backup that monitors files across multiple computers, and the ability to backup files across any operating system types.
For example, if you have Windows and Mac computers at home, you can use CrashPlan to have backup and restore to either computer. Or, you can backup your files to a remote computer at a friend's house.
CrashPlan selectively backs up files to several places, depending on how you customise it.
Best Offer: CrashPlan+ Unlimited is $5.00 per month for unlimited online backups for one computer
Mozy is not the most well-reviewed backup service, but they're hoping to change that with a brand new mobile app
Mozy Home is notorious for being unreliable, and they just forced their customers off unlimited plans and raised prices in February.
A new app released today, however, has some nice features like sharing files via social networks.
Mozy offers some tempting features like bandwidth-throttling for backups, version support (snapshots of files up to a month in the past), and several restore options in case you lose your data.
Best Offer: $9.99 per month for 125GB of backups across three computers
Windows 7's Backup and Restore allows you to easily backup data to DVDs, hard disks, or network drives, and there's not much else to it.
You can choose a schedule to set how often Windows backs up your files. One caveat is that you'll need Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate to back up to a network drive, which seems a bit stingy to us on Microsoft's part.
Either way, this application is an easy and free way to backup.
Best Offer: free on your Windows 7 PC
Carbonite is very reliable and has most online backup features you could ask for, but doesn't offer file sharing like many backup solutions.
Carbonite's claim to fame is unlimited backup storage for $54.95 per year. You can access your files online or through mobile apps, but desktop support for Mac isn't very polished.
Best Offer: $54.95 per year for unlimited backup on one computer
We loved SugarSync's ability to keep files in sync between computers, and we love the music streaming services using the official app.
With SugarSync, you have tons of options for syncing specific folders on your computer, and sharing them using the mobile app, desktop application, or online application.
Best Offer: $9.99 per month for 60GB for multiple computers and devices
BackBlaze bets on simplicity.
Some advanced options include user-controlled upload throttling so you don't use up all your bandwidth. A great feature, considering some backup services do this without telling you to save themselves bandwidth.
If you ever lose your data, downloading 100GB of stuff onto a new computer could take a while. BackBlaze will email you DVDs containing all of your data (but it's going to cost you $99.99), or you can download it all from their web server.
Best Offer: $5.00 per month for unlimited use on one computer
Time Machine comes free with your Mac, and enables you to backup all of your important files to an external drive on your network.
The best feature of Time Machine is the ability to go back to a specific date and see how your computer and files looked on that day (in case you deleted something). Time Machine updates file changes on the hour.
Best Offer: free with your Mac
iDrive is another backup solution with a great price, but this one also includes mobile access to your files.
iDrive also offers incremental and automatic backups whenever parts of files or folders are changed. Another great feature is that nothing ever gets deleted from your iDrive unless you say so.
This feature enables you to go back and find lost files if need be, without having to worry about it. Version-syncing is also included, which allows you to find files as they were up to a month ago.
Best Offer: $4.95 for 150GB on one computer
OpenDrive allows you to build a custom backup plan depending on how much bandwidth and how many GBs you need
OpenDrive's customisation options put it at the front of the pack, because you can pay for exactly how much you want.
OpenDrive also offers features like file sharing and an online document-editing suite for collaboration.
We were able to set up a backup account for only $8.00 per month that includes 250GB of storage, 25GB of downloads/uploads per day, 5 users, and a cap for file sizes at 3GB or less.
Best Offer: You decide on opendrive.com