There are a few common practices for configuring when backups occur. The most common option is on a fixed schedule, such as once a day, week, or month. The second, which we prefer, is to upload file changes whenever they're changed and saved, otherwise known as a continuous backup setting. Services only transfer the modified part of the file in this scenario, so as not to overburden your internet connection or take up unnecessary storage. A third way is simply to upload files manually. Some may appreciate this degree of control, but this method is only effective if you remember to regularly run the backup.
If you're backing up your data but you're not saving it offsite, you're putting it at risk. If something happens to your home or electronics, all that data could be lost. That's why there are tons of affordable, easy-to-use online backup services that you can send your data to seamlessly for safe keeping. This week we're going to look at five of the best, based on your nominations.
Backblaze earned praise from many of you for being easy to set up, even for non-technical people. It's built for people who want to get their data backed up, without being forced to search for error codes and cryptic status messages whenever something goes wrong. To that point, Backblaze backs up just about everything on your system. You get some control over what's backed up and what isn't, but the point is to be fast, easy, and hands-off, so everything on your system—documents, music, video, external drives you have plugged in, just about anything. Instead of telling what they do back up, Backblaze actually has a special page dedicated to what they don't back up instead. Backblaze offers unlimited storage for your backed up data, and while by default it only backs up files smaller than 4GB, you can bump that up if you need to. Like other online backup services, it runs in the background, backing up your data all the time (or when you schedule it to, if you prefer), and your data is encrypted so only you have access to it. It supports Windows and OS X, and is smart enough to de-dupe data, do incremental backups, and keep backup processes low on system resources. You can read more about Backblaze's features here.
It may take some time depending on the number of files you have and the total size. You can use the "Email me when done" option to get notified once the archival completes. You can then download the created archive locally. Make sure to download it to your Google Drive shared folder or copy it there after download so it gets synced and backed up in the cloud.
Many services also offer a feature called versioning. This saves incremental changes you make to files as recoverable snapshots of the file. It's useful in case you need to get back information from an earlier version or if your latest file save becomes corrupted. Services vary widely in how many versions they keep and how long they're saved. Best-in-class services, such as SOS Online Backup and SpiderOak ONE keep an unlimited number of file versions forever.
CrashPlan is completely free if you're just doing local backups, but even online backups are affordable, with CrashPlan+ accounts starting at $2/mo (per computer) for 10GB of online backup storage, and going up to $4/mo (per computer) for unlimited online backup storage and $9/mo for unlimited online backup storage for a whole household. You can check out their plans here, and try them free for 30 days with a new account.
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