(For an enterprise solution, check out Data Backup Technology.)
Online backup services can be a great, great way of keeping your data secure. Sure, you could buy a 300 gig’er hard drive from Best Buy and use it, but nothing beats having a copy of a file directly on the Internet — it’s accessible from anywhere, and you never have to worry about waking up to find your hard drive corrupt. With broadband speeds increasing, it’s also getting faster and faster, and there is no doubt it’ll eventually be the preferred option for backing up data.
So what exactly is online backup? As opposed to online storage (which has its own set of services), it’s simply letting a software/web service model automatically backup your data over the Internet so you never have to worry about doing it — that is of course, until you lose it, in which case it’s a simple one-click-restore. We reviewed, tested, and played around with a whole set of online backup services, and out of the ones we liked, here are the top 5 — all with a guarantee to save your life!
5GB – free
50GB – $9.95/per month
Xdrive is the strongest option on this list. It features a reasonable and affordable pricing plan (that is, should you need more than 5GB), and its software is truly more evolved, lag-free, bug-free, tightly-integrated, not to mention a tad more beautiful than some of the other options. Also, it include a number of cool features that you won’t find elsewhere — such as the ability to navigate your Xdrive file-system on your PDA. Oh, did we mention? It’s owned by AOL, so you probably won’t ever have to worry about losing your data.
2GB – free
Unlimited GB – $4.95/month
When it comes to Mozy, unlike some of the others, the software is small, unobtrusive and does not lag. It’s one of the most affordable options on this list (including the awesome 2GB free plan), and very feature-intensive (check out the chart on their homepage). Overall, we like Mozy, but to beat the top underdog they’d need more free storage and a number of cool features that extend beyond what can be plotted on a chart.
250MB – $4.95/month
1GB – $14.95/month
10GB – $64.95/month
We were able to try backup.com on a 30 day trial. In the software end, backup.com does an impressive job. It isn’t too processor intensive, and presents a clean look and feel. One downside to backup.com is the absence of a free plan and the high, high cost of storage — their plans are priced like it’s 2002! On the other hand, you get what you pay for, and we did find their customer support service to be responsive and caring. If you’re the person who likes to get what he pays for and no strings attached, backup.com is probably your best solution.
A limited free version of Carbonite would be a great thing. The service offers one of the best pricing plans out of the ones we reviewed, but there is a major downside — the software is bulky and slow. The configuration window is laggy, big, and has an unnecessary picture of a person in a hammock. Additionally, we encountered some problems with server downtime on their end during testing. If all you’re looking for is storage (for example, a large video editing project), Carbonite will be your best option.
5GB to 300GB – Variable.
In terms of an automated, never-having-to-care-about-anything online backup solution, BackupRight does its job and very well so. A little worrying, though, is their pricing plan, which starts at $9.99/per month for 5GB storage, what some of the others on this list give for free. In the software end, BackupRight holds strong, but is probably not the best on this list. Running Windows Vista, we ran across a few issues here and there. BackupRight offers a choppy service with a bad pricing plan, but it makes up for it on the super-automated-backing-up side. For superbly automated, BackuRight is your best bet.
Did we miss a good one? Feel free to post it in the comments section. Also, we’d love to know about your preferred backing up solution.