Best Online Backup Services

Best Online Backup Services in 2020

If you’re reading this, you have at least one computer that needs to be backed up regularly. Only 9% of us back up our computers daily. But online backup services have made computer and mobile device backup painless and convenient. When your files are safely stored in a remote location, a hard drive failure doesn’t have to be a disaster.

What Are Online Backup Services?

An online backup service copies files from your computer or mobile device to a cloud storage location. If a file is inadvertently deleted or corrupted, a copy can be downloaded from the backup.

In the event of a system or hard drive failure, in many cases, a physical hard drive containing all of your backed up files can be sent to you.

Online backup services are not the same as cloud storage or file-syncing services like Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive. Online backup is intended to automatically protect documents and media files.

It isn’t meant to be used for file-syncing or sharing (though many backup services offer those features).

Which Online Backup Service Is Best?

While each of the online backup services here does essentially the same thing, their options and pricing differ. So what may be best for a large family might not be best for a young solo entrepreneur.

There are also considerations around storage, another area where we may not all have the same needs.

But, there is something on the list for each of us. From the technical tinkerers to those who prefer to set-it-and-forget-it. If you’re lucky, you’ll never have to think about (or need) your computer backups.

But if you ever do need them, you’ll be really glad that you have them.

I mentioned that the services do essentially the same thing, and that’s true. But they vary in how they perform and manage your backups. Some, like Backblaze, will automatically upload every important file.

You don’t have to go through a lengthy or complicated configuration (though that option is available). With others, like IDrive or Acronis True Image, you manually select which files or directories will be backed up.

Some services allow system file backups and will back up files on external or network drives. They all do scheduled backups – daily, weekly, monthly, etc. But some go even further and back up continuously. Meaning any time you change and save a file, the change is uploaded to the backup service.

As you can see, while the services are similar, there are a lot of different moving parts. The best way to decide which is best for you is to see what each service can do. Then you can choose the one that best meets your needs.

That’s what this guide is intended to do…help you make an informed decision.

The online backup services detailed in this article:

  1. IDrive
  2. Backblaze
  3. Acronis True Image
  4. Carbonite Safe
  5. Polarbackup
  6. OpenDrive
  7. SOS Online Backup

A note on the pricing information in this article. Online backup service pricing varies greatly, with multiple options for terms, number of users, and devices covered. Some prices quoted don’t include features or services that are available for additional fees.

We’ve provided pricing basics, but you should check the features and long-term pricing for any backup service you’re considering.

The Best Online Backup Services

1. IDrive

IDrive

IDrive is consistently ranked as the best cloud backup service. It certainly provides the most bang for the buck (in most scenarios), and it’s easy to use. I have to say I found its initial upload speed to be painfully slow. Though in fairness, I’ll point out that most other reviewers have not had the same experience.

If upload speed is an issue, IDrive provides the option to mail them a hard drive for the initial backup. For those who have terabytes of files to backup, that can be a convenient option. The initial upload for a typical computer can take days, even for the fastest online backup service.

Key Benefits of Using IDrive

  • Back up mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
  • Will back up external drives.
  • Retain old copies of files.
  • Snapshots for system recovery available.
  • File-syncing available.
  • Accepts drives by mail for the initial backup.
  • Will mail you a hard drive of your backups if needed for disaster recovery.

IDrive Pricing

  • Free
    • 5 GB of storage.
  • Personal (one user, unlimited computers)
    • 5 TB, $52.12 first year, $104.25 for two years.
    • 10 TB, $74.62 first year, $149.25 for two years.
  • Business (unlimited users, unlimited computers or servers)
    • 250 GB, $74.62 first year, $149.25 for two years.
    • 500 GB, $149.62 the first year, $299.25 for two years.
    • 1.25 TB, $374.62 the first year, $749.25 for two years.

2. Backblaze

Backblaze

Full disclosure, I use Backblaze for our home computers. If this were a personal list of the best online backup services, I’d rank it number one. But even in this (mostly) impartial list, it ranks highly. Because it’s just an all-around good, reliable, easy to use, affordable product.

Backblaze pricing may not be ideal for large families with a lot of devices to back up. However, it may be easiest for them to use. There’s a charge for shipping you a hard drive with your backups, but it’s refunded if you return the drive within 30 days.

Key Benefits of Using Backblaze

  • Unlimited storage.
  • Will back up files of any size.
  • Back up mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
  • Can back up external drives.
  • Retain old copies of files.
  • File-syncing available.
  • Geolocation of lost or stolen computers.
  • Will mail you a hard drive of your backups if needed for disaster recovery.

Backblaze Pricing

  • Per device
    • $6 per month.
    • $60 per year.
    • $110 for two years.

3. Acronis True Image

Acronis True Image

Acronis True Image is a heavy-duty, full-featured cloud backup service. However, it may appeal more to those who need a lot of control over backups. If you don’t mind a bit of a learning curve to get that control, Acronis True Image may be for you.

A useful Acronis feature is the ability to back up locally, to the cloud, or a hybrid combination of both. I really like that option since I like to keep local as well as remote backups.

Key Benefits of Using Acronis True Image

  • Unlimited storage (on some plans).
  • Back up mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
  • Back up external drives.
  • Retain old copies of files.
  • Snapshots for system recovery available (full disk image).
  • File-syncing available.
  • Will mail you a hard drive of your backups if needed for disaster recovery.

Acronis True Image Pricing

All prices are for one computer. Three and five computer options are also available.

  • Essential
    • $49.99 per year.
  • Advanced (adds automatic cloud data replication and Microsoft 365 backups)
    • $69.99 per year, 500 GB of storage.
  • Premium (adds Blockchain file certification, electronic signatures, ability to add up to 5 TB of storage)
    • $99.99 per year, 1 TB of storage.
    • $139.99 per year, 2 TB of storage.
    • $179.99 per year, 3 TB of storage.
    • $219.99 per year, 4 TB of storage.
    • $259.99 per year, 5 TB of storage.

4. Carbonite Safe

Carbonite Safe

For many years, Carbonite was considered the best online backup service. Then again, for many years, Carbonite may have been the only online backup service available to many of us. So it often won by default.

Make no mistake; Carbonite Safe is still a great product. But the competition has taken some of the wind out of Carbonite’s sails.

The interface is comprehensive and easy to use, and the service is reliable. But you’ll pay more for the Carbonite name than most comparable services.

Key Benefits of Using Carbonite Safe

  • Unlimited storage.
  • Back up mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
  • Back up one external drive (on some plans).
  • Retain old copies of files.
  • File-syncing available.
  • Will mail you a hard drive of your backups if needed for disaster recovery (on some plans).

Carbonite Safe Pricing

All prices are per computer per year. Two and three-year options are also available, and you can add as many computers as you like (the price increases for each computer added).

  • Basic
    • $71.99 per year.
  • Plus (adds one external drive backup and automatic video file backups)
    • $111.99 per year.
  • Prime (adds backup drive courier service)
    • $149.99 per year.

5. Polarbackup

Polarbackup

I really like Polarbackup. They’re security freaks, and their storage prices are very low. But the storage prices are low because they use cold storage. Get it? Polarbackup?

What is cold storage? Cold storage is where you put data that doesn’t need to be accessed frequently. And in the event that you do need to access the data, you don’t need it instantly. Or even quickly.

But for home computer backups, something you shouldn’t need frequent or speedy access to, cold storage like Polarbackup can work. It can certainly save you money. In this case, a lot of money.

Check out their lifetime plans. In the world of online backup services, Polarbackup is not the flashiest, most feature-packed choice. But it can be the most affordable.

Like Acronis, Polarbackup will back up locally, to the cloud, or a hybrid combination of both. More full disclosure – I use Polarbackup too, and I would recommend the lifetime plan without reservation for home computer backups.

Remember, it takes a long time to download a backed-up file (think hours, not minutes). But if you can live with that, give Polarbackup a try.

Key Benefits of Using Polarbackup

  • Unlimited storage.
  • Back up external drives.
  • Retain old copies of files.

Polarbackup Pricing

  • Annual (per computer)
    • 1 TB, $24 per year.
    • 2 TB, $42 per year.
    • 5 TB, $71.88 per year.
  • Lifetime (per computer)
    • 1 TB, $39.99 forever.
    • 2 TB, $59.99 forever.
    • 5 TB, $99.99 forever.

6. OpenDrive

OpenDrive

OpenDrive isn’t the biggest name on our list. But it’s reasonably priced and has a solid, workable web interface. Like Polarbackup, it’s not fancy, but it’s fast, and storage is unlimited.

Key Benefits of Using OpenDrive

  • Unlimited storage (on some plans).
  • Retain old copies of files.
  • File-syncing available.

OpenDrive Pricing

All prices are for personal plans. Additional users are available at an additional price. Business and enterprise plans are also available.

  • Free
    • 5 GB of storage.
  • Personal (one user, unlimited computers, unlimited storage, no media libraries or NAS)
    • $99 per year.
  • Custom (one user, unlimited computers or servers, media libraries, and NAS are allowed)
    • 500 GB storage, 25 GB of downloads per day, $50 per year.
    • 1 TB storage, 100 GB of downloads per day, $100 per year.
    • 5 TB storage, 1 TB of downloads per day, $570 per year.
    • Many other custom storage/download combinations are available, up to 100 TB of storage and 5 TB of downloads.

7. SOS Online Backup

SOS Online Backup

SOS Online Backup is a very flexible service, providing a few attractive options like external drive backup, expanded archiving features, and local backup. But like a lot of full-featured services, you may pay a bit more.

Okay, more than a bit more – SOS Online Backup has the highest storage prices of any service on our list. They focus on security, and they have the stats and endorsements to back it up.

But, most online backup services today encrypt files before transferring and storing.

One thing SOS Home offers that most others don’t is a monthly payment option. Which you may need to take advantage of at these prices. 😉

Key Benefits of Using SOS Online Backup

  • Back up mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
  • Will back up external drives.
  • Retain old copies of files (“Save forever” option).
  • File-syncing available.
  • Will mail you a hard drive of your backups if needed for disaster recovery.

SOS Online Backup Pricing

Annual prices are listed for comparison purposes, but SOS offers a monthly payment option as well.

  • SOS Home (up to five computers, unlimited mobile devices)
    • 50 GB, $44.99 per year.
    • 500 GB, $199.99 per year.
    • 1 TB, $399.99 per year.
    • 5 TB, $1599.99 per year.
    • Other storage size options are available, up to 10 TB.
  • SOS Business (unlimited computers and servers)
    • 100 GB, $299.99 per year.
    • 500 GB, $999.99 per year.
    • 1 TB, $1899.99 per year.
    • Other storage size options are available, up to 2 TB.

How Much Is Your Peace of Mind Worth?

When the first online backup services came onto the scene, they were expensive, difficult to configure, and very, very slow. At the time, I thought, “Who needs those headaches? I do my own backups on external drives!”

But my local backups were hit and miss. They ran when I remembered to run them, and on more than one occasion, a backup drive failed.

Another potential issue with local backups is natural or man-made disasters. If your home or apartment is damaged or lost, your local backups will be lost as well. That’s not something any of us likes to think about.

Most of us carry insurance on our cars, homes, and belongings. Think of the cost of an online backup service as a form of life insurance.

I say “life insurance” because so much of our lives are stored on our devices. Banking information, work, contacts, archives, photographs – the list is endless. For better or worse, that’s the way we live now. And most of us would have a hard time recovering from a loss of that data.

I know I would.

If you’ve ever lost a drive that wasn’t backed up, how much would you have paid to get the data back?

That’s a rhetorical question since most of us would pay whatever it took.

While some online backup services may be more pricey than others, none of them are prohibitively expensive. Especially when you consider what they’re protecting and what it would take for you to rebuild that data from scratch. (Which, in most cases, wouldn’t even be possible.)

Give one or more of the services we’ve talked about a try. Find the one that fits your needs, set it up, and rest easy!

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