Comparing the best online backup services

Data security is becoming increasingly important. You do not want to lose important documents, holiday photos, or carefully curated music collections and should therefore create local backups or make use of practical online services just in case you experience a system crash. Backing up data on the internet has several advantages:

  • You can access your data from anywhere in the world, which is especially important for mobile devices
  • The service makes it easy for you to set up regular backups
  • Your files are safely stored in a professional data centre, protected from theft, fire, or other sources of danger
  • If you also have all your data in the cloud, you can be much more relaxed when it comes to ransomware, since your data is safely stored in another location

In recent years, the amount of online backup service providers available has increased. In order to know which of these providers is the right one for you, we will present several, highlight their advantages and disadvantages, and compare the different providers.

1&1 HiDrive

The German hosting provider 1&1 HiDrive offers a cloud solution for your online backup. You can choose between different packages, making it suitable for private use, as well as for businesses. You can choose between packages of 100GB and 2TB, which range in price from £1 a month to £20. Additionally, the different packages have different numbers of users permitted per subscription – the most basic package for £1 a month is a one-user plan, but the pro plan for £20 has up to 10 users permitted.

One of 1&1 HiDrive’s special features is its location. Since the servers are located exclusively in Germany, the data centres also comply with strict German data protection regulations, some of the most advanced in the world. With 1&1 HiDrive, it does not matter where the files come from, their online storage works with PCs and Macs as it is an online platform. It is also possible to access any kind of file, such as Word, Excel and audio and video files. The automated backup function is available on all plans, and on most devices, meaning that you’ll keep your data safe and secure automatically.

Advantages

Disadvantages

✔ Software for multiple computers and mobile devices

✘ No free option

✔ Data centres in Germany

✘ 10 users is the max on the pro plan – you would need more plans for more users

✔ AES Encryption

 

✔ Automatic text recognition for smartphone images

 

✔ Exchange files through shared folders

 

✔ Works with protocols like SFTP, WebDAV, or Git

 

Carbonite

When you choose to back up your data online at Carbonite, you won’t have to think about how much storage space you need. Instead, you select the different packages according to how many and which devices you want to back up. This means that the offer starts with one computer, then several computers, up to complete servers. Carbonite also offers even greater safety for major customers.

Carbonite provides software for Mac and Windows so that online backups can be created smoothly and automatically. The program automatically looks for newly created files within folders that have been added to the monitoring. There are also apps for iOS and Android that you can use to perform your data backup on the Internet.

Advantages

Disadvantages

✔ Software for multiple computers and mobile devices

✘ Only Windows users can create a private key

✔ Encryption with 128-bit Blowfish

✘ Data centre exclusively in the USA

✔ Unlimited storage space

 

✔ Schedule regular backups

 

Blackblaze

Blackblaze also imposes no limits on its users – neither in storage, nor in file size. The vendor has software that either constantly monitors your computer and takes note of all changes directly, or works according to a schedule that you set yourself. This automatically includes all files in the system, so you do not need to specify what you want to back up beforehand. You can also choose the upload speed yourself, or have it adjusted automatically if you don’t want to sacrifice your entire bandwidth for online backup. Blackblaze uses SSL and AES encryption. A two-factor authentication system is also built in.

Two special features make Blackblaze stand out: on the one hand, there are the self-built memory modules called Storage Pods. With the Storage Pods, the company creates their own hardware. The blueprints are open source and are freely available in the Blackblaze blog. Netflix, for example, has also started to build its memory storage units along the lines of Blackblaze. On the other hand, Blackblaze stands out from the cloud backup provider crowd with its method of data recovery. Of course, you can download your data as usual, but Blackblaze also offers to send you data in the form of a 128 GB flash memory or a 4 TB hard drive.  

Advantages

Disadvantages

✔ Software for macOS and Windows

✘ No smartphone backups

✔ Unlimited storage space

✘ Data centre exclusively located in the USA

✔ Scheduled regular backups

 

✔ Encryption with AES

 

✔ Two-factor authentication

 

✔ Own open source hardware

 

✔ Data can also be sent on physical drives

 

✔ Recovering missing or stolen computers

 

IDrive

Despite what the name might suggest, IDrive has no affiliation with Apple products. The US-based company offers users a backup plan that can cover all devices with just one package. However, the required storage capacity for this needs to be selected in advance. In the private sector, you have the choice between 2 and 5 TB. In the unlimited free version, each user already has 5 GB at their disposal.

Software provides Drive for Windows, macOS, Linux (in the business segment), iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. What’s more, the company offers an offline storage option with IDrive Express. Large amounts of data can be stored on an external device that IDrive sends to users without burdening their internet connection. When you have completed the backup, return the device and the company will add the data to the backup online storage. This is particularly suitable for initial backups where the entire system must be stored. In addition, you can purchase an external hard drive (1 or 2 TB) that can be integrated into the Wi-Fi and is suitable for local backups.

Advantages

Disadvantages

✔ Software for multiple computers and mobile devices

✘ Data centres exclusively located in the USA

✔ Offline storage

✘ Memory limitations

✔ Encryption with AES

 

✔ Files can be made available to others

 

✔ Backup of social media accounts

 

Acronis

Acronis offers a backup software for private customers that allows you to organise both local storage and online backup in the provider’s cloud. Between 250 GB and 5 TB are available, depending on what subscription you select. The company is therefore pursuing a 3-2-1 backup. This means that there is triple storage of all data on two different technologies, one of which should be external. For enterprise customers, Acronis even has on-site solutions that can be used in combination with a hybrid disaster recovery service, for example.

For at-home users, the software Acronis True Image also includes active protection against ransomware. A built-in artificial intelligence constantly monitors the system for suspicious activity and can warn you about different blackmail programs. The software also gives you the option of converting a complete backup to a virtual drive, subsequently creating a test environment where you can try out new software.

Advantages

Disadvantages

✔ Software for multiple computers and mobile devices

✘ Memory limitation

✔ Encryption with AES

 

✔ 3-2-1 security

 

✔ Location of the data centre can be freely chosen

 

✔ Active protection against ransomware

 

✔ Testing environments

 

✔ Schedule regular backups

 

SOS Online Backup

The company SOS Online Backup is particularly impressive with its save-forever function. Whilst most vendors remove old versions of files from the backup after one month, SOS keeps all versions forever. However, at SOS, there is a storage limit for private customers (between 50 GB and 10 GB) and you have a cap of 5 desktop computers. Online backups for smartphones are included for an unlimited period and the program can even handle network drives. In the business sector, the range is between 100 GB and 2 TB, but there is no limit to the number of backed up devices and you can even back up data from servers in the cloud.

SOS Online Backup also offers its users a scheduling function to perform backups at specific times. Unlike other providers, however, the system is not constantly monitored. Instead, individual files can be selected and uploaded directly when changes are made.

Advantages

Disadvantages

✔ Software for multiple computers and mobile devices

✘ Data centres outside the EU

✔ Encryption with AES

✘ Memory limitation

✔ Schedule regular backups

 

✔ Files are not regularly deleted from the cloud

 

✔ Network drives can be integrated

 

SugarSync

SugarSync goes beyond a standard online backup service. Aside from online backup, the service helps you synchronise files on all your devices. You select specific folders or have all folders monitored directly and backed up online. Any changes you make locally are also made in the cloud. This makes it possible to start a document on one device and finish it on another. This works with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Since all files are in the cloud, you can easily share them with friends or colleagues.

Individuals with just one user can choose between 100 GB, 250 GB, and 500 GB. Business customers can also register multiple users. Here, the storage capacity starts at 1 TB. All data is stored in the cloud with 256-bit AES and is transmitted exclusively through TLS, as is the case with most providers.

Advantages

Disadvantages

✔ Software for multiple computers and mobile devices

✘ Memory limitation

✔ Multi-device synchronisation

✘ Data centres exclusively in the USA

✔ Encryption with AES

 

✔ Exchange of files through shared folders

 

Cloud backup: vendor comparison

Each of the best online backup services has its advantages and disadvantages. We have summarised the most important information for you so that you can keep an overview.

 

Memory

Price

Encryption

Location

Operating system

1&1 HiDrive

100 GB-210 TB

128-bit AES

Germany

Win, macOS, iOS, Android, Windows Phone

Carbonite

Unlimited

128-bit Blowfish

USA

Win, macOS, iOS, Android

Backblaze

Unlimited

128-bit AES

USA

Win, macOS

IDrive

5 GB-12.5 TB

256-bit AES

USA

Win, macOS, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, (Linux)

Acronis

250 GB-5 TB

256-bit AES

Germany

Win, macOS, iOS, Android

SOS Online Backup

50 GB-10 TB

256-bit AES

Outside the EU

Win, macOS, iOS, Android

SugarSync

from 100 GB

256-bit AES

USA

Win, macOS, iOS, Android, Blackberry