Over the years we at BestTechie have consistently preached about the importance of backing up your data. Today, I want to make our recommendation for the best computer backup service. Before I do that though let me walk you through my current backup setup to give you an idea of what an ideal home backup system should look like.
In my setup, I have two main forms of backup. The first is a local backup that I keep on the premises (in my apartment) and the second is a remote backup that is kept elsewhere (with the backup service provider). I like to have multiple backups for a couple reasons:
- Local backups are subject to natural disasters (including house fires and burglaries). Having a remote backup in addition to a local one means I can sleep sounder at night.
- If you need to restore data from a backup, it’s always nice to have the option to use a local backup over a remote backup. Why? Well, mostly because the data will be restored much faster from your local network than having to download and restore it from a remote server.
So what software/service do I use for my backups? Well, since I have a Mac, I use OS X’s backup software, Time Machine, which backs up my Mac to my Time Capsule (which also acts as my router). If you don’t have a Time Capsule you can use any large external hard drive, ideally it should be at least as big as your computer’s drive. Between Time Machine and the Time Capsule my local backup is taken care of quite nicely. If you use a Windows or Linux PC don’t fret because my recommendation for best computer backup service can do both local and remote backups.
The Recommendation: CrashPlan
CrashPlan is an excellent application to backup your computer(s). Developed by a company called Code42, CrashPlan offers both local and remote backup options. In fact, CrashPlan will do local backups for free. Obviously you will need to provide an external drive or have another computer to hold the backup but you can download CrashPlan for free and use it just for local backups. That being said, I highly recommend you pay the $5/month (or $59.99/year) for the ability to do remote backups that CrashPlan hosts and maintains, safely and securely.
If you pay for the ability to also backup remotely, you are provided with unlimited backup storage space. You also unlock unlimited file versions, the ability to access and restore files from the web, and the ability to use their mobile app to access files. You can find the full free vs. paid product comparison here.
The biggest reason I love CrashPlan is because they do not throttle your connection when uploading your files. This is a very big deal, especially for people who have a lot of data. In the past other backup services would throttle the speed at which you could upload data to their server once you hit a certain amount backed up. I know about this all too well, as I documented in an article I wrote about how after two years of using a backup service it still hadn’t completed my initial backup (due to throttling). That’s when I switched to CrashPlan and haven’t looked back since.
As you can see from the screenshot my current backup hosted on CrashPlan is 1.1TB.
The only thing I’d like to see improved with CrashPlan (but it’s certainly not a deal breaker) is a better user interface for the desktop app.
Do you have any backup recommendations or tips? Leave a comment!