Not so long ago, some Redditors thought that World Backup Day would be a good idea. It is, and since last year was a success, the 31st of March will play host to storage shenanegans, teaching people the importance of making a copy of their data before it’s too late and potentially expensive.
Obviously, using an external hard drive, burning a DVD or even just putting important documents on a floppy disk (some people still do that, amazingly) are your first ports of call, but what if you’re in need of some off-site storage or are just too damned impatient for a delivery of storage media from Amazon? That’s where online backups come into play.
Here’s 5 fairly cheap services that will allow you to store the important stuff for free or a reasonable cost…
One of the bigger names in online backup solutions, Carbonite has been around since 2006 and offers unlimited backup capacity for $59 per year.
Their software backs up everything automatically except video, files larger than 4GB, programs and the OS itself. Anything outside of this has to be backed up manually. There’s the option to backup an external hard drive and the OS and software if you go for their HomePlus and HomePremier offerings.
They even keep backups of previous versions of the same file and allows for access from your iPhone or BlackBerry.
The second “Full Backup” solution for this. Pretty much the same as Carbonite in terms of it being a “Set up and forget” solution for $5 a month or $50 a year for unlimited backups.
Their software is fairly similar, except that external drives are included as standard and the file size limitation can be raised from the initial 4GB.
Unlike Carbonite, Backblaze give a few options for restoring your data. Aside from downloading it all, you could pay for a flash drive at $99 or for $199 you’ll get an external hard drive through the post. It’s certainly going to save you a fair bit of time if you have way too much data backed up.
Server Lovers can be happy, as their blog shows off some candid details about their architecture. They can squeeze 45 3Terabyte drives into a single bright red case, which means they can pay as little as $57,000 per Petabyte. That is stupidly cheap and to a greater extent fairly awesome.
A fairly familiar face in the technology scene, Dropbox is effectively the byword for offsite storage.
It’s not a proper backup service like the two above, but it’s certainly something to consider.
Since it offers a free 2Gig option (expandable by referrals) with 50GB/100GB going for $9.99/$19.99 per month or $99/$199 per year, it’s worth a look if only to store an off-site copy of a few important files.
Dropbox’s strong point is from it’s ability to allow you to share and collaborate on files with other people, along with it’s extensive mobile device connectivity. You can’t go that far wrong with it.
Less familiar than Dropbox but fundamentally working the same way, SugarSync is fundamentally a file sharing service with a backup touch to proceedings.
Just like Dropbox, it has an application to install, but where Dropbox only has a single folder it syncs to and from, SugarSync allows you to select other folders to synchronise and backup, and you can sync each folder differently on individual machines. SugarSync also follows the trend in having mobile apps to work with.
SugarSync’s offerings start with a free 5GB, with 30 costing $4.99 per month/$49.99 per year, going up to 500GB for $39.99/$399.99 and insane referrals of up to 10GB per person if they then go onto a paying service.
Lastly, we have Box. On the face of it, the same as Dropbox and SugarSync. But it’s not.
Similar in terms of it being a file sharing and backing up service, but that’s where things stop. For a start, if you want to use a desktop application to sync automatically or to have files larger than 25MB each, you have to shell out $9.99 for 25GB and a 1GB file limit or $19.99 for 50GB. This is kind of a strange business choice when competitors do this even for their free customers, but there’s a good reason why it’s on this list.
If you were to dig into the site a bit, you will find a page containing their current promotions for 50GB accounts. If you were to download their app for one of the listed phones during their offer periods and sign in, the free 5GB limit would be raised to the aforementioned 50GB and the file limit would go up from 25MB to 100MB per item. There’s also methods to map a network drive to the account available with some smart Googling to work around the no-sync-app problem. If you’re able to get the 50GB offer and are prepared to work around the issues, it actually looks pretty good.