Best Online Backups

By Peter Zaborszky

3 Things You Should Keep In Mind When It Comes To Pricing – 2014 Update

Want to backup your entire life to the cloud? Drink one less cup of Starbucks a month.

Online backups these days are a dime a dozen. A quick Google search on “online backup services” yielded 64.3 million search results. A little bit more digging will get you all sorts of reviews, lists and customers’ stories about different vendors. I tried counting the providers but stopped somewhere after 67 as the list seems to go on and on.

With so many providers come countless options of plans and pricing. Many offer plans for both personal and business uses. Some focus on specific services. Pricing seems to differ based on how much storage they offer, how many computers you can backup to and several other features. But then, there are providers with hidden charges. So in order to clarify common pricing patterns of online backup providers and help you avoid hidden price traps, I have compiled a few important things here.

Storage – What you are getting

There are providers like CrashPlan and Carbonite which provide unlimited storage. Then there are providers like Mozy and Dropbox that only let you backup to a limited space. If you are going with an unlimited storage provider, then you don’t really have to worry about running out of space. But again, many of these providers tend to have other forms of limitations such as the biggest file size you can upload, file type limitations and whatnot.

If you are considering a provider that only offers limited storage space, then you have a few more things to consider. Firstly and obviously, how much space will you need. You can always upgrade later, but then knowing how much storage you need will also let you know the possible expenses down to the decimals. Secondly, you will need to look at available additional storage. Some companies let you purchase as many additional storage space in blocks as you need. With some others, there is actually a maximum limit to how much you can get. Obviously, the higher the storage is, the more expensive it gets.

But beware if you are getting too good of a deal on your storage from an unknown or very new provider. You won’t want to get burned if the company closes shop. Besides, you want to store your data at a credible and reliable company.

Limit – How many computers you can backup from

If there is anything that annoys me more than limited storage, it is this particular limit imposed by some backup companies. Even if you have an unlimited storage plan, you can usually only backup one computer. Yeah, I know. What a bummer! Then there are companies that provide only 50GB of storage but allows backups from multiple computers!

When you buy a backup service, this is one thing you definitely must check for. If you own multiple computers like me (I have three laptops and one desktop), then you will want to consider a service that allows you to backup multiple computers. Then you will also have to consider how much storage each computer will need. If you are like me with a lot of photos, then you will need more than the basic limited storage space. For unlimited storage, CrashPlan is the best to go for now and they also provide CrashPlan+ Family Unlimited which lets you backup from 2 to 10 computers. Other than that, I haven’t really seen other backup providers with a mix of good pricing, unlimited storage and ability to backup multiple computers.

File Limitations

Some online backup companies tend to limit you to backup only your Documents, Music,Photos and Videos folders. Some let you backup other folders but impose restrictions on the file formats you can backup. Then there is a really annoying restriction which limits you from backing up files of a certain size. The size tens to be pretty large, like 1GB and upwards but then if you are a videographer, this limitation will drive you nuts.

Is there any charges for data transfer?

This will not apply to all online backup companies. However, for those that use Amazon S3, they might charge you for data transfer rates and data requests when you want to download a file back from your backups. So far, I have only seen JungleDisk charging something like that if you choose to store your files on Amazon S3. However, if you choose to use Rackspace Cloud as your data storage with JungleDisk, then you will not be charged for any data transfer.

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