Online backup recommendations?

Who’s using an online backup service? I’ve found Mozy, iDrive, Carbonite, Iron Mountain, and Not to mention a few roll-your-own services like Amazon S3, which in turn is used by Jungle Disk.

Anyone out there actually using one of these services? Any recommendations, advice, cautionary tales to offer?

28 thoughts on “Online backup recommendations?

  1. i use mozy. i have 120GB and growing up there.

    the interface is simple although I would like the ability to view/modify files in current archive. you can view history of archives and that is nice.

    it has a simple interface for throttling but it would be nice to have some intelligence option for it as well.

    there is a limit to the number of times you can have it archive per day. 11 is the highest. that seems relatively close to what i would like.

    when creating setting up your first archive they have some nice predefined archives and they make it easy to find outlook settings and more.

    overall i’m very happy with it and i love knowing that i have inexpensive offsite backup.

  2. I’ve experimented with a few but nothing stuck for long. The problem is I can’t see where I’d fit these services into my backup regime. Are they suited to the rare occasion where I mistakenly wipe an important file or as a store for all my digital life in case a nuke lands in my back yard? I can roll my own setup for general use but I have ti admit that the idea of a total digital vault is appealing … problem is I have way too much data to make this feasible.

  3. Online backup is becoming common these days. It is estimated that 70-75% of all PC’s will be connected to online backup services with in the next decade.

    Thousands of online backup companies exist, from one guy operating in his apartment to fortune 500 companies.

    Choosing the best online backup company will be very confusing and difficult. One website I find very helpful in making a decision to pick an online backup company is:

    Have a look here, too:

    This site lists more than 400 online backup companies in its directory and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis.

  4. I’m using Mozy on my wife’s pc to backup 35GB or so of pictures and videos. I love it so far – just set it and forget it – it seems very solid. I’m experimenting with Jungle Disk on my laptop and have been very pleased with it so far, though it takes some experimenting to get used to the S3 buckets and how everything backs up.

  5. I use Mozy to have an “offsite” backup, in addition to my onsite backups. I think that is the best use of these services, as a “my house burned down” case where other backup media were destroyed.

    I don’t recommend services like this as a sole backup for a couple of reasons:

    It is far easier to restore from a local disk/dvd than hauling data across the internet (or using mail, as is an option with Mozy). Might not apply if you only have a few MB of files.

    I don’t know what would happen you restructure the data on your drive, say you run out of space and decide to move your home movies to another drive/partition. You may need to reupload. I would love to be wrong on this one.

  6. I tried Mozy and while the price is definitely right if you have one home PC, the home version won’t install on a server OS, and the Pro pricing isn’t very enticing.

    I’m now using JungleDisk with Amazon S3, and have been very pleased. For a few $s/month, I’m backing up about 20 GB of data from my server and three PCs, and am able to minimize bandwidth costs via JungleDisk Plus’s block-level uploading. Hopefully the storage costs on S3 come down soon; I haven’t yet added my music collection because the cost/benefit ratio isn’t attractive enough just yet.

  7. I would like someone to explain why companies offer free backup storage. What’s in it for them? (I realize most of the above are pay-for services.)

    I use GMail Drive as an off-site storage device, but that’s not a complete backup system. It’s free.

  8. To address the “house burns down” risk, an alternative to offsite backup is a media safe. (Note that this isn’t the same as a fireproof safe for documents, which typically allows temperatures that’d destroy computer media.) I have a fleet of external USB drives that I use for my “fireproof” backups — one is attached to a server for nightly backups, and the others are in the safe. I rotate them weekly.

    At CES this year I saw some interesting products from Sentry Safe. Some have a USB drive embedded in a small fireproof box; when the house burns down (and the connecting cable is melted), you send it to Sentry, they crack it open, retrieve the data, put it on a new fireproof drive, and send it to you (for free, IIRC). Some of these are pricey, but compare favorably with a year or so of offsite storage fees, and are much more convenient IMO.

  9. I’ve had experience with SOS Online Backup.

    Seems to do the job it’s supposed to do. I’ve only noticed one bug so far, that being I never get notification of it completing a backup job. Otherwise haven’t had any issues with it failing as I check it once a week.

  10. I have a WHS. But Carbonite saved me because I was travelling when my laptop crashed and I couldn’t access the WHS because the Maxtor 1 TB drive on that server died – two bad things happening at the same time.

    I restored all my stuff from Carbonite… Worth it.

  11. Carbonite just works I use it for my home computers…and I have used the restore feature to retrieve one file and all files. It works.

    For Server backups I use Jungle disk, more control than carbonite which is what I need for work and the price cannot be beat.

  12. I use Jungle Disk. The tool is very customizable, which is great for people like me who like to have specific control about what gets backed up and what doesn’t. You pay for the transfer bandwidth, though, so the first backup when you upload ALL your files will cost more than subsequent months when it just updates the files that you change. I’ve been using it for four months and I really like it. Jungle Disk is the way to go.

  13. I’m using my web hosting plan and the FTP client built into my NAS. 300GB (not MB) for $36/year (not month) through

  14. I’m trying drop box – it’s beta aand only has 5Gb but thats enough for me at the moment.

  15. I tried Mozy and it was fine, but for me, the bandwidth numbers just don’t pan out.

    I have a 6 Mbit/s down and 768 Kbit/s up connection to the Internet. I have about 80 GB of data, primarily in photos and music. At 768 Kbit up, I get about 60 KB per second uploads, or about 3.6 MB per minute, 216 MB per hour or about 5 hours per GB. Multiply that out and it would take 400 hours, or more than two full weeks, to upload all my data.

    My download speeds are better. I get about 600 KB per second downloads, which is ten times as fast. Still, the best case scenario is 40 hours of constant downloads to get everything back in a disaster.

    These numbers assume the connection doesn’t go down in the middle of the night, that every bit transfers correctly over 400 hours of uploads, that I don’t have the files I’m backing up open, that I’ll have access to the Internet in a disaster and that my ISP doesn’t slow me down or kick me off due to excessive bandwidth consumption.

    I found it easier to use a software RAID on my file server along with a couple of external drives to store multiple full backups and occasionally rotate off site.

  16. Screw all that stuff. uses Amazon S3 to back up your stuff anywhere. All you pay for is transfer. They even have a higher-speed option for an additional $1 a month. Its really slick, has a WHS addin, and saved my ass more times than I can count.

  17. I’ve been using SugarSync for the last few months and really enjoying it. It is simple, allows access to any of my data anywhere and provides a secure, set-and-forget solution.

  18. Carbonite works for me. Absolutely no problems so far. Customer support has been good if not super-fast.

    Good to see all the usual company partisans, employees, and shills blogging here. Backup space must be hot.


  19. Some of my geekier friends set up secure tunnels (rsync over ssh) to remote locations, which has occurred to me since I’m paying for a sizable web hosting account. However, for now I’m still using Mozy… though I’ve never tried a restore, so I can’t tell you how good it is. Jungle Disk is working on a software refresh – when that comes out in a few months, I’ll revisit it.

  20. I have been using ElephantDrive ( for a few months now. Their client helps you set up backup jobs that backup your data at a configured frequency. Has been working great so far.

    What I like is that in addition to backup, it provides easy access to the files. So I can upload/backup files from home and download them at work or vice versa. Its pretty cheap as well ( 9.95$ per month for Home Edition – unlimited storage).

  21. I have a WHS with 2.8 TB at home, and I use Keep Vault. They offer unlimited space, for $100/year. Their product automatically transfers files from shares I designate, when they change or new ones are added.

    The software is new, and it shows sometimes. They have had some problems, but have worked most of them out. They have anounced an upgrade to their software which should fix most of the problems, due to be released in June.

    Overall, I’d recommend this service as a “fire destroyed the house” solution, espically for large amounts of data (larger than 1 or 2 fireproof safe’s hard drives)

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