The Top Cloud Backup Systems in 2021

Looking for a reliable backup for your home or business?

We tested and evaluated the best solutions available.

This is how we analyzed and ranked them:

  1. We researched extensively the market.
  2. We signed up for the leading service to test them.
  3. We evaluated whether the prices are fair for the features.

Choose the best cloud backup for you from the comparative reviews below. Secure peace of mind.

The Best Cloud Backup Software in 2021

1. IDrive

IDrive is one of the most feature-rich backup services. It works on most devices, has tight security and speed tools, performs different backup types, and offers a free courier service. You can connect as many devices as you need across the board. Best of all, it lets you buy tremendous amounts of storage for affordable prices. A 5TB plan would set you back a mere $51.12/year, which is ridiculously low. FULL REVIEW

  • Fast and Secure
  • Courier Service
  • Unlimited Devices
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IDrive is one of the most feature-rich backup services. It works on most devices, has tight security and speed tools, performs different backup types, and offers a free courier service. You can connect as many devices as you need across the board. Best of all, it lets you buy tremendous amounts of storage for affordable prices. A 5TB plan would set you back a mere $51.12/year, which is ridiculously low. FULL REVIEW

Free version:

Yes

Courier service:

Yes

Ease of use:

Great

Supported platforms:

Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, various server OSs, hypervisors like VMWare, etc.

2. Acronis True Image

Acronis True Image is the absolute king of data security. It protects your data with advanced encryption and by regulating the authenticity of files with blockchain, giving you full control over how you handle backups. The provider has quite decent rates for single-computer backups, starting at $49.99/year. If you value control and security, Acronis True Image is as powerful as it gets. FULL REVIEW

  • Excellent security with blockchain verification
  • Both personal and business use
  • Plans for service providers
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Acronis True Image is the absolute king of data security. It protects your data with advanced encryption and by regulating the authenticity of files with blockchain, giving you full control over how you handle backups. The provider has quite decent rates for single-computer backups, starting at $49.99/year. If you value control and security, Acronis True Image is as powerful as it gets. FULL REVIEW

Free version:

30-day trial

Courier service:

No

Ease of use:

Good

Supported platforms:

Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android

3. Backblaze

Newcomers to the backup world will love Backblaze. The service is one of the easiest to use out there, with a setup that takes only a few minutes. And did we mention you get unlimited storage for a single device? The $6/month price makes it the best service if you want to secure your computer on a budget. FULL REVIEW

  • No storage limit
  • Very cheap
  • Beginner-friendly
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Newcomers to the backup world will love Backblaze. The service is one of the easiest to use out there, with a setup that takes only a few minutes. And did we mention you get unlimited storage for a single device? The $6/month price makes it the best service if you want to secure your computer on a budget. FULL REVIEW

Free version:

15-day trial

Courier service:

Yes

Ease of use:

Great

Supported platforms:

Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

4. CrashPlan

CrashPlan is one of the strongest business backup services. Its robust features and powerful access control make it a great fit for any network admin. The software is well-suited for large networks of employee computers with a host. For the price of $9.99/month per computer, it’s a great-value offer. FULL REVIEW

  • Great privacy
  • Excellent security
  • Unlimited backup
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CrashPlan is one of the strongest business backup services. Its robust features and powerful access control make it a great fit for any network admin. The software is well-suited for large networks of employee computers with a host. For the price of $9.99/month per computer, it’s a great-value offer. FULL REVIEW

Free version:

30-day trial

Courier service:

No

Ease of use:

Great

Supported platforms:

Windows, macOS, Linux

5. Carbonite

Carbonite is an extremely flexible service that can handle anything from a few home computers to multiple server setups. It’s highly secure and covers a ton of remote management features. It’s fantastic if you need to manage many employees or if you’re worried about losing your laptop. With a starting price of $6/month for 3 devices, it’s a solid backup service. FULL REVIEW

  • Easy to set up
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Unlimited backup
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Carbonite is an extremely flexible service that can handle anything from a few home computers to multiple server setups. It’s highly secure and covers a ton of remote management features. It’s fantastic if you need to manage many employees or if you’re worried about losing your laptop. With a starting price of $6/month for 3 devices, it’s a solid backup service. FULL REVIEW

Free version:

15-day trial

Courier service:

Yes

Ease of use:

Great

Supported platforms:

Windows, macOS

6. SpiderOak ONE

If tight security, infinite file retention, and a ton of backup options sound good, SpiderOak ONE might be the right choice for you. The app works extremely smoothly, and the control it offers is well-suited for experienced users. If you want nothing but the best for your home setup, SpiderOak ONE is worth a try. FULL REVIEW

  • Very secure
  • Unlimited versioning
  • Easy to set up
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If tight security, infinite file retention, and a ton of backup options sound good, SpiderOak ONE might be the right choice for you. The app works extremely smoothly, and the control it offers is well-suited for experienced users. If you want nothing but the best for your home setup, SpiderOak ONE is worth a try. FULL REVIEW

Free version:

21-day trial

Courier service:

No

Ease of use:

Great

Supported platforms:

Windows, macOS, Linux

7. Zoolz BigMIND

Zoolz BigMIND sells robust business backups. It’s a fantastic fit if you run numerous computers and use MS-based applications on your servers. BigMIND can secure your entire setup down to the operating systems. And it features granular settings that any network admin would fall in love with. It will set you back only $15/month if you run a single server, which is a great deal for securing unlimited non-server computers. FULL REVIEW

  • Feature-rich
  • Flexible plans
  • Highly secure
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Zoolz BigMIND sells robust business backups. It’s a fantastic fit if you run numerous computers and use MS-based applications on your servers. BigMIND can secure your entire setup down to the operating systems. And it features granular settings that any network admin would fall in love with. It will set you back only $15/month if you run a single server, which is a great deal for securing unlimited non-server computers. FULL REVIEW

Free version:

Yes

Courier service:

No

Ease of use:

Great

Supported platforms:

Windows, macOS, iOS, Android

The Best Cloud Backup Services – Compared & Ranked

Is your data safe, no matter what?

What if your computer gets stolen or your hard drive fails?

Can you recover your precious files?

If you’re not sure, keep reading. We reviewed the best cloud backup systems, which guarantee you can restore your files, whatever happens.

Want to find the best system for your home or business? Here’s how we went about it.

How We Reviewed the Best Cloud Backup Solutions – Our Review Process

A backup system is your lifeline in case of data corruption or loss. If you find yourself in such a scenario, the last thing you want is a backup failing or taking too long. That’s why we make sure we include only the most reliable offsite backup services in our reviews.

Here’s how the review process went:

  • Track relevant solutions – For starters, we continually keep an eye on the market. That way, we know which companies are trending and we can update our reviews with the best-performing providers.
  • Check out offers and user reviews – As you can imagine, the list of all backup providers is quite lengthy. We shortlisted these based on the features they offer and their customers’ experiences.
  • Test the tools – We then signed up for the free version of each cloud backup service to check out their features. We looked for providers that can handle file upload and consistently restore lost data. Any outstanding features were a bonus.
  • Evaluate device support – Clients use different operating systems or external storage devices. And companies usually want a backup service that can take care of any server or virtual machine. A solid backup solution should work with a variety of systems.
  • Assess the ease of use – Solutions with a straightforward system and clean interface scored high in our reviews.
  • Test the supportCloud backup systems might not be quite as technical as cloud hosting services, but you can still encounter problems. We made sure that customer support is fast and that agents can answer questions about the platform.
  • Check the cost – Lastly, we put pricing into the equation. There are plenty of good providers, but they are useless if you can’t afford them. We made sure the deals below are fair and not too pricey for your budget.

You’ll find all that info and more below. Let’s jump right into the online backup service reviews and figure out the top solutions for you.

IDrive
IDrive
IDrive

BEST CLOUD BACKUPS OVERALL

Starting at
$ 51.12 /mo
  • Free version Yes
  • Courier service Yes
  • Ease of use Great
  • Supported platforms Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, servers, hypervisors, etc.
  • Free plan
  • Unlimited devices
  • Great for personal and business use
  • Courier service
  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Affordable rates
  • Easy to use
  • Broad platform support
  • No monthly deals

IDrive has a version for Windows and Mac, as well as Android and iOS apps. You can connect an unlimited number of devices with all backup service plans. You can also secure external drives, NAS devices, virtual machines, and all sorts of servers.

IDrive offers system image backup and allows you to upload pretty much any type of file. With the phone app, you can back up everything from photos to app settings and call logs.

The system offers scheduled, on-demand, and continuous backups. The latter lets you specify when to pause them – handy if you don’t want IDrive to bog down your network connections while you’re on the computer.

The online backup service saves up to 30 versions of altered or deleted files in your account forever, which can be a lifesaver.

Deleted files and past file versions do count toward backup storage. That said, if you use block-level uploads, only altered parts of documents will be stored when reuploading. This means it takes much less space to store multiple versions of the same file.

Block-level saving also speeds up the reupload of altered files. You can further enable multithreading to spend more CPU power for extra speed.

If this isn’t enough, IDrive has a courier service that can deliver a physical drive to your home address. This is fantastic for quick large file transfers. Better yet, it’s free once per year (thrice for business users). This is a massive advantage since most companies charge for this service.

IDrive offers a few relatively uncommon features that go beyond the usual cloud backups. For example, the remote restore option allows you to locate your computer or wipe the data on it remotely – great if you’re worried about misplacing devices. It’s a handy feature, which can save you a few minutes.

With IDrive, you can choose to hold on to your encryption key. The service ensures no one can access your files but yourself, which goes a long way in terms of privacy. Just be mindful not to lose it.

To top it off, you’ll find handy features for file sharing and syncing, although they are typically offered by online storage services.

All things considered, IDrive is one of the best computer backup services in terms of features.

Ease of Use

IDrive’s design might not be very modern, but it’s functional. You can find all the options neatly organized into six distinct tabs. The user interface is clean and easy to use, so you shouldn’t have any trouble backing up or restoring files.

Setting up a backup is also beyond easy. IDrive will take you through your folder structure, and you just need to pick what you want to back up. The wizard even helpfully preselects common locations, like the Pictures folder.

It’s reasonably easy to find and use all the common functions. A few features, like remote data restoration, are not located in the desktop client. But it shouldn’t be hard to find them either – you just have to open the backup service web app.

You’ll likely get the hang of IDrive within minutes.

Pricing

IDrive has three personal plans:

  • Basic – 5GB storage, free
  • IDrive Personal 1 – 5TB storage, starts at $51.12/year, renews at $69.50/year
  • IDrive Personal 2 – 10TB storage, starts at $74.62/year, renews at $99.50/year

The shortest subscription term is one year. You can extend the initial discount by prepaying for two years.

The free plan is great for testing out the file backup service. The other plans are fairly affordable for the massive amount of storage they offer. If you have many devices and want to save all your data, IDrive is one of the best choices.

The system also offers a range of business plans you can check out. These can handle everything from simple office computer backups to large-scale operations with multiple servers.

Verdict

IDrive is packed with useful features, has great plans for personal and business use, and offers excellent storage capacity rates. It’s hands-down the best cloud backup system we found.

Acronis True Image
Acronis True Image
Acronis True Image

BEST SINGLE-DEVICE BACKUPS

Starting at
$ 89.99 /yr
  • Free version 30-day trial
  • Courier service No
  • Ease of use Good
  • Supported platforms Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
  • Very secure
  • Blockchain data fingerprints
  • Affordable for a single computer
  • Easy setup
  • Fast
  • Event-based backups
  • Business service available
  • Pricy for multiple devices

Acronis is one of the leading cybersecurity and backup providers, sporting dozens of awards for its contributions. Acronis True Image, the backup service created by the company, certainly has some big shoes to fill.

Let’s see what Acronis has in store with this one:

Features

Acronis True Image works for Windows and macOS, as well as Android and iOS, which covers most personal devices. You can also back up external drives along with your computer.

You can also use Acronis to connect virtual machines, servers, and all sorts of other devices, but you would have to look into Cyber Backup, its business service. In these online backup service reviews, I’ll focus on the home version. Check out our Acronis review for more info on the other backup plans.

Acronis True Image can do both full-image and granular backups of specific files. You can specify whether you want to upload copied files online or do a hybrid backup to the cloud and a local device. There are convenient options for copying over your system to a different device to resolve errors.

You can do continuous, scheduled, and even advanced event-based backups. For instance, True Image automatically uploads newly connected USB drives to the cloud backup storage. IDrive also offers the option for speed throttling, which you can use to save resources. 

Acronis runs multithreading support and block-level file uploads to speed up the backup process. Unfortunately, there is no courier service, so your only option is to download backups via the internet. Your best bet is to have a local backup copy for quick file restorations and only use the online one as a last resort.

The versioning is fully configurable. You can save as many past file versions as you need, as long as you stay within your storage allotment.

What really takes the cake are the security features of the system. The data backup service runs hardened SSAE-18-certified Tier 4 datacenters. There are AES 256-bit in-transit and at-rest encryptions. And all that is boosted with robust anti-malware protection.

The Premium Acronis plan secures files with blockchain data fingerprints and electronic signatures. This ensures no one can alter your files without your knowledge. Plus, you can present the blockchain data as proof of the age of important documents – for instance, if you need to show a legal contract was signed before a specific date.

Acronis True Image also provides zero-knowledge encryption, ensuring full data privacy. This and many other protection features make Acronis one of the best-protected cloud backup services for home and business users.

Ease of Use

Acronis True Image is pretty straightforward to set up. You can just go with the default settings, and the backup system will work well enough. All key options are visible on the dashboard, so you can easily start uploading files.

Of course, Acronis thought of its more advanced users too. You can go to the options screen and find a ton of complex features. From here, you can change the backup schedule, exclude certain file types from backups, throttle the bandwidth, set up notifications, and much more.

True Image makes it easy to back up a PC to the cloud, but you can also easily minmax the settings if you prefer.

Pricing

There are three Acronis True Image online backup plans. Keep in mind the cheapest one (the Essential plan) is usually only for local backups and doesn’t come with cloud storage.

The Advanced plan comes with 500GB of storage, and the price depends on the number of computers you want to connect (one, three, or five). The one-device deal would cost you $89.99/year.

The Premium plan adds a few more advanced security features and priority support. Its price also depends on the number of computers and the size of the online backup storage (1TB-5TB). The smallest deal here would cost you $124.99/year. You can play around with the calculator on Acronis’s website and see which offer works best.

The cost is reasonable for single-computer backups. Acronis might not be the cheapest provider, but its premium features entirely justify the price tag.

That said, it’s not entirely fair that the provider charges you extra for multiple devices without increasing the storage pool. If you have multiple computers to back up, you might get a better deal with unlimited device cloud backup providers, like IDrive.

Verdict

If you want to put your data behind a near-impenetrable wall, Acronis True Image is your best choice. It’s an absolute beast for single-computer personal backups, and it’s suitable for both beginners and technical users. It’s the most powerful backup service if you have a single device.

Backblaze
Backblaze
Backblaze

MOST AFFORDABLE BACKUPS

Starting at
$ 6 /mo
  • Free version 15-day trial
  • Courier service Yes
  • Ease of use Great
  • Supported platforms Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
  • Very affordable
  • Security features
  • Fast uploads
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Courier service
  • Remote tools
  • Only one device per subscription

Backblaze is becoming increasingly popular for its straightforward and user-friendly interface. But can it compete with the best cloud backup software? Let’s jump right in and see.

Features

Backblaze offers a truly unlimited storage solution, meaning there are no restrictions on the number or size of the files you can upload. The downside is that you can connect only one device per plan.

Desktop clients are available for Windows and Mac. There are no phone backups, but you can use a phone app to view your cloud backup storage and perform simple functions.

Backblaze has solid versioning. Past file versions are saved for up to 30 days by default. You can extend this to one year by paying an extra $2/month. Keeping versions longer than that costs $0.005/month per megabyte of storage required.

You can do continuous backups, which are the safest option for most users. Scheduled backups can be a great asset if you have limited bandwidth. Features like block-level uploads and multithreading ease the strain on the bandwidth and make the online cloud backups faster. 

If you can’t afford to wait for all data to be uploaded or restored, you can get it delivered via FedEx. Backblaze will charge you $99 for a flash drive or $189 for a hard drive.

If this sounds pricy, don’t worry; Backblaze issues a refund if you return the device undamaged. That’s a huge step up from services that charge you and still expect you to return the device (looking at you, Carbonite).

Backblaze is relatively secure too. The file backup service features two-factor authentication and runs а industry-standard encryption protocol.

You can ensure data privacy by keeping your encryption key. However, Backblaze requires you to send your key to restore the data, which is a liability for zero-knowledge encryption. If privacy is essential to you, you might want to choose a provider like IDrive.

With Backblaze, you can locate a missing computer. If you’re worried about someone tampering with your stolen computer, you can perform a remote wipe of all the data. These are fantastic options if you don’t want to leave anything up to chance.

All in all, Backblaze has solid features for single-device online cloud backups.

Ease of Use

Backblaze setup is one of the most straightforward solutions. As soon as you install the software, it automatically selects everything on your computer for a backup. Only a few file types are excluded, like ISOs.

Restorations are just as easy. You just have to pick the right option from the desktop or the web client. The cloud-based backup service takes care of the rest.

If you want to exclude specific files or folders, you would have to deselect them individually. Admittedly, this might annoy many users. On the other hand, Backblaze covers most things in the initial setup, so you barely have to do anything.

Pricing

Backblaze pricing is straightforward. It costs $6 monthly, $60 annually, or $110 biennially. The only other cost to account for is the optional fee for extending the versioning.

The prices are reasonable. If you have a single device and want to ensure its data reliability, it’s one of the top cloud backup solutions.

Verdict

Backblaze is probably the cheapest and easiest service if you have a single computer to connect. It has excellent tools for boosting security and upload speeds. It will secure your data in just a few clicks, and you’ll only have to pay peanuts. It’s one of the best online backup services for home users with a single device.

CrashPlan
CrashPlan
CrashPlan

BEST FOR LARGER OPERATIONS

Starting at
$ 9.99 /mo
  • Free version 30-day trial
  • Courier service No
  • Ease of use Great
  • Supported platforms Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Powerful access controls
  • Unlimited versioning
  • Great security
  • Optional zero-knowledge encryption
  • Easy management
  • No full-image or NAS backups

CrashPlan used to be a standard backup service before abandoning its home plans in 2017. It now focuses solely on its business users and does the job splendidly.

This is what its business backups offer:

Features

CrashPlan supports Windows, macOS, and Linux, making it an excellent fit for nearly all businesses. You can get unlimited storage and negotiate how many devices you’ll connect to the data backup service. The system can export copies locally, but it can’t do full-image backups or access NAS devices. Server and external storage backups are supported, which makes it a tremendous two-in-one solution for many businesses.

The service has robust access control and can set up rules for all connected computers. You can configure backups for each computer or run the same schedule across the board. With device monitoring, you can generate reports on the cloud backups. Some important stats are easily visible in the main web client dashboard.

You can run continuous and scheduled backups, but not on-demand ones. CrashPlan offers advanced throttling controls and block-level saving, which can speed up reuploads of altered files. 

You can access unlimited versioning, and deleted files are retained forever unless you wipe them manually. This, in combination with the unrestricted storage, can guarantee you’ll never lose a file again.

CrashPlan security features include AES 256-bit data encryption protocol, hardened data centers, and two-factor authentication. This alone makes it a secure online backup system.

You can opt for end-to-end encryption. Pretty awesome if you work with private data and don’t want CrashPlan privy to it. The software features HIPAA and GDPR compliance as well, which is a must-have for specific industries.

All in all, you can easily run a business-wide backup system with CrashPlan.

Ease of Use

CrashPlan makes it very easy to get around. The cloud-based backup software is easy to install and set up. The interface is clean, and all tools are easily accessible. 

You can configure every aspect from your own PC. There’s no need to access each client’s computer and configure the system individually. Once you have the app installed on all devices in your establishment, you can easily manage everything from the web client. This includes picking which files to upload, running backups, and restoring files remotely.

The data backup services even let you create client accounts in bulk by uploading info as a TXT file. The entire system is designed to make running backups on a large number of computers effortless.

Pricing

CrashPlan pro costs $9.99/month per device you want to connect. The price is quite reasonable for a business service. There are a few more affordable options if you need to run backups on a smaller scale, but CrashPlan is a perfect fit for most businesses.

Verdict

CrashPlan is one of the best data backup services if you want to use it on numerous computers and servers. The unlimited everything features mean you’ll never have to worry about lacking storage or losing a backup copy. Best of all, the price is reasonable and won’t set your business back too much.

Carbonite
Carbonite
Carbonite

STRAIGHTFORWARD & RELIABLE BACKUPS

Starting at
$ 6 /mo
  • Free version 15-day trial
  • Courier service Yes
  • Ease of use Great
  • Supported platforms Windows, macOS
  • Flexible plans
  • Unlimited storage
  • Fast uploads
  • Courier service
  • Antivirus included
  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Remote tools
  • Convoluted pricing
  • No on-demand backups

Carbonite is one of the most established backup services. It protects over 17 million devices and 100,000 small businesses. What’s more, it has thus far restored a whopping 60 billion files.

Let’s see why it’s so popular and if it’s the best cloud backup provider:

Features

Carbonite offers backup services for Windows and Mac, but not for Linux or mobile devices. It can also back up external hard drives, various servers, and applications like Office 365. You can also do local backups if you’re using one of the more advanced paid plans.

There are three plans that work for desktop computers and laptops. They offer unlimited storage but limit the number of devices you can connect. The three plans work on one, three, or twenty-five computers, respectively. This makes the first two great for personal cloud backup, while the last one can also work for businesses.

The backups can be scheduled or done continuously. There is no option for on-demand backups. It’s a detail most people won’t even notice, but it might annoy some advanced users.

Carbonite saves up to 12 versions of a file, which are only stored for up to two months. Deleted files are removed from backup storage after a month. Both feаtures work, but the retention periods could be longer.

There are a few options used to speed up backup cloud services. Using block-level copying for uploads is one of them, and Carbonite offers it.

If you need to do a quick upload or download, you can have a physical drive delivered anywhere in the US. This costs $99.99 with the two cheaper plans and $9.99 with the more advanced ones. Considering that companies like IDrive offer the same service for free, $99.99 seems very expensive. If you plan to take advantage of drive delivery often, you should consider going for the most advanced plan or picking a different provider.

If security is your primary concern, you should know that Carbonite is a highly secure cloud backup system. It uses industry-standard encryption and includes a free antivirus. If you want to keep your data safe even from Carbonite employees, you can keep your encryption key.

Image backup, device locator, remote wipe, hypervisor support, advanced compression, and failover – all this and more is available to business users. Most admins would love these, though it would be nice if the features were included in the home plans too.

Bottom line – Carbonite has solid features, though a few specific tools would make it rank even higher on our best cloud backup list.

Ease of Use

Carbonite setup takes only a few minutes. Once you install the system, the wizard will take you through all the options. You can go for the recommended settings, automatically creating copies of key document types like docs, PDFs, etc. Alternatively, you can go through the folder system and manually select the files you want to back up.

Performing data restoration is just as easy. You simply pick whether you want to restore all files or just specific ones. It’s probably one of the most straightforward systems you’ll find.

That said, there are some annoying aspects to the online cloud backup software. 

For one, once you leave the wizard, there’s no way to go back to it. The only way to change the files you want back up is to go through your folder system, right-click, and select/deselect them manually.

There are also no deduplication features on the cheaper plans. You might end up with multiple copies of the same file in your backup storage if you’re not paying attention.

There are some file types Carbonite doesn’t back up at all, like EXEs. You also have to manually select each file over 4GB if you want to create a copy in the system. And there’s no automatic cloud backup option for videos on the smallest plan – Carbonite forces you to go through your files one by one.

Improving these features would make Carbonite much easier to use.

Pricing

There are several Carbonite plans to choose from:

  • Home Computer Backup – 1-3 computers, $6/month
  • Basic Computer Backup – 4-25 computers, $24/month
  • Advanced Endpoint Protection – 25+ computers, $34/month
  • Basic Server Backup – Up to 5 servers, 0.5TB-5TB storage, $50/month
  • Advanced Server Protection – 5+ servers, 0.5TB-50+TB storage, $147/month
  • Server Protection – Backs up both desktop computers and servers, $200/month

These are the prices for the online data backup service if paid annually. You can also pay monthly, at slightly higher rates.

Aside from the number and type of supported devices, the plans differ in their features. You would have to go for at least the Basic Computer Backup plan to get external drive backups. Meanwhile, only the two most advanced plans support device location tracking and remote wipe.

You can still get cheap online backup storage, but with restricted features, which doesn’t get Carbonite any extra points.

Verdict

If you want a service that takes minutes to set up and has a reliable set of features, Carbonite is the right choice for you. It can handle everything from single-computer backups to full-on data centers. The pricing is fair, albeit somewhat confusing. Once you dig into the plans, though, you’ll see the service offers something to fit almost anyone.

SpiderOak ONE
SpiderOak ONE
SpiderOak ONE

BEST PERSONAL CLOUD BACKUPS

Starting at
$ 6 /mo
  • Free version 21-day trial
  • Courier service No
  • Ease of use Great
  • Supported platforms Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Unlimited versioning
  • Block-level sync
  • Secure system
  • Easy to use
  • Sort of pricy
  • No mobile, NAS, or server backups

SpiderOak ONE likes to boast about its security tools. It even got recommended by none other than Edward Snowden as a more privacy-oriented alternative to DropBox.

Let’s see if it’s indeed the most secure cloud backup service.

Features

SpiderOak ONE has Windows, macOS, and Linux versions, covering all the major operating systems. The company developed a mobile app but doesn’t offer mobile backup options. There’s also not much else you can back up other than home computers and external drives. You can’t connect servers, NAS devices, or do a system image backup.

The computer backup services enable continuous backups by default. You can set up scheduled backups or throttle resource spending if you have limited bandwidth.

SpiderOak ONE saves all previous versions of your files, even deleted ones, indefinitely. You can wipe the past versions to delete them forever, though they shouldn’t take up too much space if you use block-level saving.

Block-level uploads save bandwidth when you make a minor change to a file and reupload it. Unfortunately, there is no multithreading support, which would make backups even faster.

Now for the much-praised SpiderOak ONE security. The provider boasts industry-standard encryption, a tight password system, and GDPR and HIPAA-compliant servers. Surprisingly, SpiderOak ONE doesn’t feature two-factor authentication, even though every candidate for the best online backup service should have it.

The provider does run zero-knowledge encryption, which is possibly the most significant advantage for data privacy. You can be assured no one but you will have access to your precious data.

The service has sync and sharing capabilities as well. Unfortunately, they are not as sleek as those of a few other providers, like IDrive.

As far as pure backup features go, though, SpiderOak ONE’s performance is satisfactory.

Ease of Use

The SpiderOak ONE version for Windows is definitely the best-integrated one, so you’ll have many options to work with the backups without even opening the app. Still, it works well enough on the other systems too.

Uploading files to the online backup storage is fairly easy. You can go to the view of your folder structure and click a checkbox next to the ones you want to back up.

Performing restorations is just as easy. Find the file/folder you want to download and pick whether to restore it to the original location or somewhere else.

Unfortunately, the mobile version is kind of bland. There’s not much you can do with it, and finding a specific file is extremely difficult.

On top of that, the SpiderOak ONE app doesn’t update automatically for security reasons. Still, it can be annoying having to look for updates and download them from the website.

One nice feature for more experienced users is the SpiderOak CLI. If you feel comfortable with a command line, you can use it to manage the cloud-based backup service much more efficiently.

Pricing

SpiderOak ONE offers a 21-day free trial to test out the service. It comes with more storage than you might expect – 150GB, to be exact. Pretty solid if you want to upload a larger amount of data and see if the provider can handle it.

After that, you can choose one of the paid plans:

  • 150GB – $6/month or $69/year
  • 400GB – $11/month or $115/year
  • 2TB – $14/month or $149/year
  • 5TB – $29/month or $320/year

Although it offers a lot of storage, SpiderOak ONE is kind of pricy compared to other backup providers.

Verdict

SpiderOak ONE is one of the best cloud backup services for personal users. The security is on point, and you get infinite versioning for all your files. The service comes at a somewhat higher price, but it can be worth it if you can afford it.

Zoolz BigMIND
Zoolz BigMIND
Zoolz BigMIND

BEST SMB BACKUPS

Starting at
$ 15 /mo
  • Free version Yes
  • Courier service No
  • Ease of use Great
  • Supported platforms Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
  • Both PC and server backups
  • Cloud-to-cloud functionality
  • Flexible upload optimization
  • Local backups supported
  • AWS infrastructure
  • Easy to use
  • No VM support
  • Only supports scheduled backups
  • Lack of transparency in the past

Zoolz BigMIND Intelligent plans are a top-rated backup service running on AWS. Similarly to CrashPlan, Zoolz used to sell home plans but now offers only a business service.

Here’s what’s included.

Features

BigMIND can back up both regular computers and servers. Each backup service license covers an unlimited number of computers, so your plan should depend entirely on the number of server machines. You can also connect any number of external storage drives or NAS devices. You can do cloud-to-cloud backups from services like Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, and Box.

One downside is that BigMIND only supports Windows and Mac-based computers and Windows servers or MSSQL servers, with no support for virtual machines. This is odd, to say the least, as numerous businesses rely on virtual servers and most servers actually run Linux.

Another disadvantage of Zoolz is that you can only do incremental scheduled backups. They run every two hours by default, but you can change that to 5 minutes or 24 hours. Its throttling, multithreading, and block-level upload features are very flexible, so you get more control than with most other cloud backup solutions.

BigMIND lets you export a local copy for faster restorations. This is especially useful if you use BigMIND cold storage, which makes restorations slower. 

Versioning and deleted file retention are up to you. You can keep past files indefinitely if you purchase enough storage to handle them.

Besides being an online backup service, BigMIND facilitates collaboration. It has awesome options for sharing files between coworkers, secured with share link expiry and password protection.

BigMIND runs on AWS hardware, which is some of the most reliable you’ll find. This is further bolstered by security measures like AES 256-bit encryption and two-factor authentication.

It all amounts to powerful business backups for those running Windows or MSSQL servers.

Ease of Use

Zoolz eases you in, guiding you through all the steps of configuring your backup. With the default settings, standard folders like your desktop and documents will be automatically uploaded.

The interface is average. You should get the hang of it quickly enough, though it’s not very easy on the eyes.

The options for configuring how you backup your PC to the cloud are numerous. It’s fantastic for users that want a lot of control over the solution.

Admins get great user management features. You can invite users via email or batch create accounts. You can view user activity, complete with stats on the backup solution’s status and a set of reports. 

BigMIND features awesome filtering options for uploaded files. You can also search the files by name, a string of text, or tag. The AI system assigns attributes to images based on their content, which makes it one of the best online backups for photos. It also lets you search the content of documents, even scanned ones.

It’s a feature-rich yet a user-friendly solution.

Pricing

Zoolz BigMIND has three personal plans:

  • Starter – 100GB storage, 1 server, 10 users, $15/month
  • Standard – 250GB storage, 10 servers, 100 users, $20/month
  • Premium – 250GB storage, 50 servers, 500 users, $37.5/month
  • Smart Archive – 1TB storage, 50 servers, 500 users, $40/month

The default storage caps are obviously low, but you can add extra according to your needs. 100GB costs $8/month on the Standard plan and $15/month on the Premium one. The Smart Archive service charges $40/month for each additional terabyte of capacity. This makes BigMIND the best online cloud backup solution if you need storage flexibility.

There are other customization options, like adding cold storage, which is cheaper but slower when it comes to file restoration. Your best bet is to check out the plans on the website or consult with a Zoolz sales specialist before you pick a plan.

The rates are okay for the storage capacity they offer. Zoolz is somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of pricing.

One thing that doesn’t really impact the cloud-based backup service today but should be mentioned is Zoolz’s lifetime backup plans. The company used to sell lifetime personal plans for seven years but discontinued them when the COVID-19 crisis started.

This is not a problem per se – businesses sometimes make cutbacks. The issue is that Zoolz also canceled the service for users who had already purchased it and issued no refunds to clients who signed up over a year prior. These questionable business decisions leave a bad taste.

Verdict

Zoolz offers flexible cloud backup for small business owners. If you run a company using MS-based apps like Exchange or SharePoint, you can use BigMIND to handle your entire operation.

Great Cloud Backup Providers That Didn’t Make the Cut

Those were our top picks. Now, let’s see a few solid providers that didn’t make it to the top seven.

Tresorit – Tresorit is one of the most secure storage services. It’s a bit pricey and comes with a few minor limitations. If you do value extra security, though, it’s entirely worth checking out.

Zoolz Backup – This is a separate service by the same developers that are behind BigMIND, and the two cloud backup solutions share similar features. A substantial difference is that Zoolz Backups has end-to-end encryption, which BigMIND does not. The tradeoff is that it’s a lot less flexible and has fewer features. We prefer BigMIND, though Zoolz can work if you need private encryption for your business.

SOS Online Backup – SOS Online Backup is a reliable service, but it’s too expensive by the current market standards. For $4.99/month, you only get 50GB of storage, which is three times less than what you could get with other providers.

Nextiva Drive – Nextiva Drive has the chops to compete for the best cloud backup for small business owners, though it lacks a few features and limits the size of the files you can upload to 4GB. It’s fine if you only use smaller documents, but the hard cap can be an issue for many businesses. 

What Are Cloud Backups and Do I Need Them?

Cloud backup companies offer you space on their servers. You can use this to create a copy of your data and keep it safe. Of course, there is usually an accompanying software that makes uploading and restoring data straightforward and pain-free.

You can upload data from your computer, external storage devices like drives and memory cards, and virtual machines, among others. Some top cloud backup providers even let you do full-image backups that can restore your operating system with all the data and settings.

The purpose of this is to have a duplicate of essential files in case something happens to your original copy. If you drop a pint of beer on your computer, or your hard drive gives out, or your laptop gets stolen, you won’t lose anything (well, except the hardware).

More goes into online backup solutions – like ransomware protection and tools that speed up uploads.

That’s the gist of it, though. Cloud backup storage is a secure place to keep a copy of important data.

That brings us to an important question – do you need cloud backups?

That depends on the individual. If you already have an offsite copy of your files that you update regularly, you’re probably all set.

Most people don’t even have a local copy they can use, let alone one stored remotely. This leaves them open to all kinds of disasters and data loss events. 

If that sounds like you, getting a cloud backup service is probably the fastest and most straightforward way to ensure file integrity. Plus, these services are usually pretty cheap, going for around $5-$10 a month for personal users. That’s barely the price of a few cups of coffee, and it can be a lifesaver when disaster strikes.

If you’re interested, you can check out the current top deals reviewed and ranked above.

How to Choose a Cloud Backup Provider?

Picking a backup provider is easier said than done. There are dozens of companies to look into, some admittedly better than others. And even if a provider is a good fit for one user, it might not be the best cloud backup choice for you.

So how can you be sure you’re getting your money’s worth?

It’s easy! Just follow our checklist, and you’ll easily find the best online backup service for you.

Device Support and Scope

This is by far the most significant factor, as it determines whether you can use a provider at all.

Some backup services focus solely on Windows devices, while others have mobile phone support. Business-oriented companies might offer server or virtual machine backups, or even cloud-to-cloud ones. Then there are providers that let you back up external storage devices like drives and memory cards.

It pays off to think about the devices and operating systems you run. The service you go with should support them.

The number of devices you can connect and the storage capacity are a significant factor too. Buying unlimited online backup storage for a single device is a good choice only if all your data is on one computer. Likewise, you don’t really need the option to connect 50 devices if you use only a few computers.

Take both things into account before settling on a service.

Features

This is an umbrella term that should cover everything you need in such a service. For instance, if you take many photos on your phone, you’ll likely want automatic camera roll backups. Of course, there’s a lot more.

Let’s cover a few big things to look out for when searching for the best computer backup service:

For starters, file versioning is way more important than you might think. Having this feature simply means the backup service stores multiple versions of the same file if it gets updated. This is great protection from ransomware. Even if a compromised version of your file gets uploaded, you can just restore an earlier one and you’ll be good to go. If possible, get a provider with unlimited versioning capabilities.

A system image backup stores everything on your computer, even the OS, its settings, and installed applications. Incredibly useful if you want to do full restorations in the unlikely event of your device getting destroyed or stolen.

Of course, there are many other features a web backup service can offer. Don’t be afraid to look for a company that includes everything you need.

Ease of Use

You should have a service that’s easy to set up and use. This includes a straightforward user interface and preset backup options. Backups and restorations shouldn’t take up a lot of your time. Your best bet is to go for a trial version of the system you want to buy and see if you feel comfortable with it.

Speed

This depends mainly on your internet connection and hardware, but it’s worth looking into. Some cloud backup providers indeed are faster than others.

Apart from raw upload speed (which you can usually test with a free version), there are a few interesting features to look for.

Multithreading lets you use several CPU threads to simultaneously upload multiple files (or multiple parts of one file). It unleashes the power of your CPU to upload files much faster.

Block-level saving uploads modified parts of a file instead of reuploading the whole thing. Your first backup will be the same speed, but all subsequent reuploads will be quicker.

That said, if you have terabytes of data to deliver, you still might need hours or days to finish it.

Some cloud backup solutions, like IDrive, offer a rather innovative solution. They can deliver a physical drive to your house to upload or restore data, which happens much quicker. Once you’re done, you just send the drive back to the provider. Neat, huh?

Security

It’s safe to say you don’t want anybody looking at your private files. So you’ll need a provider that ensures privacy.

To give credit where credit is due, most companies do a great job of encrypting data transfers and run a tight ship when it comes to server security.

That said, the provider still has access to your data. If someone, let’s say the government, requests access, your data won’t be safe.

As you have probably guessed, the best cloud backup companies came up with a solution. Zero-knowledge encryption providers encrypt the data on your own computer before backing it up. Only you have the encryption key and can read the data once it’s back on your computer.

That way, nobody, not even the provider’s server admins, will have access to your files. The downside is that if you lose the encryption key, you won’t be able to access your data.

There are a few even more advanced options, like wiping the data from your device remotely. In case your computer gets stolen, this will erase any files before anyone can access them.

So, if you want to keep your file access privileges to yourself, there are secure online backup options you can go for.

Price

Lastly, take the price into account. Most providers are quite affordable, though this depends on what you need. If you want a robust business solution, it will likely cost you more than a simple 1TB cloud drive. Feel free to price shop a bit and find the company offering the best price for everything you need.

If you’re interested in good-value choices, you can take a look at our top picks above.

Wrap Up

See our picks and choose the best online backup service for 2021 for you. You now know which providers offer the best-value deals as well as what you can get out of a backup solution. Feel free to check out any of the providers above and find the right software for your needs.

FAQ

Which cloud backup is the best?

IDrive is a solid choice for both home and business backups. It can handle everything from basic file backups to complex, large-scale uploads. It’s definitely our top pick, though there’s a lot to say about other top cloud backup services like Acronis, BackBlaze, and SpiderOak ONE. You can check out the details above and see if any of them catch your eye.

What is the most secure way to backup files?

The 3-2-1 backup rule is generally considered the best strategy. It means having three versions of files – two onsite and one offsite. That way, you’ll be able to use the onsite backup copy to restore the primary version of your file quickly. And should some unfortunate even compromise both onsite copies, you’ll have the offsite one to fall back on. If you’re unsure where to store your offsite copy, the online backup providers reviewed above are powerful, reliable, and easy to use.

What is the difference between cloud storage and cloud backup?

The services are similar, though not exactly the same. Cloud storage is an extension of your computer storage. It is easily accessible from multiple devices and usually lets you work on contained files. Online cloud backups replicate the files on your computer so you can restore them if something happens. You can use cloud storage to back up files, sure. Still, dedicated backup services usually have measures to protect you from ransomware and keep the original file structure. In other words, it would take a lot more manual work to use a storage service as a backup.

What is the best free cloud backup service?

There are a few good options, though free services usually don’t include much storage. For instance, IDrive is an excellent data backup service, but the free plan only covers 5GB of storage. If you need more than that, Google Drive has 15GB of storage, but its backup features are more limited.

What is cloud backup?

A cloud backup is a service used to store a copy of your important files on the provider’s servers for safekeeping. The “cloud” part simply means the servers run virtualized infrastructure, making the system more reliable. In simple words, you can upload files and later restore them to your computer if you accidentally lose them or something happens to your device. Having a regular backup is good practice to avoid data loss, and the best cloud backup companies give you an easy way to do this. If you’d like to know more, you can take a look at the best solutions above.