Unlimited online backup providers provide the opportunity to back up all your important computer files and, if an accident happens, to rapidly reinstall any that are damaged or missing.
This form of “insurance” for your computer files is of particular importance to those of us running ecommerce businesses, where the loss of essential information could have a serious impact on how our business operates.
The benefits of online backup providers are clear – they allow you to store all your important files in an off-site location so that whatever the problem – be that a computer virus, fire or theft – all you need to do is click a button and your system will be restored to it’s former glory.
That said, finding truly unlimited online backup providers – those that place no limits on the number, size or types of files that you can backup – isn’t the easiest of tasks. Indeed many of the top cloud storage solutions on the market *claim* to offer an unlimited package, but when you dig deeper you find there are infact severe limitations on their offering. Sadly, these are often buried deep in their terms and conditions and aren’t easy to spot.
In light of this, we’ve spent the last week digging through dozens and dozens of competing backup providers to sift out just the handful of cloud storage providers that genuinely offer an unlimited account.
So let’s take a look at the options currently available to you and your business and in doing so try to highlight the differences between them to help you make the best possible decision on exactly which provider is best for your individual situation.
Top Unlimited Online Backup Providers
JustCloud arguably offers the most impressive package of all the unlimited online backup providers. Firstly they offer apps for virtually every device so that you can access all your files from your iPhone, Blackberry, Android Phone, Windows Phone, Kindle or tablet not to mention any internet-connected computer.
In this way you’re not only able to securely back up all your files but furthermore you access them wherever you happen to be – a feature that I have found a godsend when trying to run my business while on the go.
JustCloud also offers continual, automatic backups. You simply select which files and folders you want it to save and then their handy software application goes about storing all your essential documents without you ever having to think about it again. This is in stark contrast to some other online backup providers that expect you to manually upload files whenever you want them backed up.
Another feature I really like is that JustCloud will sync your documents across multiple computers. As an example, if you happen to be working on a document at home and then access it later from the office or from your phone in order to make some changes, next time you log onto your computer at home you’ll find that the document has already updated automatically to the newest version.
Lastly there’s one truly “James Bond” feature worth knowing that you won’t find offered by many other unlimited online backup providers. When you sign up with JustCloud your computer will be regularly talking to the JustCloud servers, so should your computer ever be stolen, JustCloud will even tell you where your computer last accessed the internet and can even take a photo of the thief if your laptop has a webcam built in. How’s that for security?!
I’ve been so impressed with JustCloud myself after reviewing it for another website that I write for that I recently moved from the popular yet rather impractical Dropbox over to a JustCloud account and I’m thrilled to have made the leap.
Handy Tip: If you’re considering taking JustCloud for a test drive, scroll down to the very bottom of their site and locate the “Secret Link” in their footer. By clicking on that link you’ll automatically receive a discount as a new customer which will save you even more money on your account.
Carbonite offers a number of different accounts so it’s easy to it’s easy to get muddled with their offering. Their truly unlimited online backup solution in infact known as their “HomePlus” plan which is currently priced at $99 per computer per year.
It’s clearly not the cheapest option out there and is hampered by the fact that it is only available for PC owners (sorry Mac and Linux) but there are a couple of interesting features that may be worth the cost depending on your situation.
Firstly Carbonite offers the opportunity to back up your external hard drives as well as your main computer. These backups can include not just standard files like documents, photos and videos but also even your operating system, software applications and computer settings. That said, please note that the “non standard” file types can only be backed up to a local hard drive as opposed to the cloud.
Another feature that helps Carbonite to stand out from competing unlimited online backup providers is their “Mirror Image” service which will let you clone your hard drive to another local device thus giving you a perfect on-site replica of your existing computer files. This adds an extra level of security having both an on-site and an off-site backup of your files though is something of a manual process to run.
Backblaze is the easiest of the unlimited online backup providers to get started with thanks to their smart technology and at cover starting from just $5 a month it really offers one of the best deals out there.
The software you receive from Backblaze in order to actually back up your computer will automatically search your hard drive for you and locate files that you might want to save.
In this way you can simply select that you want to save every Word document on your computer and the backup software will find every file of this type and then upload them to your secure storage area. This is a handy feature because so many of us have files scattered all over our hard drives making it easy to miss some. This feature therefore can be a real time saver as well as ensuring you don’t miss any essential files.
Pleasantly, this is one online backup provider that won’t just back up your main computer hard drive but will also back up external drives for you including steady-state hard drives and even USB flash memory sticks. In this way no matter where your data is stored it can be secured and backed up.
Lastly if you ever need to restore your hard drive you’ll know that the process, while easy, can take a long time. Thousands of photos, videos and word processing documents can take hours or even days to transfer back onto your computer over a standard broadband line. This is where Backblaze offers an unusual service in that they will send you a complete copy of your hard drive through the mail if you like, making restoring your system a far swifter and easier proposition.
Crashplan is a very cheap provider of online backup solutions but don’t go thinking that they have compromised on features as a result. For a start, their “Seeded Backup” service saves having your computer connected to the internet for days when initially uploading all your files. Instead, if you prefer, you can utilize Crashplan’s “seed” service whereby they provide you with an additional hard drive, you copy your files across to this and then send it back to them for safe storage.
Crashplan is also the only unlimited online backup provider that we found to allow “storage rules” so you can decide what files and folders are stored where – whether that’s just on your own hard drive, on an external storage device and/or in your secure online storage account.
One final feature that is likely to come in handy time and again is that even if you delete a file off your computer accidentally, Crashplan will store these deleted files for you indefinately meaning you can always restore them – even years after you initially deleted the file in question.
For just $4 per month for a single computer or a multi-user account that covers up to ten computers for just $9 a month Crashplan really is a contender for the best cloud storage provider as they manage to merge impressive features with a low-cost of access.
Livedrive offers a number of different accounts with their Pro Suite being their unlimited online backup offering which covers up to five computers for just £11 per month at the time of writing.
Sadly, besides the fact that Livedrive covers more computers than their competitors there are very few other unique features on offer here. Yes their software will backup PCs or Macs. And yes they offer mobile apps for Windows and Android phones as well as the iPhone, Blackberry Playbook and Kindle Fire.
But many of the features on offer here are less impressive than the other unlimited online backup providers profiled here. For example they only keep deleted files for 30 days and while they do save different versions of the same file incase of accidents this is limited to just 30 versions.
For many instances these limitations may go unnoticed, but bearing in mind the strength of competition in the cloud storage market there seems little point in opting for provider like this when you can get far more for your money elsewhere.