Meet Chuck

Chuck once had a very nasty accident with a back-up hard drive and whole lot of critical data. So now he backs up his data online. That has the added bonus of allowing him to access his data wherever he is in the world — and Chuck gets around. And he can synchronise it across machines.

Which is the best online backup service?

February 28, 2010

Want to know which is the best online backup service? Well, I’m afraid, the answer is that it depends. It depends on what you need from online backup. It depends on what kind of computer you have, on how many computers you need to back up, how much data you need to back up, and myriad other details.

Although all the well known back up services work in a similar way — they first back up all the data you want to protect then incrementally upload files that are new or have changed since the last back up according to a schedule specified by you — they all do it, and charge for it, in a slightly different way. And, just as importantly, their method of recovering lost data is unique to them.

There’s no single best solution

So, while there’s no single best online backup solution for everyone, you can make sure that you choose the best online back-up for you. But first you need to identify what you really need. Do you want to back-up one computer or multiple computers? Which operating system(s) do you use?

Although all the well known back up services work in a similar way, they all do it, and charge for it, in a slightly different way.

Do you want to pay a flat rate or a per GB charge? Most services now have an unlimited service which costs around $50-$60 per year. But if you only have a few GB to back-up, a per GB plan, such as Mozy’s Pro service might work better for you.

How much data do you need to protect? If you have 100GB or more to upload, it could take weeks. Look for a service, like Crash Plan, which, if you live in the US, allows you to make your first back up to a hard drive and send it to them to avoid the long wait.

How do you want to retrieve your data? Is a web interface ok? Or would you rather have a disk image in your desktop? If you’re in the US, Mozy will send you a DVD with your data on it which might work better for you.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be in a better position to choose the best online back-up service for you.

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