- Smooth backup and restore
- Great file sharing capabilities
- Full featured free trial
- Backup and restore rather slow
- Windows only
- Scheduling only basic
Acronis True Image Online Backup is a very easy to use online backup solution enhanced by great file sharing capabilities to send backed up files to friends and family. If you don’t need continuous backup and don’t have fancy scheduling needs Acronis might be the perfect online backup service for you. You can sign up for a 250GB 30 day trial for free – so see for yourself if it works for you.
Who is Acronis Online Backup for?
Acronis True Image Online Backup is an easy to use online backup solution. There is no need to digg into menues – once set a schedule it just backs your data up. This kind of ease-of-use comes with a cost: there are fewer options to play around with and customize your backups. However, for the average backup job the schedule and backup options offered should be more than enough. There is, however, no automatic backup. Changes in you files are not detected automatically so you have to push the ‘backup now’ button or just wait for your daily schedule to kick in. With only $4.95 per month for 250GBits a very good bang for your buck and definately one of the cheaper services out there. But let’s digg a little deeper into Acronis True Image online backup.
Acronis Online Backup Review
Acronis Inc., founded in 2001, is a real backup and desaster recovery specialist. Their product portfolio mainly encompasses local backup and recovery software for example the current Acronis Backup and Recovery Suite 10 but lately they also included an online backup solution due to a trend towards cloud computing. They definately have huge experience in the field of software developement and backup routines so I am having quite high expectations into their online backup service.
Acronis True Image Online is, as the name already implies, based on their local imaging software Acronis True Image that creates a bootable image file of your Windows operating system. In 2010 they just added an online backup functionality.
Pricing and Plans
Acronis has a simple one plan policy – you can only select the 250GB version which costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year saving you 2 months. For 250GB this is a very good price though I don’t like the fact that I can’t choose any different plan, say 100GB or even just 50GB like Mozy Home offers. The question is why 250GB? Why not 300 or 500? I think many users will think: well, I don’t need that much GB so I’ll have a look around and see what other providers have to offer. In fact, BackBlaze offers unlimited online backup for only $5 per month. So for just a penny more you get unlimited online backup but perhaps Acronis can come up with some interesting features that can beat that.
The good thing today is that with the majority of providers you don’t have to commit yourself immediately paying a monthy or even an anual fee. Like BackBlaze or SugarSync, Acronis offers a free one month subscription where you can make use of the full 250GB and test whether it fits your needs.
Important facts: Acronis True Image Online Backup
OK, so what are the hard facts you need to know about Acronis online backup? Let’s jot down a quick list of features Acronis offers us:
- 250GB online storage space
- Automatic backup
- Web access to all your backed up data
- Backup up to 5 PCs for free
- Government-approved security, meaning standard AES-256 encryption
These features look really enticing offering more storage space than SOS Online Backup but with a much lower price tag. So in this review we’ll have look at those features and see if everything works as intended.
General impression and signing up for a paid account
The Acronis website is quite loaded with tabs due to the sheer variety of products they offer. There is backup, imaging, virtualization and I am a bit worried that they might be doing too much. I am an advocate for reducing the palette and focus on the important things. But in this Acronis review we’ll see how they manage and integrate online backup into their product portfolio.
When you sign up for Acronis with one of my links you should land automatically on the Acronis True Image Online page where you can find a little overview of what Acronis online backup will do for your.
You can start a free trial for one month without any commitment but with all the features available so you can test the online backup service as you please and later sign up for the paid account. If you already know that Acronis is something for you, you should sign up for a year because you’ll save two months of subscription fees.
In this Acronis review I’ll sign up directly for the paid account to show you that I am a legitimate customer of that product and I know what I am talking about here. You can pay with credit card or with PayPal. I personally love to use PayPal because it is easy and secure.
There is also a nice detail when signing up for Acronis: you can choose whether you want to be billed automatically or if you rather initiate the monthly or anual payments manually. Many online backup services don’t ask – they just do and get their money. I like the flexiblity Acronis shows here.
After my payment has been processed I was redirected to a ‘Thank you for your order’ page where I’d normally expect to download the client software. However, I couldn’t find any there. Instead I needed to click on a link first which would redirect me to my personal account.
I think this could be difficult for some users to understand, besides, the link to your personal account is not very well visible. After that you need to login to your personal account and there you can finally download the client to begin to backup your beloved data. But even in there the download link is very small and tends to be easily overseen. My suggestion is to include a big fat ‘Download Now’ button to make it clearer.
Installing Acronis True Image Online is very easy through their installation wizard. After a double-click on the .exe file just click on ‘Install Acronis True Image Online’ and you’re being guided through the wizard.
Keep in mind that you always need admin rights to perform a correct installation and backup your data. Also, you can decide if you want to participate in Acronis’ Customer Experience Program that helps them to improve their software. I declined because I didn’t have the time but obviously this is your choice.
- Easy installation
- PayPal payment possible
- Full featured free trial
- Cluttered environment
- Hard to find download link
How to backup your data with Acronis?
As a general rule of thumb you want your backups to be as easy as possible. Probably you’re a busy person with a day job and a family and you don’t have much time to really digg deep into a software. And honestly you shouldn’t because there are many online backup services that make it really easy to backup your data. Let’s see how Acronis performs in comparison to other providers:
Backing up your files with Acronis’ software client
You can definately notice that Acronis has vast experience in software developement and they seem to translate it pretty well to their online backup client. Unlike IDrive, the starting screen is not overloaded with options nobody really needs. It feels more like Mozy where you just have to enter you email address and a password they sent you via email. You can, however, set up a proxy for enhanced privacy and security.
I also like the fact they sent your password by email because many people tend to choose insecure passwords like ’123456′ or ‘mommy’ and the like. Obviously you can change the password afterwards but this decreases the likelihood of data theft.
Once you’re logged in you need to select your PC that you want to backup and give it a name. If you’re using multiple machines for your backup I highly recommend giving them different names that you can later on identify easily. As an additional security feature you can choose a private encryption key to protect your data. But beware: don’t lose your private key because without it you’ll never be able to restore your data.
I love the ease-of-use of the step-by-step wizard. Acronis really thought this through. They want to make backup as easy as possible and take even the inexperienced user by the hand to their first backup. In the first step, as mentioned, you choose the machine that you want to backup. In the second step you can choose which files you’d like to backup and set a schedule. The file browser to select your files is self explanatory. Like Mozy or SugarSync you can either manually select your files or rely on ‘categories’ where you let Acronis detect the files that are in the Windows 7 media folders such as images, videos, documents etc… For the purposes of this review I’ll manually select the test folder I prepared with 1GB in files – a mixture of audio and video files and some documents to resemble a typical backup scenario.
The scheduling funcions are quite limited but should suffice for the average user. You can schedule your backups daily, weekly or monthly and set a start time. I like the feature to set a backup event so you can start a backup once user ‘X’ initiates a Windows session. This way you can easily manage multiple user backups. If you don’t want to schedule your backup you can also choose to do them always manually by disabling the scheduler. I wouldn’t recommend this even if you rarely change your backup folder. We’re all human and tend to forget things. It would be horrific if you lost your data just because you forgot to hit that button.
After selecting your files you can choose to backup your files now or later in a couple of hours. That makes sense if you still wanted to make some changes to your files prior to backing them up.
- Easy to use backup wizard
- Private encryption for extra security
- Few scheduling options
- No continous backup
Acronis Online Backup Speed
Backup speed is very important because you want to secure your data fast. Nothing is more frustrating than slow backup servers that force you to wait longer than necessary until your backup is complete. Nevertheless if you plan to backup 100GB or more of data you can expect to wait for a couple of weeks until everything is backed up. In my online backup reviews I always compare the speed of all the providers tested. I have a 1Mbit/s upspeed and on average the backup of 1GB takes around 3 hours. I am aware of the fact that there are certainly other factors affecting backup speed therefore I try to do the backups during the same time during the day to reduce potential fluctuations in network usage.
Acronis True Image Online started backup pretty fast and I was very confident to get my data up in less than 3 hours. However, upload speed plummeted after a couple of minutes. So in the end it took 3:45h to upload my test folder of 1GB in size. Not the best but also not the worst performance. IDrive was a few minutes better with 3:27h but in terms of backup speed Keepit beat them all with a whopping 2:12h.
Acronis client overview
After the backup is complete you’ll get a nice overview of what files you backed up, how much storage space you still have left and also when your next backup is scheduled. From within the client you can also easily restore your files and have a look at the backup options. An nice additional feature is the timeline at the bottom of the client where you can see exactly when was the last backup you performed.
- Good overview in the backup client
- Backup should be faster
How to restore your files with Acronis
Many times already I said that the restore process in one of the most important parts to review in an online backup service. Think about it: imagine you backup your data and everything seems to be fine only to realize later that the restore doesn’t work properly. Fortunately you have me to test the providers before you even have to sign up for the test version. So let’s see if I can recover my test files correctly and quickly from Acronis’ servers. There are two options how you can recover your data. You can either choose a restore within the software client or login into the web client instead if your system crashed entirely and you don’t have time to install the software.
Software client recovery
In the software client you can choose to do a full restore of all your files. Depending on the size of your backup this may take a while. Whenever my PC crashes there are some files I need fast, therefore I like the option to restore individual files. Fortunately, I can do that without any problem with Acronis True Image Online. Just right click on the desired file and select ‘Recover’. That way you can finish that project on time even if your PC crashed.
File versions are stored for the last 45 days. This comes in very handy if you’ve accidently overwritten an important document and need to restore a previous version of your files. I can’t tell you how many times this happended to me. So I bet you’re going to make use of that feature a lot.
I chose to make a full restore of my test folder from within the client software. After clicking on the ‘Recover’ button download started immediately which was a surprise. Other online backup services take much longer to prepare the restore. Unfortunately, the restore process was disappoitingly slow. I have a 16Mbit/s downspeed connection of which Acronis only used a measly 3Mbit/s on average. So, downloading all my files took around an hour. That is a little too long, especially if you compare it with Mozy or SOS Online Backup.
However, all my files have been restored correctly and I could access every file without any problems and that’s the most important part of the whole restore procedure. So be a little patient when working with Acronis. It is well worth it.
Web restore and file sharing with Acronis
With Acronis True Image Online Backup you also have the opportunity to restore and share your data with their web client. This is especially useful if you are for example on vacation and need this one special file urgently, or if you’re in the office and forgot your presentation at home. Just login on the Acronis website click on ‘Online Backup for Home’ which is a little hidden in the left sidebar.
There you can do a full restore right now or select individual files – but remember if you set up a private encryption key you’ll need that one now.
A great feature is that you can share any files that you backed up previously. Just tick the file you want to share and select ‘Create Public Link’. A link is being created that you can share with your friends and family or collegues. Unfortunately you can’t specify the duration of the shared link nor how many times you want to enable the download. These features would enhance the security even more. Links can only be disabled when you don’t need them anymore.
I like the sharing ability because this happened a lot to me that a file I want to send to somebody is either too big for email or too much to upload via FTP. I am sure you’ll like it as well.
- Restore starts fast
- Full restore or individual files
- File sharing included
- Slow overall restore
- Little control over the links shared
Acronis Online Backup Review Summary
One thing is for sure: Acronis is a well established backup and desaster recovery company so you don’t have to worry they suddently disappear and your data is gone. Also, in my testing the software was very stable even while draining my CPU heavily the backup didn’t interfere with the overall performance. If you have a slow machine or internet connection you can save resources by limiting upload speed that is used for backup in the client. I am quite happy with the restore funcionality, however, I’d love to see some speed improvements down the road. Once you’ve tried the file sharing feature you’ll never want to send big files via email.
Let’s have a look at some important Acronis specs
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