- Very easy to use
- Great support
- Flexible backup scheduling
- Cluttered web restore interface
- Sign-up can be confusing
MozyHome is really a hassle-free online backup solution especially if you are about to do your first online backup. For the experienced backup user there are a whole lot of options to adjust the backup routine. However, if you have more than 100GB of data it is probably more advisable to choose a different provider which offers unlimited storage.
Last updated: 14.04.2012
Mozy online backup review
When Mozy was founded back in 2005 very few end users actually thought about backing up their data. Perhaps some people were thinking about backups, but online? No way. However, Mozy was convinced that online backup was going to be on the rise. More and more people are digitizing their data and will eventually have the need to recover all those photos, videos and memories in case of a data loss. Lately, Mozy got quite some negative press because they canceled their unlimited backup plan for $5/month. I guess there were just too many “power users” that backed up huge quantities of data.
Mozy was intended to cater just to the end user and therefore was named MozyHome which still remains the name of their consumer backup solution. Nowadays they also provide a business solution called MozyPro, which offers more features such as 24/7 support and backing up multiple computers. Few people actually know that Mozy belongs to VMware, a top-notch virtualization software. But I think that only interests geeks like me. In this review I’ll focus on MozyHome because I personally own it, and also I think most people are going to go for this version. However, feel free to ask for a MozyPro review – if enough people show interest I’d be glad to review it as well.
For those of you who didn’t already read how I do my reviews of online backup and recovery services, please do so that you know what you can expect here. I try to maintain a similar structure in all of my reviews to make everything comparable and easy for you.
First impression and signing up
Mozy is one of the most popular online backup services on the net. And I’d say there are good reasons for that. My first impression is very positive. Their website is very clean and I know exactly where to start and where to register. They definitely have invested a lot of thought into the layout and general site architecture. I like that. There are multiple paths to sign up with Mozy. You can click on Products (if you want to get more detailed information about what they have to offer) or you can take the easy route and click on sign up, which takes you immediately to their sign-up page. If you like, you can watch a little video where I went step-by-step through the sign-up process to make it as easy as possible for you to understand how that works. Also, you can see that I am a real paying customer of Mozy, so all my reviews are well-researched and base on my long-term experience with those providers. Yes, Mozy offers credit card payments but there is no option to pay via PayPal. I really like paying with PayPal because it is very secure and I don’t have to fiddle around for my credit card and type in a 20-digit number.
- No option to pay via PayPal
How backing up your data with MozyHome works
MozyHome is very straightforward, as you’ve already seen in my video about the sign-up process. Backuping your data online is really easy as well. Let’s take a closer look at the interface that Mozy provides. First off I really recommend you downloading the client, which is a lot better than the online version. But we’ll cover that later. The client is available for Mac and Windows so everybody should be able to install it on their machines. Watch the install video here. You can download the software right after having paid with your credit card or after signing up for the free account, which gives you 2GB of free data storage. Not much, but if you’re unsure if this is the right service provider for you, just test it.
MozyHome’s client interface
Before you can actually use Mozy and backup your data you have to sign in. So an internet connection is required but hey, you wanted online backup and here you get it. Assuming you have an account you just enter your account details and then you can start right away. Although I have a fast machine the client takes its time to load. This could be a little faster for my taste but as I already said I am a Mac user.
I am personally not a big fan of wizards because I like to have full control over what I want the software to do. However, I know that for many users this is going to be very convenient because you basically don’t have to think anymore, and your data backs up almost automatically. You are prompted with a summary of your data, that is, your media files such as videos, emails, pictures and the like. I wouldn’t rely 100% on this, though, because in my testing it wasn’t quite accurate and you could lose some data. And also for the purposes of this review I prepared a test folder with a variety of files which I want to back up and also to be able to compare the different online backup services with each other regarding speed and reliability.
- Wizard is nice for beginners
- Hassle-free online backup
- Little control over your data
- Not 100% accurate identifying your data
The Backup Process
The client is very well structured with a top navigation bar that covers all the main functionalities, no fuzz, just pure backup. It is important to understand two basic concepts here:
- 1. Backup Sets
Backup sets try to automatically detect your data by categorizing it into different file formats. As I mentioned before this can be great for beginners or people who just want to back up their pictures or videos. But it is very inaccurate and doesn’t give you any control. So for me it’s practically useless. And I highly recommend selecting your data manually.
- 2. File System
So, if you’re more advanced and want to have full control over your data, the “File System” is the way to go. You can select and deselect all the data you want.
Notice a very nice detail: at the bottom of the window you have a status bar which tells you exactly how many files you selected to store, how much you have left, and what your overall limit is. In case you run out of space you can purchase additional storage right away from within the software. Neat!
After a long tedious initial backup, Mozy is actually very fast backuping new or changed files thanks to their incremental (Mozy calls it differential) backup routine. So you do not have to back up all your data again, which really would take too much time. Instead it’s just chunks of data that need to be uploaded, which makes the whole process more reliable, easy and FAST!
Backup speed or 6.25 days for 50GB
Backup speed is very difficult to measure and backing up 50GB is going to take days if not weeks. But that’s not Mozy’s fault – it’s mainly limited by your internet connection. I have prepared a little video for you to see how fast (or rather slow) my backup runs. I have 16Mbit/s downspeed and around 1Mbit/s upspeed. Since you want to send data to Mozy it’s the upspeed that’s decisive. Uploading my test data of around 1GB took me 3 hours. I was surprised because Mozy calculates the backup time initially and gives you an estimate; supposedly I was going to have to wait 4 hours.
What does that mean for you? Well, go to speedtest.net, test your speed and compare it to my results. Than you can get an estimate of how long it might take to upload all your data. So if you have a similar line, you can expect for 50GB a whopping 6.25 DAYS! Mozy warns you though, right at the beginning, that it might even take weeks.
You can choose automatic backups, which means Mozy tries to back up your files when your PC is not in use, and you can define some parameters for it to “know” when you are not using the computer. I just feel that these settings do not work very well and I wouldn’t want to rely on that. However, for most people the basic settings will be enough. You can even set it to back up 12 times a day, if you’re hyper-anxious. I wouldn’t recommend that, though. The good thing is that you can also schedule your backup. Say you know you are at work from 9-5 – you can set your computer to back up only within that time frame.
I am friend of multiple backups – that’s why I love the function of also backing up your data automatically to a local drive, so you can be absolutely sure to have your data backed up no matter what. And this is MUCH faster. Automatic backup works flawlessly, absolutely no problem here. You can be sure your data is backed up every time you change something or when the time hits for your scheduled backup.
Recovering your data with Mozy
Recovering your data with Mozy is really easy – as basically everything at Mozy is. You can do full backups or choose just some files to back up, which is extremely useful. Also, you have two options for how your data is recovered. You can let the client restore your data to a selected folder, or Mozy can send you an email with a download link so you can restore your data without having to install the client again in case of a system crash.
So, let’s see how long it took for me to restore my 1GB test data. I was surprised: in less then 5 minutes all my data was completely restored and the download link had been sent to my inbox. Everything was confirmed with emails that I could archive for later use.
Some special recovery problems
OK, I admit this is a special problem and maybe only important for 0.3% of the people reading this. But as a geek I pay close attention to detail. I work on a Macintosh. However, all the reviews you see here are done on a Windows machine because I think most people are Windows users here. So I tried to restore the data I had on this virtual Windows to a folder on my Mac. Unfortunately this didn’t work, and it just showed me an error. I couldn’t find any information about how to solve the problem. I will definitely test this with the other backup providers out there and see if the same error occurs again.
- Various restore methods
- Email updates
- Fast as hell
- Problems restoring from a virtual Windows machine to a Mac
Online Backup Security with Mozy
Online backup security should be a major concern: in the end, your data must be safe. I don’t want anybody to see my data unless I explicitly grant them permission. Mozy’s backup security has always been top-notch and still is. If you want you can just plug and play and you’ll be quite safe. But also you can really geek out and play with some fancy security measures. You can choose a 448bit Blowfish encryption which is the safest you can get. You can get even more secure using your own 256bit private key – but don’t lose it! Or else you won’t be able to recover your data. The bottleneck is obviously the transmission from your computer to Mozy which is a standardized encryption of 128bit. That’s fairly secure and industry standard, so nothing to worry about.
- 448-bit Blowfish encryption
- Option to encrypt with a private key
- 128-bit SSL encryption for data transfer
Recently, Mozy launched its new syncing service called Mozy Stash. If you love and know Dropbox but are a Mozy user you’ll love that feature as it’ll give you the ability to sync files among multiple devices. The that works is that you dedicate space of your backup to your synced folder. So let’s say you have the standard 50GB backup plan you could say, I want 25GB sync and the rest would remain for your backups.
You’ll get all that for $5,99 so it is quite affordable – still. However, if you’re seriously interested in backing up your data with Mozy you might want to consider signing up fast because Mozy still includes Stash for free but they’ll likely change that in future.
If you want to know more about Stash, you can read (and watch) my Mozy Stash video review here.
Ok, for some this is the most important part, I know. Before asking how much is it I want to ask you a question: how much is your data worth? After gauging how much you’d lose if your system crashes, you get a much better idea of what you are willing to pay. Of course you want to pay as little as possible if you are going to use Mozy for home purposes.
I think Mozy has a very affordable price which is currently $5.99/month. You can save 3 months when you sign up for a 2-year plan. I’d highly recommend doing so because I think you can’t go wrong with Mozy. Yes, they got some negative press lately because they restructured a little bit, but for $5.99 I’d rather buy one less triple grande caffè latte at Starbucks a month, and be sure that my data is really secure.
Mozy online backup review summary
Mozy is my absolute winner of all the online backup services I reviewed. I like the ease of use, hassle-free backup, and especially the flexibility I have with it. Also, if I have a problem I can always write an email to support and get an answer within the next 24 hours for sure.
Let’s see all the important specs in a general overview:
- Operating Systems
- Storage Space
- File Versioning
- Free trial
- Overall Rating
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