Best online backup guides and best practices on the web
Choosing an online data backup service is just the first step. You need to take more decisions and need to know more down the road. How often should you backup your data? Are online data backup services secure? Can I sync my data among multiple devices?
With my online backup guides you’ll find answers to all of your questions. If there is anything you want to know drop me a line on Twitter or via email and I’ll certainly get back to you.
Finally it’s here — the one and only guide you’ll need to back up your data. And because it covers a wide range of backup solutions for your files, it doesn’t matter if you have 2GB or several terabytes worth of data to backup — you’re likely to find the solution that’s right for you in this article.
I tried to give an extensive overview of the possibilities without getting too technical so that non-techies can apply these strategies as well. Even so, this guide weighs in at about 7,000 words and roughly one hour of video content. But don’t worry, you don’t have to read it all (although I think you should). You’re more than welcome to jump to the section that mosts interests you.
If you like this backup guide please go ahead and share it on Google+, Facebook, Twitter or even link to it on your own website; any and all help spreading the word to people who might find it useful will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Everybody seems to be talking about the cloud lately. Especially in regards to online storage, new providers are appearing on a daily basis, often offering ridiculous amounts of free storage. The more the price per gigabyte decreases, the stiffer the competition gets and the cheaper we as the consumer get our precious cloud storage — in quantities that would have cost hundreds of dollars a couple of years back.
But all online storage services have something in common: they’re not entirely free. Rather, they follow the ‘freemium‘ business model, where the majority uses the free version of the service while a tiny fraction upgrades to the paid plans available in exchange for more storage, more speed etc. The main difference between services, then, is the amount storage space that they offer of the free side of things. Starting from 1GB and going all the way up to 50GB there are plenty of options to choose from, and which provider is the best for you really depends on your individual preference.
In this article we’ll focus on 10 free cloud storage services that allow you store files in the cloud; it doesn’t matter if it’s for your online portfolio, backup, sharing files with friends and family, or just to keep your bookmarks in sync.
Amazon Cloud Drive
Certainly, there are more services out there, but those listed are the ones that have been around for a while and are unlikely to suddenly disappear. Keep in mind, for the majority of these service you can also find an in-depth review here on Cloudbackuping.com.
The comparison chart
In order to better visualize this comparison, I’ve added a handy chart. You’d make me very happy if you shared it.
It’s now been a month since the release of the highly anticipated Google Drive, and even though Google entered the cloud storage and syncing market quite late, they did so with a solid offer that is very similar to Dropbox: you get 5GB for free (3 GB more than Dropbox), file sync, Google Docs integration, live preview of media files, plus a couple more gimmicks.
If you’re a Dropbox user, you’ll certainly miss the integration with your favorite apps such as 1Password. And although it may not always be this way, only time will show if developers add Google Drive to their apps in the near future. If you want to know more about this service read the review and watch the video guides.
We all know Dropbox, and it’s one of the most successful cloud storage and syncronisiation services out there simply because it works so well. With 2GB of free storage it’ll give you plenty of space for your files. If you’re a student with only a couple of PDFs to read or you need a syncing/sharing service for the occasional paper assignment, 2 gigs will do just fine.
If only Dropbox would add built-in encryption it would be the perfect online storage and file sync solution. Unfortunately, at this time you’ll have to rely on third party providers such as boxcryptor if you want to add an additional layer of security. Still, it’s a great solution, so if you want to learn more about it be sure to read our Dropbox review and watch the instructional videos for a closer look.
Box.com is a true collaboration powerhouse. They do have a free version that’ll give you 5 GB for free, but it obviously comes with a few restrictions: for example, there is no installable desktop app, everything has to be done in your browser.
Even though it is browser only on the free tier, Box feels incredibly fast and its power is especially obvious when working in smaller teams. It doesn’t just offer file storage, it also offers project management in one easy-to-use tool. Considering Box.com for your business? Check out all of the possibilities in our review.
SugarSync is another one of the providers that try to convince people with 5GB of free storage, which is plenty for most people and a full 3GB more than Dropbox offers. SugarSync’s client is also one the most customizable I’ve seen. Overall it is cheaper on the paid side than Dropbox, but the sheer variety of options available could confuse some people.
As several major players have entered the cloud storage market, they’ve instigated a “battle of the giants” of sorts. And with 7GB of free storage, SkyDrive offers the most storage of any of the syncing providers. In addition, SkyDrive obviously has the great advantage of smooth integration with the Office suite, but sadly, that’s about it.
SkyDrive might be the best solution for you if you feel that 5GB of storage is just not enough and you’re not willing to spend a monthly fee. If you’re an existing SkyDrive user, you might be lucky and keep the initial 25 GB for free provided that you uploaded at least 1 file to their servers before their recent update took place.
ADrive is the only candidate in this comparison that doesn’t offer sync. But the biggest difference here is the amount of free storage space: with a whopping 50GB of free storage ADrive will satisfy those users who have a lot data to store but not much money to spend.
50 GB free storage, however, comes with a strong downside: there is no encryption whatsoever to protect you files from data theft. Therefore, I wouldn’t consider ADrive an option for your important files.
ADrive recently revamped their website, which used to look like something out of the 90′s, to appear a lot more modern. The paid tiers are quite expensive, though, with 100GB costing you $13.95 per month. If you think 50GB is the way to go, read our review and watch our instructional videos. They’ll guide you through the process.
Amazon Cloud Drive
Of course we know Amazon because we order our physical goods there. But few people know that Amazon is one of the biggest data infrastructure providers in the world. Through Amazon Cloud Drive, they provide an easy-to-use cloud storage service that connects to their well-known Amazon Simple Storage Service.
With 5GB of free storage it’ll give you plenty of space for your Music and other files. It also integrates well with Amazon’s digital products: in other words, if you purchase music, your songs transfer automatically to your cloud drive without taking up your free storage quota.
Mozy is well known for their solid online backup service. If you sign up, you’ll get 2 GB for free which you can then use in combination with their synchronization servie Mozy Stash. So you don’t necessarily have to use Mozy for backup at all, you could potentially just download the Stash client to all of your devices to get access to your data without paying a cent.
Like ADrive, Mozy’s paid tiers are quite expensive. I would really only recommend this service if you also plan to backup your data, as Mozy also offers thorough file encryption. On the other hand, if your sole purpose is online storage and sync you’re still better off wit a different provider.
Before you start using Mozy, consider reading our review first; it should help you get an idea about how the service works.
Bitcasa promises to revolutionize the cloud storage space by offering unlimited storage and syncing. It’s still in beta, but I decided to include it on this list nonetheless because it might be interesting to some people. In my video review I explained in detail how this service works, and the best thing about it is that it’s currently free. But beware: never use it for important data, as it is still only a beta.
SpiderOak is about one thing: secure zero-knowledge online file storage, backup and sync. If I had to pick the most secure provider it would no doubt be SpiderOak. They actually encrypt the data on your machine so that nobody but yourself can access the data — not even the SpiderOak employees.
You can get a free account with 2GB of storage that’ll let you experience peace of mind knowing that your data is as secure as it gets.
Obviously, there is no “one size fits all” here. The great thing about free cloud storage services is that, well, they’re free — so there’s nothing stopping you from testing them all to see which one fits your needs best. And keep in mind, you could also combine various service to leverage the power of free storage.
A last word of caution however: never ever store your data in one single location. This is very important. Always keep redundant copies of your files in multiple locations so that you can restore them whenever one of these services fail. This doesn’t mean that I don’t trust the services themselves — in fact, most of the time your data will be safer on their servers than in your home — but I’ll never condone the practice of keeping all of your eggs in one basket.
While advancing the cause of cloud applications, cloud service providers are clouded with security issues which constitute a major hurdle to its spread. In a comment appearing on cloud tech, Ian Moyse quoting the results from (Cloud) Adoption and Trends Survey appearing in ‘Cloud Industry Forums, 2011’ states that 64% single out Data security as [...]
The explosion of digital information means that almost everyone has a lot of megabytes or gigabytes of information that needs to be stored. Whether you want to store digital photos, music that you have paid for, videos – both personal and commercial, or documents, you need to be sure that they are easily accessible when [...]
Instagram is a popular photo sharing service for the iOS platform. Essentially, Instagram lets users take photos via their app, choose a custom filter, and upload them to their favorite social networks. While this is great for sharing pictures, what can you do if you want to save them privately to your Dropbox? While this [...]
First of all, congratulations that you decided to perform a backup of your Windows PC. This is the most important step as this could save you thousands of photos, videos and other unfortgettable memories. If you don’t have a backup in place all your data is in severe danger as hard drives fail every 0.3 [...]
When I first had the idea for this website a year ago the ‘cloud-ization’ had already kicked off. Everything seemed to go into the cloud whether it was data, banking, shopping lists – virtually any service or product had its resemblence somewhere in the cloud. Looking at the trend of the word ‘cloud’ in Google [...]
It always happens when you least expect it: you are working on an important presentation for one of your clients or your boss, writing the last bits of your novel that you finally managed to start in your spare time, listening to music or retouching some photos of last year’s holiday – there are endless [...]
The success of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey proves that being effective and meeting your own set of goals is crucial for personal happiness. I loved the idea of the book and read it in one afternoon. Obviously, one thing is reading it, the other is actually taking action – [...]
Its already getting cold in some parts of the world (here in Germany it is already damn freezin’) and people love to be getting together for a hot cup of coffee with friends and family. Christmas is also the time of love. Obviously, there are more pictures taken than during the year. You want to [...]
Data loss can happen any time. The problem is there are very little warning signs that your hard drive is going to fail very soon. Suddenly you wake up, switch on your PC, and nothing will work. If you’re lucky, you are at least going to get a blue screen. But many times it will [...]
Be honest with yourself. How many photos and videos and documents do you store on your PC or Mac? In my case this is over 20 GB. Meaning that basically my whole life is on my Mac. All the beautiful memories of my family, my friends, my colleagues and also all the videos I have [...]
Learn why online file storage is important Have you been asking yourself whether you really need online file storage? I know it can be quite overwhelming because there are hundreds of online backup services. Let’s have a look at a couple of reasons why you might have to consider online file storage. 1. online file [...]
It could happen any day. Your not so new PC finally decides it had enough. You go to turn it on and a DOS dialogue appears on your Windows screen. After hours of attempting to fix it yourself, you give in and pay a telephone technician to tell you what you already know. Your computer [...]
Are online backup services necessary? Think about it, you are a high-tech, plugged in, net savvy, Web surfin’ digital guru in the information age right? You’ve got your entire Beatles album collection ripped to mp3, your cousin’s high school graduation photos scanned and stored on your PC, and you just finished importing all your precious [...]
Before I did my first review on an online backup and recovery service I asked myself what my experience in online backup tells me and what is important to me. Certainly what is important to me is also important to other people, not all of them but I think there are some intersections. Also I [...]
Your data is super sensitive. That’s why it’s so important to point out the issue regarding secure online backup services and what actually makes them “secure”. I already mentioned it in a great article: How to choose an online backup service? When I started backing up my data online (pffew, I think it was back [...]
There are a lot of online backup services on the internet and I think many consumers are going to be overwhelmed by the amount of options one can choose from. So was I. When I wanted to choose a online data backup service for my personal files I had to evaluate cautiously around 50 different [...]