SOS Online Backup Review
- Fast and most reliable backup
- Great customer support
- Intelligent backup
- A little old-fashioned
- No free trial
SOS Online Backup is one of the most reliable and fastest online backup services available, which makes it ideal for your sensitive data. Also, they have great customer support that attends to your needs via email, chat or phone. They even help you through the installation process with a support agent for free.
Who is SOS Online Backup for?
If you are looking for secure, reliable, fast and somewhat conservative online backup, then SOS Online Backup is the way to go. They can rely on their over ten years in this industry and they definitely know what they are doing. SOS Online Backup gives you a great bang for your buck, provided you want to back up more than one PC – Windows PC that is. Because as of September 2011 they are still working on their Mac client. But I am sure once they come out with their Mac client it’s going to be just as reliable as their PC version. However, if you are looking for syncing as well SOS Online Backup won’t be good for you – consider SugarSync instead.
SOS Online Backup Review
Founded in 2001, SOS Online Backup counts on vast experience in the field of online backup. First offering only business solutions, they have now branched out to conquer the consumer market and they are doing so with a bang. New site layout, good user interface and easy data backup is how they pamper new customers – and rightfully so! Competition is stiff, especially with similar offers from companies such as Mozy. As a customer myself, I am looking forward to market diversity as prices fall and more products emerge. In this online backup review we’ll examine the pro’s and cons that come with SOS Online Backup. If you are looking for an online backup service comparison, go ahead and look at my detailed table of online backup services.
SOS Online Backup Price Categories
SOS Online Backup is a pure online backup service – so you’re not going to find fancy syncing functionality or other marketing gimmicks. I personally like when companies specialize and reduce their services to the basics. During my extensive testing I had the feeling that SOS Online Backup does this particularly well. I just found some minor flaws that online backup competitors handled better.
Online Backup from $4.33 per month
First of all the good news: with SOS Online Backup you can backup up to 5 PCs at no additional cost. Other providers do like to charge an extra $2 per PC/month. The “bad” news is that when you decide to pay on a monthly basis instead of every 1, 2 or 3 years you have to pay $9.95/month for 100 GB. If you need less, they offer a 50GB plan for $79.95 per year, but you can’t pay that one on a monthly basis. Don’t worry, though – they have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you don’t like it you’ll get your money back.
First impression and sign-up
Clearly, SOS Online Backup tries to get rid of their “business only” image to tackle the consumer market. Their slogan “Don’t lose your digital memories” goes right into the heart because that’s what we are all afraid of: losing our beloved photos and videos that were taken during that special family vacation in 1998.
Their modern-looking site gives you a great overview of their product. In particular they offer:
- Backup of up to 5 PCs – that’s great if you have multiple machines
- Web Access – absolutely necessary to recover your data from virtually anywhere
- File Sharing – when you want to send a video or a file to a friend, there you go
- Social Backup – Afraid of losing your social media life? Now you can back up your photos that you’ve uploaded to Facebook and other social networks.
These features are all that most people will ever need and in this online backup review I’ll test each and every one of those functionalities to see if everything works flawlessly. In case of data loss, you won’t have the nerve to mess around with complicated software. So we’ll see if it’s really as easy as they say.
Signing up and payment
As you may already know, I want to provide credible and honest reviews. Therefore, I sign up for a paid account to each and every online backup service tested here on Cloudbackuping.com. So let’s have a look at SOS Online Backups sign-up and payment process, shall we?
With SOS Online Backup you have the choice between 50GB and 100GB of online storage space. You can purchase additional storage which would cost the same amount as the base fee. So if you wanted 200GB, it would be 2 x $9.95 per month. I think they could have found more attractive solutions for purchasing extra storage. But 100GB is plenty. So I sign up for the monthly 100GB account as there is no monthly payment option for the 50GB account.
You have to use your credit card, and there is no free trial. However, there is a very generous 30-day money-back guarantee. If you are not very PC savvy, you can get a free expert installation of your backup solution. But it’s really straightforward, and with my videos to help, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Cross platform compatibility
After completing the payment you can directly download the client software. Recently SOS Online Backup updated their software so that you can use it either on your Mac or Windows PC. In this review I’ll test it with a Windows installation.
The whole procedure is well-documented so in case you get stuck along the way there are plenty of guides and video tutorials that’ll help you.
- Easy sign-up process
- Well documented step-by-step guides
- Mac and Windows Client
- No PayPal payment
How to back up your data with SOS Online Backup
Backups can take a long time. The more data you have to back up, the more time it’s going to take. Especially if you are stuck behind a slow internet connection, this will certainly affect your backups as well. What’s important here is your upspeed, meaning how fast you can upload your data to the backup provider’s servers.
I have a 1Mbit/s upstream and my backup always took between 2 and 6 hours. As always, I use my test folder of 1 GB in files that resembles roughly what people might want to backup. Audio files, videos and photos are part of it, with a maximum file size of around 150MB. Some providers cap your limit as per file size. Let’s see what a support rep tells me about file size limits:
OK, good news! If you have some huge raw movie files that you need to upload – no problem with SOS Online Backup. That’s good to know and another reason why $9.95 is definitely worth it.
SOS Online Backup’s Software Client
People who read my website regularly know that I am an evangelist for ‘KISS’ – keeping it simple – (stupid). And SOS Online Backup does just that. After installing the software you sign up with your credentials and are welcomed by a clean, easy to grasp interface. Let’s have a look:
There is a matrix of 4 buttons: to the left it’s all about backup and to the right, all about restore. First we’ll have a look at the backup process.
Online or local backup or both?
As I have said in an article about backup in general, it is always wise to keep multiple backups and not rely on a sole solution. So combining online and offline backup is the best solution. SOS Online Backup allows you to do just that. First, I recommend doing a backup locally; the best case scenario would be on an external hard drive that is wirelessly connected in some safe place in your home. After that is complete go for the online backup, which takes a while.
Backing up your files online
Step 1 – Selecting your files
The backup wizard makes it really easy to select your files for online backup. If you want to have more control you can always change into advanced mode where you can specify a few more things.
Step 2 – Schedule your backup
Scheduling is a very important feature and while for some a backup once a month is sufficient, for others it’s vital to have at least hourly backups. I personally use hourly backups to be sure to always have the latest version of my files in hand in case I experience data loss.
You can also set a time for your backups to happen. If your computer or your internet connection is slow, you can program your backups for your office hours, and when you come back home you’ll enjoy peace of mind – all your important data will be securely uploaded to their servers.
Step 3 – Start your backup
In the last step you can check your settings and files selections, and with a click on finish you’re ready to go.
- Very easy and flawless backup wizard
- Great scheduling options
I really love to see how my files are uploaded to the servers; it always gives me a feeling of comfort and security. Unfortunately, it’s quite hard to get a status overview with SOS Online Backup. I couldn’t find a status bar or anything similar to monitor my current backup. Granted, for most people that’s not so important, as long as they know everything is going to be fine.
The rather time-consuming solution I found was entering the online client while clicking on Reports -> Machine Backup Details and there I could find out how much is already uploaded.
Also, SOS Online Backup promised to send me an email when my backup finished. However, two days later I am still waiting for that email to arrive.
- No backup status bar
- No email notification arrived
How long does the backup take?
OK, as I want to compare the backup speed of various providers I recorded the time it would need to perform a complete backup. Some were rather slow candidates that took over 6 hours. SOS Online Backup was one of the fastest: it only took 2:42h to upload 1gb in files.
SOS Online Backup Incremental Backup
The beauty of incremental backup is that files that somehow change don’t have to be uploaded entirely. Instead SOS Online Backup and some other providers analyze only the bits and bytes of a file that have actually changed. This results in increased backup speed, by up to 90%.
So for me it was crucial that my online backup service provider offered incremental backup. And I am glad to say that SOS Online Backup has a quite sophisticated engine. It is called IntelliCache. Wow! What it does is try to estimate which file to back up incrementally and which files are likely to be changed a lot. One example would be your Microsoft Outlook Backup. It caches these files while saving bandwidth on others that are not likely to be changed, such as music files, for example.
If you figure that IntelliCache doesn’t work for you well, then obviously you have the option to cache every file, which needs more resources.
- Strong incremental backup for fast uploading
How to restore your data with SOS Online Backup
Restoring your data with SOS Online Backup is as simple as backup. With a click on “Restore online,” we can select the files we want to restore.
You can even specify which files you’d like to back up. A feature I have not yet seen in any of the other online backup services is that you can specify a file size for the data that you want to be restored. So, for example, when you only want to restore movie files and you know that there is no movie file below 100MB, you can determine that easily the moment you restore your data.
The second and third step are as easy as pie. You select the files you want to restore and also get to choose the restore location. That can be anywhere you want, even an external hard drive if it is connected.
Unlike with the backup process, in the recovery process you can monitor exactly what is happening. SOS Online Backup shows you which files are currently being downloaded and how much of your files have already been recovered.
In my testing everything went well. I could recover all my important data and the overall recovery process was easy and speedy. This is exactly what you want when you need your data fast after a loss.
- Easy and fast recovery
- Flawless recovery of files
SOS Online Backup Review summary
SOS Online Backup is fast and reliable. Though a little conservative I absolutely love their software and ease of use. Reliability is one of the most important things you need to look at when reading online backup reviews. SOS Online Backup has been on the market for about a decade and you definitely notice their routine when handling your data.
However, if you have more than 100GB of data you want to back up, you should probably look for one of the online backup services that offer unlimited online storage, such as LiveDrive or BackBlaze.
Let’s see all the important specs in a general overview:
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