Best Online Backups

Guide by garethdaine

Our data is probably the most valuable thing we have. Next to it, money doesn’t mean much.

This might sound like an exaggeration but it really isn’t.

Just think about all the horror stories of people losing their phone with all of their photos on it, or breaking a laptop with an important project on it.

Unfortunately, data backup is often overlooked and underrated but it’s one of the most important things we can do. While services like Apple and Google have helped back up some of our data it doesn’t range across all of our devices in most cases.

Luckily we’ve covered all of the important online backup services that you can use to help protect your data. Furthermore, these services cost less than your Netflix subscription so you won’t even have to worry about that.

1. Backblaze


Backblaze is an online storage company founded on privacy and security. However, they have managed to grow past this and become an absolutely superb backup provider.

They key to Backblaze’s success is its simplicity and ease of use both on desktop and mobile apps. Additionally it’s $6/month pricing is one of the cheapest on the market. However, for that price, you get unlimited storage – something that’s not common in the market. Additionally it has file revisioning and has a retention period of a month – though you can pay to upgrade this.

The only downside is that due to the encryption of your data it can be sometimes slow. However, that’s a low price to pay for privacy in our opinion.

On the whole, Backblaze is the best cloud backup service by far.

2. iDrive


iDrive has been providing backup services for over a decade. While we’ve chosen it as our runner up backup service, it’s a bit of a mixed bag so it’s not suitable for everyone.

The biggest thing that iDrive has going for it is the fact that it’s packed full of features. It allows for syncing of multiple devices, has file revisions and offers 5-10TB of backups. Once your data is online you can access it through a web-interface or any number of apps. Additionally you can also send them a physical harddrive in order to get a backup faster.

Their business plan is also fantastic and allows for seamless file sharing and syncing. It is more expensive than a normal account, but with additional user management added-in, it’s definitely a good business investment.

Personal pricing starts at $69.50 for 5TB and $99.50 for 250GB for business users. On the whole it’s a decent service that’s well worth it’s cost.

3. pCloud


pCloud is a relatively small and new provider but they provide a fantastic service. The company itself is registered in Switzerland which has strong privacy laws.

It’s one of the few services that as a lifetime subscription which is already a great savings of money (assuming the company doesn’t go bankrupt). Of course, with this plan your download traffic is limited but backups are a worse case scenario so you’ll likely not need to worry about this. Additionally they have the option for locking your files and buying a family plan for easier file syncing at home.

On the whole, pCloud is definitely a service you should try, and with 30 days to test their service this shouldn’t be an issue.

4. SpiderOak


SpiderOak should be the top of your list if the safety, security, and privacy of your files are at the forefront of your mind.

At $14/month for 2TB, it’s not the cheapest service available, however, it provides you with plenty of features. Naturally, it’s easy to use on any desktop or mobile app. However, as mentioned their privacy is what really sets them apart. They encrypt all of your data with a unique key that you have and allow two-factor authentication. This means that only you are able to access your data no matter what happens.

If you’re looking for a company dedicated to serving you, then look no further and try SpiderOak today.

5. SOS Online Backup

SOS Online Backup

SOS Online Backup is not a cheap service, and it’s one of the main reasons it comes last on our list. However, it offers a great range of features that aren’t commonly available.

For the price, you get unlimited versioning, no file size limits, no maximum retention rate and the ability to use it on any device, not just on one computer. For those who are more security conscious they also provide the possibility of encrypting your data. While they don’t have as much functionality as other providers, there features make up for this and on the whole it’s a fast and hassle free experience.

With a 15-day-free trial available check out if SOS Online Backup is for you.

What is Online Cloud Storage?

Online cloud storage is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a place in the cloud where all of your files are synced to. The cloud really just refers to a large data center somewhere across the globe. In short, online cloud storage ensures you’re able to recover your data if files are lost.

What are the disadvantages of cloud storage?

Cloud storage has two main disadvantages. The most obvious is the monthly cost. The second is the constant need for an internet connection for it to work correctly. However, these are minor compared to the loss of valuable data or photos.

How to Backup to the Cloud

Backing up to the cloud is usually pretty simple, if you use one of the best online cloud backup services on this list. It might be easy with others too but we’ve made sure that the services we’ve chosen are top of the line with simple user interfaces.

Backing up to the cloud is usually as simple as these steps:

  1. Download the software
  2. Select which folders you’d like to back up
  3. Select how often you’d like to back up
  4. Click start

The first backup will always take a long time, but after that, it will speed up as the software will check if a file has been updated.

Features to Look Out For

When it comes to choosing online cloud storage, there is a huge range of companies you can choose from. Therefore, picking the right one can be mind-boggling. Luckily, this is why we’ve put together this list of best online backup providers.

To help us decide on the best provider we used the below factors. Of course, different factors are important for different people so you should

Device Support

It’s important that your chosen provider is able to support all of your devices. Whether you prefer iOS or Android, Windows or Mac, or maybe something less common like a Windows Phone or Linux, you need to make sure that the provider has help for it. There’s no point in having a cloud backup service if you can’t use it. You’ll also need to make sure that you can use it on a number of devices as some providers (especially on their free plans) limit backups to a single device.

Ease of Use

Online storage providers are notoriously difficult to use. If you’re not naturally tech-savvy, then make sure that you try each tool, or look at the tutorial videos to ensure that you’ll be able to use it naturally. Luckily, once set up, you won’t have to touch it again, but it’s better to be on the safe side.


The amount of data you want to back up varies by person. Some people might only want to back up core documents which could be less than a few GBs. Others, however, might work in an industry where files are large in size and will need a few terabytes. Make sure that you select a provider and a plan that works for your needs.

Continuous Backup

A backup service is useless if it doesn’t constantly back up your data. A solid backup provider will continuously backup your data so it doesn’t matter if your computer crashes, your data will be safe. Though unfortunately the way that backup providers work you might miss the last few minutes of work but that’s fixable.

Data Encryption

If you’re backing up data, it’s likely to contain sensitive information. Therefore it’s important to have a provider that encrypts your data. However, that’s not enough. If you really want to be safe, you need a provider that encrypts the data on your end, and only you have the encryption key. If the data is encrypted on the server side than it can be intercepted during transmission or even the backup provider can get access to it. While this doesn’t sound that scary it can lead to some issues which could be easily avoided.


Has your cat ever sat on your keyboard, or your child “edited” your work? Things like this happen in the real world, but they don’t necessarily have to be an issue. Most backup software will have an option for versioning. Versioning is when you’re able to see and retrieve the previous version of a file. So if you’re backup provider has this feature you’ll be able to recover previous versions of a file should you need to.

Local Backup Support

The perfect backup strategy involves backing up your data locally and externally. Therefore, choosing a provider that can also backup your data locally can be a bonus.

Syncing and Sharing

In a world where remote working is becoming more commonplace, it can be important to use a provider that supports this.


As mentioned previously, online storage services need a constant internet connection. However, that’s not enough, as your internet also needs to be fast so that data can be uploaded quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, even that’s not enough. The cloud storage provider needs to be efficient so they can transfer data quickly and efficiently. This mainly depends on its encryption and compression technologies. This is proprietary for each service so performances can vary greatly.


Of course, the cost of the service is important. It’s not enough to back up your data if it will cost you an arm and a leg. A decent backup service will allow you to back up all of your files for a low monthly cost. As an example iDrive will backup 5TB of data for less than $5/month.

Retention Period

The retention period is the amount of time a company holds onto your data for. The longer they hold on to your data, the better it is for you as you’ll be able to recover files even if you deleted them long ago. However, an unlimited retention period would be very expensive for a company. Therefore, companies will usually have a retention period of 30 days, which is suitable for most people. However, it’s possible to get longer, but this comes with increased costs.

What About Traditional Services?

Traditional services provided by Google, Apple, Dropbox, etc are useful that’s for sure. They definitely have their merits too. Unfortunately, these services have one flaw or another. Their biggest flaw tends to be that they don’t back up your whole system. Therefore, while your data will still be there it might be difficult to access. Additionally, their pricing may not be optimal for large data storage amounts.

Create Your Backup Plan

Once you’ve chosen your online backup service it’s important to create backup plan. The perfect backup plan is called the 3-2-1 strategy. It means having 3 copies of your data, 2 of which are backups, and 1 of those is off-site. In reality this is what it should look like:

  1. The system your using
  2. A local backup on an external hard drive
  3. An external backup using a cloud storage provider

How Secure Are Online Backup Services

Online backup services vary one-by-one so not all are as secure. If you want a secure backup service then choose one that has encryption and two-factor-authentication. This way you’ll be able to make sure that you alone have access to your data. The best backup provider for security minded people is SpiderOak.

Free Cloud Storage

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and this applies to cloud storage too. Unfortunately, any service offering free cloud storage is not to be trusted. That is to say large amounts of free cloud storage.


Can cloud storage be hacked?How much does 1tb of cloud storage cost?

Cloud storage costs vary by provider. However, to back up 1TB of data will cost you less than a daily cup of coffee or your monthly streaming subscription. That is, it’s under $5/month.

What is the largest free online storage?

GDrive provides 15GB for free which is technically the largest. However, the largest online storage with a true online storage backup provider is pCloud with 10GB.

Can cloud storage be hacked?

Yes, like all services, cloud storage providers can be hacked. However, if you chose one of the providers on this list, even if they are hacked, your data will remain safe.


Backing up your data regularly is now more important than ever before. If you haven’t yet, then make sure you implement a 3-2-1 backup plan so your data will be safe no matter what happens to your devices.