Update: (8-4-2019) Okay so Crashplan for individuals is dead. My recommendation has changed to Backblaze!
I was in the market for online backup and it came down to CrashPlan VS Backblaze. Let’s talk about something that everyone should do for their 2016 New Year’s resolution: Backup. Have you done it recently? It’s too late after something happens and you lose precious data such as pictures or that music collection you’ve been gathering over a period of years or decades.
This may seem like an advertisement, but it’s not. I’m really paranoid about keeping a backup and saving my data, so I’m always on the look out for the best answers. After doing a lot of research about the many online backup companies out there, I was torn between Crashplan and Backblaze. Both are great online backup services that have some slight differences depending on what kind of user you are.
Let’s take a look at Crashplan vs Backblaze comparing their features and what sets them apart.
I primarily work on my iMac where I have all of my data stored. For heavy stuff, I put it on an external hard drive, but I keep my photos and music on my internal drive. What if the hard drive inside my iMac breaks or the external drive that I rely on for backup fails? I wanted some more peace of find and started looking around for the most suitable online backup service. I wanted something that I could mostly “set it and forget it”
Crashplan offers unlimited backup for one computer for $5 a month or $60 a year.
If you want to backup more than one computer, you can pay $12.50 per month or $150 a year for a family plan that will allow you to backup a maximum of 10 computers. That’s a pretty good deal, especially if you have family that would be willing to split the cost with you and have their computers backed up too.
Things work a little differently. You can pay $5 per month or $50 for 1 year of unlimited backup for 1 computer. There is no family plan, but you can pay an additional $5 a month for each additional computer you want to backup.
Okay, here are the features and what make or break your choice for which backup service you’re going to want to use.
With Crashplan, you get “unlimited” backup space. I’m always suspicious of companies that offer unlimited, but the developer Code42 really means unlimited here. Uploaded files are encrypted and kept on Crashplan servers for as long as you specify or forever.
Another key feature is you can backup external hard drives to Crashplan too!
This is great because you can backup all that heavy or old data you dumped on old external drives. Even if you disconnect the drive and never plug it back into your computer, the data will remain forever on the servers as long as you set it to keep.
Backup can be difficult and no one wants to really waste time thinking about it. The people at Backblaze know this and offer “unlimited” backup. The software by default will backup almost everything on your computer automatically. You don’t need to be a computer expert and know what to back up. If you are a power user and want to tweak what gets backed up, Crashplan requires users to select the folders that get backed up. Backblaze can even keep versions of the same file for up to 30 days.
However, unlike Crashplan, Backblaze will not keep data forever even after you delete it from your computer. There is a limit and you cannot upload your external drives and leave them disconnected. All drives you want to backup must be synced with Backblaze’s servers. That means you can’t hook up an external hard drive, backup and then use the drive for something else.
Crashplan vs Backblaze on Software
Now we’re getting down to what makes or breaks online backup: the software. Crashplan and Backblaze have radically different software for using their service, so what are the differences? Let’s take a look.
Crashplan is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you’re a computer geek and want to be able to backup your system no matter what OS you’re using, then this is going to be a good choice.
The Crashplan client is somewhat slow and bulky because it is written in Java, which is great for multiplatform applications, but bad for performance. However, after you go through the software and choose what you want to backup, the software works in the background and doesn’t affect performance too much.
There are so many network options, scheduling, and ways you can customize how Crashplan backs up your system. To be honest, I haven’t messed with too many of the options except the network speed area.
So you have backed up your data and finally need to retrieve it, what do you do? Using Crashplan’s software, you can restore data directly without visiting a website.
If you have an Android or iOS device, there is a Crashplan app available as well. You can access all of your backup on the go, which is really convenient.
Ex-Apple employees started Backblaze and it shows. The software is very minimalistic and wants to get out of your way as much as possible. There are Mac and Windows editions, but nothing for Linux. The software is NOT written in Java like Crashplan, so it is lighter on resources and runs very fast.
As I said, Backblaze’s backup philosophy is you shouldn’t have to think about backup. And well, you don’t really have to if you use their software. You simply flip a switch and go. The software is configured to automatically backup the important files on your computer and not backup the wasteful files such as operating system data, etc.
What if you want to recover your data? There is no built-in restore option in the software, so you’ll have to go to the Backblaze website to restore data. It’s a process of selecting what you want to restore and waiting for the site to create a zip file of your data to download. This step surprised me considering how simple and easy the software is for backing up. You would have thought the way to restore data would be less cumbersome.
For users with smartphones, there is an app for both Android and iOS users, allowing you to access your backup data on the go should you need it.
After going through trials of both online backup services, I ultimately decided to stick with Crashplan. Two points won me over.
First, I can restore data within the backup software on my computer and that’s how it should be. The cumbersome website downloading system that Backblaze uses is a disappointment.
Second, Crashplan claims that it will keep your data forever as long as you pay your yearly subscription fee. This sounded like a great deal to me because I want to backup my external drives that I don’t always use and feel secure knowing my data won’t disappear after a time limit. Backblaze simply acts as a mirror for whatever you currently have on your drive and forgets any data that is removed from its scanners after 30 days or so.
Crashplan vs Backblaze: Which is best for you?
- If you are a person on the go and just want peace of mind for online backup, I really recommend Backblaze because it has a lightweight software client and doesn’t consume a lot of memory.
- If you’re a power user and don’t mind having a somewhat beefy application backing up your data, then Crashplan is for you.
Crashplan VS BackBlaze -Final Thoughts
It was a bit tough to decide, but I’m pretty happy with my choice and wouldn’t mind switching between either of the companies because they’re both pretty good.
Do you have a backup plan in case something happens to your computer or data? Even if you don’t subscribe to an online backup service, I want you to make a plan for backing up. Even if that means putting your important data on USB flash drives or uploading it to something like Dropbox.
What did you think of my CrashPlan VS Backblaze comparison or did I get some information wrong? Let me know in the comments!