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BackBlaze Review

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BackBlaze is an online backup service that is extremely simple to set up, very affordable, and offers unlimited backup. All for only $5 per month.

It’s best for someone that wants their computer backed up effortlessly with no need to fumble around with a bunch of settings. (This is the backup you recommend to your mom – or even your grandma – because of how simple it is.)

Continue reading for the review, or sign up for a free trial today.

Pros:

  • Extremely simple to setup
  • Easy, continuous backup
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Lacks some customization options
  • Extra steps required to restore files
  • No family plan for multiple computers

Overall Rating:

 

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Key Features

BackBlaze offers a few key features outlined here:

Real-time continuous backup
By default, BackBlaze will back up your computer continuously. That makes it super easy for you, because after the initial install, you don’t have to do anything. BackBlaze monitors your computer, and whenever a file is changed, it will back it up.

If you’d like, you can switch to less frequent backups, or you can even set it to backup “only when I click backup now.” That’s handy if you ever want to turn off the backup for an extended period of time.

Bandwidth throttle
By default, BackBlaze allows itself to use most of your internet connection speed for backup purposes, so it can finish the backups as quickly as possible. If you need to scale it back in order to have faster speeds for other online activities, you can do that under the Performance menu. Just uncheck “Automatic throttle,” and drag the “Manual throttle” slider anywhere you want between faster network and faster backups.

External Hard Drive Backup
If you have any external drives connected to your computer, whether it’s a small USB thumb drive or a 1TB external hard drive, you can back them up to your BackBlaze account for no extra charge! Just connect your external drives to your computer and select them for backup in the main Settings menu of the BackBlaze control panel. (Other services typically consider this feature a premium add-on and charge extra for it.)

Versioning
Versioning means that BackBlaze will keep multiple versions of your files backed up, not just the latest edit. They will keep unlimited versions for 30 days, which is a fairly common timeframe among backup companies.

Unfortunately they don’t do unlimited versioning (keeping old file versions forever,) which would be helpful in case you don’t realize you need an older version until after those 30 days pass.

*Naturally, external hard drive files are subject to versioning. Which means, if you go 30 days without plugging in the external drive, all those files will be considered old versions, and thus be deleted. So make sure you plug in any external drives at least one day each month.

Locate My Computer
This is a new feature from BackBlaze that can help track down your computer if it’s ever lost or stolen. You simply log in to the BackBlaze website, make sure the mapping option is turned on, and (if your stolen computer is turned on and within range of a WiFi signal,) BackBlaze will determine the current location. Then you can provide this to law enforcement and hopefully get your computer back!

Simplicity
The common theme here is simplicity. Whatever feature you are using, it’s going to be simple. (Just remember, to keep BackBlaze simple and user-friendly, it lacks some advanced features that some high-tech users will be looking for.)

Install and Setup Process

Installation is extremely simple. Just download the installation file and click install. Before you know it, BackBlaze will be up and running and automatically backing up all your files!

You can let it go on its own, but I suggest going through the Settings menu.

Backup schedule
The default is “Continuously,” and I suggest leaving this as is. But if you need to turn off the backup for any reason, you can later switch it the “only when I click backup now” choice. I’m not sure why you’d ever go with the “once per day” option, but it’s there.

Bandwidth throttle
If you turn off the automatic throttle and use the manual throttle, you are able to adjust it so that more of your internet connection speed is available for other processes and activities.

I like how it tells you what the automatic throttle is at. I hadn’t seen that before that I can remember. Mine is typically around 20-50 GB per day, although on a slow DSL connection I have seen my daily backup capability at only 3-6 GB per day. (It gives you an idea how long your initial backup will take.)

File inclusions and restrictions
Watch for the 4GB file size limit. You can change that if you’d like, where it says “Do not backup files larger than:.” I set mine to “no limits” to make sure that my home videos and movie collection was backed up.

Backup Space and Pricing Plans

There is one plan – the unlimited plan. The basic rate is $5 per month, but you get discounts for purchasing in advance. One year upfront is $50, and two years is $95 (which is less than $4 per month.) This is just about the lowest price out there for unlimited backup!

If you want to add another computer, so purchase another unlimited plan. There is no family plan option.

Security

BackBlaze encrypts data on your computer before uploading it over a secure connection.

Want to make it extremely secure? You can do that by setting your own private encryption key. This means that the only way to decrypt the data is with this key. That means that if the government takes over BackBlaze, they would still need your encryption key. (With the obvious downside being that that’s the one and only way to unlock your data. If you forget the key, you’re out of luck.)

Restore

Restoring files with BackBlaze is simple, although it’s not as smooth as I would like.

When you click “Restore,” you are taken to the BackBlaze website where you can browse your backed up files. There you pick and choose what files you want to restore, and BackBlaze will create a .zip file for you to download.

I would much prefer if they offered that interface directly within the BackBlaze software so I could avoid the web browser.

You also have the options of them sending you either a USB thumb drive (up to 128 GB) or an external USB hard drive (up to 4 TB) via FedEx. Prices for the drives are $99 and $189, respectively. Not everyone wants to download a 100+ GB .zip file over their network connection, so this is a welcome feature to have. Ideally you would have a current local backup and avoid the need for this, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

Mobile Access

Backblaze Mobile is available on both iPhone and Android devices for free. This lets you view and/or download any backed up file anywhere you have your mobile device (tablet, smartphone, etc..)

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a simple backup program that offers unlimited space for a low price, BackBlaze is incredible. Despite a few quirks and limitations, it’s my personal choice at the moment for my home computer.

If you only have one computer to backup, and you don’t need advanced features, it’s a no brainer. Go with BackBlaze.

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BackBlaze
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by: Paul Ryan
Date of original review: June 4, 2011
Date last updated: October 27, 2014

My personal experience with Backblaze

Extremely simple to set up. Does most everything on its own. And you can customize it a bit if you want.

But it’s effective too.

And unlimited storage space. That’s hard to find these days. Much more rare than it used to be.

How much? It’s $5 per month, or just $50/year, and that gets you unlimited backup for 1 computer.

You can get a free trial to test it out before laying down any cash. You get 15 days to try it and see what you think.

If you realize you really like it, purchasing for two years in advance, takes the price down to $95. (Or just under $4 per month.)

“unlimited data, unlimited file size, unlimited bandwidth”

and unlimited external drives. although we should talk in greater detail on the specifics to that.

it offers versioning. and keeps deleted files for 30 days.

there are some concerns that certain file metadata is not backed up. there have also been reports of issues with maintaining proper timestamps on files.

restore on any computer. or with the iPhone and Android app. or they will FedEx you a drive.

continuous backup by default
or switch to once daily, or “only when I click backup now”
useful if you’re ever on a slow connection

Final Decision on Backblaze

What I liked about Backblaze:
It’s simple to use and affordable.

What I did not like about Backblaze:
The restore interface, though acceptable, could be better.

 
 
Backblaze Review Wrap-Up:
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by: Paul Ryan
Date of original review: June 4, 2011
Date last updated: October 27, 2014

Backblaze is simple and just plain works.

Website: www.Backblaze.com

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