Alternatives to CrashPlan for OnlineBackups

Earlier this week, CrashPlan announced it was discontinuing its pricing for home users.  Although our primary recommendation for online backup is Backblaze, some of our clients were using CrashPlan.  We suggested CrashPlan to larger families since the family plan backed up ten users for $150 a year.  In my family, we used CrashPlan but will discontinue immediately.

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Short Soapbox and Commentary

I can’t give a recommendation without expressing my disappointment in the way Code42, owners of CrashPlan, handled this change.  I’ve been a user of their product for a decade.  I used to pay for three years at a time.  When my subscription came up for a renewal, I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t support a multi-year plan.  Now I know!  They gave no notice or warning.  We had clients renew the day before the announcement and had their credit card charged. For some clients, the “pro” plan is a cost increase of close to 1000%.  That big of a change deserved a slow rollout.  The new pricing is $10 a month per machine, so a minimum of $120 per year per computer.

Given the way they handled this change, I wouldn’t trust them with my data.  Moreover, I don’t trust any recommendations they make as far as alternative services. Even if I thought Carbonite was the way to go (which I don’t).

My Recommendation:  CrashPlan Users Switch to Backblaze

I’ve been a fan of Backblaze for years.  I switched my primary Mac from CrashPlan to Backblaze.  I trust the product, but kept my CrashPlan subscription to backup less-critical computers in the house.   They backup unlimited data on your system for $50 a year.  They’re the cheapest and the best backup plan out there.

In comparison, Mozy charges $65 a year for just 50 gig of data and Carbonite charges $60 a year for the most “basic” plan that doesn’t include backup of large files like video.  Most users would opt for the “plus” plan at $75.00 a year.

Starting with an online backup plan aka “the cloud” takes time.  Your computer has to send copies of all the files to the service over the internet.  That can take a few weeks or even several months.  Of course, once the files are there, the service only backs up the changes.  Those changes are nearly instant.  It’s the initial backup that’s hard.

Because it takes so long for an initial backup, I suggest starting with Backblaze ASAP.

If you wait until your CrashPlan subscription expires, you might lose data in the gap. You want to make sure all your files are safe and secure with Backblaze before your CrashPlan expires.

Given our experience, the average user should plan about three months for all their data to get to an online service.  For a short time, you’ll be paying for two backup services.  You might think that’s wasteful, but given the importance of your data, I think it’s worth paying an extra few dollars doubling up.  If your hard drive dies before Backblaze gets all your stuff, and your CrashPlan expires, you’re out of luck!

Our Deal to Clients:  Free Backblaze Installs

Unlike CrashPlan, we value our residential clients.  We want your data backed up.  If you’re a Crashplan customer, we’ll uninstall Crashplan and install Backblaze at no charge.  You’ll just owe Backblaze the yearly subscription fee of $50 a year or $95 for two years (that’s what we recommend).  While we’re looking at your computer, we’ll even do a diagnostic scan at no charge. We now have some pretty cool tools that not only scan for problems, but warn us if a problem develops later on your computer.  We’ll install that warning software at no charge as well.  It’s just our way of making sure you always have a working computer and your data is secure and safe.

Photo by nerolf

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