Speed: Speed, in many cases, is far more dependent upon your broadband connection than that of the online service, though the geographical location of the storage and the equipment in between can make a significant difference. Check the location of the data servers if speed is important to you. Or, just give the trial a whirl and see if you can live with it.
Among the free programs we tested, Aomei Backupper Standard wins primarily because it has the most features, including imaging, file backup, disk cloning, and plain file syncing, plus multiple scheduling options (see our full review). Sure, its bitmapped interface may be retro, but the layout and workflow are intuitive. And though it’s on the slower side for backing up sets of files, it’s the fastest software we’ve tested so far for backing up full disks and partitions. Its CPU usage during backup is also commendably light.
Online backup services scan your hard drive for files worthy of protecting, encrypt them for security, and send them up to the company's online servers. Once your files are uploaded, you can access and restore your data from anywhere. Though there's some overlap, online backup services shouldn't be confused with cloud storage and file syncing services like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and SugarSync. Those services do store files in the cloud, but they aren't designed to automatically protect all important documents and media files, let alone system files. Their strategy is generally to sync just one folder with all its subfolders to the cloud, and in some cases, to offer online collaborative document editing. Many backup services offer folder-syncing capabilities, but few syncing services offer full-scale backup functionality.
SpiderOak is well known as one of the most privacy-centric cloud storage services, but it's also a great backup service. The same power and features that you get for file syncing and access extend to its backup client, and SpiderOak's "Zero Knowledge" policy extends to your backups as well. Even they don't know what you're storing on their servers, and all of your data is encrypted on their servers and before it leaves your computer. The SpiderOak desktop client has a fully-featured backup tool in it that lets you back up your entire desktop, documents, email, music, or movies right to the cloud, or you can hit the "Advanced" tab and pick the files and folders you want to save, including external drives, network drives, or anything else on your computer. As you add files to your backup job, you'll get a live preview of how much space you'll use with what kinds of files, and whether you have space for it. SpiderOak supports Windows, OS X, and Linux, has mobile apps for iOS and Android, can do incrementals, and if you uncheck a file to stop backing it up, the files will still live in your SpiderOak account, just as an archive. Your backups happen in the background, or when you schedule them.
Here at BestBackups, we put together all of our Top Backups lists with the aim of introducing our readers to the best online storage and backup solutions available. However, due to the varying needs of consumers with video files, the best services to backup videos roundup was made taking a slightly different approach to our standard 1-5 ranking. Instead, we focused on a few key features that we believed ticked all the most important boxes and drew attention to the services that do them best.