An online backup service's speed depends on how quickly it can encrypt, compress, and upload files to its servers. This should be of particular concern if you need to back up (or restore) a large amount of data. A high-performance backup service also minimizes its effect on network and system resources. Make sure to check out our speed test results in the review of any service you're contemplating using. Backup speed should not be the sole determinant of which online backup service you use, but fast upload speeds can certainly make initial and subsequent backups less disruptive.

Backblaze earned praise from many of you for being easy to set up, even for non-technical people. It's built for people who want to get their data backed up, without being forced to search for error codes and cryptic status messages whenever something goes wrong. To that point, Backblaze backs up just about everything on your system. You get some control over what's backed up and what isn't, but the point is to be fast, easy, and hands-off, so everything on your system—documents, music, video, external drives you have plugged in, just about anything. Instead of telling what they do back up, Backblaze actually has a special page dedicated to what they don't back up instead. Backblaze offers unlimited storage for your backed up data, and while by default it only backs up files smaller than 4GB, you can bump that up if you need to. Like other online backup services, it runs in the background, backing up your data all the time (or when you schedule it to, if you prefer), and your data is encrypted so only you have access to it. It supports Windows and OS X, and is smart enough to de-dupe data, do incremental backups, and keep backup processes low on system resources. You can read more about Backblaze's features here.
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CrashPlan is our favorite backup tool for Windows, for the Mac, and we've even shown you how to build a bulletproof backup solution with it. CrashPlan gives you the flexibility to back up any folders you select on your computer (or whole drives, if you prefer) to external hard drives, other computers on the same network, a friend's computer across the internet, or online to CrashPlan's own servers, where it's stored and encrypted to keep your data safe. The backup utility is set-it-and-forget-it, and it runs quietly in the background whenever you're away from your computer, or at specified times of day. It's smart enough to only do differentials and incrementals, and supports multiple backup destinations so you can back everything up at one time everywhere it needs to go. Restores are just as easy, and a few clicks drops all of your files right back where they should be. You even get access to your backup data on your mobile devices. If you have a ton of data to back up or restore, you can even have CrashPlan send an external hard drive to your house that you can back up to and use to seed your first backups or restore from, all without blowing past your ISP's bandwidth limitations. You can read more about CrashPlan's features here.
Bitcasa starts you off with 10GB for free, but $100/yr throws the floodgates open and gets you unlimited storage for anything you want to sync, share, or back up. Plus, you can connect as many computers or devices to your account as you choose, so you don't pay by the PC. It's client isn't quite as robust as some of the other tools here, but if you're more interested in a flat fee for unlimited space and you can handle the details of which files go where and when, it's a solid option. You can read more about Bitcasa's pricing here.
The cheapest of these plans is $8.33 /month for 1 TB of backup space and support for 10 devices (and three sub accounts), if you pay for a whole year at once. You can add more for the same price and storage, like another 1 TB for another $10 /month. The maximum storage plan you can pay for is 15 TB, but if you want more you can contact their support team.
Real time: Real-time backup means that files are backed up whenever they change, usually upon creation or save. It’s also called mirroring and is handy for keeping an immediately available copy of rapidly changing data sets. For less volatile data sets, the payoff doesn’t compensate for the drain on system resources. Instead, scheduling should be used.
If you think of video files and Cloud storage, your mind will probably jump to slow upload times and costly storage space. This doesn’t have to be the case. Whether you’re looking to share home movie files with family members or are making a slew of promotional videos for your latest client, there’s a backup provider that meets your individual video-related needs – and this list is a good place to start looking!
Backup software: We run each program through the various types of backups it’s capable of. This is largely to test reliability and hardware compatibility, but we time two: an approximately 115GB system image (two partitions), and a roughly 50GB image created from a set of smaller files and folders. We then mount the images and test their integrity via the program’s restore functions. We also test the USB boot drives created by the programs.

You can either tear out your hair when a disaster strikes your hard drive or you can prepare for it ahead of time, but data loss is as inevitable as death and taxes. An online backup service is one of the best ways to protect yourself against such threats as a crashed hard drive or accidental deletion. Natural disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes can also spell the end of your digital media and documents. Even if you're among the very few who diligently perform local backups at regular intervals, you could still lose data if you don't store backups offsite.
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