Carbonite is online backup only, so it doesn't really work well for local backups or backups to external drives. You'll still have to handle that yourself. You can try Carbonite for free for 15 days, but after that you'll need to pay up $60/yr to back up one computer with their Home plan, $100/yr to back up one computer with their Home Plus plan, and $150/ur to back up one computer with their Home Premium plan. You can read more about Carbonite's plans and pricing here.
CrashPlan is completely free if you're just doing local backups, but even online backups are affordable, with CrashPlan+ accounts starting at $2/mo (per computer) for 10GB of online backup storage, and going up to $4/mo (per computer) for unlimited online backup storage and $9/mo for unlimited online backup storage for a whole household. You can check out their plans here, and try them free for 30 days with a new account.
Backup services vary widely in how they set up and perform backups. For example, the totally hands-free Backblaze automatically encrypts and uploads all your important files without any input. On the other hand, services such as IDrive and Acronis True Image let you choose specific files you want from a file tree. Note that some services restrict you from backing up specific file types or using particular sources, such as from an external or network drive. Make sure the service you choose supports all your needs.
It's been a long time since we last looked at online backup tools, so we figured it was time to take another look. Earlier this week we asked you which online backup services were the best: The ones that offered the most seamless and simple backups, fast and complete restores, easy-to-use backup clients, and of course, storage for your money. You responded with a number of options, but we only have room for your top five. Here they are, in no particular order:
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's Solutions section, which covered programming techniques as well as tips on using popular office software. He previously covered services and software for ExtremeTech.com.
Of course these companies aren’t really in it for the satisfaction of knowing your data is safe. Their free versions usually only provide enough storage for essential data, or are lacking some advance features that pros would employ. They hope you’ll love the program or service so much, or find it so useful that you’ll eventually fork over some cash for additional storage or those advance features. 
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.

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.
No honorable mentions this week, as the nominations dropped off pretty sharply from these five. Some of you pointed to your own kind of franken-backup solution that made use of traditional cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive in addition with desktop utilities and clients that can automatically copy whatever you want from your computer to specified files and folders in those services, which is a great option if you want the absolute ultimate in control.
It's been a long time since we last looked at online backup tools, so we figured it was time to take another look. Earlier this week we asked you which online backup services were the best: The ones that offered the most seamless and simple backups, fast and complete restores, easy-to-use backup clients, and of course, storage for your money. You responded with a number of options, but we only have room for your top five. Here they are, in no particular order:
It's been a long time since we last looked at online backup tools, so we figured it was time to take another look. Earlier this week we asked you which online backup services were the best: The ones that offered the most seamless and simple backups, fast and complete restores, easy-to-use backup clients, and of course, storage for your money. You responded with a number of options, but we only have room for your top five. Here they are, in no particular order:

Some services go above and beyond, including extra capabilities that improve the experience. For example, a few offer disk courier services for bulk uploads and restores via an external drive that the company ships and manages. A couple of these services throw in a local backup component, too. If you go that route, you should take a look at our roundup of best external hard drives. Some of these services can even track your device's location and let you remotely wipe it in case it's lost or stolen.


Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's Solutions section, which covered programming techniques as well as tips on using popular office software. He previously covered services and software for ExtremeTech.com.
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