Whether you just want a few files backed up, or your entire system, here’s our list of the best cloud backup services, all based on our hands-on testing.
TL;DR – These are the Best Cloud Storage:
Best Cloud Storage
If you’re a beginner (or just a data hoarder who wants unlimited cloud space), Backblaze (read our review) is the service for you. It’s designed for people who know they should back up, and are ready to pay for it, but aren’t sure what they need to back up or how to do it.
Backblaze takes the guesswork out of this equation by doing almost everything for you: install it, pay the $60 per year subscription, and you have unlimited storage for one computer. (It does, however, remove files you’ve deleted after 30 days, unless you pay a little extra.)
As soon as it’s installed, Backblaze will start backing up all your important data from every locally connected drive, so you don’t have to think about it ever again. It won’t back up your programs or system files, which some tech-savvy users might find annoying, and it’s not quite as powerful as the below options in terms of options and features. But for most people, it does exactly what they need – at the lowest dollar-to-gigabyte ratio available.
Best Value Cloud Storage
I wouldn’t call IDrive (read our review) a “budget” option when compared with Backblaze, though depending on your needs, it may be cheaper. Its storage is limited, but the number of computers you can back up is unlimited, as long as you don’t go over your quota. Depending on the number of computers you have, it could work out to less money.
More importantly, though, IDrive offers a plethora of features for that money, and if you’re the kind of user who knows exactly what they want from a backup plan, it can provide that too. You can back up to an external drive, network drive, or IDrive’s cloud service, and even create local disk image backups in case of ransomware or drive failures. This service gives you complete control, letting you choose which files you want to back up, how often you want them backed up, and you can secure your data with a private encryption key too.
It has its quirks, like some confusingly-worded options and one feature that doesn’t quite work properly, but if you’re on a budget, you trade a little polish for the price. While a standard 2TB subscription is $52 for the first year (and $69.50 every year thereafter), you can get 50% off as a student, grab 80% off from this special offer, or 90% off if you switch from a competing backup provider.
3. Acronis True Image 2020
Best Cloud Storage For Local and Cloud Backup
Acronis True Image (read our review) has been around for a while, making a name for itself in the local backup and disk imaging game. It still excels at that, but now it can also back up your files (and images) to the cloud too, and it’s also the most polished and professional backup program I’ve tested.
Acronis strikes an amazing balance between its number of features and ease of use: the desktop program is intuitive and friendly, and offers just about everything you could want in a backup program. It lets you backup files and folders, make full disk images, share files from a backup, copy all your social media files, and it does end-to-end encryption properly.
Acronis is, however, a bit more expensive, coming in at $50 per year for only 250GB. If you want terabytes of space, which is relatively affordable with IDrive and Backblaze, you’ll be paying quite a bit – 2TB costs $140 per year, for comparison’s sake, and that’s only for one machine. That’s not cheap, but it may be worth it to you if you want something polished, easy-to-use, and feature-rich.
4. SpiderOak One Backup
Best Secure Cloud Storage
While all of the above services allow you to encrypt your backups with a private key, IDrive and Backblaze of them require you to give your key to the service when you want to restore your files. They both erase your key as soon as the process is done, and it’s better than no encryption at all, but some people want their data 100% secure at all times. If you’re one of these people and want a truly “no-knowledge” service that can never see your files, SpiderOak One (read our review) was made for you.
The program itself is well-designed and easy to use, but security is the banner feature here: everything you back up is encrypted end-to-end, so your files are completely private, even if the government forces SpiderOak to hand over your data. Acronis has similar security, but SpiderOak is the only service that puts it front and center as its banner feature.
That peace of mind comes at a cost, however – $149 per year for 2TB, not to mention some slower speeds compared to the competition – but if you care about your privacy and security above all else, it’s worth a look.
5. SOS Online Backup
Best Cloud Storage for Unlimited Versioning
SOS Online Backup (read our review) is a decent program, but it has very few advantages over the competition save for one very unique feature. Unlike other backup services, SOS never purges old and deleted files. That means if you accidentally delete a file and discover you need it a year later, it’ll still be there. If you need the original version of a file you’ve since updated several times, it’ll still be there.
Most services have some sort of limitation here – some may only store deleted files for 30 days, while others may store files indefinitely but only keep the last 10 to 20 versions of it. That’s why SOS stands out.
There is a downside, however: SOS is extremely expensive, costing $40 per month for 1TB of space (that’s $480 per year – almost five times as much as Acronis and SpiderOak, the next most expensive options). The rest of the program is nothing to write home about either, so most people would be better served elsewhere. But if you absolutely need unlimited versioning, SOS Online Backup has you covered.
Whitson Gordon is a writer, gamer, and tech nerd who has been building PCs for 10 years. He eats potato chips with chopsticks so he doesn’t get grease on his mechanical keyboard.