Summary: Backblaze is a good choice for people backing up on a budget. It's also a good choice for people with a LOT of data as it's unlimited...however it might take quite a while to upload. Although it's slightly limited in terms of options and flexibility, it's very plug and play user friendly.
Backblaze is fast becoming a popular member of the ever-growing cloud backup market. What’s cool about this company is the fact that they are very innovative – from building custom storage pods for the lowest cost and releasing the design specs on their blog, to unique backup software that runs silently in the background and changes the nature of how people backup their data.
Boasting a simple setup and interface and round the clock backups of changed files, as well as low prices, Backblaze seems to be a great option. But is it the best option out there, and does it hold up to its promises? I got a subscription to Backblaze for my desktop PC so I could give you a full report.
Editors Note: Yes I am actually using Backblaze for one of my business PC’s and this review is a legitimate report on my experience with the product.
Interface And Setup
When you use Backblaze the first step is to download their software. Easy enough – I downloaded the program and fired it up. The surprising thing is that it automatically starts to back up the files it finds in your personal documents (generally in the folders My Documents, My Music, etc), and you don’t even have a chance to configure what you want it to back up before it starts. As someone who likes to meticulously set up my backup plan this was odd. I finally figured out that you have to add files you don’t want backed up to an exclusions list. This is a bit backwards, but once you set it up you don’t really have to do too much else with it.
The program interface is simple enough, and you have the option to throttle your connection speed so that your upload doesn’t cause your entire internet connection to come to a screeching halt (like mine at home will do if I let programs upload at full speed).
Features And Points Of Interest
One of Backblaze’s selling points is that it has proprietary software that provides round the clock backups and whenever you change a file it will back it up. The only thing is, to minimize the CPU drain and run quietly in the background, Backblaze literally tiptoes. It might not know that you have changed a file for several hours. So it’s not instantly backing things up as you change them. It has to meander its way to the file you changed first. But, this should not be a big problem for most people. I think there would only be a handful of instances where this could be a problem.
Backblaze stores versions of your files as well – so if you had 50 drafts of a screenplay and you decided that you hate the last three scenes you changed, you can go back and get the versions before Louise decides that she loves Harry and jumps off the boat after him into the Nile. Anyway…you get the point. Version history is pretty cool. However, it will only keep versions for 4 weeks so don’t take too long to decide the end to your screenplay.
Another thing that Backblaze offers is a physical restore sent to you in the mail in the event that your laptop is stolen or your computer decides to bite the dust. If you don’t feel like downloading the 300 Gigabytes of photos of your pet, you can have them sent to you via a Flash drive for $99 or USB hard drive for $189.
If you don’t want the data mailed to you, you can download a zip file to restore all of your files at once.
The other thing about Backblaze is that although each computer must have its own subscription, the data storage for a single PC is unlimited. And that includes external drives (except network drives). However, it will not back up files that are larger than 4GB.
“Locate My Computer” is another interesting feature that Backblaze has. It can report the IP address location if a stolen computer (with Backblaze) is logged onto WiFi. This can sometimes help police locate stolen goods. Definitely handy although it’s not foolproof.
This is so variable as it really depends on how much you have to back up and how fast your internet upload speed is. Cloud storage is in its infancy right now, and unfortunately if you have a lot of stuff to upload it could take Backblaze days (or weeks as I’ve heard from some people) to finish it. However, it runs in the background, and once you’ve done it once, it will only back stuff up as it changes or gets added. I literally didn’t even notice it was running, and I had almost forgotten about it until I was notified that my backup was done. Cool! It took a few days between me changing locations and taking my laptop around with me.
So that’s a nice feature – many people just don’t back up their stuff because they forget. Backblaze eliminates the forgetful factor, because unfortunately most of us are not elephants. When your mother in law spills coffee on your laptop and fries the hard drive, you will be thankful that Backblaze was running in the background the entire time, happily storing your files.
Backblaze offers a mobile app for users so you can access all your files from your phone. However, I didn’t find this app to have as many features as other cloud storage company apps. It didn’t let me back up the photos on my iPhone or iPad, which was a rather cool feature from MyPCBackup’s similar app. I also didn’t like that it forces me to actually download a photo before I can view it. Oh well. It’s useful in a pinch, just not as friendly as other apps.
The app is currently only available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, however plans for other platforms like Android are rumored to be in the works.
The thing about Backblaze is that their facility is just a building. It’s also in an earthquake prone area. If that building goes up in flames for whatever reason, so might your data. I’m not certain what sort of contingency plans they have for something like that, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Also, Backblaze may not run that well if you have an older computer or a slower internet connection. If that’s the case, I encourage you to try the free trial to see how it will run on your PC or Mac.
There is also no file sharing. This is just for backing up your files, and restoring them if they get corrupted or lost.
Currently the pricing for Backblaze is some of the most competitive on the market, rivaled only by MyPCBackup. It’s $5 per month per computer, but the price drops if you buy a one or two year plan. The cheapest is the two year plan which breaks down to 3.96 per month. That’s pretty cheap for the backup of your files.
I really like Backblaze – I like the creativity, transparency, and innovation that they put into their business. It definitely shows – just take a look at their blog and you can see that they are passionate about what they do. Backblaze is a great way to back up your files, however the limited flexibility and no file sharing may be problematic for some. Despite the reservations and drawbacks, it’s true that you really can’t beat the price and simplicity. This is definitely one of the top backup companies, and if you just need to easily back up files in case of disaster, this could be just what you’re looking for.
I’m presently using Backblaze to back up my desktop computer which is primarily used for video and photo editing project. I have it set up to only back up certain folders. Despite the slower upload speeds, it’s a good solution for me because I need my video files backed up in an extra off-site location as video editing is a part of my business. Also, the computer runs quite a bit so it’s always backing things up. I like the fact that it’s automated because I’m often very forgetful about backing up new files. Right now it’s working fairly well, and I’m pleased with the service. I will update this review as it is warranted if anything changes.