Backblaze Review

www.backblaze.com

Our Rating:

****1/2*

Reviewed Mar 29, 2011

User Rating

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Backblaze rated 3.55 stars based on 119 votes

Pros

  • Unlimited backups for just $5 / month
  • Easy to get started
  • Fast backup speeds
  • Backs up everything

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Cons

  • No bells & whistles
  • Restore process a bit clunky
  • No right-click integration or virtual drive
 
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Complete Review

Summary

Backblaze makes backing up easy! For many, this is an ideal online backup solution - just a few clicks and the service is installed and backing up your computer. But for some, Backblaze may be too simple.

Set-Up

After downloading the installer, the process to set-up Backblaze is simple. If you don't already have an account, you simply enter your e-mail address and a new password and your account is created for you, while the software is installed.

During the next step, Backblaze analyzes your drive, automatically finding what files to backup.

All your personal data will be backed up. Photos, music, documents and every file less than 4 GB.

This is a major difference between Backblaze and nearly every other online backup service. With Backblaze, you can choose to exclude some files (and, some are excluded by default) but you do not choose which ones to backup. Instead, Backblaze simply assumes you want to backup everything.

One Backblaze is done scanning your computer, you'll be presented with a summary, detailing what files were found and how much data will be backed up.

Creat Account or Login Analyzing Drive Installation Complete

That's it! Backblaze will now start the initial backup, which may take some time. However, unlike other unlimited online backup services, Backblaze does not limit how fast you can upload your data. Backblaze reported that in my configuration, I would be able to backup over 130GB in less than a week!

Settings

Backblaze SettingsIf you want to dig a little deeper, Backblaze does offer some preferences which allow you to control certain settings. The first tab is Settings, in which you can name your computer (useful if you have multiple computers under one account (each billed at $5 / month)), control how much bandwidth to use when backing up, and set when Backblaze should warn you about failed backups. In addition, you can also select which hard drives to backup (Backblaze will backup external drives, as well as your main hard drive)

Backblaze ScheduleUnder Schedule, you can choose when you want to backup. Continuously is recommended, but you can also choose to only backup when your computer is Idle (useful if you have a slower Internet connection), Once Per Day, or only when you click the Backup button.

Backblaze Exclude from BackupThe Exclude from Backup tab will let you add (or remove) folders and file extensions which will be skipped during backup. This is also where you can set an individual file-size limit (defaults to 4GB, but you can increase to 9GB)

Backblaze Security SettingsBy default, Backblaze creates and stores your private encryption key for you. However, your email and password are still needed to decrypt the files, so they're safely stored in their datacenter. If you wish to have greater control, and maintain your own private encryption key, you may do so under the Security tab but beware: if you lose your key, your data will be unrecoverable.

Backblaze ReportsThe Files Scheduled for Backup and Event Log tabs are full of data that will be helpful when troubleshooting, but otherwise not very useful to the average user. The Reports tab is an easy way to see, at a glance, what types of files and how much data you have backed up.

 

Backing Up

Backblaze Control PanelThere isn't much to Backblaze when it comes to backing up. The Control Panel will show what file is being backed up, and how many files are remaining. For us, a little more information would be useful, such as how fast the current file is being transferred, how long until the current file is backed up and how long until all of the remaining files are all backed up. But, for most users, this information doesn't matter.

Restoring Data

When you need to restore a file, you have three options with Backblaze:

Download Zip File (Free)
You will receive an email once your files are ready to restore.
Your files will be put into a zip format and available for download.
 
DVD ($99) 4,200 MB max (4.2 GB)
Your files will be sent on a DVD via FedEx Standard Overnight.
 
USB Hard Drive ($189) 409,600 MB max (400 GB)
Your files will be sent on an external USB hard drive.
(You will receive a drive large enough to contain your data.)

In addition to selecting which files and folders you wish you backup, you can also specify what time you want the files restored from. You can choose every hour from the past 24 hours, every day from the past week, and every week from the past month. For example, you can choose 5 hours ago, or 3 days ago, or 4 weeks ago.

Backblaze Restore Options Backblaze Restore: Select Files Backblaze Restore Download Links

While not as elegant as some solutions, which have a virtual drive within your computer or the option to right-click on a file or folder to begin restoring, Backblaze restores are just as fast as their backups. You'll quickly have your data in your hands, but it's up to you to put it back in the right place. Contrary to Backblaze's simplistic approach on backups, their restore process could use some work.

April 4, 2011 Update: Restore Downloader apps available
Now, if you select files to restore and the size of the download is over 1GB, you'll be presented with an option to download a helper app. After downloading the app, you login and your restore automatially begins downloading.

While downloading a small zip file is fine for a couple of documents, if you have a lot of data to restore, the Restore Downloader is the way to go.
Backblaze Restore Downloader

Support

Backblaze has an extensive FAQ section on their website, which should answer just about any question you have. And since their service is so simplistic, there shouldn't be many questions to ask. However, if you do have a question, you can fill out a simple form on their website, and expect to receive an answer in about one business day.

Conclusion

As an unlimited online backup solution with no upload speed limitations, Backblaze is as simple as it gets. You can rest assured that all of your data is backed up, and ready for you if you ever need it. However, if you do have to restore some or all of your data, putting it back in the right place may be confusing for some users. At just $5 per month per computer, it's an excellent choice for your online backup needs.

22 Comments
  1. 24 inch, not 24 foot. ‘ for feet, ” for inches.

  2. Question: I use ShrinkRapt for my client files. I want to be able to process insurance claims from my home computers as well as office. I enter the dates of service at my office. Would i be able to access this software from home and do electronic billing? I sure hope so! And, I’m a Mac user.

    • Sulfiati,Sounds like you need something with syncing. Check out SugarSync for a full backup & sync solution, or Dropbox + Backblaze if you want to use two apps (Dropbox for syncing, Backblaze for backups)

    • I use SugarSync (5Gb for free) for documents and other files, and if I need to access these in other places I can get to them from other computers or even smartphones.

  3. I have 3 home computers, 2 are desktops, 1 is a laptop. Do you have an unlimited account for all three at a per month price for all three?

    • Depending on how much you have to backup, Mozy may be able to do it for $9.95 / month (3 computers, 125 GB). If you need more than that, sign-up 3 computers with one Backblaze account for $15 / month.Try the recommendation tool at http://www.onlinebackupsreview

    • From Backblaze’s “How it Works” page:Backup Multiple ComputersMom has a laptop, dad has a desktop, and kids share another computer? Backblaze can backup each of these to one account for just $5 per computer per month.

  4. Why don’t any of these reviews specify which OSes are supported?

    • Sorry – Backblaze can run on Windows or Mac OS. Info on this is on the Comparison chart at http://www.onlinebackupsreview…From what I remember, only CrashPlan and SpiderOak support Linux.

  5. Does it work with Mac and Linux?

    • No, not Linux. If you need Linux online backup, go to CrashPlan or SpiderOak

    • That’s one of the biggest problems with Backblaze – they give you a zip file, but don’t put the files in the right place. Carbonite can restore back to the original file locations, as can Mozy and CrashPlan.

      • I asked Backblaze that question and their reply was that many users might be switching to a new computer and the path might be different, thus you might want to put your files in a different place than from whence they came.

  6. 1. What do you think of opendrive at opendrive.com?2. I just need to login to backup lots of files, dont want to have to pay on a per computer basis, I have video’s, pictures and multiple other file formats. Can I just log in and upload files from each computer (not installing software) to the cloud rather than pay per computer with Backblaze? 3. I also have a linux box (dont have to backup but would be nice); do you know if any of these work in WINE?

  7. OMG I has taken ALL day since I woke up to backup one photoshoot of about 100 images….I mean ALL DAY LONG. The file selection for backup is very arcane. Not something you can just sit there and select the files you want but you have to PAINFUILLY select the files you don’t want which I guess will be everything except MY DOCUMENTS folder. It backs every useless files and folder you have….like if you have a failure you’d be able to restore that crap anyway……They waste TB of spoace backing everything up on your computer and then if it takes 2-3 weeks to copy everything from your computer, how in the world are you going to get that crap back into your computer after a disaster…..OMG…It took FOREVER to copy about 100GB or so of stuff.

    • While the backup service may have problems of simplicity. Taking 1 Day backup online 100 GB is ripping fast. You haven’t tried other backup services and if you have a lot of data to backup you want it to backup fast. Carbonite customer for 4 years. A lot going for it, but very slow. Got to about 100 GB and it seemed to choke and stay there. Carbonite also interferes with Win 7 backup feature making it not work.

    • Clearly you have no idea how fast your backup actually was.

      • Clearly he has no concept/clue of speed, Internet, bandwidth, and data as with everyone else on the god-forsaken place! You backups on most home Internet connections WILL BE SLOW! (Well, what most think would be slow when they download at snappy 10Mbps speeds). Most ISP’s do not give you more than a 1Mbps upload speed (you are in a upload mode when you are backing up your data and it is NOT the same as your download speed). With 100 images, assuming 5MB and a 1Mbps (Really it is 900Kbps with overhead) upload limit to your ISP, you should expect to complete the backup in about ~77 minutes:10242 (5)(100) / (900000 รท 8) / 60524288000 / 112500 / 60 = 77.6Maybe you should stop uploading gay porn while you backup your data!

  8. Backblaze might be fine as long as it’s working, but their customer service is extremely poor. You have to wait 24-hours for a response to each message, and when it’s THEIR SYSTEM that’s failing YOU, they should do better. Plus, their technicians don’t have the attention span to read an email, so they miss important details and misdiagnose.I had to uninstall and then reinstall their program–uninstalled easily, but the reinstall isn’t working, and they can’t be bothered to respond in a timely fashion. I am missing a full night of work, trying to fix the issue on my own–and this shouldn’t happen.Also, they should have phone help and, if necessary remote help–and, yes, for $5 a month, because most people will never need the extra help–unless they f*&k up.

    • Poor customer support is one of my pet peeves.If the service was $5.99 a year, I would not even waste my money!

  9. I work as a web developer and keeping our source code backed up is really important since we have invested countless hours into that code on behalf of our clients. When my company first discovered Backblaze we thought it was too good to be true: all our data backed up (no GB limit!) for under $5/month per developer. Anyone who has lost source code knows the gut wrenching feeling when you hear your hard disk making strange clicking noises before it dies. And if you have no backup because you where to lazy or skimpy to get one, well then you know you’ll have a rough couple of weeks ahead of you trying to explain to your clients why the project you promised would be finished in two weeks now will take two months to finish.I’ve been running Backblaze for over a year now and it’s worked perfectly all the time. I haven’t had a major hard disk breakdown yet, but I accidentally deleted a project once. This wasn’t a big thing though since i could log on to Backblaze and download the files withing minutes.

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