CrashPlan Alternatives - I'm Changing My Online Backup

CrashPlan Alternatives – I’m Changing My Online Backup

In late August 2017, I received a nasty birthday present. I learned that CrashPlan, my beloved online backup service, was shutting down its Home plan. I have been a CrashPlan user since 2011, so needless to say I was not happy about this. I knew I needed to look at CrashPlan alternatives, but frankly it took me a few months to decide what I wanted to do.

If it was just me involved it would be one thing, but over the years I have recommended CrashPlan in blog posts, cheat sheets, products, webinars, public speaking, and to friends and family.

Countless people have signed up for CrashPlan because I use it, and for this reason I was/am quadruply annoyed at this situation.

Why was I Using CrashPlan?

Online backup plays an important role in my data security setup. My backup system consists of 3 key components:

  1. Local backup: I have an external hard drive connected to my computer, and do an automatic backup to that every hour. It’s just fastest and easiest to have this data locally if I need it.
  2. Clone backup: I also have a backup drive connected to my computer that takes an exact copy of my drive. That way if my drive bites it, I don’t have to lose any time. I can boot from my clone and be up and running in minutes, and then I can worry about getting my drive repaired/replaced and copy my clone back to it.
  3. Offsite backup: I want to have my data backed up to somewhere far away from my physical location. If I have a fire or a flood at home, chances are whatever happens to my computer will also happen to my local backups. This is especially important living where I do (Vancouver) which is due for a “big one” earthquake someday. I have found online backup the easiest and most convenient way to accomplish this, and this is what CrashPlan did for me.

What CrashPlan Alternatives Did I Consider?

There are many, many offsite backup strategies to use, but I still wanted to use online backup (glutton for punishment, I suppose).

For me, there were three services that I thought about.

CrashPlan Small Business

CrashPlan

This would be the easiest option since I already have and know CrashPlan and my data is already there. I also like their data retention policies. The price would (eventually) be double than what I was paying for CrashPlan’s Home plan, but I could live with that.

I was tempted to take them up on the 75% off for the first year option to give myself some more time.

At the end of the day though, I don’t want to keep giving money to a company that has annoyed me so much. I know this is a purely emotional response, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Also, one thing I do not like about CrashPlan is their Java client. The silver lining of the CrashPlanpocalypse is I can finally get away from that.

Carbonite

Carbonite

This is alternative #2 that CrashPlan offers. They have worked out a deal with Carbonite where CrashPlan users get 50% off an online backup plan. Not bad. One thing I do not like about Carbonite is that on Mac there is no file versioning, which (somewhat) defeats the purpose of backup for me. I want to be able to roll back a file if I need to.

I have also heard that their upload speeds are very slow and their default storage allowance is too low for my needs. So Carbonite was a no-go for me.

Backblaze

Backblaze

This is a funny one because I wrote a blog post back in 2014 about my possibly-impending switch to Backblaze. I never did pull the trigger, mainly because I didn’t relish the thought of re-uploading all my data. So much for that concern.

Everyone I know who uses Backblaze loves it, and price-wise it is the same as what I was paying for CrashPlan for unlimited storage. It also doesn’t use a Java client, which is great.

The one thing that I don’t like about Backblaze is their file retention policy. Backblaze only keeps deleted files for 30 days. CrashPlan kept them forever. I can’t think of a time I needed to restore an older deleted file from CrashPlan, but I liked knowing that I could.

Then again, perhaps storing deleted files forever is one of the things that made CrashPlan for Home unsustainable. Who knows.

I decided that since I have my local backup as well, I can live with a 30 day deleted file limitation. If I accidentally delete something and don’t notice it until 31 days later, I should be able to fish it out of my Time Machine backup.

Backblaze is what I ended up going with, and my upload is about 50% done as I type this.

Other Considerations

There were other options I considered like Arq, a NAS at another location, or even having an external drive in a safe deposit box, but I wanted something easy and automated. I don’t trust myself enough to have a backup system reliant on me doing something.

CrashPlan users out there, what did you end up doing? If you have any thoughts or ideas, share them in the comments or on Twitter.

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 35 comments

Ed Vanyo - October 26, 2018 Reply

I’m using Arq 5 and backing up to OneDrive. It took 4 days to upload 500GB, but once the first upload is done it seems to run quite well. It also keeps versioning history and encrypts the backup at rest so I’m happy with it so far.

A one time cost of ~$50 seems reasonable for it’s intended purpose.

Jeremy Pack - October 13, 2018 Reply

We are using ARQ with Minio

http://blog.quindorian.org/2017/08/diy-cloud-backup-replacing-crashplan-home-family-diy-style.html/

Having read the forum I didn’t consider Duplicati 2 ready (I don’t want hassle)
Yes we have to pay for ARQ but we have to pay for something it seems

You don’t have to use Minio ARQ works with loads of storage providers (use OneDrive or Amazon) for example, however we have our own storage from our days with Crashplan and we are technicies so we are using Minio

data recovery dubai - September 24, 2018 Reply

We all know that Online backup plays an important role in our data security setup. There are different plans for it, I am using the home plan. Thanks for such nice alternatives data backup plans, which help me to keep data more securely. People can know more about CrashPlan alternative online backups.

michbeck - September 18, 2018 Reply

I’m using Arq with OneDrive. Whenever a discount for Office 365 appears (50 € more or less), I charge my account. Meanwhile I have arrived at 2021. As of October, 6 people can use Office 365, all have 1 TB storage space. If you need more than that invite yourself in the account and get up to 6 TB.
Arq runs on my Mac with few resources in the background and also backup connected network drives. All files are versioned til all the space is used. Also you can backup multiple clients on a single OneDrive-Account.
The private key never leaves my computer. In case Arq is no longer offered, there is a Java command line tool to download all the content.
Backups worked and were fast. Additionally I can use all Office products.
I’m very satisfied with that solution.

Mr Butcher - August 1, 2018 Reply

Hello,

I also used crashplan home for offsite backup. I am hosting a private server at my home holding my documents, music, photos, …. and i need to backup aprox 600gb. May increase slightly over the years …
I am looking for a “backup buddy” who maybe also runs a server where i can backup my files (maybe using duplicati or some other free product which offers encryption). Of course i offer the same amount of space for my buddy so he can backup his files to my computer.
If you are interested, please drop a reply.
Thanks
Butcher

    Ken - August 1, 2018 Reply

    Backing up large amounts of data and criss-crossing between homes is not a well thought out solution for a multitude of obvious reasons. Unless, of course, you don’t care. Are you familiar with the 3-2-1 rule? Good luck .

      Mr Butcher - August 1, 2018 Reply

      I did not say that this is my only backup. But i want at least one backup to be offsite.
      Good luck for you too, wise man.

Ken - July 13, 2018 Reply

Hello. I, too, was a Crash Plan User until my subscription expired several weeks ago. I had no intention of paying them $120 year, which is double what I’ve been used to paying. I switched to Spider Oak. They offer 150 gig of storage for $50 per year and it includes multiple devices, PC’s and unlimited file versioning. Backblaze and Carbonite only offer limited 30 day file versioning. I found Spider Oak to be the closest in price and offerings as Crash Plan Home Edition.

    Nate - July 15, 2018 Reply

    I don’t understand why you would be charged $120. My prepaid subscription with CrashPlan ran out a few months ago, so now I am paying monthly, and it is only costing me $4.98 a month for continuous backup of two machines – my MacBookPro with a 500GB SSD drive and my Toshiba Windows Laptop.
    Also, I have used their technical support recently and it was rapid-fast under my Small Business plan – actually faster than it was under my CrashPlan Home plan from before the changeover.
    And by sticking with CrashPlan, I saved the hassle of starting new backups from scratch with another co., which I know from past experience would have had to run for about three days to get up to scratch.
    I have no connection with CrashPlan except as a long time satisfied user.

      Ken - July 15, 2018 Reply

      Your actual Crashplan subscription for your (2) devices amounts to $240.00 per year under their new pricing structure. Their new pricing is $10 per month per device. The reason you’re paying $4.98 per month for your (2) devices is because you rolled over your account to the Small Business Plan and Crashplan was offering a 75% discount, for the first year to all prior Crashplan Home Customers. When your year is up, you’ll be billed $20 per month, which is their current price. Which, by the way, makes them the most expensive online Cloud Backup Company.

        Nate - July 15, 2018 Reply

        Aha, I see your point. Throw away a great bargain now because it won’t last from now into eternity. Did you know in advance that CrashPlan was going to drop Home Plans? Neither did I. So how do either of us know what CrashPlan may do for all those former Home Plan users who stick with them through the low-priced year? If they don’t offer a better deal, then in my mind that is the time to move on to another cloud backup service, not now! And who here claims to know what CrashPlan’s competitors will be charging, or offering to new subscribers, a year from now? In the meantime, I am enjoying a superior service at a bargain price.

      Rascal - October 18, 2018 Reply

      Three days to get up to scratch? Luxury. It took Crashplan 4 months to make my first 3Tb backup and I have no idea whether the backup is actually up to date – not least because it constantly claims to be backing up / have backed up when the laptop isn’t / wasn’t even attached to the devices it backs up.

      They also lie about throttling. I don’t think I trust them.

Nate - April 9, 2018 Reply

Just an update. I have now been with CrashPlan for Business for about 3 months and I find that everything is running very smoothly.

I have only required technical support once during this time, in installing the new version of the Desktop app onto our Windows laptop (everything went smoothly with no need to contact support for installing the Desktop version on my Mac). I have to say that the Code 42 technical support was superb and the tech person stuck with me even though it turned out that the fly in the ointment was not a CrashPlan issue but a Windows 10 problem of failing to completely remove portions of the older version while installing the new version. He ended up linking me with Microsoft’s instructions to resolve the issue., and stuck with me to make sure that that problem was completely resolved to my satisfaction. In no way was I treated like a small time peon whom they wished would leave.

I have a long time to run on my existing prepaid subscription ,purchased before they announced their new “business-only” decision, and then I can look forward to the 75% for renewal. Therefore I continue to be glad that I stuck with CrashPlan through this switchover, as it now runs continuously under the Business version. Like others, I resented the fact that CrashPlan made this change in their business model, but I am glad that I did not let my personal resentment influence me to switch to what I felt were inferior alternatives, some of which I had tried and disliked (e.g. Backblaze) in the past.

George Alter - March 20, 2018 Reply

Hi Brooks,
I just read an article from “HOW-TO-GEEK”, (see below)

What’s the Difference Between Cloud File Syncing and Cloud Backup?
by Chris Hoffman on March 19th, 2018

Not all cloud file storage services are the same. There’s a big difference between file syncing tools like Dropbox and online backup services like Backblaze when it comes to backing up your important files.

From reading that, I feel I need to use “Backblaze” just like you mention in your “blogs” and emails you have sent me.

However, I am not a PC expert by any means a need guidance using Backblaze. I have Dropbox, which I plan to cancel as soon as I get Backblaze going. I started experimenting with “google drive” and will probably cancel it if you recommend that I do.

I also use a Seagate external drive and have been talking to Seagate Support in the last month and still will be calling them back to make sure i have the drive set up properly.

Please send me your guidance/advice so i will be backing up correctly, so if i have a disaster, i will have what i need to get started using my PC as soon as possible.

Thank you very much, I know you are very busy and i really value your information.

George Alter
260-625-4112
u00gwa1@gmail.com

genie stansbury - February 14, 2018 Reply

Most of you are talking over my head with NAS (what is that?) There is not really a compare/contrast pricing options discussion. What about iCloud and OneDrive? Are they terrible? expensive? Slow? As you can probably tell, I do not use any on-line back up… just local external hard drive, but I like the idea of a clone drive (do you have directions? I have a drive) and would like to do on-line back up. thanks

Dave Bartholomew - February 1, 2018 Reply

I too used CrashPlan, as well as Time Machine for backups. While searching for a CrashPlan replacement, I looked at BackBlaze too. But I ultimately chose SpiderOakOne. It’s more secure, encryption scheme apeals to me. I’m able to remotely and securely access my scanned files when needed because I store my scanned documents via Eaglefiler, in the file system. I’m also able to backup my photo library from my Drobo 5D external volume.

SpiderOak is a bit more expensive and limits storage. But my corpus fits within their quota so for now I’m satisfied.

Nate - January 31, 2018 Reply

I decided to stick with CrashPlan. I did not like the limitations of BackBlaze mentioned in earlier posts, and my subscription with CrashPlan (now CP Bus.) has a long time to run out, followed by the 75% off intro deal. Why throw away a good deal before it runs out? And by time it runs out, there may be other, better options available. The idea of quitting CrashPlan early because I am disappointed with their decision seemed to me like the old saying of “cutting off my nose to spite my face” or however that went.

Stu - January 31, 2018 Reply

Still on CrashPlan until it expires (April 2018 for me – since I paid for it, why leave early?). After much thought, I decided that I couldn’t trust any cloud provider to keep my data safe or available for the foreseeable future (either they would pull a Crashplan stunt, or they would eventually get hacked). So I decided to set up my own, local low-tech cloud: I am using a Synology NAS and software to back up everything (3 Macs and a PC) and then moving one of the NAS offsite (once testing is completed) in the next couple of weeks for a reliable offsite backup solution. The Synology software seems to be working quite well in this context.

I costed out moving over to CrashPlan business and it is simply cheaper doing it this way, even purchasing the 2 NAS and the required 4 large (8tb) NAS drives (I have 6tb of data to back up and it seems to expand by about 1/2 Tb per year). Both NAS are easily expandable although I struggled for awhile to get everything to work (it’s not as easy as they make it seem).

The positives of this whole experience are 1) I have a better and vastly faster backup solution than what I had with CP 2) my offsite data is easily accessible and safely secured 3) no more Java! and occasional massive CPU spikes by Crashplan (although to be fair, there wouldnt be any Java I understand for the business version) 4) no more aggressive hogging of my Mac or PC resources by CP locally when doing a cloned backup 5) I dont have to pay my IP for extra upload bandwith anymore. 7) I dont have to deal with CrashPlan or any other backup provider anymore. 8) I can offer my adult children an alternative backup solution that would meet their needs (Synology has iOS and Android apps designed for this).

I still use Caspar for the PC backups (which has our accouting software and data) … super reliable and excellent support + I still have a Time Machine setup for each of the Macs, although this is now redundant given the reliability (so far) of the Synology NAS.

I wont be missing CrashPlan and have found a much better solution to my needs.

    Mike - January 31, 2018 Reply

    Stu, I’m curious — how are you backing up from the Macs to the Synology? Also, are you having the Synology NAS devices synchronize themselves so that your offsite backup remains current?

    I ask these questions because my own experience using the Synology as a Time Machine backup destination was that it appeared reliable at first, but eventually Time Machine on the Mac would complain that the backup was corrupted, and I had to throw it out and start again, losing all history. This happened repeatedly. The only reliable Time Machine backups I’ve been able to find have been by running a Time Machine server on another Mac (which is now supported directly in macOS High Sierra — used to require running Mac OS X Server). I do use a Synology NAS, with a volume mounted via iSCSI on the Time Machine server Mac. That was the only way it would see it as a local volume and therefore be willing to save TM backups on. It was a pain to set this up, but it seems solid. I don’t think the NAS can sync an iSCSI volume like this offsite to another NAS, though.

    The other consideration when syncing in this fashion is that any errors introduced on your local NAS will be synced to your offsite backup. If you accidentally delete something, or it is corrupted somehow, then that damage goes offsite as well. One advantage of (some) cloud backups is that they keep history.

      Fixer32 - February 20, 2018 Reply

      I was and still have this problem. It’s an issue every time there is an update in the OS . Each time it happens you have to go into the disk utility on the Mac and repair the disk(I don’t think anything is really wrong) and repair it then it works again. In Time Machine settings turn it off, unmount the drive (can be done in disk utility) and repair once done remount go to Time Machine settings pick the drive and turn it on. I talked to Apple about this and they had no answer why you have to do this when the OS updates (go figure&&@@&&;;//!!)

Matthew - January 28, 2018 Reply

I will have to make the same decision. For Europe users I think the best option (with Synology NAS) is Hubic, which has 10 TB for 50$ a year, but it lacks support. It has support for Synology API.

    Roland - February 2, 2018 Reply

    Hi Matthew, Hi Everybody
    i can´t find any information how our data will be encrypted, and where the encryption-key will be stored?
    Did anyone know something about this?

    Rgds Roland

    (Germany)

      Matthew - February 2, 2018 Reply

      Hello Roland

      If you mean for Hubic, I am using it with Synology NAS and their app “Cloud Sync”, which takes care for encryption, key is stored on my pc (public, private). Also you have to store the password for the encryption. Downside is that Hubic doesn’t keep multiple versions of the file (like Crashplan) or deleted ones. But my NAS (2nd tier Backup) does this for me.

    Fixer32 - February 20, 2018 Reply

    I’ve used Synology for 6 years they are great have one at my business and one at home. With the NAS you will need to setup some ports to be open on your router. A good backup software is SyncBack they have a free version or paid I used to use the free ponied up and bought the paid. Best thing with Synology is all the software you get it alone is worth the price for the NAS!!

Mike - January 17, 2018 Reply

One of the things that kept me away from Backblaze was the inability to do a true “zero knowledge” backup AND restore. When I evaluated them, you could provide your own encryption key that never left your computer, but if you ever needed to restore anything, you had to provide that key to Backblaze so that they could decrypt your archive and then send you your files.

I’m absolutely not interested in giving some third party the keys to my personal information.

Are they still limited in this fashion?

Thierry - January 17, 2018 Reply

Hi Brooks,
It’s funny you talked about the external drive in the safe deposit box.
Mine is there and I missed the swap home bank for the last 6 months. Which completely defeat the off-site purpose….

Just a month before Crashplan closed, I was looking at online backup. Hesitating with Backblaze.
In the end, I did not have to choose, with the closing.
But when trying the service for a month, my upload was so slow that I gave up. I did not see any point of spending 10 months to upload my “small” 1TB.

I ended up with just more external drives.
One TimeMachine 3.5″ always on the back of my Mac. And several smaller 2.5″ that I can swap and leave off-site.

Promise !! I’ll take it to the bank tomorrow.

(I also have all my important data on Dropbox. It’s not a backup, I know, but at least it keeps my main data in an additional place, with a transparent automatic process. Unlike putting a drive to the bank 😉 )

Richard - January 17, 2018 Reply

Hi Brooks,
Thanks for this post. I am also a CrashPlan Refugee. I wrote to them back when they announced their intentions and their representative’s response was remarkably, frankly, unabashedly, irritatingly unapologetic. Not even the slightest sympathetic. My subscription had just renewed days before which only escalated my irritation with CrashPlan. Refunds, even for recent renewals were not an option. This made me to resolve to MAKE them backup my data to the bitter end, thus my huge backup continues to run as we speak. I am choosing not to use either of their options, just out of pure spite. Childish maybe but I feel they should have given more warning and/or options for those subscribers with renewals leading up to their announcement.

OK, I feel better now.

I too have been toying with options in my head. As risk prone as it may sound, I think I’m going with the offsite NAS option. Maybe when cloud based solutions come back to pricing reality, I’ll reconsider. Until then, I’ll just create my own.

Thanks for allowing me to ventilate about CrashPlan. Ugh.

Jessica - January 17, 2018 Reply

I just stuck with the crash plan business version. Sucks cuz they had to start from scratch! Which will take like almost a year.

Garnet - January 17, 2018 Reply

Yes, gave up on Crashplan – running it on my Synology NAS was fraught with problems everytime software version updates came. Switched to iDrive with has an app for the Synology NAS and is reasonably affordable. Has been running for over a year now with no problems.

Tom Harrelson - January 12, 2018 Reply

Thanks for the info, Brook. I have never used Backblaze. On my Mac I use Icloud storage for $1 per month plus backing up to a local external hard drive. On my PC laptop I use OneDrive which is included with my annual MS-OFFICE subscription plus I backup to a local external hard drive.

Re your note about imaging the entire hard drive, does that include all the programs in addition to the data? While working on a recent project, my PC laptop crashed. We were able to recover all the data but not the programs which I had to re-download and install. Unfortunately a couple of programs were no longer supported by the original companies and so I had to find alternate programs and restart that data from scratch.

Your recommendation of a couple of years ago to buy the Scansnap XI-500 was a lifesaver. I use it almost every day for both personal and business documents.

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - January 21, 2018 Reply

    Yep that’s right – a drive image includes EVERYTHING (applications etc.). In fact, with a Mac anyways, you could plug in your clone backup, hold down a key when the Mac is starting up, and boot from the external drive and start working away from it until your new hard drive is installed. Then you can clone everything from the image to the new drive.

Michael A - January 9, 2018 Reply

Brooks, thanks for posting your thoughts on alternatives to Crashplan. While I’ve never been one of their customers, your process of thinking through alternatives remain valuable. I will likely go Backblaze this year, in part thanks to you.

Tim Stringer - January 9, 2018 Reply

Thanks for your post, Brooks.

I think Backblaze is a good choice for many people. Though, I discovered there are a few caveats to be aware of:

1 – File/Finder tags don’t get backed up.

2 – Backblaze doesn’t backup disk images by default. I keep highly confidential documents (e.g. tax receipts) in a secure disk image and it wasn’t immediately obvious they weren’t getting backed up. Fortunately it’s easy to remove disk images the excluded list.

3 – I ran into an issue where Backblaze was using significant amounts of CPU and RAM (bringing my 2015 iMac to a crawl in some cases). There’s an internal Backblaze file that can eventually get too large. My only option was to start over from scratch. Fortunately, I have unlimited bandwidth and a relatively fast uplink (about 15 Mbps).

On a more positive note, Backblaze is easy to install and configure, the price is very reasonable and their support is generally good.

Wolfgang - January 9, 2018 Reply

Hi Brook,

I guess a lot of us are affected by the Crashplan decision (and annoyed by it…).
I noticed that pretty much every competitor is welcoming (former) Crashplan users happily, not only Carbonite. After looking around on the web I decided to go with iDrive. My reasons are:
* different model: you rent space (2 or 5TB) but are not bound to a single computer. I have 2 NAS and 2 laptops, and lots of my data on OneDrive anyways. With the other products I would have to pay for every additional PC
* iDrive has a sale going on, so you pay the same as for (unlimited space) Backblaze at the moment
* other features, not too important to me personally (like number of versions etc.)
So far I installed it on one of my NAS (newer QNAP model), I haven’t got it to work on my old Synology DS509, need to play with the services a bit more). Both Mac and Win10 PC are working fine. The UI is very nice, but I guess compared to Crashplan everything looks pretty 🙂
I do miss the local copy option, that was a great feature. I will probably set up a sync with my NAS to achieve this.

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