Best cloud backup: 10 online backup services tested

SpiderOak may still be a good deal for advanced users who need backup, file sharing and sync services. The service offers a free 2GB account, too, which means you can try it out for just as long as you like. If you're a home user who just wants a simple online backup for a single PC, though, there are cheaper and more effective solutions elsewhere.

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10GB for free, Unlimited for £69 (around US$107/AU$120) per year

Best online backup 10 services tested

In theory at least, Bitcasa is a very capable online backup service which delivers most of the features people really want: unlimited storage space and versioning, high security (your files are encrypted before they're uploaded) straightforward Dropbox-style syncing, easy file sharing, streaming from the web client (just click a music or video file to play it) and a range of clients to tie it all together (Windows, Mac, and apps for iOS, Android and Windows 8).

There are problems, though, and they start with the client itself. Bitcasa is certainly easy to use - just copy files to its virtual drive and they'll be uploaded to the web - but this Explorer-based approach means you get very little control or feedback. There's no scheduling, for instance. There's also no significant feedback on the current backup task, no option to pause or resume a backup and no way to limit its use of network bandwidth.

This had some unwelcome consequences for us, since we found Bitcasa's activities significantly affected the performance of other software. This isn't a total disaster, since you can always close the program down, restart it later, and the backup will continue where it left off, but it would be easier if we could set up the service to work as we'd like in the first place.

When you also factor in Bitcasa's premium £69 (around US$107/AU$120) per year price, the service may not seem quite so appealing, after all. Still, the core feature set is impressive. And the company's free account provides a reasonable 10GB of space, so if you like its simplicity then it might be worth trying out Bitcasa for a while, to see how it works for you.

Find out more about Bitcasa