The best cloud backup services make it simple and easy to save your files and folders to the cloud, and access them from any device, from the office, home, or on the go.
This has become essential as just as we're creating more data than ever before, we are also creating more opportunities to lose it - everything from misplacing it, accidentally deleting it, or losing it to a computer hard drive crash.
Therefore having some form of backup has become a necessary part of your ordinary computing life. While many people will simply backup to a USB drive, CD storage, or an external hard drive, it's best to follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy as a rule.
This means you should keep three copies of the data, stored across at least two different media types, with at least one stored in a different, off-site location. This usually means a copy on your computer, a backup to a USB drive or external drive, with the offsite backup covered by one of the best cloud storage services.
But while similar, there are some big differences between cloud storage and cloud backups - you can find out more in our guide Cloud storage vs Cloud backup vs Cloud sync : What's the difference?
You’ll find even the best free cloud storage providers offer integrated backups, but not all do. For that reason, we’ve tested the best cloud backup services. As part of our review process, we’ve highlighted security features, disaster recovery tools, interface and experience, platform availability, and pricing. We’ve also highlighted automatic backup performance and extras like cloud storage for personal or business use.
Therefore below we'll list what we think are the best cloud backup services currently available.
We've also featured the best cloud storage for photos and pictures.
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The best cloud backup services of 2023 in full:
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
iDrive is a user-friendly cloud backup service that’s great for personal and business use. It effortlessly handles everything from simple photo backups for mobile and sharing files across networks, to protecting SQL, Exchange, SharePoint, and many other servers.
Wide platform support covers Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, and an intuitive browser portal. For more experienced users, there’s Linux via assorted scripts, and a range of network-attached storage devices like QNAP, Synology, Netgear, and Asustor. You can protect as many devices as you like with a single account.
A lengthy list of backup options starts with simple file and folder protection, but you can also protect your iPhone's photos, videos, contacts and calendar, maybe add SMS on an Android phone, even create a full disk image for disaster recovery purposes later. But for all its power, we found iDrive's apps very easy to use, and our speed tests revealed backup performance was a good match for Google Drive and the top storage contenders.
For what you get, we were impressed with the subscription prices. A basic Personal plan starts at 5TB for just under $60 a year, with the Business plan starting at 250GB for $75 a year. Your internet isn’t fast enough to back up or restore hundreds of gigabytes of data? The IDrive Express service allows you to send files to or from iDrive on a USB drive via the mail. Personal plans can do this once a year for free, business plans get three tries.
When we reviewed the service, we were impressed with how it stood up to our tests. The sync speed was excellent and you can see the progress of individual files by clicking into the "cloud-drive" folder.
When we deliberately deleted a file in order to see how iDrive handled restoring data, we were disappointed to see that it wasn't possible to recover the data using the desktop client. However when we opened the web interface, we were able to restore the folder from the trash without issue.
We were also able to use the rather spartan web interface to restore a modified version of our test document to the original version with just a few mouse clicks.
Minor quibbles, really, for a platform that delivers an impressively wide breadth of services across all platforms at a good price.
Read our full IDrive review.
Best for simplicity
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Dropbox is already one of the biggest names in cloud storage. Dropbox Backup is also only available as an option for existing users using the desktop client.
When Dropbox Backup first launches, you choose which folders you wish to sync. By default the client will automatically run backups every 15 minutes.
The good news is that backups are incremental, so future backups only record the differences between this backup and the last which can save huge amounts of space. Dropbox Backup also supports backing up to external drives.
The dedicated Dropbox Backup window shows you the status of the last backup and you can click "View Contents" at any time to launch the Dropbox Backup web portal to access your files.
If a backup is running, you can also select "View Progress" to check the backup status of each file. (It also displays a percentage value at the top of the window).
From here you can also 'modify folder selection' to change which are backed up. The "Advanced Settings" only contain an option to throttle bandwidth at the moment, but this is a very welcome feature.
During our tests, around 650MB of data synced in just under 6 minutes, which was exactly what we'd expect for our average upload connection speed of 12Mbps.
We also had no trouble restoring a deleted folder - indeed there are two ways to do this from accessing deleted files or the built-in 'Rewind' feature. Dropbox Backup also was able to restore the original version of our modified file with just a few mouse clicks.
As an extension of your regular Dropbox account, pricing for Dropbox Backup is determined by the cloud storage tiers. As we mentioned there's a free 2GB tier.
An 'Individual' plan provides 2TB storage costs $11.99 billed monthly or $119.88 for the year. The 'Professional' plan provides 3TB for $19.99 per month or $198.96 per year.
Read our full Dropbox review.
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
A comprehensive business backup service that’s simple to use with no file size limits. That’s the eye-catching pitch from Crashplan.
We found this to be a hugely customizable service for Windows, Mac, and Linux with a pain-free setup. Once up and running you can mostly just forget about it, and leave CrashPlan to handle securely continuous and scheduled backups with both online and local destinations.
On top of no-limit file sizes, there's no fixed limit to its versioning support. You can keep previous versions of files for years, if necessary. The desktop client can even limit its CPU usage when the user is active to reduce impact on system performance.
There are two straightforward monthly subscription plans: Small Business and Enterprise. Costs start at $10 a month per endpoint.
During our original tests in 202 we found CrashPlan to be less than perfect. We found upload speeds proved slower than expected on default settings. It’s more cumbersome to restore files than we'd like. And there are occasionally silly UI choices, like requiring you to tag specific folders for storage and recovery.
During our most recent tests in 2023, although tagging specific folders remains performance seems to have improved hugely. Using an average upload speed of 17Mbps, the 'Documents' folder on our test machine was able to sync in just over four and a half minutes. We'd usually have expected this amount of data to take at least 30 seconds longer, so were very impressed by CrashPlan's improvement in performance.
We were also able to use the 'Restore Files' feature to recover the test folder we'd deliberately deleted as well as the original version of our Test document in seconds.
This means that if you want a desktop client cloud backup solution, there’s not much to dislike about CrashPlan.
Read our full CrashPlan review.
Best for value
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Backblaze is one of the best cloud backup services with a strong focus on simplicity. Just install the app on Windows or Mac, it backs up all your files on hard drives and external drives. It then uploads new or changed files as they appear. Our tests found Backblaze’s impressive upload speeds kept delays to a minimum compared to many rivals. Like iDrive, Backblaze will also ship up to 8TB of your data on a USB to you.
Like CrashPlan, there's no limit on storage space or file size, so nothing gets left out. However, versioning support keeps previous versions of your files for up to 30 days - whereas CrashPlan has no versioning limit.
The apps are relatively basic. There's no file syncing, no clever collaboration tools, only the simplest of file sharing options. But smart system integration and simple apps make it easy to set up Backblaze, and the minimal web interface provides basic tools for browsing your files and restoring whatever you need.
During our tests we were able to upload over 5GB of data in less than 9 minutes with an average upload connection speed of 70Mbps, which is faster than most of the cloud storage providers we've reviewed.
We were also able to recover our deliberately deleted test folder and the original version of our modified test Word document. However in order to do so Backblaze had to generate a link to a ZIP file, which was sent to us via e-mail. We'd much rather have had the option to simply restore the data to its original location. Backblaze is tough to beat for value, with prices starting at $7 billed monthly to back up workstations. Business users can back up servers and NAS devices to BackBlaze's B2 cloud storage service for $5 per TB per month, a fraction of the price you'll pay with Amazon S3, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure.
Read our full Backblaze review.
Best lifetime option
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
pCloud is a versatile backup tool loaded with extra cloud benefits, like syncing and advanced file sharing, for some of the best prices around.
We found the service very easy to set up on both mobile and desktop devices. The Windows and Mac apps add a Dropbox-like folder to the system file manager, allowing simple backups in little more than a drag and drop. The mobile apps can automatically back up new photos and videos as they're taken, while essential service integrations support backing up Facebook, Instagram and other content.
We did catch one or two issues. The desktop apps feel a little dated, not as slick as the best of the competition. But pCloud more than makes up for that with its hugely customizable file-sharing tools. You can create custom download pages for each file, build slideshows from shared images, even stream media files directly from your storage space.
As an aside, when we reviewed the service, we were particularly impressed with the app's built-in media player - a good choice if you're backing up a lot of media.
Our test data synced to the cloud in just 96 seconds, which is comparable to some of the big names in cloud storage like Dropbox and OneDrive. We were also able to use pCloud's web interface to recover our deleted folder and the original version of our Test Word document with ease.pCloud's annual pricing is reasonable, at $49.99 for 500GB or $99.99 for 2GB, but what really sets the service apart is its lifetime subscriptions. The 2TB plan can be yours, forever, for a one-off $399: Dropbox charges $120 a year for 2TB, so if you'll use pCloud for four or more years, it begins to look like a really good deal.
Read our full pCloud review.