The best cloud backup services make it simple and easy to backup your data directly to the cloud, to access from any device whether in the office, home, or on the go.
This has become essential, as we're creating more data than ever before whilst 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.
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Reader Offer: $100 off Sync Pro
Sync delivers outstanding value for anyone looking for terabytes of cloud storage space, and the secure file sharing and collaboration features are an added bonus. Get $15 per user, per month for unlimited storage with this exclusive offer.
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We've also featured the best cloud storage for photos and pictures.
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The best cloud backup services of 2024 in full:
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Best cloud backup overall
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 cloud backup 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.
Best cloud backup for teams
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
In our full Sync.com review, we lamented the service’s single-folder sync limitation, which, for all its placement here, does make it a better fit as a cloud storage as opposed to backup service.
However, there are some decent workarounds for this - saving files to a single folder, or using Sync’s dedicated fault feature - storage without syncing to any of your other devices and taking up valuable drive space.
Sync’s USP is very much ‘keep it simple’, from its austere yet utilitarian interface (as above) to lack of proper collaboration and writing tools in line with more well-known competitors such as Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. Sync does integrate with Microsoft 365 for live edit collaboration, but having this built in is always ideal.
And yet, Sync could still tempt small businesses and teams. Some of that comes down to price: $5 per user for 1TB a month isn’t bad at all, while larger teams have access to unlimited cloud storage for $15 per user. Yet team accounts are also given provision for how to keep data compliant with international privacy standards, such as HIPAA and PIPEDA in the US and GDPR in the EU.
All accounts support protecting links with passwords and set expiration dates, and a file size limit. These aren’t unique to Sync by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re nice to have together.
Best no-limits cloud backup
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.
As of November 2023, there are two monthly subscription plans: Essential ($2.99) and Professional ($8), while an annual offering, Enterprise ($108) makes sure all bases are covered.
During our original tests, 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.
Going back in 2023, however, although specific folder tags are still required, 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.