Backblaze isn't shy about promoting its popularity: right on its homepage it says it's now storing more than an exabyte for customers (that's a million terabytes by the way, or eight million Galaxy S20 phones), and has recovered more than 50 billion files since it started business in 2007. In other words, it knows what it's doing when it comes to cloud backup.
That's all very reassuring when it comes to signing up for Backblaze, which offers a variety of paid-for packages for personal and business users – if you've got data that needs backing up, Backblaze will do it for you. It also offers unlimited cloud storage, so your cloud locker can keep growing indefinitely as the amount of data you've got keeps on growing.
Backblaze takes the position that you don’t need to know the details of your backup plan, just that it is occurring: when you install the desktop client for the first time, it doesn’t ask you to pick out files and folders, but just grabs all the files and folders it considers important and starts transferring them to your Backblaze cloud storage.
By default, Backblaze copies everything that isn’t an ISO, DMG (Mac disk image), a virtual drive, system files or executables. You can exclude other file types if you wish, but unless exclusively told to ignore them all other file types will be included. It's all very simple and straightforward, and you get peace of mind straight away that your entire computer can be recovered if needed.
This is very much a set-it-and-forget-it solution: Backblaze is there to help you recover data if your hard drive suddenly fails or your laptop falls in the bath. It's not for syncing files between computers or getting at your music and video files in the cloud. You can include external hard drives and (on a business plan) servers in your backups, but networked drives can't be included.
Backups can be continuous, once a day, or initiated manually. Some extra variety with those timescales would be nice, but we expect the majority of users will leave it set to continuous backup mode. It's worth noting that while you can backup an unlimited amount of data, you are restricted to one computer for each Backblaze account, and mobile devices aren't included.
The desktop client you get with Backblaze isn't particularly innovative or intuitive – but then again, it doesn't have to be. There are a limited number of options with a Backblaze package, so the software doesn't have to do much except make sure that your files are getting continuously backed up in the background.
You can exclude certain files and folders from a Backblaze backup, but it's not particularly straightforward to do. Considering you get an unlimited amount of space in the cloud, it's easier to just let Backblaze back up everything, just in case. Transferring data from an entire computer to the web can take some time, but we were impressed with the speeds Backblaze managed (you can choose to pause or throttle the upload process if you think Backblaze is taking up too much bandwidth).
Like the desktop client, the web interface is also cut down and minimal, letting you review backed up files and restore them if needed. There's also a mechanism for sharing stored files to others that are exclusive to the web interface. Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud this certainly isn't in terms of web functionality.
In the advent of a system failure or loss files can be downloaded in a zip file for free, or Backblaze will put them on a Flash drive or physical USB hard drive for an extra fee and send them to you. While it may not do much beyond suck up all the files on a computer and let you restore them, Backblaze does these core jobs very well.
Backblaze scores highly from a security perspective: not only can you enable two-step authentication on your account, you can also rely on AES 128-bit encryption and an SSL connection to avoid your data being intercepted as it passes over the internet. It's not full end-to-end encryption but it's certainly going to be safe enough for most users.
You can, if you want, set up a private encryption key, known only to you, which adds an extra layer of protection to your data (if you're worried about Backblaze staff prying into your affairs). However, if you set this up, Backblaze can’t help you if you forget the key, and you need to tell Backblaze what it is if you ever need to restore your data.
You can try Backblaze for free for 15 days without giving up any credit card information, but there's no free tier (as you would expect as you're getting unlimited cloud storage). Personal plans cost from $6 a month, though you can sign up for a year for $60 (the equivalent of $5 a month) or for two years for $110 ($4.58 a month).
The pricing is actually the same for business customers, although you can contact Backblaze direct for different quotes on backing up multiple computers and servers, and on putting more of your data in the cloud for long-term storage (replacing tape backups, essentially). It's good to see this sort of bespoke, flexible pricing, but it does make it more difficult to compare Backblaze against other services of course.
Backblaze has a lot of users and a lot of fans, and it's easy to see why – if you want to back up everything from one computer and its external drives, simply and securely, without spending too much, then it's hard to beat. There are no limits on file sizes and no limits on the amount of data you can send to the cloud.
Just be certain you know exactly what Backblaze is before you part with any cash: it's not for syncing files between computers or getting easy access to your files through a web browser. It's a comprehensive, set-it-and-forget it backup solution for protecting your data should the worst happen, and at that job it's very good.
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