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Online backup for $5 month unlimited space. Backblaze backup encrypts and uploads all your data – no questions asked. No picking files. No digging through folders. Your data is backed up online to our datacenters, so nothing can touch it. Restore from the web or get a DVD or USB drive sent via FedEx. Files change and Backblaze backs them up. By default, Backblaze simply backs up all the time so you dont have to remember. But if you wish, you can schedule Backblaze to backup at a convenient time or only when you click "Backup Now". Unlike Carbonite, Backblaze also backs up external USB and Firewire drives.
Subscription that costs between $4 and $5. Price may vary depending on commitment and so on.
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Long story short: for all of Backblaze's marketing talk about security and end-to-end encryption, that is only the case if you never need to restore anything from your backup! Which is, of course, not the point of doing backups.
The idea behind end-to-end encryption is this: you use a private key to encrypt your files locally, before sending them to Backblaze servers. They only ever store the encrypted data, and, since they don't know your private key, have no reasonable way to decrypt it – neither would any malicious attacker that in some way or another gains access to your backups. If you request back your files, you get the encrypted version, that only you can decrypt again with your private key, which is supposed to never leave your computer and control. Never sharing your private encryption key with anyone is the whole point of end-to-end encryption.
Backblaze pretends to uphold this while backing up your data. You enter your private key in the client, your data is encrypted locally before transmission. That is, as long as you trust that that's really what their closed-source client is doing behind the scenes.
I have been happy with this – until I actually needed to restore files from a hard drive that died. In short: there doesn't seem to be a way to restore your files without first sending your private encryption key to Backblaze, letting them decrypt your data on their servers, and send the restore to you. Backblaze claim to have years of experience in implementing security. And then they do that! Sharing your private key with anyone is the absolute biggest "no-no" in information security. It should never, ever be done. But this is exactly what Backblaze requires you to do if you want to retrieve your backed up files.
You have the option of either downloading a backup as a ZIP file, or having it delievered to you on a USB drive or hard disk. In the ZIP method, you request your backup through the web interface. You supply your private key, select what to restore, then wait for Backblaze to prepare an unencryped, not even password-protected, ZIP archive of your files on their servers for you to download. If you choose the USB method, you still have to supply your private key. They will decrypt your data, and actually re-encrypt it on the USB drive for some semblance of security in transit of the drive to you, but it will be with a separate encryption key that is displayed to you in your account. Hence, Backblaze still handles your data on their servers in unencryped form.
All of this turns the entire concept of end-to-end encryption into a fake, a completely pointless exercise. Because you'll have to undo the entire security effort the moment you want to get back any of your files. And why would you set up a backup solution if you never intended to retrieve any files from it?
This may sound harsh, and since I don't store any really sensitive data with them I'm kind of fine with still using their service – the price is good, the servers fast, the client nice. But I really hope they'll step up their game and actually follow through on their promises of security and encryption. Looking at their marketing talk on the website now, it all seems like one big lie. I believed in the lie for more than two years, because only when you get to the point of needing to restore files, you realise that none of it was true.
If you care about encryption, CrashPlan is probably the better choice for now. Their servers may be slower, their client harder to use, and generally less stable and performant (Java! Ugh! Who still uses Java for productive software?) but they seem more concerned about letting actions and processes follow their promises. Technically, you still need to trust a closed-source client, so for the really security-aware it's still not an option. But their solution seems much clearer and thought-through. For reference and comparison, here are CrashPlan's promises on private key encryption: "Encryption key exists only on source computer. Your custom key is never cached at any remote location. The custom key is held in memory for the purpose of restoring files; it is never written to disk. The custom key is flushed from memory once files are restored."
All of these promises are fundamental for encryption to make any sense at all. Backblaze breaks all of them. If CrashPlan at some point does the switch to a native client, which they've promised for many years now, Backblaze will have a very tough stand. And if they actually made their client open-source to make independent security audits possible, that would pretty much enable them to beat all of their competitors. Let's see how things develop on both sides.
[Edited by Anamon, January 07 2018]
I really appreciate your review highlighting Backblaze's security practices. Are there any better alternatives in the current year?
I have had Backblaze for a few years now, and at first I thought it was perfect. It still works... kind of. But after I reported slow backups, a tech support guy revealed to me that the lists of backup history are kept INSIDE the app folder, and they grow larger and larger as time goes on, and this slows the app down. The only way to fix the problem is to start a NEW backup, which means spending some time building up to a fully backed-up state again, during which time your files may be vulnerable.
To give you some idea of the size of the problem: my regular backup runs nightly between 0000 and 0700, and tonight I'm up after midnight so I'm watching the status on the preferences pane. It is now 0051, and it still says "Producing file lists" in the status. This means that it has spent almost an hour JUST DECIDING what to back up. Not a single file has been backed up yet. The thing is pretty much impossible to use during the day now because my whole machine slows down during that phase, which is why I schedule it overnight. But it's struggling, and sadly I think I may have to put it out to pasture and find an alternative system in which the designers have thought things through a bit better.
Wirecutter recommends Backblaze in the guide "The Best Online Cloud Backup Service."
Cheap and unlimited online backup for computer.
Allow access-backed up files from phone and website.
Option to buy hard drive filled with backed up files and shipped it to you to skip downloading files yourself.
The downside is that they do not back up folders that belongs to apps installation, so all those settings and configuration files won't be backed up by them. They also won't backup files they claim are "typically non-user data" such as .ISO files, so all those digital CDs & DVDs images/copy won't be backed up too. These are one of the few fine prints for their "unlimited" claim.
This guys NOT cheap if you will use it for something like downloading later.
As for site for storing their data -- they're pretty okay.
But if you plan to use it as file storage with frequent downloads of data - you can easily get a check for 20-30-40$ depends on the amount of data that you wish to download.
A whole business model based on an uploading data and storing here, and if you want to download your files back if really shit happen (for example big backup) - you will be forced to pay a lot of money.
Is it good for me? No.
Can I recommend them? To be clear for backups - yes. But for backups which will be rarely used.
Also, there are better alternatives with the same pricing and without asking money for traffic as they do.
So, pricing, limited tech is what one would get. Also you should read up what will be backed up (personal backup), it's not that much
update: trying to be friends with BB on Mac
Improves sleep by handling my Mac and external drive backup
Looks like a good solution, but won't even install on my Windows 7 64-bit machine.
ERR_ERROR: something went badly wrong in Installer_CallBzTransmit_
AtInstallTimeCreateAccountAndAddHost so exiting installer.
This is the program I suggest to family and friends. For some people, simply connecting an external drive and clicking "backup" once a week is too much work. Backblaze is cheap, only $5 a month for unlimited backup. It's simple, just install and it backs up everything, which means there's nothing to configure. It's automatic, always running in the background. It's the perfect solution for stubborn mates.
I recently switched to this from Spideroak. I set a private encryption key, and my only nitpick is that you must provide this password if you wish to restore your files.
I like it but my main problem is that I can't select important folders to be saved in priority. ;(
note: Crashplan also has unlimited storage.
Backblaze is the simplest and one of the cheapest ways to backup.
It's the best option for backing up your computer that I've seen.
I wish it could synchronize a couple of folders with multiple computers though, like DropBox.
I'm testing it at the moment for free and I'm pretty sure I'm going to purchase an account afterwards. Parallel I use DropBox.