Backblaze vs. CrashPlan – Comparison of Cloud Backup Solutions

CrashPlan recently announced that it would exit the consumer backup business. As a result, the company will discontinue their CrashPlan for Home product and is advising customers to switch to their business plan or Carbonite. In the search for a viable alternative, I stumbled across Backblaze. In this article, I will compare Backblaze vs. CrashPlan and share with you why I chose Backblaze for my backup needs.

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Backup your data or lose it

Like many others before me, I learned the hard way why backing up data is important. I have lost data a few times but, fortunately, never anything critical. But the loss was enough to teach me the importance of a reliable offsite backup service. About ten years ago, I signed up for Carbonite at the recommendation of a good friend. It worked well for backing up data on my computer’s internal drives. Unfortunately, it didn’t support backing up data stored on external drives. As a result, I switched to CrashPlan, which supported external as well as network drives. I have been using CrashPlan ever since, and my backup archive has grown to almost 7 Terabytes (TB).

Backblaze vs. CrashPlan - Comparison of cloud backup solutions
CrashPlan Backup Status Report

CrashPlan exits consumer market

On August 22, 2017, I received an email from CrashPlan informing me that the company has decided to exit the consumer market over the next 14 months. CrashPlan offered two migration options:

  • Migrate to CrashPlan for Small Business in a matter of minutes
  • Start from scratch with Carbonite

I have not had any serious issues with CrashPlan and was satisfied with their service. As a result, I was considering migrating to their small business offering. The advantage of that was that I thought I wouldn’t have to re-upload all my data.

Effective August 22, 2017, Code42 will no longer offer new – or renew – CrashPlan for Home subscriptions, and we will begin to sunset the product over several months.
CrashPlan for Home will no longer be available for use starting October 23, 2018.

I currently have a CrashPlan Family Unlimited subscription that costs $149 per year. It offers unlimited backup storage for multiple devices. The latter isn’t important to me because I only backup my iMac and its externally connected drives. CrashPlan’s Small Business plan costs $120 per year and would thus be less expensive. It’s limited to one computer unless you pay extra, but that would not be a limitation in my case.

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CrashPlan even offers a 75% discount for the first 12 months when you migrate your account over. As enticing as that sounded, I still decided to try out Backblaze and stuck with it. Here is why…

Backblaze vs. CrashPlan

I had first heard about Backblaze from John Gruber, publisher of Daring Fireball. He has been using Backblaze for years and liked the service. So I checked it out and noticed that they are much less expensive than CrashPlan while offering more features. While the price wasn’t a major factor, it certainly helped to make the decision.

Backblaze vs. CrashPlan - Comparison of cloud backup solutions
Backblaze vs. Carbonite vs. CrashPlan comparison

Ultimately, my decision was influenced by the following two Backblaze features:

Doesn’t require Java

CrashPlan implemented its core functionality in Java. At the beginning that meant I had to download and install the Java Runtime Environment (JRE). Later versions of the CrashPlan app had Java bundled and thus didn’t require a separate install. I very much dislike Java and prefer not to have it installed on my Mac. That aversion stemmed from Java’s inherently insecure browser plugin. These days, installing the JRE doesn’t automatically enable its browser add-in, but that hasn’t changed my attitude towards Java.

Plus, none of the apps on my Mac, except CrashPlan requires Java. So by getting rid of CrashPlan, I could automatically get rid of Java as well.

Backblaze vs. CrashPlan - Comparison of cloud backup solutions
Backblaze Performance settings

Convenient recovery service

Both CrashPlan and Backblaze offer a free online recovery service for your data. That means, you can always download your complete backup archive, or individual files, as long as you have an Internet connection. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, downloading individual files is usually not an issue. But in case of a total data loss, downloading multiple Terabytes of data could be a problem. The alternative is to request one or more hard drives containing your data. Unfortunately, CrashPlan discontinued their so-called seed drive service in 2016. Backblaze offers this service for free. They do charge you for sending the drives but refund the money when you return them.

Backblaze takes security seriously. All data is stored in our secure datacenters with 24-hour staff, biometric security and redundant power. Learn how Backblaze uses encryption to protect your data. New: Backblaze has enabled two-factor authentication. Now a 6-digit code can be sent to your phone during sign-in for an extra layer of security.

Other benefits of Backblaze

Backblaze is incredibly easy to set up. After the installation, it automatically selects all data you may want to back up. That makes it less likely to omit potentially important data in the backup accidentally. With CrashPlan, you have to select what files and folders to include in the backup.

Backblaze vs. CrashPlan - Comparison of cloud backup solutions
Backblaze Settings

Additionally, Backblaze offers the following features:

  • Automatically Back Up Files Of Any Size, Including Videos
  • Back Up Multiple USB External Hard Drives
  • Restore Older Versions of Files for Mac or PC
  • Locate Computer
  • Manage Families & Teams
  • Two-Factor Verification SMS & Authenticator Apps
  • Protect Data Via Private Encryption Key

How to choose a service that works best for you?

If you are a current CrashPlan customer with a large backup archive and a slow or limited Internet connection, I would recommend migrating to CrashPlan’s Small Business offering. CrashPlan offers an incredibly reliable service, and by migrating, you don’t have to re-upload all your data. The latter is true if your backup archive is smaller than 5 TB. At $120 per year, CrashPlan’s service is more expensive than other offerings, but it’s still a small price to pay for protecting your data.

In all other cases, I wholeheartedly recommend the backup service from Backblaze. With it, you get the most features at a very reasonable price of $50 per year per computer.

Blackblaze vs. CrashPlan 2017

Despite the 7 TB large backup archive, I choose to re-upload all my data to Backblaze. Thanks to my lightning fast, fiber-optic Internet connection from AT&T, the upload took less than a few days. I can’t tell exactly how long it took, but I checked after a few days, and the initial backup had already been completed.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

24 thoughts on “Backblaze vs. CrashPlan – Comparison of Cloud Backup Solutions”

  1. Yep, switched from Crashplan to Backblaze a few years ago and did not regret for a minute. Very satisfied with Backblaze (options, performance in the background, pricing, etc.)

    Reply
  2. Is it safe? You send all data from your Mac to external service including your private stuff… Is this company as trustworthy, as for example, “1Password”?

    Reply
  3. Thanks Michael; I am now a crashplan refugee :D
    I initially went down the path of moving to Crashplan for small business at their discounted rate to see how it went (I had just over 1TB backed up). All was well until the new UI/app was silently installed on my iMac. Since then, the app crashes every 2 minutes and tech support has not been able to sort it out. For enterprise level software and “service” I’m afraid this leaves me cold. I guess it has been the complete lack of communication in particular re the impending and sudden silent update that got me.
    Now I’m in the process of uploading to Backblaze. It is not perfect (only 30 days of versions for example) but hey – it seems reliable so far.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for the article, Mike. And to the commentators.

    One question: Have you or any other readers had to deal with Backblaze’s customer service? That can be a major factor for me. If I can’t speak with a native English-speaker or get individualized responses (instead of automatic/scripted/copy-paste docs) in email, I will bail.

    Also, just in the interest of transparency, do you get anything from Backblaze for recommending them or including the discount coupon?

    Thanks for your time.

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      I never had to deal with their customer support because, so far, I haven’t had any issues since the migration from CrashPlan.

      Yes, I get a 10% commission if someone signs up using my link. I started using Backblaze in Sep 2017, published my review a month later and signed up for the affiliate program in Dec. That’s usually how it works with all my reviews. I use the product for a while, if I like it I review it and if the brand or manufacturer has an affiliate program, I use it to pay for my blog.

      Reply
  5. Backblaze will delete your external drive backups if you don’t attach them every 30 days.

    “Backblaze will backup external USB and Firewire hard drives that are detached and re-attached as long as you remember to re-attach the hard drive at least once every 30 days”

    https://help.backblaze.com/hc/en-us/articles/217665398-Backing-up-External-Hard-Drives

    I travel frequently and I’m not going to set alarms to remind me to attach my drives. What if a user becomes ill, for example, and is unable to attach the drives?

    I stayed at CrashPlan for this reason. Once a drive is backed up, it’s there forever. I hope Backblaze changes their policy on this. I’d prefer to use their service for the reasons you’ve listed.

    Reply
    • Hi Jasmer,

      Good point! Never bothered about that because I don’t have any external drives that are not permanently connected to my Mac. But you know what – my father-in-law ran into the same issue with Time Machine. He always forgot to plug the external drive in, so Time Machine could kick in :)

      Cheers
      Michael

      Reply
    • I’m still trying to decide between the two and this is one of my main concerns as some times I do travel for a month.

      My second concern is that if i ever had to recover all my data I want to be able to start downloading ALL the data immediately.

      Backblaze from what I have researched only allows downloads by zip files with maximum size of 500mb and users are only allowed to do this 5 times?? Correct me if I am wrong if you have had any experience in this.

      The process of the Hard Drive delivery is not very clear. Will the hard drive be encrypted? They have also not pointed out that the shipping charges would have to be paid for. As I am in the uk this would be quite a bit and I may get charged TAX on the hard drive delivery.

      for these two reasons I may pay the extra and go with crashplan however I have heard that the download/upload speeds are not great.

      Hope someone can confirm this and they sort these two issues out.

      Reply
  6. I use both, but Backblaze is by far the faster, less resource-intensive, “just works” solution. The only reason I also use Crashplan is that the default setting is to NEVER delete files that have been backed up, even if I’ve deleted them locally. As a photographer, this is a great “just in case” – whereas Backblaze gives you a 30-day window to recover after local deletion. My main issue with Crashplan is how SLOOOOW the upload speed is, the new software may look nice, but the underlying tech appears to not have changed. I only seem to get 150-250KB/sec uploads, never anything even close to 1 MB/sec – which (for me) means it’s perpetually about a month behind in backing up.

    Reply
  7. Just wanted to chime and say I’m a long-time CrashPlan user who’s ditching CrashPlan Small Business as soon as I restore all my files locally. I agree with Chris’ comment above regarding unlimited versioning in CrashPlan. That is a big plus for many folks. However, I’m done with CP due to its incredibly SLOW restore function.

    Code42 seems to have neutered their service by throttling their upload bandwidth (downloads to me). I regularly have over 5-TiB in storage, and I cannot afford to wait DAYS to download even 1-TiB of data. The original CrashPlan didn’t do that. It was not throttled as far as I could tell (or at least it regularly maxed out my 1-Gbps connection if I allowed it to).

    I’m very disappointed with CrashPlan and advise home office / small biz users like myself to look elsewhere if restore speeds/time is of any value to you.

    I’m done with CP. Good product gone bad. :(

    Reply
  8. Hi

    I have been trying the crashplan 3 day trial (2 days left). After almost a month I am only at 57% upoaded (3TBS). I’ve been in contact with CP tech supprt and they have verified after analyzing my activity that my upload speeds are considered fast compared to most users. What Im most concerned with is how to get the data back in a timely manner in the event of dead drives. If it takes a month or 2 to download all my data, then deadlines could be screwed (video/animation work). Anyone know if download speeds are faster with crashplan? The fact that they dont ship hard drives also makes me worried.

    Gonna pause my CP uplaod and give Backblaze a shot. Hopefully their speeds are faster. Could anyone confirm that BB’s up/down speeds are faster ? and by how much?

    Reply
  9. Edit to my last post–sorry I meant to ask if download speeds were faster with Backblaze than with Crashplan (not if crashplan was faster)

    Reply
  10. Re: Travelling
    If you are going on vacation for a long time, you can shut down your computer with the external drive attached. Backblaze does not detect that the external drive has been unplugged and won’t start the 30-day countdown. You can then leave your computer off and unplug your external drive for six months, and Backblaze will still keep all your files backed up including those on your external drive. When you come back from vacation, make sure to plug your external drive back in 30 days from after you turn your computer on. We have a full article on what to do if you’re traveling as well.

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, all of our https://maclifestyle.com clients take their MacBooks with them on extended trips for daily use. Our clients stay with CrashPlan because they don’t want their data deleted at the 31 day mark. If you are a representative of Backblaze, please consider offering the same data retention Crashplan offers. CrashPlan service is same price as Backblaze service. We have clients that would like to try your service.

      Reply
    • Yes, as stated in my reply to your comment above, the issue is in quotes below.

      Users want to be able to attach an external hard drive, back it up and travel for extended periods while continuing to back up the MacBook they are using currently.

      With other clients, external hard drive data is simply archived/unchanging for months or perhaps even years. They want to back up the drive, then take their MacBooks from home to work daily without having to remember to plug in a hard drive every 30 days lest they lose their data back up.

      CrashPlan offers a permanent backup solution for the same price.

      Backblaze
      “While files are expunged from the servers after 30 days if they’re removed from a computer, your most recent backup snapshot will be retained for 6 months… ‘IF… your computer is completely unable to contact our servers (either it’s shut off, or no internet connection’)”

      Reply
  11. One thing I have heard is BackBlaze does not support VSS so it cannot backup open files. CrashPlan Pro does. Any truth/comments on that?

    Reply

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