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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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