Having a service that backs up your data is a vital tool for a solid backup strategy. Backblaze is an online storage backup system that’s secure and easy to use. It encrypts your data before leaving your computer, so you can have peace of mind knowing your sensitive files are protected.
Getting Started with Backblaze
To start, download the Backblaze trial. It gives you 15 days of the service for free. Enter your email and a password to create an account and click Download Free Trial.
The software install file is only 3.2MB, and the setup is generated for you instantly, recognizing your account.
After that, your drive will be analyzed which is a one-time process.
Everything will be backed up except for application data, operating system data, and temporary files. There is no limit regarding space or file size – I mean file size is limited to 4GB per file, but that’s a setting you can modify to unlimited.
Interface and backup
Now, the great part is that the software has started backing up everything on my computer instantly, without the need for me to do anything else. The Backblaze Control Panel is as straightforward and easy to use. If you want more control over what’s being backed up, you can pause it and go into Settings.
Here you can add or remove directories that are backed up. You can also change the size of files that are backed up. It’s set to 4GB files by default, but you can set it to skip files that are a certain size, or set it to unlimited. Personally, I have it set to skip video files that are too large. It’s most important to get your documents, photos, and other sensitive files.
There’re three ways to restore your data. You can just download your data back, in a zip file, or get a 64 GB USB drive or an up to 3TB hard drive with your data sent to you – the two latter options are at an extra cost. The 64GB flash drive is $99 and the hard drive, allowing up to 3TB of data sent back to you, is $189.
These capacities were increased recently. The previous ones were 32GB for the flash drive and 1TB for a hard drive, but the prices have remained unchanged.
Once everything is set up, you can just ignore the software completely, as it will just sit in the system tray and do its job, backing everything up.
As for speeds, my initial backup took, for 171,702 files, totaling 80,309 MB on two drives, about a week. Now, you might think at first that things are going to move faster than the service says, but my impression is that it starts by syncing the files in the order of their size. So things slow down when it gets to the large files. But with any online storage solution, including our favorite — CrashPlan — takes the longest amount of time. After that changed files and new data is backed up, making it much faster.
As I said, the software won’t be bothering you at all while it’s working, and it’s got a very low memory footprint – around 7MB.
The default settings in Backblaze do an adequate job, but it provides a lot of preferences you can customize. From backing up everything on your hard drives, except for OS and application files, other backups, specific file types, only folders you choose, and more.
So, you can set which drives are being backed up, and it’s worth noting that external USB drives are also backed up. Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives won’t be backed up, though. To get around this restriction, you can try the trick Brian wrote up about bypassing Carbonite’s local drive restriction, which uses Microsoft’s free utility SyncToy.
The settings menu also allows you to tweak the backup speed, schedule back up times, get detailed reports, and increasing security by entering a private encryption key. By default, you’re worried about security; files are encrypted on your computer using AES encryption before being uploaded to the Backblaze servers.
Note: I also discovered a little trick. I didn’t need my antivirus logs to be backed up, but they’re in the Program Data directory on the system drive. If you don’t see them, just get Windows Explorer to show hidden and system files .
The web interface is also easy to use. You can manage your files, manage restores, and your account.
Pricing and closing thoughts
The service isn’t outrageously expensive either. It’s $95 if you pay for two years (which gets it to $3.96 a month), $50 a year ($4.17 a month), or $5 if you auto-bill every month.
Backblaze makes the process of backing up data online so easy and straightforward; even your grandma can use it without complications. Go through the free trial yourself and let me know what you think about it in the comments.