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Backblaze Review

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Retail Price for 1 Year: $60.00
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Backblaze at a Glance

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Backblaze Review
87 votes, 4.06 avg. rating (80% score)

Our Rating

4.4 / 5 stars
★★★★½ 

Price:

Personal Plans

Business Plan

  • Unlimited Business Account: $50.00/computer/year.

Pros:

  • It does not require scheduling because it is backing up all the time.
  • Works with Windows XP and up, and MAC OSX 10.4 or later.
  • 11 Language Interface
  • Option to restore via USB Flash Drive or USB Hard Drive
  • Locate Computer feature
  • Unlimited file size backup now available.
  • iPhone app now available.

Cons:

  • No Android App for access of files on the go.
  • No support for networked drives

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Full Backblaze Review

Backblaze is backup software that “just works”. With the recently released version two of their award winning backup software and they have made many improvements on what was already an excellent service.

Installation
Easy to use is just as important with installation as it is with day to day use with Backblaze. Installation starts by visiting the new Backblaze. By entering your name and email to create your account you can then start your free trial and download the installation executable file for your computer. Depending on what operating system and web browser you are using you may have to download the file and then open the folder where the installation file is located. If you are using Windows and Internet Explorer you should be able to simply select RUN after the file is downloaded and the installation on your computer begins.

Once the installation starts you will be prompted to accept the license agreement. After you click Install Now to agree the Backblaze installation will begin by installing the necessary files on your computer for the Backclaze client software to run.

Backblaze will begin analysing your hard drive and data during install. Depending on how large your hard drives are this can take a few minutes. When this phase is complete you will be presented with a install complete scene and a summary of the files Backblaze found for backup and your initial backup will begin.

Backing Up
One of the things that makes Backblaze so easy to use is their unique backup method. Most backup services backup only what you tell them to backup, or what is in their specified backup sets. Backblaze is different, it defaults to backing up all your files. The only exceptions are your operating system files. Previous versions of Backblaze also excluded some other files like ISO files, but with version 2 that restriction has been removed.

There are some backup preferences to check in version 2 of Backblaze to improve performance under Settings. First double check that Backblaze has found all of your hard drives for backup. Backblaze supports external hard drives as well as internal hard drives so it is always good to check that all your hard drives have been found or unselect a hard drive if you do not want it backed up.

Under the Settings Performances tab you can choose to allow Backblaze to automatically throttle your data connection or to manually select it. Automatic throttle should be good enough for most people but if you find your Internet is slowing down you might want to select manual throttle and select your own settings.

Backblaze defaults to backing up your data continuously, and this a usually a good setting, but again if you want more control you can set it to backup on a schedule.

The Settings Exclusions tab is important to check after installing Backblaze. While most people might not need to exclude any other files from their backup this tab does have a crucial setting. Backblaze comes with default to backup file that are under 4GB. Files larger than that will be ignored. This can be set to a higher size or to an unlimited size, but it is important to note that the default is still set to 4GB and you should go in and set this higher.

Backblaze allows users to set their own encryption key if they desire. Backblaze will encrypt all your data before sending it to their servers. If you use your own encryption key it is very important you do not lose it or you will not be able to decrypt your data without it.

The other remaining settings tabs are a listing of files awaiting backup, reports and event log. Useful for checking the status of your backup, or if you need to contact support.

Restoring
You can start a Backblaze restore feom either the desktop client or through the web admin interface. If you do start your restore from the desktop client you will actually be redirected to the web admin. There is no direct restore via the desktop client.

Once at the web admin you can choose if you would like to download your files over the Internet or have them put on a USB flash drive or an external hard drive to be sent to you for an additional charge. If you only need a small set of files you can easily download them. If you need to restore all of your files the cost of a USB flash drive or external hard drive restore would be worth the extra money to save you time. Backblaze is one of only a few companies that offer a USB flash drive or external hard drive restore.

Navigating the web admin to selct your files and starting your restore over the web is fairly simple. Once you have selected your files you will have to wait for the files to be retrieved and added to a zip file for download. My test restore was just over 5GB and it took just over 15 minutes for it to be ready. They will email you to let you know when the download file is ready.

It would be nice if there was a way to download files more directly either through the desktop client or a virtual local drive. The restore process is perhaps the hardest part of Backblaze, but probably still managable for most users.

Other Features
Locate Computer – There are many stories on the Internet of online backup users using information from their online backup service to help locate their stolen computer. Backblaze is the only company that has made it into an easy to use feature. If your computer is stolen you can use the information from the Backblaze web admin to help locate your computer to give the correct information to the police.

Overall
Backblaze makes it easy to backup your files and keep your data safe. It is one of those applications that “just works”. The majority of users will have no problem setting up the service and even though the restore process could be easier it is simple enough that the majority of users should have no problem with it. Backblaze offers an excellent service at a very affordable price. For those people that just want a backup service and don’t want to worry about whether they set everything up properly Backblaze delivers. They prove that backup can be easy.

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18 Responses to Backblaze Review

  1. lena says:

    Backblaze deletes files backed up from an external drive once this drive
    is removed. This is how I realized it somehow and decided to find other solutions

    • That can be a problem for some people. Many people, like myself, often use our external drives as regular day to day storage so the drives are connected and turned on whenever the computer is on so this is not an issue since Backblaze regularly sees the drive and backs it up.

    • Dragan says:

      Hi!
      You need to have your external HD connected to the computer at least once a month, then Backblaze won’t forget it (and won’t need to back it up each time, saving some bandwidth and processing).
      I move the external drive and work with off site 3-4 times a month, and I keep a reminder called “Backblaze-external HD backup” at the end of each month.

  2. Kim says:

    Hi,
    I realize that this is a backup solution, but is it a good solution for accessing files on different computers. If I understand correctly, I can open a file of mine from any computer as all files are continuously backed up on the cloud, correct? I guess the only thing is that if I edited a backed up file from the PC on the Mac, it would only continue to backup the PC file unless I had it installed on both computers.

    Would the main difference between this and DropBox be that it is not meant for sharing?

    Just trying to make the right decision before purchasing.

    Thanks for your time and helpful information!

    • Backblaze is not really meant for what you are talking about. To access and restore files from Backblaze takes some time so accessing on another computer would take longer than most people have to wait. Sounds like you need something more like SpiderOak, SugarSync or Dropbox. If you want to not use a third party try BitTorrent Sync.

  3. Pitaq says:

    I’ve tried both BackBlaze and CrashPlan and I prefer Crashplan. Backblaze only scans once per hour for small files, once every 2 hours for large files. Crashplan is notices updated files within 15 minutes.

    Most important for me is that CrashPlan has a Solaris client – my NAS uses ZFS on Solaris. CrashPlan also supports Linux, as well as Windows and Mac. Backblaze supports only Windows and Mac.

    Crashplan has a family plan that allows unlimted storage for up to 10 systems. BackBlaze also has a family plan that costs about the same as the CrashPlan offering, but is limited to 3 systems.

    • Backblaze does not actually call it a family plan but I know what you are talking about. The cost of three plans is the same as one family plan from Crashplan.

      I have two main problems with CrashPlan. First is their reliance on Java. It is a pain. On Windows it is less so but on Linux it really shows how bad it is. So bad that I often see CrashPlan crashing on my Linux system. Second is related to the first. CrashPlan is a memory pig. It uses way to much ram and gets in the way.

      I understand why people like CrashPlan but on the systems I have it on I have to limit its running to night time because it just gets in the way. In the end I prefer my new method of using BitTorrent Sync and Backblaze to roll my own family plan. That way I can also backup my mobiles and tablets and keep a local copy as well.

      Glad it works well for you though.

  4. AB says:

    Update:
    – please correct the Backblaze review and comparison charts, including very precise in other regards http://backupcomparison.com/online-backup-comparison/: Backblaze *does not* support locked/open files background backup; this is comment from Backblaze support on the issue ticket:

    ‚ÄúBackblaze doesn’t currently support Shadow Copies, so files that are marked as in use or busy by the OS won’t be backed up until they’re available again.

    The Backblaze Team
    November 16, 2012”

  5. AB says:

    Backblaze
    ————

    Pros:
    – Fastest backup solution among all tested (and probably on the market as well).
    – Exceptionally low impact on system resources and extremely high performance/backup speed. Total CPU usage and memory allocation are literally order of magnitude less than competing products. (Note: This partially achieved by starting separate working processes for file collecting/syncing and transmitting only when needed, than terminating the working processes, which allows constantly running processes for UI and background service remain extremely light weight. Nevertheless system performance impact is hard to notice even when this additional processes are running.)

    Cons:
    – *Does not* backup locked files reliably or not at all. At least .docx files opened by MS Word 2007, and .pst files used by Outlook 2007 were not backed up so far.
    Р*Does not* backup Google user data (\Local Settings\Application Data\Google), including Chrome bookmarks (\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\ Bookmarks). For some users this could be prohibitive and showstopper. The same is true for some other folders in Local Settings\Application Data\ (may be due to emptiness of the folders – see below).
    – Backblaze does not backup empty folders, which could be unanticipated and inconvenient when restoring the whole originally backed up tree.

    – Versioning and restoring deleted files implementation is not traditional and at least inconvenient (if not prohibitive for large number of files). User need to guess time frame during which corresponding version was created or deleted file/folder was still exist. After time frame change the whole tree is reloaded and user need to browse all over again to the object of interest starting from the backup root. Only latest version for the specified time frame is shown.
    – By default files larger than 9 GB will not be backed up. User need to change Exclusion settings to backup files of any sizes.
    РRequires both Email and Password each time when accessing web interface and after some timeout of inactivity. There is no generally accepted options like “Remember me on this computer”.
    – Web View/Restore files interface is not convenient to work with large folders trees and long file/folder names.

    – Files deleted from local hard drive kept for limited amount of time (30 days currently). Some competitors offer unlimited deleted files storage (essentially an archiving service).
    – Account and subscription will be cancelled, all stored data deleted after 6 month of not connecting to Backblaze online service.
    – Tray Icon (Windows Taskbar Icon) is disappearing after computer is on for a while (couple of days). User need to stop (kill) Backbalze UI process (bzbui.exe) and restart Backbalze Control Panel.

    РSlow/delayed backup of the updated files – some editings/versions could be missed. Competing solutions backup changes reasonably often (multiple changes per day were saved as separate versions).
    – Installation was not successful form Chrome (some files required were reported missing). Subsequent Installation attempt from Internet Explorer (what was suggested during failed Crome attempt) was successful.

  6. sysadmin says:

    Just downloaded backblaze to give it a try on my workstation. Said it wasn’t compatible with a server operating system and shutdown.

    So much for using this in a commercial environment.

    • John Tucker says:

      Correct Backblaze does not run on servers. Many services do not or you need a business class version. I have a post on the site that lists Windows server compatible services.

  7. Dragan Ruzic says:

    Hi!
    Thanks a million for taking the time and effort to go through all these backup solutions. I’m leaning towards Backblaze very much thanks to your comparison review as well as the review of BB itself.
    The only thing worrying me about Backblaze is that all servers where their user’s data is backed up are in _one_ place, if I understood this well.
    It’s all great that they have their backup pods (seen it on YouTube…) and I’m sure they’re doing some kind of a “backup of their customer’s backups” but still, Crashplan’s storage is placed all around the globe. If one or two go down, the rest is there I asume.

    Thanks again!

    • John Tucker says:

      Thanks nice to know you found the site useful!

      You are correct the fact they only have one data center in a earthquake prone area is a concern with Backblaze. I don’t recall how many data centers CrashPlan has but they certainly have an edge as far as that goes. Although, I think SOS Online Backup might have the best geographical diverse data centers. Just recently read a report that they have 10 spread out around the globe.

  8. Nancy says:

    Backblaze is not actually continuous. I know, that’s what they say. But I’ve been testing a trial version, saw some mysterious things, and tech support finally explained that it scans once per hour for files under 30 MB, once per 2 hours for larger files. It backs up continuously what was found on the scan, but if you add a new file, it won’t find it till the next scan. In the meantime, it tells you “You are backed up as of [with the current date and time]” and “All files are backed up” which is not actually true.

    • John Tucker says:

      Well it is continuous, because it is continuously running scanning for new files, but I understand what you mean. Many services are like that. They have a set scan time and it can take time between when a file is actually created and when it is backed up.

      Backblaze actually has a help page on this in their Knowledge base, but it does not give any specific time lines for when the scan happens. I suspect it would depend on the load of the computer.

  9. Susan Cain says:

    I have Backblaze installed on my computer. My machine is quite old and getting slow. I’m afraid to get a new one because I need everything I have stored on this one. What is the procedure for transferring all my files? Is it even possible?

    • John Tucker says:

      If you need all the files from your old computer on the new one there are several ways of doing that. It might be faster to not download them all from Backblaze since a restore can take some time if you have a lot of files, but if it is your only choice here is the way I would do it.

      When you get your new computer DO NOT install Backblaze on it right away. Once you get it running and have it connected to the Internet go to Backblaze and login to your account and do a restore. In this case choose to download it over the Internet. If it is large you can choose to do a Flash Drive or Hard Drive restore and then you can order your restore before actually getting your new computer. Before doing your restore you should check and make sure all of your files are there. They should be but always double check.

      Once the restore has been downloaded onto your new computer (or copied from the flash drive or hard drive) you will want to check and make sure your files are all there and readable. If everything goes as it should you can move the files to where you want them.

      At this point you can install Backblaze on your new computer and do what they call a “Transfer Backup State“. It will transfer the backup state from the old computer to the new one, so you do not have to upload all of the files again from the new computer.

      If you have any doubts I would highly suggest you contact Backblaze support. They can help you in moving from the old machine to the new one. That is what they are there for.

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