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CrashPlan vs. Backblaze

It has been a while since I took a look at CrashPlan and Backblaze in a head to head test so I thought while I had some time here in the cold of winter I would do something I have never done with two services before. I signed up for the trials of both CrashPlan and Backblaze and installed them both on a Windows 8.1 test virtual machine with some photos on it to backup as a test.

 

Below is the results of that test and how I feel these two services compare. Both services offer an excellent backup solution and I think both will help you keep your files safe.

Ease of Use

Winner: Backblaze

While CrashPlan has made it easier over the years to get started backing up your files and the default setting when you first install CrashPlan helps to get all your files backed up it still makes a few assumptions about where your files are. This is of if you don’t place your files in different folders other than the standard folders. There is just the possibility that important files might be missed by users and possibly lost. CrashPlan also has a larger set of features that can be overwhelming for some people. If you are a power computer user and are comfortable tweaking settings then CrashPlan is perfect for you.

Backblaze still wins the prize for being the easiest to use. Sign up, download, install and backup. It does not require much if any tweaking on most systems and will scan the whole system for files to backup not just the one user account. It does one thing and it does it well and for that reason Backblaze still wins the ease of use category.

Features

Winner: CrashPlan

Both services offer features like unlimited storage, automatic backups, backing up of external hard drives and unlimited file sizes. It is the features that they don’t have in common that puts CrashPlan ahead of Backblaze in this category.

CrashPlans ability to backup to local destinations, other computers and even to friends computers set it apart from Backblaze to being a more complete backup solution. CrashPlan also has a better feature set for users that want longer term storage of their files.

Backblaze does backup to the cloud well but it has some limits. External drives need to be connected once every 30 days to keep the backup current and included. Files can be removed after 30 days. The locate your computer in Backblaze is a nice addition if you are concerned about your computer being stolen but it might not be enough to put Backblaze ahead of CrashPlan in this category.

Price

Winner: Tie

Pricing for both service is comparible. CrashPlan is a little more expensive for a single user starting at $5.99 for a month and $59.99 for a year of unlimited online backup. Backblaze starts at $5.00 for a month and $50.00 for a year. So for a single user with one computer Backblaze is a slightly better option.

For multiple computer backup CrashPlan offers a family plan that can a better deal once you need to backup more than three computers.

Overall I call the pricing a tie unless one of the services drastically raises prices both cost about the same.

Speed

Winner: Tie

Uploads to to either service is roughly the same, but depending on where you are in the world CrashPlan could have better speed. This is thanks to Code42 having multiple data centers around the world. Besides US based datacenters I believe Code42 and CrashPlan have a data center in Australia and possibly in Europe. Not sure if the Europe data center is for CrashPlan consumers or not but it might be now. It is hard to find information on the number and general location of the Code42 data centers. Most has been gleaned from their tweets over the years.

Backblaze has two data centers, one in Oakland and one in Sacramento which places all your data in the United States and could be slower to upload too from places like Europe, Asia and Australia.

Running both CrashPlan and Backblaze on the same test machine both used as much upload bandwidth as I had and I was surprised when CrashPlan finished first with more data in backup. It was not a huge difference in time though so I would call this speed a tie as well. Your experience might be different depending on your location to the data centers.

Operating Systems

Winner: CrashPlan

CrashPlan, last I checked, is still coded using Java and is cross platform. The Code42 website currently lists the following operating systems of being capable of running CrashPlan. Windows, OS X, Linux and Solaris. Code42 also lists that CrashPlan will also run on Windows Server Server 2003/2008/2012 but not Windows Server Essentials, Windows Small Business Server, and Windows Home Server

Backblaze is not as cross platform as CrashPlan. Backblaze currently runs on Windows and OS X. Windows Server is not supported.

Restore Options

Winner: CrashPlan

With CrashPlan you can restore files right inside the desktop application and if that is not available to you can download files through the website or order your files on a hard drive that is shipped to you. The number of options to restore your data and the ease of restoring puts CrashPlan slightly ahead of Backblaze in this category I feel.

Backblaze does not offer in application restore feature, you need to login to the website and create a restore and download it. Considering how easy it is to backup your files with Backblaze the restore process is not as easy. You can also order your files on a flash drive or hard drive if you have a large restore. It would really be nice if Backblaze made getting your files back as easy as backing them up.

Support

Winner: CrashPlan

When you need help support is your best friend and Code42 is there to help you using live chat, ticket support system or by phone when you just need to talk to someone.

Backblaze as a startup has kept things lean and that means support options are not as complete as many people would like. They offer email ticket support and try their best to get back to people in 24 hours.

Mobile Apps

Winner: Tie

Both CrashPlan and Backblaze offer iOS and Android apps. Both offer the ability to download files and access your backup from your mobile device. Neither stands out as a clear winner and to be honest both could probably use an upgrade to offer more to users.

Security

Winner: Tie

CrashPlan and Backblaze both encrypt your files before transferring them over SSL connections to their data centers. Both also allow you to set a private password to encrypt your data. The only short coming that has been pointed out bySteve Gibson of Security Now is how Backblaze restores files on the website requiring your encryption key.

Overall both services offer a fairly complete security of your files and come out tied in this category.

Memory Usage

Winner: Backblaze

Every application uses memory and for continuously running backup applications like Backblaze and CrashPlan that memory usage can make a difference in your computer speed. The less memory the backup application and background service uses is probably best for most users so they do not see any noticeable slow down in their day to day work.

After setup and running the Backblaze background service and control panel it was using roughly 8.5MB of memory. CrashPlan at the same time running the desktop application and the background service was using just over 120MB of memory.

Once the backups were actually running Backblaze’s memory usage grew. Scanning though the video of the upload the maximum memory usage used by all of the Backblaze processes was roughly 48MB. CrashPlan was more memory hungry using just over 150MB of memory.

Considering most computer come with 4GB of memory 150MB of memory used by your backup program might not seem like a lot but it can make a difference in your day to day working and is something to consider. Backblaze is definitely the memory usage winner between the two.

cp-bb-memory-usage

CrashPlan or Backblaze?

Both services offer excellent backup protection for people and deciding what service to use can be a difficult decision. Which service you choose really depends on whether you want ease and simplicity or total control.

CrashPlan offers you total control over your backup. Have multiple computers in the house you can backup files between them as well as online. Backup only selected folders and files to different places plus backing them up online. CrashPlan is perfect for those people that want to know exactly what is going on with their backup.

Backblaze offers simplicity. It just works backing up everything. You don’t need to worry if you forgot to select that folder for backup because if you did not tell it to exclude it Backblaze would have backed it up. If you don’t want to spend hours checking settings, tweaking configurations and checking your backup Backblaze is perfect.

For people that do not want to fuss or worry about their backup Backblaze is perfect. For those people that have multiple computers, use Linux and/or want to control exactly how their backup is done CrashPlan it perfect. In many ways comparing the two is like comparing Apples and Oranges. Both services offer backup but how they do it and who should use either one are very different. If it was possible for me to choose both as number one I would but in the end one needs to be number one and for the majority of people the ease and simplicity of Backblaze wins out.

Comparison Table

Backblaze Crashplan
Founded 2007 2007
Supported Platforms Windows & Mac Windows, Mac & Linux
Free Trial Yes Yes
Storage Size Unlimited Unlimited
File Sharing No No
Lock File Support No Yes
Local Backup No Yes
External Hard Drive Yes Yes
Network Drives No No
Multiple Computer Account No Yes with Family Plan
Web Access / Restore Yes Yes
Locate Computer Feature Yes No
Encryption Yes Yes
Internet Transmission with SSL Yes Yes
Private Encryption keys Yes Yes
Support Email Web, Email, Phone
Restore Client, Web, USB Flash Drive, USB HD Client, Web, DVD, USB HD
Mobile Access Yes (iPhone, iPad) Yes (iPhone, iPad, Android)
File Size Limit Unlimited Unlimited
File Sync No No
Bandwidth Throttling No No
Backup Scheduling Yes Yes
Backup Continuously Yes Yes
File Versioning 30 Days of Revisions User defined
File Archiving 30 Days Unlimited
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CrashPlan vs. Backblaze The Video

Originally Published: Jan 30, 2012
Updated: Jan 14, 2015

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3 Responses to CrashPlan vs. Backblaze

  1. bunam says:

    Bandwidth Throttling is YES for crashplan

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