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CrashPlan vs. Zoolz Home

CrashPlan is a favorite cloud backup service of many but Zoolz Home, a relative newcomer in the unlimited backup space, could give CrashPlan some serious competition.

 

Company Background
CrashPlan is created by Code42. The company was formed in 2001 but CrashPlan was not released until 2007. They have their headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Zoolz Home is created by Genie9, formerly called Genie-soft. The company was formed in 2001 and have offices in Burlington, MA, USA. They also create home and office backup software and the popular G Cloud Backup Android application for backing up Android phones.

Pricing
CrashPlan is very competitive in their pricing and are one of the few services that offers a family plan to backup up to ten computers on one account. That is great, if you actually have ten computers to backup to one account it would then be a great deal. The reality is though most people don’t have 10 computers and the CrashPlan family plan is not as economical as multiple accounts sometimes.

Zoolz Home offers three pricing plans. 1 year, 2 year and 5 year. It seems like a large jump to go from a 2 year plan to a 5 year plan, but price wise it is only double the cost so I can see why they choose to skip the 3 and 4 year plans. Even the one year plan is considerably cheaper than a one year unlimited plan from CrashPlan.

In August 2014 Genie 9, the owners of Zoolz announced new plans and pricing for Zoolz Home. Zoolz Home now has the following plans: 100GB for $14.99/year, 500GB for $49.99/year and 1TB for $79.99. The unlimited plan is now $199.99/year and support up to five users. Previously Zoolz Home had a significiant price advantage over CrashPlan but the new plans have changed all that. For the comparison table below I will only compare the Zoolz Home Unlimited plan since it is the only plan that really compares to CrashPlan now.

CrashPlan Unlimited CrashPlan Family Unlimited Zoolz Home Unlimited
Monthly $5.99 $13.99 NA
Yearly $59.99 $149.99 $199.99
Two Years $114.99 $289.99 NA
Three Years $164.99 $399.99 NA
Four Years $189.99 $429.99 NA

Depending on how many computers you actually have to backup will depend on who actually wins this feature. If you have 4 or less computers Zoolz Home is more economical, once you get past 4 computers CrashPlan would take the lead. Considering the average number of computers per household is 1.5 Zoolz Home looks to be the better choice.

With the new pricing from Zoolz Home, CrashPlan is now the clear winner in this category. Not only is CrashPlan a better value for family plans but individual plans are a better value since you do not have to worry about running out of storage space and possibly having to purchase more space.

Winner: Zoolz Home CrashPlan

Operating System Support
CrashPlan supports Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris / OpenSolaris according to the website. This sounds good until you realize how CrashPlan supports all of those operating systems. CrashPlan uses Java to run cross platform. On Windows CrashPlan installs its own version of Java but on Mac, Linux and Solaris you need to download and install your own version of Java for your operating system. While the majority of the problems with Java lately have to do with the browser plugin the easiest way to secure your system from a Java vulnerability is to remove Java. If you have CrashPlan on Mac, Linux or Solaris you cannot do that with out breaking CrashPlan. Java is also the most likely reason CrashPlan has HIGH memory use which we look at next. I had CrashPlan installed on Ubuntu Linux and often had problems with the system having out of memory errors and being unresponsive. No surprise when I removed CrashPlan and Java (since I never used it for anything else) the system became more stable.

Zoolz Home currently only supports Windows. It is unfortunate that they do not support Mac, Linux and Unix based operating systems. Hopefully Mac users will be supported soon.

Winner: CrashPlan – I give this one to CrashPlan because it is possible to run it on Mac and Linux, but the dependence on Java makes this more complicated than it should be.

Memory Use
A backup service should sit in the background quietly backing up files and not getting in the way. To much memory use and your operating system slows down and becomes unusable for your everyday computer tasks.

CrashPlan, with just the background service alone running while not actively backing up any files and no graphical user interface on often uses 450MB of memory. A backup service should not use that much memory when not actually doing anything. I have seen this high memory use on several systems and it just gets in the way.

Zoolz Home on Windows 8, when backing up peaked at just under 40MB of memory being used. It usually used roughly 20MB of memory. This was including the background service and the graphical user interface running.

Winner: Zoolz Home

Multiple Computer Support
This category is a little bit of a dilemma. CrashPlan offers a family plan and allows lets you install CrashPlan on up to 10 computers. That is a great deal if you have 10 computers to install CrashPlan on. If you only have two or three to worry about backing up the CrashPlan Family Plan might not be the best option when compared to Zoolz Home and the cost of multiple accounts. I am going to give this one to CrashPlan but it will depend on your sitution.

Winner: CrashPlan

Network Drive Support
CrashPlan does not officially support Windows mapped drives. There are work arounds but if you run into problems, well you are on your own.

Zoolz Home does allow you to backup network drives with no special work arounds or tweaks. If you have any kind of network attached storage and use it as a mapped drive in Windows Zoolz Home has you covered.

Winner: Zoolz Home

Local Backup Support
It is always best to have a local backup as well as one off-site. Having one piece of software to take care of that for you automatically is great.

CrashPlan allows you to set a local backup destination and it will keep a local backup as well as uploading your data to CrashPlan Central. This makes it much faster to restore your files if you can restore from a local archive instead of downloading from the Internet.

Zoolz Home also offers the ability to maintain a local backup destination. It is very similar to how Mozy does theirs. You select a local drive or folder and copies of your files are stored in that location in the event you need to restore.

Winner: Tie

Backup to Friend
This is a feature unique to CrashPlan so there is no equivalent with Zoolz Home to compare it to. This feature does make it possible to backup your files to another CrashPlan user with a special code. Using this you could in theory create your own cloud backup between friends computers. Of course you could also use something like BitTorrent Sync to share files in a similar fashion. While this is a feature of CrashPlan I do have my doubts about how useful it actually is and how often it is used.

Winner: CrashPlan

Locked File Backup
Backing up locked files using the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is available for both CrashPlan and Zoolz Home. This will allow the services to backup open files suck as an Outlook PST file or other open files such as a accounting database.

Winner: Tie

Restoring
Your backup is only as good as your ability to restore your files. CrashPlan offers three ways to restore files, through the client, through the web portal and through the restore to your door option. Depending on where you live the restore to the door option may or may not be available for you. It is only available to customers in US, Australia, and New Zealand. If you are in one of those countries you can get a drive shipped to you with your files. The web portal option also has limits on how large of a restore you can perform. If you need to restore less than 500MB of files then the web portal will work for you. They will not let you perform a larger restore though the web. While that makes sense it does limit how useful it could be. Restoring though the client is the preferred option and you can do a complete restore through the client if you want. This is only a problem if you only have a temporary computer to do a restore from. If you have created a local restore you need to client to restore from there as well.

With Zoolz Home you can restore through the client or the web portal or your local backup version if you have the local backup option turned on. Restoring through the client or the web portal can take some time because your files are stored with Amazon Glacier and it can take 4-5 hours to retrieve them. You have the same problem with a client restore as you do with CrashPlan. If your entire computer is dead and you are trying to restore files using a borrowed machine you would need to install the Zoolz Home client that could cause some issues. The web portal does have a file size limit like CrashPlan. The local restore option is better but you might still need the client installed if you used a private encryption key.

Winner: CrashPlan if you live in the US, Australia, and New Zealand.
Winner: Zoolz Home if you live outside of the US, Australia, and New Zealand

And the Winner Is? A Tie
If you live in one of the three countries where CrashPlan will send you a restore to the door drive then CrashPlan has the advantage here. If you live outside of those countries or if you don’t want to have Java or the high memory use of CrashPlan getting in the way of your day to day computing tasks then Zoolz Home is a service to look at. The price of Zoolz Home makes it an attractive service based on that alone. The added benefit of being able to have a local backup managed by them, being able to backup mapped drives with no hacks or work arounds and the ability to backup external drives easily all adds up in Zoolz Home favor.

Here is a breakdown of features side by side for you to look through. If anything is not accurate please leave a comment so I can take a look and correct any errors.

Feature CrashPlan Zoolz Home
CrashPlan Zoolz Home
Free No No
Trial Yes Yes – 14 Days
Windows Yes Yes
Mac Yes No
Linux Yes No
Unix Yes – OpenSolaris No
File Sharing No No
Locked Files Yes Yes
Size Unlimited Unlimited
Restore Options Client, Web, DVD, USB HD Client, Web
External Drives Yes Yes
Local Backup Yes Yes
Network Drives No Yes
Webaccess Yes Yes
Encryption Yes – 448 Bit Yes – 256 AES
Multiple Computers Yes – Family Plan Only. No
Encryption Keys Yes Yes
Support Options Email, Phone, Live Chat Web, Email
File Size Limit No No
File Sync No No
Bandwidth Throttling No No
Backup Scheduling Yes Yes
Backup Continuously Yes Yes
File Versioning Yes – User Defined Setting 10 versions of each file
File Archiving Unlimited Unlimited
iOS App Yes Yes
Android App Yes Yes
Windows Mobile App Yes No
Blackberry App No No
Nokia App No No
Price Month $5.99 NA
Price Year $59.99 $199.00
Price Two Year $114.99 NA
Price Three Year $164.99 NA
Price Four Year $189.99 NA
Review Read CrashPlan Review Read Zoolz Home Review
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11 Responses to CrashPlan vs. Zoolz Home

  1. Ed says:

    I have been on Zoolz for over a year, as a redundant backup to my CrashPlan backups. CrashPlan has its own set of issues since they refuse to suppose Synology NAS I have, 1512+, no wimpy NAS, but they won’t officially support it. Once CP is running, it gets the job done. Zoolz much less reliable. Has moments of greatness, but more often than not can’t get the job done. Zoolz runs on Windows, backing up my files from the network drive. A while back, it was smoking, speed wise, and no issues getting all my files backed up. Its been idle for a while, I decided to have it catch up and it is back to its former self, much slower, can’t get the bigger files backed up before some remote event kills the upload, then needs to restart each file that gets interrupted, hence they never finish. If I didn’t have so many files already backed up, I’d pull the plug on Zoolz.

    • Thanks for offering your experience with Zoolz.

      When I was using Zoolz it had moments when it was great. I cancelled my subscription to them when they changed their unlimited pricing. It was a good option as a backup of the backup when it was inexpensive.

      • Ed says:

        Wow, had not noticed, thanks for the heads up. Locked in for I think 4 years??? at 5$ a month, who can remember. $20/mth adds up quick so don’t see this relationship continuing at the end of the contract.

  2. Craig Bowers says:

    Oh, and I also have a laptop I’ve stopped using, but checking in my crashplan online account, it and the data are still there, not having been seen by Crashplan for 4.1 years.

  3. Manny says:

    I know this is an old post but I can’t hello myself reading this inaccurate info.
    CrashPlan will NOT delete your data ever, unless you specify it to do so by running an archive maintenance with the option to delete files no longer in your PC. They will delete your data IF and only if you uncheck the supposed folder/file in the file selection window, assuming of course you have the settings to keep your files forever checked, which is the default. I’m a user of CrashPlan Plus and Business and I have used their Proe as well in the past.
    “Subscribers of CrashPlan for Home have the option to change the default version settings, which includes the ability to keep all versions of all files forever.”
    This applies for all other versions of CP as well.

    • Thanks for the clarification.

    • Zing says:

      Actually, that’s wrong. CrashPlan will delete your files within weeks of a hard drive going missing. There are two scenarios. If your hard drive crashes while you’re on a long vacation and you come back several weeks later, the backups will be gone. Why? Because CrashPlan will assume that you no longer have that drive. Poof, gone. Just check the Amazon user reviews for how this happened to some poor soul.

      Second scenario, you upgrade your hard drive. Well, your old hard drive will have to be retired. Old versions will be gone. All hard drives have to be upgraded after a few years.

      Only Zoolz seems to care about this scenarios.

  4. David says:

    I’d like to address a point I didn’t see here.

    With CrashPlan one must have their files available locally always, if you stop syncing a folder it get’s deleted from CrashPlan servers after 30 days or so.

    With Zoolz you can upload an entire USB drive then disconnect it, the files stay backed up, they don’t get deleted just because they are not available locally. For me this is a huge plus!

    (Please correct me if I”m wrong)

    I have used CrashPlan and think it’s great but I really need the feature I mentioned above. I have not yet tried Zoolz.

    • I have not confirmed this but I think CrashPlan will do what you are talking about. You might want to talk with them about it. If I read their information correctly it should be possible.

      With Zoolz Home you can see this behavior because it uses Amazon Glacier. I have backed up folders/files and then removed those folders/files from the backup set and they are still available to restore. This could be temporary and not permanent. In other words after 90 days (or whatever the Amazon Glacier storage FAQ says) those files might disappear from the backup.

  5. Damien says:

    Zoolz backup is really slow and I believe the download size is limited.
    It was a real disappointment.

    • I was tempted by Zoolz Home price enough to get a 1 year account and so far I have not had any speed issues. It has only been a few days though so I will keep my eye on how fast the upload is going.

      In my testing for the review my standard test package is just over 500MB so it is possible I did not hit the download limit. I have done several searches on the website and have asked on Twitter as well about this. What was the limit you encountered?

      Compared to CrashPlan, what I was running, Zoolz Home has been pretty refreshing as far as memory usage goes. CrashPlan would often be using close to 500MB of ram even when it was not actually doing anything. Zoolz so far has peaked at 75MB. I will be watching that as well to see if it gets out of control.

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