When I heard that SOS Online Backup had announced unlimited storage plans, my first thought was 2014 was going to get interesting for cloud backup. 2013 seemed to be the year of cloud storage, with a lot of new services coming online but there was not a lot of changes in the cloud backup side of things. SOS Online Backup has long been the favorite of PC Mag, and while their features were outstanding, the one thing that seemed to be holding them back was the size of the storage of their plans. That all changes now with SOS Online Backup now offering both personal and family unlimited storage plans.
If you are a Lifehacker reader, you know that CrashPlan is their favorite cloud backup service and has been for several years. Certainly, CrashPlan has many impressive features but how does it stack up against PCMags favorite backup service.
SOS backup all your devices including tablets, mobile devices, and even Facebook. 100% private and guarantees no intrusion from any of your private information. Your data is secure with SOS online backup’s military-grade multi-layer encryption. All your information is 100% private and safe from hackers.
SOS’s Save Forever feature lets users access unlimited versions of past and present documents and archived. It gives you the option to change, delete and edit as much as you’d like. It provides top-rated protection and does not delete files from the past. This backup software is one of the best online backup services that allow you to have the option to provisionally set your files to remain online or schedule a local deletion and subsequent upload to cloud storage. SOS computes for the total storage space that is required and the number of files selected.
One of SOS’s best features is the recovery tool which is extremely functional. You can search for a specific file, restore all the files in your backup to the My SOS Restores folder, with the original folder structure optionally saved. This feature has a user-friendly interface and gives the option to recover all versions of a file by choosing a simple checkbox or use the calendar to get files again from a specific date. You can also remove files from your backup in this section by right-clicking on an item then click the Delete option.
For its superior backup capabilities and outstanding privacy options, SOS Online remains one of the top-favorites together with IDrive and Acronis True Image. SOS offers a free trial account that lets you test the online backup software for 15 days.
CrashPlan is also one of the highly-rated online backup services in the market and holds one of the most outstanding interfaces, and an unlimited number of storage plans. Most of the online backup services only give remote server storage, but in addition to a sensibly priced paid online storage space option, CrashPlan lets you securely use any computer linked to the Internet or a local drive as a backup target. With an infinite storage plan, good security selections, and unlimited format-saving makes CrashPlan one of the best cloud-based backup solutions available.
Unlike most online backup providers, CrashPlan doesn’t only offer its own online storage as a backup location. You can also select a local drive, another computer of yours, or other user’s computer linked to the Internet. The other user will not have access to your files because it has an encryption key.
Operating System Support
SOS Online Backup runs on Windows and Mac, there is no Linux support. Granted this covers the majority of desktop, and laptop users, but for those using Linux, you will need to look elsewhere.
CrashPlan is created in Java and runs on pretty much any computer that can run Java. Thankfully, the Windows, and now Mac clients install their own Java runtime, but Linux users still need to make sure Java is installed. This ability to run on more operating systems puts CrashPlan ahead of SOS Online Backup in this category.
|CrashPlan Unlimited||CrashPlan Family Unlimited||SOS Personal Cloud||SOS Family Cloud|
The new pricing for SOS Online Backup makes them extremely competitive with CrashPlan, particularly for personal backup. If you just need to backup one PC or Mac, SOS edges out CrashPlan by price. If you need to backup more than one computer, CrashPlan takes the lead in price and number of computers allowed. SOS only offers to backup 5 computers on their family cloud plan, while CrashPlan will allow up to 10.
If only PC and Mac backup are considered here, it is pretty much a tie with SOS winning the personal cloud backup and CrashPlan winning for family backup.
SOS is fairly well known for having multiple data centers around the globe. They state they have 11 independent data centers in Louisville, Houston, Dallas, Toronto, London, Kiev, Athens, Chennai, Johannesburg, Melbourne, and Syndey. Your data is stored on equipment SOS owns and is backed up nightly to other hardware to minimize any data loss.
Details on CrashPlan data centers is not as easy to find. The most accurate information I could find stated they have seven data centers. Three in the US (Minneapolis and Atlanta), and one data center each in Japan, Ireland, Australia, and Singapore.
Both SOS and CrashPlan state the data centers are SAS 70 Type II.
SOS looks to pull ahead in this area and the fact that they back up your backup could save you having to upload all of your data again in the event the server your data is stored on dies.
Winner: SOS Online Backup
Mobile Apps and Backup
The world is going mobile, smartphone and tablet usage is going up every day, and desktop and laptops are being used less and less. SOS Online Backup has your mobile covered included in the price of your subscription. Not only can you access your desktop backup you can also backup the files you create on your smartphone and tablet, whether it is Android or iOS. You can rest easy knowing those photos you took of the kids first walk, bike ride etc are backed up and safe.
CrashPlan offers apps for both iOS and Android, but the CrashPlan app is access-only. You can securely browse your backed up files, but there is no option to backup the photos or other files from your mobile devices to your CrashPlan backup.
Winner: SOS Online Backup
Network Attached Storage & External Hard Drives
The number of people that have network attached storage and external hard drives has grown significantly over the years. SOS Online Backup supports backing up from both network connected drives and external drives. This makes it easy to include your files from all your sources in your backup. SOS Online Backup does not run on NAS boxes directly though, so you need to run it on a desktop that can connect to the NAS.
CrashPlan can backup external hard drives but network storage can be a problem from your desktop if you run Windows. There is a workaround for Windows users, but it might require some attention to make sure it continues to work. CrashPlan, however, can be directly installed on some NAS devices so it can backup directly to your account.
Both services are strong in this area, so I am going to call it a tie. Depending on your setup, both could work equally well.
Local Backup Support
Backing up to the cloud is great but having a local backup makes it much faster to restore large amounts of data faster. Not to mention why have two backup systems running when you can have one manage the local and online at that same time. In this case, both SOS Online Backup and CrashPlan can manage a local and online backup at the same time.
SOS Online Backup does not offer many options to restore your files. You can download them through the website or through the client. If you have a large number of files to restore it can take awhile.
CrashPlan is one of the few companies that will ship your files to you. While it might only be available in a limited number of countries if you have a large restore to do it could save you many hours of downloading.
Ease of Use
Both SOS Online Backup and CrashPlan offer similar features and are both equally as easy to use. That being said in my testing I tended to prefer SOS Online Backup over CrashPlan the main reason being I hate Java. If and when CrashPlan dumps Java this opinion might change.
Winner: SOS Online Backup
And the Winner Is?
SOS Online Backup
SOS Online Backup really comes out ahead or tied in a large number of features. The service was always a good option, but with the addition of unlimited storage, and mobile backup, they look better all the time. Now you might be wondering why they are third on the best online backup list? While SOS Online Backup looks good, and they are not a new company, they are new to the unlimited cloud backup market and it is still a question how long they will continue to offer unlimited storage. Time will tell, and if they continue to perform well, they could very easily move up ahead of CrashPlan.
Here is a handy table for you to compare more of the features of each service side by side.
|SOS Online Backup
|CrashPlan||SOS Online Backup|
|Unix||Yes – OpenSolaris||No|
|Restore Options||Client, Web, DVD, USB HD||Client, Web|
|Multiple Computers||Yes – Family Plan Only.||Yes – 5 PC’s Per Account.|
|Encryption Keys||Yes||Yes (Chosen at signup)|
|Support Options||Email, Phone, Live Chat||Email, Chat|
|File Size Limit||No||No|
|File Versioning||Yes – User-Defined Setting||Yes|
|Windows Mobile App||Yes||No|
|Price Two Year||$114.99||$99.99|
|Price Three Year||$164.99||$129.99|
|Price Four Year||$189.99||NA|
|Review||Read CrashPlan Review||Read SOS Online Backup Review|