I started looking into Crashplan for online backup a few months ago, and was very impressed with the backup software and options. Not only has it saved my bacon once (as backups should do,) but after a format/reload on my main PC and not having to setup my backup again, I’m hooked. While the primary focus of Crashplan is the online backup to their cloud, I realize that option isn’t for everyone, but never fear, Crashplan has something for you anyway! Let’s break it down real quick, the Crashplan software offers:
- Cloud backup to their servers (which you pay for, but it’s very cheap – in my brief shopping it’s about the most competitive pricing out there for personal backup that I saw on the lower tiers. While it may not stack up against competitors for larger plans or corp pricing, I have no idea really I wasn’t looking, so do the research yourself.)
- Local backup to external drives or network shares – free. No need for other local backup utilities now…
- Probably the coolest feature, is the backup to/from any of your existing PCs in any location. Yes, you can create your own personal ‘cloud’ to backup to. I now have my office PCs backing up to my home PCs over the internet, and vice versa. Also free.
- Email reports of the backup status.
- For security, there is also 448bit encryption with optional password and optional 448bit custom key, no matter where you are backing up to (even local.)
- Should you need to restore a file from a backup, you don’t have to restore the most recent backup of that file. This is what saved my bacon, I recently pruned some code a little too much and had to restore from a backup – but I didn’t realize my mistake for a few weeks and after several other changes to the file. (I gave up on Github for revision control after several MAJOR corruption issues.) Luckily Crashplan had saved multiple backup versions of the same file, so I could restore a previously backed up version of the file prior to my screw up.
- Now the icing on the cake that triggered this post: I did a format/reload on my machine yesterday. Today when I got around to setting up my backup again, it was pretty much ZERO config. I installed the software, logged in to my account, and it allowed me the option to choose my old PC name, which remembered my backup settings and preferences. It synced with my existing backup files/locations in a matter of minutes without having to perform a full backup again, and all is right with the world.
Oh, and yes, you CAN download the Crashplan software and only use the free features of local backup and backup to your own private ‘cloud’ without using or paying for storage on their cloud. The only features you lose with this in the software are multiple backup sets and continuous real-time backups; the former I never needed, while the latter I typically disable when it is available for performance reasons and corruption paranoia. The only thing that disturbs me about this setup is that you still need an account with them to do it as their server still controls the source/destination info and backup flow for your setup – an email address is all they need, and they don’t spam – but I am more concerned about the company’s longevity with this business model and if they go under then I would assume my free cloud backups go as well.
So yeah what I’m doing at the moment is just using the free software to backup locally and to my own ‘cloud’. I did use their cloud backup on the free trial, but I let it expire. Well after today, I’m so impressed I might just sign up and start paying them a little bit for no other reason than I’m taking serious advantage of their software and server even though I’m not currently paying for it. I really feel like I’m getting away with something I shouldn’t be getting away with. That or they are just giving away too much.
Conclusion: If you’re looking for backup software, check into Crashplan. It can’t hurt…