Backblaze Review (updated Oct. 2014)

Backblaze is an unlimited online backup service for PC and Mac.  It lets you backup all your computer files for as little as $3.96/month.  Founded in 2007, the company now stores over 100 petabytes of customer data.

I’ve been using Backblaze for over a year now, and it has protected my PC the entire time.  Backblaze has changed slightly since my last review, so I’ve re-written it to reflect what I think of it now, in 2014.

Backblaze logo

BackupReview Editor's Choice 2014

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Pros

  • Easy to use
  • No file size or bandwidth limits
  • Backs up external hard drives automatically
  • Android (new) and iOS apps let you access files anywhere

Cons

  • Can only restore files from the web interface; no restore option in the software
  • Can take many hours to prepare files for restore

The Bottom Line

Backblaze provides continuous, automatic, and unlimited online backups at a great price.

Backblaze Pricing

Personal Plans

Backblaze has 3 personal plans to choose from:

  • $5/month per computer
  • or $50/year (save 15%)
  • or $95 for 2 years (save 20%)

Business Plan

  • $50/year per computer

There are no storage limits on any of the plans.  You can have multiple computers under one Backblaze account, by selecting additional licenses on the payment page.

Backblaze: Possibly the Easiest Software Setup Ever

Backblaze makes backing up your computer easy.  It does this by automatically selecting every file and folder for backup to their servers.  Instead of selecting common folders to backup (like with other online backup services), Backblaze backs up everything – even external hard drives, unless you uncheck them.

Backblaze requires no input from you in choosing what to back up.  It’s all automatic.  If you can double click the setup file, you can backup your computer with Backblaze.

Backup and Restore Performance

After installing Backblaze and letting it analyze my computer, it started backing up my files.  My files, which were 100GB in total, were backed up in just over a day.

Backblaze main screen

Backblaze backing up my files.

The Backblaze client used only 5MB of RAM, making it lightweight even for demanding backup jobs.

One thing that Backblaze changed from previous versions is that files over 4GB are now backed up by default.  Previously, users had to turn off the max file size setting.  So now large files (such as HD video files) are going to be protected by the default Backblaze settings.

When you choose to restore files through the web interface, Backblaze will send an automated email when the files are ready for download.  You can then download the ZIP, then extract and restore your files.  This allows you to restore files on a computer even if it doesn’t have Backblaze installed.  Backblaze also provides a tool for downloading large restores from their servers, which is more reliable than downloading it through your browser.

Although it’s easy enough to restore files using the web download, I would have liked to see an option to restore files directly from the software.

Backblaze restore screen

Restoring files through the web interface.

I tested my restored files against the original files with a cyclic redundancy check (CRC).  There were no errors among any of the files, which ranged in size from several kilobytes to 20 gigabytes.

Backblaze Settings

Although the default settings are fine for most users, Backblaze is very customizable.  Here are some screenshots of the various settings tabs.

Backblaze settings

Backblaze has many preferences available.

Performance Settings

Backblaze performance settings

Backblaze can throttle your backups to not overwhelm your connection.

Scheduling

Backblaze schedule

Backblaze can backup data continuously, once per day, or manually.

File Exclusions

Certain file types, such as .ISO and .VMDK, are not backed up but can be removed from the exclusion filters if desired.  Also excluded are system and program folders which you probably don’t want backed up.

Backblaze exclusions

Backblaze file exclusions.

Get Your Files Shipped Right to Your Door

For an additional fee, Backblaze can ship your files to you on a USB flash drive or external hard drive.

The price is $99 for the USB flash drive, which supports restores up to 128GB.  The external hard drive costs $189, and it holds a maximum of 4TB.

Backblaze says most USB restores ship within 3 – 5 days, and the time is dependent on the size of the restore.  Shipping is done via FedEx overnight.

File Versioning

Backblaze keeps up to 34 versions of each file on your computer.

More specifically, Backblaze will backup:

  • One version every hour, for the last 24 hours
  • One version every day, for the last 7 days
  • One version every week, for the last 4 weeks

This way, you can restore files even if they’ve been overwritten by newer files (such as a spreadsheet you’re working on).

Backblaze Speed

I backed up 100GB of files at 7.2 megabits per second (Mbps), which nearly maxed out my internet connection.  Backblazes states they don’t throttle bandwidth, and this has been my experience every time I’ve tested them.

Backblaze restored my files at a lightning-fast 31 Mbps, completely maxing out my internet connection in the process.  However, it took 11 hours to prepare 100GB of files for restore.  Splitting the restore into 20GB chunks (as recommended) shortened the prepare time to about 4 hours.

So if you need to restore files immediately, Backblaze might not be the best solution.  But if you don’t mind waiting as files are compressed, Backblaze is a superior choice.

Mobile Apps

Backblaze has mobile apps for Android and iOS.

I tried the newly-released Android app and thought it was great for accessing files on the go.  I could browse folders on my computer, select files for download, and open files in other apps.  There’s not much in the way of settings.  Login info can be saved, but that’s the only option.

There is one limitation, and that is files over 30MB can’t be accessed through the mobile app.  Backblaze also can’t backup your mobile device, unlike Carbonite and IDrive.

Security

Backblaze is a very secure online backup service.  All files are stored using 128-bit AES encryption.  Files are also transferred over an encrypted SSL connection, so even if you’re backing up over public WiFi (such as a coffee shop or hotel room), your data remains secure and private.

Your files can only be viewed by entering your email and password.  If you want even more security, you can specify a private encryption passphrase (which not even Backblaze has access to).  However there is no “password reset” for this feature; if you forget your passphrase your data becomes unrecoverable.

As far as storage infrastructure, Backblaze uses fully redundant, custom-built storage pods.

Backblaze storage pods

Backblaze storage pods (photo courtesy of Backblaze)

Support

To contact support, you can submit a request through their online help desk.  I submitted a request and was responded to quickly, within 1 business day.

For a more immediate response, Backblaze now offers live chat, available 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST.  I contacted live chat on numerous occasions and was always impressed with the help I received.  Backblaze does not offer phone support.  There’s also an online knowledgebase, FAQ, and How-to guides.

Conclusion – Should you use Backblaze?

Backblaze is one of the easiest online backup services on the market.  The software automatically selects external hard drives to backup, and backs up every folder on your hard drive with minimal exclusion filters.  There’s no need to select folders to backup.  Just install the software and let it run.  It’s that easy.

There are a couple downsides.  Restores can take a bit longer than other services, and there’s no option to backup to a local hard drive like with CrashPlan.

However, if you’re looking for a truly unlimited online backup service, Backblaze is a great choice.  It’s affordable, automatic, and doesn’t place any limits on what or how much you can back up.

Specifications
Product Name Backblaze
Version 2.3.0.631
Operating Systems WindowMac
Storage Unlimited
Monthly Price $5
Upload (Backup) Speed 7.2 Mbps
Download (Restore) Speed 31.0 Mbps
Features
Automatic Backup yes
Selective Backup yes
Local Backup no
Free Trial yes
Free Online Storage no
File Versioning yes
Keep Deleted Files 30 Days
Bandwidth Controls yes
Mobile Apps Android, iOS
Public Sharing no
Security
Encrypted Storage yes
Encrypted Transfer yes
Personal Encryption yes
Support
Phone Support no
Email Support yes
24/7 Support no
Live Chat yes
Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of BackupReview.com. He is a cloud fanatic and regularly reviews online backup services. He believes backups should be easy, affordable, and automatic.
Geoff Akerlund

@backupsoftware

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  • Ueih Gnad

    Good server but speed outside US still low,hope they fix it

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  • Vaïno Paivarinta

    Thanks for the review. I tried Crashplan first, and then Backblaze. I found Backblaze really good, and already bought the 1 year plan. The first backup took a long time (about 2 weeks) but now it’s always up-to-date. I am outside US, and the upload speed was about 1.00 MBits/sec. When I have to retreive a backup file I’ll write the rest of my review :-)

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    • http://www.backupreview.com/ Geoff Akerlund

      Awesome, thanks for sharing Vaïno.

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