Zoolz Review: Low Cost Online Backup

Update August 2014: In light of Zoolz checking filenames on customer accounts, I no longer recommend it.

Update March 2015: Unlimited storage has been discontinued.

Zoolz is an online backup service that promises secure, unlimited, lifetime storage for your files.  It does this using “Cold Storage” – low cost storage provided by Amazon Glacier.  Basically, it trades retrieval speed for ginormous amounts of space.  So you can store lots of data, but you can’t download it very fast.  Zoolz also offers “instant storage”, which lets you download files faster, but also costs more.

Unlike other online backup services, Zoolz stores your files forever – long after they’re deleted from your computer.  Zoolz also has an easy to use desktop interface, as well as other features which I’ll cover in this review.

Zoolz logo

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User Rating:
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  • Unlimited storage space
  • Only $3/month
  • Fast backups
  • Stores files forever
  • Easy to use interface


  • Slow restores; takes 3-5 hours to prepare files for download
  • Windows only

The Bottom Line

If you don’t mind waiting up to 5 hours to restore your files, Zoolz offers great online backup features at a low price.

Intro to Zoolz

How to Get Zoolz

To get Zoolz, you’ll need to download the free trial from their website.  After installing the software, you can create a free 50GB trial account using your email.  The whole process is fairly easy and shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes.  The free trial lasts for 15 days, after which you can decide to upgrade.

Creating an account with Zoolz

Creating an account with Zoolz.

Zoolz Plans and Pricing

Zoolz has both business plans and consumer (home) plans, as well as fixed price-per-GB pricing and an “unlimited” plan.  Zoolz also has separate prices for (slow) cold storage and (fast) instant storage.  That’s a lot to choose from!  I will explain everything below.

The Zools unlimited plan is for home users only, so business users will need to stick to the fixed GB plans.  The unlimited plan costs $36 per year ($3/month) for each computer you want to backup.  If you pay for 2 years in advance it’s $60 ($2.50/month), or $120 for 5 years ($2/month).  The unlimited plan is only available with cold storage, while instant storage costs $8/year for each 50GB of space.

The unlimited plan includes:

  • Unlimited lifetime storage
  • Support for backing up internal, external, and network drives

For business users, Zoolz offers a whopping 1TB of space for only $25/month.  That comes with support for unlimited users and unlimited servers.  There’s a great comparison table on the Zoolz wiki that goes over the differences between the Home and Business plans, if you’re interested.

Backing Up

Zoolz will ask you to select what data to backup.  I chose to backup my user folder (C:\Users\Geoff) but you can backup anything you like, including data on other drives.

Before running your backup you’ll be given a chance to modify a few settings:

  • Scheduling (default: every 2 hours)
  • Encryption
  • Bandwidth throttling
  • Hybrid+ cloud and local backup

After setting it up, Zoolz will start backing up your data based on the schedule you set.

Zoolz main screen

The Zoolz main screen.

Zoolz also supports backing up NAS devices and external hard drives, but only on the Plus, Family, and Heavy plans.

Restoring Files (get ready to wait)

An online backup service is no good if you can’t restore files from it.  Fortunately, Zoolz makes restoring your data easy.  You can restore data from the desktop software by clicking the Restore button, or through the web interface.

On the downside, Zoolz makes you wait hours to prepare your files for download.  This wait might be too much for some, in which case there are other online backup services out there.  However, for archival purposes where you don’t need the data right away (such as photographers), Zoolz is great.

Zoolz stores your backed up files forever, so if you delete a file on your computer it will remain on Zoolz servers for the lifetime of your account.  It also stores up to 10 versions of each file.


In my speed tests, Zoolz was able to backup about 40 gigabytes per day.  That’s pretty fast, assuming your internet connection can keep up.

Restore speeds are slow with Zoolz, since it makes you wait up to 5 hours while preparing your files for download from cold storage.  It took a full 5 hours to prepare my files for restore.


By default, Zoolz protects your data using 256-bit AES encryption.  Files are encrypted on your machine, then transferred over SSL, and finally stored encrypted on Zoolz servers.

For additional security, you have the option to use your own encryption passphrase/key.  This would ensure only you are able to decrypt your data, although if you forget your passphrase there’s no way to recover it.


Performance Modes

Zoolz has several performance modes, including smart mode and turbo mode to adjust the speed of your backup and its impact on your processor usage.


Hybrid+ lets you simultaneously backup to a local drive while Zoolz uploads your data to the cloud.  What if you have more data than you can fit on a local hard drive?  No problem.  Zoolz lets you limit the size of your Hybrid+ drive.

Mobile Apps

Zoolz has a file viewer app for Android and iPhone.  However, it won’t do you much good if you’re trying to view Cold Storage files.  You have to download those through the web interface or desktop app.

RAW Image Support

Zoolz is great for photographers because it lets you preview the RAW files you have backed up.


Zoolz promises to reply to tech support emails within 24 hours.  I submitted a support ticket and was responded to in about 12 hours (on a Saturday).  So tech support is pretty good.  Zoolz also has a help center where you can find answers to frequently asked questions.

More Screenshots


Product Name Zoolz
Operating Systems WindowMac
Storage 100 GB
Monthly Price $1.25
Average Upload Speed 3.9 Mbps (5 Mbps connection)
Average Download Speed Slow (uses Amazon Glacier)

General Features

Free Trial yes
Free Online Storage no
Mobile Apps Android, iOS
Bandwidth Controls yes
NAS Support yes

Backup Features

File Versioning yes
Keep Deleted Files Forever
Back Up to Local Drive yes

Sync and Share Features

File Sync no
Selective Sync no
Public File Sharing no
Collaborative Invites no


Encrypted Storage yes
Encrypted Transfer yes
Personal Encryption yes
Zero-knowledge Encryption no
Two-factor Authentication no


Phone Support no
Email Support yes
24/7 Support no
Live Chat no


Data Center Location(s)

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


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@FabacusSuite Just noticed your tweet! I’m not aware of any cloud storage needs specific to manufacturing. I’m open to insight/suggestions. – 3 weeks ago

  • Ksnoo

    I fear there is one point i didn’t understand completly: does the unlimitated plan for home users with cold storage contain also unlimited storage in terms of GB or is it restricticted to a certain amount?

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    • That is a good question. The answer is yes – the unlimited plan for home users is unlimited for both bandwidth AND storage.

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      • grgrs1

        I just hung up with them, and they said if you go over 500GB, they throttle your speed. I put in a SSD, and my old hard drive became an A drive, so zoolz dutifully went about backing it up – at 1Mps. It should be done in a year or so.

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        • That’s a bummer! Thanks for the info.

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    • Coreinsanity

      Actually it’s not. I e-mailed their support asking about their legal ToS you agree to. I had several questions because of ambiguity in their ToS as to the definition of “media files”, and various other things like throttling, etc. I ended up writing them a ~1200 word e-mail asking for clarification – which after several days they did give me in a decently long e-mail as well.

      You are restricted to a soft-cap of 500GB, after which if they determine you have “excessive media files” stored, you will be counted as “business” usage and need to upgrade your plan accordingly. The catch is, every file is considered “media”. The 500GB cap was determined as the average for most home systems now. An exact quote of this section of their reply:

      “Regarding Media & Personal use statistics: any amount of data larger than 500GB is considered Business usage, since most personal computers/laptops have an average of 500 to 750GB hard-drives or alot more less when using SSD’s, and a portion of that size is dedicated for the OS, we found that 500GB is the sweet spot for personal/non-commercial use, and anything below that level is considered media, this means it doesn’t fall under the “Business” category, and is only personal, regardless of the file type or size.” (Yes there were some grammar mistakes, but to be fair I don’t think English is their native language.)

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      • Wow, great research. Thank you for sharing! 500GB is definitely not “unlimited,” at least by the standards set by other online backup services. I am reminded of one CrashPlan customer who managed to backup something like 60TB of data. The company lost money by keeping him, but it provided a nice marketing quip. After reading your review, I think Zoolz needs to step it up. I hate those sneaky ToS!

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        • Coreinsanity

          Yeah, I’m honestly looking into CrashPlan now.

          Zoolz looked good, but I’ve seen too many unhappy customers around the internet, combined with my problems listed in my other comment on here. It’s just making me really uneasy. A friend of mine actually uses CrashPlan for their business too, and recommends them as well.

          And yeah, so far CrashPlan looks good for their unlimited. I mean, I’m not even going to back up 500GB of stuff if I did have that limit. I just don’t like ambiguity with stuff like that.

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      • raveur

        Wow, yet another shady company. CrashPlan has its downsides but they don’t pull the kind of garbage that Zoolz does.

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  • MrXax

    The article doesn’t mention download speeds. Has anyone tested?

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    • testing_backups

      I can fully max out my download of 200mbps and max my upload of 30 mbps. It’s stored on amazon glacier so you should be able to max out any connection.

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      • Thanks for the info testing_backups.

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  • Coreinsanity

    I was really considering using them, I had heard about them for a while.

    That being said, I can’t even login to their service. Every time I do I get directed to their maintenance page. It’s been going on for weeks, and the last e-mail they sent me was to try another ISP in case mine was “filtering” it. That was days ago.

    I addressed their reply, I even (for the benefit of doubt) had a friend of mine a few states away on a completely different ISP try it. Same problem. My issues is the fact that their login, and most likely control panel, etc, is going over SSL. The ISP would not be able to filter this, the entire HTTP request is encapsulated in encryption. The only thing my ISP could do is block their IP address, which they obviously aren’t and would have no reason to do.

    Thus far, they haven’t responded for almost a week, even though I tested what they wanted and even gave some technical information about what’s going on between me and them as far as the connection goes.

    I was considering this service for my business as well as home use. I stated this to them, however this lack of a reply and the length of time this is taking as a whole is really making me think twice. I’m considering just using a server at a friend of mine’s hosting and sticking FreeNAS on it. As redundant as amazon glacier? No, but I have found several things on the internet, combined with these e-mails, making me question their technical competence to be able to securely and properly implement encryption or protect my data. Of course if their service would let me login, I could even do that myself before it hits their servers.

    Not trying to trash them, they sounded really good. Their support was friendly, if a bit delayed in responding. But it just isn’t working for me.

    Edit: I can’t really comment on how good their actual service is because I can’t actually use it. They may be great, but be cautious. I’m choosing not to go with them, most likely, because I’m getting an uneasy feeling about them over all of this. I am backing up to a “cloud” solution because I need to know my data will be there when I need it (even with a 3-5 hour delay, at least it’s there). This is making me question that.

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  • Ryan Gallagher

    DO NOT USE THIS SERVICE. Hidden in their terms of service is the fact they will scan your file names for offending “meta data”. I had a DropBox that had a few files accidentally from 2012 with the extension of .torrent. Rather than remove the less than 1 MB of files, (which were NOT media files only the links). They said they quote:

    “… Finally, please note that we can’t delete only certain files from your account, according to our policy, we have the full rights to delete all your data from our servers as well as suspending your account. [by suspending they actually mean terminating]

    Hope this clarifies the issue.”

    All my backed up data will now be deleted (which some of it now only resides on the server).

    Use Crashplan! It works very well and they will not scrutinize your files. Crash plan has FAST US based support, Zoolz is not US based and has one office in Boston, when calling they basically said “I don’t know, you need to email support” for any question I asked.

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    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Ryan. Scanning for meta data sounds like a pretty big privacy violation and is not something I would tolerate from an online backup service. Did they specifically single out the .torrent files?

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      • Ryan Gallagher

        Yes I will email you the entire support thread if you would like. They named five file names and said (repeatedly) there was nothing they could do except delete the entire account. I was given a one week period to retrieve the data but realistically there is no way to get it in time.

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        • Ryan Gallagher

          My account and all data 1.3TB) was indeed nuked, they would not budge on deleting specific “prohibited file names” saying they had no way to do it. Complete waste of time and bandwidth. 3.5 stars is way to high for this service. Said it before, I’ll say it again CrashPlan is the way to go.

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  • Tom

    If you are looking to save money for a backup company, I would not go with Zoolz. The price is low, but the backup is not reliable, takes long and lacks features. The lack of reliability is the real issue and I could have lived with the other items. They deactivate accounts for lack of activity so you need to choose data that changes somewhat frequently but the recovery time on is so long that I did not want to use it for my active folders. Once the data is gone, it is gone and no assistance in recovery. Compare this to Acronis who worked with me for a month when they had a corruption as I changed versions. In addition, I found that the program apparently did not update itself on its own like Acronis, Norton or Idrive.

    So it is cheap, but I suggest just saving your money and getting nothing compared to getting Zoolz. I like Acronis the best even though I had an issue and I like Idrive for my large low cost solution.

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    • Do they really deactivate accounts that are paid for?

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  • kynao

    Zoolzhas not unlimited storage anymore

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    • Thanks for the comment! I will update this.

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  • Timothy Nelson

    Zoolz pulled a massive bait and switch on us. After luring me in to pay $36 for unlimited storage for a year, they changed the pricing and expected me to fork out $300 to renew the subscription, except this was capped at 4TB. I inquired with them to find out what the deal was and they offered the pathetic excuse that people were abusing the unlimited storage plan. They graciously offered me a 10% discount. I declined. There was no warning saying my subscription was up soon, just one day a message popped up on my PC saying I needed to upgrade and I immediately lost all functionality. So that’s it, my files are indefinitely in cold storage with no way to access or delete them. Zoolz will not be around much longer. Horrible ethics.

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    • Santacruzinswitzerland

      Exact same experience. We started with an unlimited plan for $60/year, and they jacked it up to $1620 after 2 years, literally holding 5TB of data hostage unless we paid (though kindly offering a 40% discount – WTF). Absolutely unbelievable, and probably illegal.

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  • Santacruzinswitzerland

    VERY BAD COMPANY. Stay FAR FAR away and DO NOT TRUST ZOOLZ. Complete scam. We started with an unlimited plan for $60/year, and they jacked it up to $1620 after 2 years, literally holding 5TB of data hostage unless we paid (though kindly offering a 40% discount – WTF). Absolutely unbelievable, and probably illegal. Who knows how much they would charge to actually restore a lost backup. Please spread the word- this company is BAD NEWS.

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