CrashPlan vs Backblaze: head-to-head review

CrashPlan vs Backblaze: which is better?

CrashPlan and Backblaze are two of the most popular online backup services out there. They both can backup an unlimited amount of data on your computer, have similar prices, similar features, and a dedicated user base.

So which should you choose? I’ll take a look at each of these juggernauts in this in-depth comparison.

Ease of Use

Winner: Tie

Both of these programs provide hands-off, automatic backups for your most important files.  From the moment they’re installed, they start backing up your data and keep it backed up 24/7. CrashPlan and Backblaze really couldn’t be any easier when it comes to backing up your computer.

CrashPlan lets you restore your data directly from the desktop application, or through the web interface in any browser. Restoring through the desktop app is as easy as selecting the file you want to restore and choosing a time to restore from.

With Backblaze, you can only restore through the web interface. However, CrashPlan limits you to 500 MB when restoring from the web interface, so Backblaze is better for web restores.

Features

Winner: CrashPlan

Both Backblaze and CrashPlan can back up your data to the cloud. However, CrashPlan can also back up your data to external hard drives and even friends computers (all securely encrypted). These additional locations add extra protection to your backups, since if one fails you can always restore from another. It also greatly increase the restore speed, since you can restore from a locally stored backup.

Both online backup services feature:

  • Unlimited storage space
  • Automatic backups to the cloud
  • Secure encryption, with a private encryption option
  • Backing up of external hard drives
  • Speed throttling
  • Free trials

CrashPlan has some extra features that Backblaze doesn’t:

  • Keeps deleted files forever (as opposed to Backblaze’s 30 day limit)
  • Keeps up to 1000 versions of files over a 4-year period (Backblaze keeps 34 versions over a 30-day period)
  • Power saving settings for laptop users
  • Custom backup sets
  • Custom version settings

Overall, CrashPlan has more features. Backblaze on the other hand has great support for backing up external hard drives.  It will automatically back them up when you first start the software.

 CrashPlanBackblaze
Websitewww.crashplan.comwww.backblaze.com
Operating SystemsWindows, Mac, LinuxWindows, Mac
StorageUnlimitedUnlimited
Price$5.99 / month$5 / month
Average Upload Speed5 Mbps (10 Mbps connection)7.2 Mbps (8 Mbps connection)
Average Download Speed13 Mbps (50 Mbps connection)31.0 Mbps (30 Mbps connection)
Editor's Rating
Full ReviewCrashPlan ReviewBackblaze Review
General Features
Free Trial
Free Online StorageNoNo
Mobile AppsAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
Bandwidth Controls
NAS Support
Backup Features
File Versioning
Keep Deleted FilesForever30 Days
Back Up to Local Drive
Sync and Share Features
File Synchronization
Selective Sync
Public File Sharing
Collaborative Invites
Security
Encrypted Storage
Encrypted Transfer
Personal Encryption
Zero-knowledge Encryption
Two-factor Authentication
Support
Phone Support
Email Support
24/7 Support
Live Chat
Infrastructure
Data Center Location(s)Seattle, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Singapore, Ireland, Sydney, and AmsterdamSacramento

Price

Winner: Tie

Both CrashPlan and Backblaze have about the same pricing.  Backblaze charges a flat, $5 monthly fee for backing up one computer.  CrashPlan comes in at $5.99 for one computer per month.

When you start to compare the family plans and the yearly plans, things get a bit tricky.  At only $5, Backblaze is cheaper for 1-2 computers with month-to-month pricing.  CrashPlan is cheaper if you have 3 or more computers to backup, or if you sign up for a 2-year+ plan.  The CrashPlan 4-year family plan offers the biggest savings – as low as $.90/month per computer (assuming you have 10 computers to backup).

So CrashPlan is cheaper for large households with lots of computers, while Backblaze is cheaper for single PC users who prefer month-to-month pricing.

Speed

Winner: Tie

Backblaze and CrashPlan are very fast when backing up files.

They were both able to back up 100 GB of test files at around 7 – 8 Mbps, which maxed out my internet connection.

Restore speeds are also important, since you don’t want to wait a long time to get your data back. Backblaze maxed out my download speed at 31 Mbps, setting a new record in the process.  CrashPlan restored my data at a respectable 28 Mbps.

Even though both are fast when downloading files, Backblaze makes you wait as your restore is compressed and prepared for download. It took 11 hours to prepare my 100 GB restore.  Splitting the restore into 20 GB chunks (as recommended) shortened the prepare time to about 4 hours.

Operating Systems

Winner: CrashPlan

CrashPlan supports slightly more operating systems, as it works on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris.  Backblaze only supports Windows and Mac (sorry, Linux users).

Mobile Apps

Winner: CrashPlan (barely)

CrashPlan has slightly better mobile device support. It has apps for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Kindle Fire.  Backblaze has apps for the iPhone and a newly-released one for Android.

From the apps you can download, view, and share your backed up files. It’s nice to always have access to your files, even on the go. I should also note that CrashPlan’s mobile apps don’t have a file size limit.  Backblaze has a file size limit of 30 MB.

Security

Winner: Tie

Both CrashPlan and Backblaze use 448-bit encryption to secure your data. This is even stronger than the 128-bit encryption that most banks and businesses use.  Your files are encrypted on your computer, then sent over an encrypted SSL connection, then finally stored encrypted in their datacenters. There’s lots of encryption!

Additionally, CrashPlan and Backblaze will let you use a private passphrase to encrypt your data for extra security. Just a warning: this makes your data unrecoverable if you forget it, since you can’t use the “Forgot my password” email reminder. If you forget your password, your data is toast.

RAM Usage

Winner: Backblaze

CrashPlan memory usage is very high, according to my tests.

The CrashPlan backup engine used 500 MB of RAM, compared to 50 MB of RAM with Backblaze (for the same amount of data). CrashPlan’s documentation states:

Code42 typically recommends allocating 1 GB (1024 MB) of memory per 1 TB of storage (or per 1 million files).  Although CrashPlan only requires approximately 600 MB of memory per 1 TB of storage (or per 1 million files), our recommendation is intended to account for growth in your file selection.

You may want to consider the memory usage of these services, if you have an older PC or you’re backing up a large amount of data.

CrashPlan vs Backblaze: Which should you choose?

My preference is CrashPlan.

Do you want to back up your data to local hard drives, in addition to the cloud? Want better mobile apps? Go with CrashPlan. CrashPlan has more features, such as custom backup sets and file version settings. It also keeps deleted files – and previous versions of files – for much longer.

Although CrashPlan seems to be the clear winner here, I still like Backblaze for its straightforward interface and slightly cheaper monthly plan.

Get CrashPlan at www.crashplan.com

Get Backblaze at www.backblaze.com

Update Dec. 2014: Added section on RAM usage, updated Speed section to reflect recent tests.

Update Apr. 2015: Added info on file versioning, deleted file retention.

Update Aug. 2015: Added comparison table, updated speed tests.

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

Reviews and ratings of the most popular backup solutions

@FabacusSuite Just noticed your tweet! I’m not aware of any cloud storage needs specific to manufacturing. I’m open to insight/suggestions. – 6 months ago

 
  • elijahnicolas

    Has Crashplan increased its speed lately? Definitely not the speeds I was getting last month. Much faster but still not as fast at Backblaze.

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    • It’s possible. This review is from February so I haven’t checked since then.

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      • Andy Dean

        mines still upload at 400kbps has been for the last 2 months. looking at alternatives as it’s still going to take 40+days to complete

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        • Backblaze would be faster, as it was able to max out my upload speed. My speed goes up to 900-1000 kilobytes per second (business class internet).

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          • Andy Dean

            Hi Geoff,
            crash plan is currently uploading at 2.7mbps so has speeded up over the last week or so. BackBlaze has yet to max out my upload.

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          • Hey Andy. It seems both services have greatly increased their speeds lately. I just retested Backblaze and CrashPlan, and they both maxed out my upload speed (8 Mbps) and restored data at 14-18 Mbps.

            Let me know if you still have any problems.

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          • Andy Dean

            its been running at 400-600kbps for the last 12hours….seems to be back to the old way of things…maybe a review with locations of the data centres that are utilised for such things would be useful…. then at least you would expected a cloud backup close to / in the same country to be quicker.

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        • Cristian Deschamps

          Try some restore, you will be surprise, I could not get more than 5Mbps on a 50Mbps fiber optic line.. Backup is fast enough for me, but restore is a no go.. I will need to find an alternative.

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          • Komrad

            For restores, I’d probably pay them to mail it to me on hard drives if I needed the data urgently. If you only need some of it right away, then restore the most important data first and the less important data afterwards.

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          • Cristian Deschamps

            It’s not available for Canada… Only for US citizen.

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  • Guest

    mines still upload at 400kbps has been for the last 2 months. looking at alternatives

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  • I fixed your link. Thanks for the heads up about RAM usage. 4GB definitely seems like a lot.

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    • dgw

      CrashPlan’s client is terrible. It hogs RAM always, absolutely throttles my hard drive at times, and is generally very frustrating to work with. The backup engine on my headless server crashes for no apparent reason and won’t automatically restart. My Mac backs up to my PC, and the status has been “No files selected” for days, despite the fact that it’s been backing up for months now.

      Generally speaking, CrashPlan’s system is poorly architected, and they’ve never taken the time to implement proper software. Running everything on top of Java may make it easy to support any platform, but it’s hell on performance and terrible for resource usage. According to their documentation, the engine needs about 1GB of RAM per terabyte of files in the backup set, which is absurd.

      I’m definitely going to consider switching, even though it’ll take months to reupload everything to a new service, because CrashPlan is just frustrating and I keep having to fight it to keep it working.

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      • Thanks for the comment dgw.

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      • rchrd881

        OK so far. This is with about 800GB in the backup set.

        I have 32GB of RAM so these apps have plenty of room to “spread their wings.”

        Edit: Posted a screenshot of task manager; didn’t seem to work.

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        • rchrd881

          2nd time is a charm?

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        • Thanks. 290MB still seems excessive though. Backblaze only uses 5MB, for comparison.

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  • Amanda

    Thanks for the helpful review. I’m trying to decide between these two options for my macbook and external hard drive. I’m wondering what you meant when you say in the “Ease of Use” section that “CrashPlan limits you to 500MB so web restores are actually easier in Backblaze.” I thought this was an unlimited data storage program. Does it really let you backup as much data as you want, but if your computer crashes, it only lets you restore 500MB?

    I’m not a huge techie, so maybe I’m missing something here.

    I’m going to be moving my itunes library with thousands of songs and several movies to the external hard drive soon to free up space on my laptop. I’d like to download and keep digital copies of several more movies on the external hard drive since there will be space. Restoring that hard drive alone would be more than 500 MB, so I’m concerned if there is a limit.

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    • Yeah, that sentence wasn’t very well explained. Sorry about that. CrashPlan limits you to restoring 500MB of data only when using the web interface. You can restore any amount of data using the desktop software.

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  • BMoreE

    I’m doing the Backblaze trial, and the mobile iPhone app only shows lists of files (but you indicate in the article it shows thumbnails for pix which was a big draw for me!) Are you sure they haven’t removed that feature?

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    • Hey, thanks for the correction. I can only test Android apps (getting an iPhone later this year), so I must have been looking at screenshots for Backblaze. On the iTunes page it clearly shows a plain file list, but in some promotional screenshots they show as thumbnails, so that could explain it.

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  • Vaino Paivarinta

    I think, after using both on trial, that Backblaze is easier, most robust, and gave me more confidence backing up (easy and good speed for my country) and restoring (fast and reliable). The Backblaze downloader is by no means necessary but is lightweight and simple, a virtue when restoring your files. I just bought one year, and I’m happy with the service (altough waiting for Geoff’s review of “drivepop” 😉

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    • Thanks for sharing, Vaino. I like how easy Backblaze is too. I should have that DrivePop review done by the end of the month.

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  • Viejo

    When I downloaded Backblaze from http://www.backblaze.com I noticed my icon tray/popup suddenly was corrupted…half the icons in the popup didn’t display anymore, movement of the pointer in the popup window caused it to resize (!!) and my speaker volume popup didn’t popup/respond anymore. In any case, I started a backup to the cloud which about 12 hours after the start it froze up (windows 7 popup ….application not responding). There were also some other odd behaviors that I don’t remember the details of. I immediately had suspicions of imbedded malware or downloading from the wrong site or whatever. Ran uninstall, MalwareBytes, CClean & McAfee, then rebooted and my icon task/tray/popup/volume control went back to normal and everything worked. Between crashing on the first backup attempt and hosing my icon tray decided I won’t waste any more time on this product. Perhaps it was some other malware that snuck in but the icon tray correuption happened as soon as I installed BackBlaze and went away when I uninstalled so I really think it was BackBlaze.

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    • Hi Viejo. Did you try contacting support? Backblaze definitely doesn’t have any malware in it, but I don’t know what caused the problems you were experiencing.

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      • leexgx

        very likey he clicked on an google ads and isntalled it via unwanted software (google itunes without adblocker and you get something like itunes-apple.downloadrandom.com)

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  • Guest

    I was a CrashPlan for four years until I got burned by them earlier last year, now I use BackBlaze.

    There was over 6 TB of files on the CrashPlan servers for my single account of those years. Many of them were audio files. This was my backup’s backup, just in case. I had a corruption problem last year due to getting a new Retina Mac Book Pro which does not have FireWire and having to connect my 13 hard drive daisy chain back up to it.

    I found out way too late the that Thunderbolt only handled five devices at the max per port whereas FireWire allows 63 devices! So I ended up frying a hard drive with a lot of music on it, but this was stuff that supposedly had been backed up for over three years via my CrashPlan account.

    One of the big problems with CrashPlan and no one reviews this, is how it runs, the architecture. It is FLAWED! It is based on Java! Long story short I lost over 500 GB of audio files! CrashPlan would recover the file structure, all the separate folders of the music, of the many albums, but each and every folder was empty! Just a ghost!

    I worked with CrashPlan for three months trying to recover these files. I would spend hours on the phone with them very late at night talking to their most advanced staff. No luck! I lost all those files and CrashPlan ended up giving me a full refund for four years, which sucks compared to what I lost because of them and their Java.

    If you use a Mac, AVOID JAVA! Therefore do not use CrashPlan or other programs like it! Use BackBlaze which does NOT use JAVA!

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  • Robert Miller

    I was a CrashPlan customer for four years until I got burned by them earlier last year, now I use BackBlaze.

    There was over 6 TB of files on the CrashPlan servers for my single account of those years. Many of them were audio files. This was my backup’s backup, just in case. I had a corruption problem last year due to getting a new Retina Mac Book Pro which does not have FireWire and having to connect my 13 hard drive daisy chain back up to it.

    I found out way too late the that Thunderbolt only handled five devices at the max per port whereas FireWire allows 63 devices! So I ended up frying a hard drive with a lot of music on it, but this was stuff that supposedly had been backed up for over three years via my CrashPlan account.

    One of the big problems with CrashPlan and no one reviews this, is how it runs, the architecture. It is FLAWED! It is based on Java! Long story short I lost over 500 GB of audio files! CrashPlan would recover the file structure, all the separate folders of the music, of the many albums, but each and every folder was empty! Just a ghost!

    Yes, I was able to recover a lot of the other music files, but there was at least 500 GB of music missing!

    I worked with CrashPlan for three months trying to recover these files. I would spend hours on the phone with them very late at night talking to their most advanced staff. No luck! I lost all those files and CrashPlan ended up giving me a full refund for four years, which sucks compared to what I lost because of them and their Java.

    If you use a Mac, AVOID JAVA! Therefore do not use CrashPlan or other programs like it! Use BackBlaze which does NOT use JAVA!

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    • Robert, thanks for sharing your experience. That sounds like a nightmare scenario and I’m sorry you had to go through that. CrashPlan’s lack of a native OS X app is one of the main reasons I recommend Backblaze for Mac users. That’s ridiculous they lost over 500GB of data.

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      • leexgx

        why you should test that its working not assume its working

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    • Robert Hancock

      The JAVA thing on Mac OS X is REALLY painful and the CPU GUI is confused. I have been a CP corporate user for years but recently CP has got buggy, slow and unreliable; one day the backups look good and the next day, 3 or 4 of 20 Macs are no longer backing up and I have to manually kickstart the daemon. Finally, I have HAD it with CP and am in the process of switching to Backblaze with a native OS X app.

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  • Loeribas

    One thing that is never mentioned is that CrashPlan stores a lot of metadata. All my important data is neatly stored in a year/month/day map structure and all my files are tagged. So I can, for example, easily find a bill (tag), for my motorbike (tag) in 2013 (tag).
    I know this is only important for OS X users. OS X users are often advised to go for Backblaze. But Backblaze does not support tags! What amazes me.

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    • That is a good point! I did not consider that.

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    • leexgx

      thats good to know as i expect that data to be preserved but i used 2 local and online that is Not keeping the metadata witch is annoying (well was until i stopped using them)

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  • Bob

    Crashplan has a severe flaw that no one knows about. They have zero way to only show you what files have been deleted from your backup set. They only have the option to show you the deleted files ALONG WITH all of your backed up files. What this means, is say you have thousands upon thousands of files and directories backed up, if a virus deletes a random file, you have no way of figuring out which file was deleted without spending months, if not years, looking through every single file in the restore tab to notice which file was deleted from your hard drive. It’s insane to me that they consider this an OK solution. Your files might be backed up with Crashplan, but good luck recovering a file that was deleted accidentally or by a virus.

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    • Komrad

      Who gets viruses? The last and only one I’ve ever had was code red on my nt server back in 2001. They are very rare these days.

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      • atg

        Cryptolocker. Two users this year on the first day. However, that logic is like saying why do I need life insurance? I’ll only need it once?

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  • Komrad

    FreeNAS has a crashplan plugin so that you can backup your multi terabyte NAS to it. This works for me because I keep import information sync’d to the cloud, and only need backup for my media files such as pictures, music , and digital movies .

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  • Reginald Owens

    I have been using Crashplan for about 3-4 years now and I’m considering changing after recent events. At present, I back up several personal computers and have run into an issue in which one of my computers hasn’t backup in over 10 days (since August 16th). The reason? Because Crashplan has crashed! Or, to be more technical (and specific), ccc-atl.crashplan.com, one of their backup targets located in Atlanta, has failed. According to what I have been told, there was some scheduled maintenance that went awry. However, several conversations later have given me the impression that during this maintenance, they lost their RAID arrays and are having to rebuild/recover data, which for those of you who work in the enterprise storage field would know, is never a good thing (RAID rebuilds/recovers can be causes of data loss). Even worse, everyone who’s data is stored on ccc-atl.crashplan.com is effected (if you have noticed that your backups are about 10+ days old, check to see if you are backing up to ccc-atl.crashplan.com by clicking on the “Crashplan” link inside of the application. It states what server you are backing up to) and absolutely no communication has been sent out about it (the only reason I know is because after my backups went about 4 days, I opened a support ticket trying to figure out why I could connect to central.crashplan.com, like the KB’s say to try, but my backups were so old). I have a lot of data backed up and while Crashplan isn’t my only backup solution (just part of a series of solutions), it has got me thinking about something that I have yet, up to this point thought of.

    Because I work in the IT field, I have a multi-approach to backup because I know how these systems actually work. However, one thing that I never considered (and I should have) is what happens when your cloud solution crashes or otherwise has issues like these. In my particular case, not only is my machine not backing up to the cloud, I literally have no way of actually being able to recover my data from the cloud should I need to get a file or should I lose my local backups. Even further, because of how their system is setup, if I reseed my machine (which would force Crashplan to assign my computers’ unique ID to another target server), while my computer would start backing up again pretty much immediately, all of my previous data would be lost (since my backup would be starting fresh) and I could potentially have new issues when they finally do get ccc-atl.crashplan.com back online (since that system would have no idea that my backups are moved). So, at present, I’m stuck in a very weird limbo along with their other customers who reside on that server with no ETA on when things would be brought back online. Further, they do not appear to have a mechanism on their end to be able to move a data set to new servers in case of a crash on their end, which to me is unsettling since they are supposed to be a backup company (and backup solution)

    For me, after these last two weeks, I’m seriously considering a change and will be asking a bunch of questions to the new provider should I make a change. While I have enjoyed Crashplan up to this point, their current processes and lack of communication throughout this issue has me wondering about whether or not I can trust my data to CrashPlan.

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  • rchrd881

    Backblaze only supports Windows Server if you have a business account. Running Server 2012 as my desktop makes Crashplan the winner by default.

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    • Thanks for the info. Just a minor correction: Backblaze doesn’t support Windows Server on the business accounts, either.

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      • rchrd881

        Interesting. Do they support Windows Server at all?

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        • Nope. I checked with their tech support to be sure. The only difference between the biz/consumer plans is the billing and administration method. The software and everything else is the same.

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  • Steve

    I like Backblaze except for the limitation that the external harddrive MUST be connected every 30 days or the backup data will be deleted at Backblaze. This is short-sighted by the company and should be a minimum of 180 days. Crashplan has no such restriction.

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    • That’s good to know Steve. Thanks for the heads up.

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  • BobT

    I’m on my third trial of BackBlaze now (separate accounts) to determine whether the very poor upload speed is consistent – which unfortunately despite my fibre connection having a tested 10Mbps upload speed neither the BackBlaze backup tool nor their web site fails to register an upload speed of over 2Mbps, resulting in a predicted time to back up my 6TB of personal photos, home movies and various PC backups in 157 days!!! At this point in time despite BackBlaze clearly being my first choice given the unlimited nature of cloud storage the latency between my ISP and their server (which specifically is on the US side, as proven via tracert) is absolutely killing my overwhelming need to have a paid-for cloud backup subscription with them!

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    • Thanks for the comment Bob. 2Mbps is definitely too slow for that connection.

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  • J.O.

    I’d been using CrashPlan for over 3 years and it was awesome. Was. That was until I upgrade my laptop. CrashPlan has the most complex (albeit many features) backup until it is almost impossible to set right how to restore. It failed on me. I’d to start from ground zero. No one in CrashPlan has my history of backups even from their servers. That was when I have to search for something easier to use, and at a fair price.

    CrashPlan works fine until you want to do things like full restore, following a crash or data loss. It is NOT as simple as you think.

    In a nutshell, less is more. That’s where Backblaze comes in. Don’t regret if you continue to stay in CrashPlan — you plan to crash there!

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    • Thanks for the comment J.O. That sounds like a headache! I agree “less is more” with Backblaze – hah.

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  • M J

    I once setup a business with Carbonite. The plan and everythings seemed fine and all. But afterwards I noticed that their download speed (carbonit back to business) was WAY THROTTLED!! Like it would take 4x the time to download something that had been backedup. I can’t find any information on CrashPlan or BackBlaze download vs upload speeds. Help?

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    • Thanks for the comment. You can find my latest CrashPlan and Backblaze speed tests under the section titled Speed, in the above article.

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    • Cristian Deschamps

      I’m thinking to leave Crashplan after 5 years, backup works fine, speed is good. their tools is a bit a cpu hogger, but it works. Uploading at around 25mbps on a 50mbps fiber optic line (50/50) But the restore, download is BAD, I could not get more than 5 mbps, try to restore 20go, it will take 19hours…. I don’t want to think how long it will take to restore my 600go, it will eventually work, but it is really slow.

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