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
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.
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.
|Windows, Mac, Linux
|$5.99 / month
|$5 / month
|Average Upload Speed
|5 Mbps (10 Mbps connection)
|7.2 Mbps (8 Mbps connection)
|Average Download Speed
|13 Mbps (50 Mbps connection)
|31.0 Mbps (30 Mbps connection)
|Free Online Storage
|Keep Deleted Files
|Back Up to Local Drive
|Sync and Share Features
|Public File Sharing
|Data Center Location(s)
|Seattle, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Singapore, Ireland, Sydney, and Amsterdam
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.
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.
CrashPlan supports slightly more operating systems, as it works on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris. Backblaze only supports Windows and Mac (sorry, Linux users).
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.
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.
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.