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This question may overlap somewhat with other backup questions on SuperUser, but, however, I would like to get feedback from people using unlimited online backup services on their Macs.

There was a thorough review made by MacUser last year which left the impression that each of the popular services comes with caveats significant enough to become an issue—e.g. cluttered interfaces or not being able to choose files to backup or slow restores.

I would appreciate if you could share your experience if:

  • you are using online backup services on a Mac, as opposed to a PC
  • it's a paid unlimited backup plan (I have 100Gb+ of data)
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Are you already using a TimeCapsule? –  JBRWilkinson Sep 9 '10 at 9:19
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I have audited many online backup softwares for OSX. not all backups are equal. Some are free storage but when you want to recover the extra costs appears. while others the backup/restore is unlimited but its only a mirror. My Point, read the contract. –  Xiuhtecuhtli Sep 9 '10 at 16:57
    
@JBRWilkinson- TimeCapsule is not typically a Online Backup. Unless you have your TimeCapsule mount a iSCSI Volume in a VPN tunnel to a remote location. Which does work and is Much cheaper in the long run. –  Xiuhtecuhtli Sep 9 '10 at 17:04
    
@Xiuhtecuhtli- great point, but some things will not be spelled in contract, e.g. software bugs or ease of use. –  Meringros Sep 10 '10 at 2:18
    
@all: thanks for great answers. Please feel free to add more. –  Meringros Sep 10 '10 at 2:25
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migrated from superuser.com Oct 1 '10 at 14:56

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7 Answers

I would strongly suggest CrashPlan.

I was using Mozy for a while but was very frustrated with the bugginess and just general unreliability. I switched to CrashPlan and couldn't be happier. Great price and works well. Backed up well over 1TB over four computers. Handles everything really well, doesn't slow my computer down except for rarely when it rescans my drives, and restores go at a decent pace. Very reliable and the tech support is great.

Other things of note about CrashPlan:

  • Use the same program to back up online, to a hard drive, to your friends' computers, etc.
  • Keeps delete files forever if you want.
  • Works on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
  • The client is free for personal use. CrashPlan+, ad-free and okay for business use, is $59.
  • You can use the free client for backing up to your friends or your external hard drive for free.
  • There are two plans for backing up online to their servers (called "CrashPlan Central"), individual and family. Both are unlimited. I paid $100 for a year to backup everyone in my household (4 computers, 1TB of data).
  • Backs up external drives connected to the computer as well without blinking (was such a pain with Mozy).
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Honestly, any vendor you choose for backup is going to be good if they're worth their beans. And any backup vendor that isn't worth their beans probably doesn't exist anymore. Don't hop on the "startup free backup service" bandwagon, go somewhere that keeps your stuff safe, secure, and most of all, ALWAYS AVAILABLE. A backup vendor with downtime puts you in a terrible situation.

My personal pick is Carbonite. Unlimited backup for all internal drives.

It runs as a persistent daemon, with the frontend being a System Preference Pane. Stupidly simple. Install it, log in, done, it just runs. And that's all it needs to do.

It's $50 a year for a single computer, and again internal hard drives only. You don't have open ended access to simply dump data into it. It's intention is to serve the 95% backup use case. It runs, and it runs, and it runs, and it keeps files backed up off site, no questions asked. I've never had a problem with it, it's never asked me anything except for my login after I signed up.

That's it, and that's the best personal backup strategy you can have.

Nice-To-Have Features:
- Local App (built into the syspref pane) for browsing backed up content for anywhere-restoring.
- Web Site for doing the above. Re-download anything anywhere. Even if your computer isn't broken, but is unreachable, leverage it's backups to snag a file or three that you need.
- iPhone App for viewing your backed up content.
- Encrypted files during transfer.

I can't stress this enough. Similar to the DropBox sync app, it absolutely does not get in your way. It has never asked me anything beyond my login, it has never stopped working. It generates a list of files to backup, encrypts and sends them off, works through the list, starts over ad infinitum.

It works. And that's the biggest part of a backup strategy that matters.

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I'm using BackBlaze and it works very well.

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I use rsync.net. It's a no-nonsense service that doesn't provide any locally-installed software, but you can use almost any regular Internet transfer protocol to access it. As the name suggests, the one method is to use rsync, but they also suggest many other tools suitable to the job, including regular graphical OS X applications. It costs $0.80/GB for baseline service, and you can add and remove GB as you need by sending an email.

Macintosh access with:

  • The powerful rsync tool built into OS X
  • Connect in the Finder for simple drag and drop access
  • Fugu, Interarchy, Fetch, Transmit, or any other ftp/sftp/scp tool

Regardless of the operating system, any tool that runs over standard FTP, SSH or WebDAV transports can be used with our offsite filesystem.

Also, every now and then rsync.net re-evaluates their price/GB and upgrades accounts to reflect the new prices. Here's an excerpt from an email I received a year ago:

Friends,

We have recently lowered the base price for rsync.net offsite backup.

When we do this, we upgrade existing accounts with additional space to bring their cost per gigabyte down to the new price we just adopted.

So, your monthly bill will not change, but the cost per GB that it represents has now dropped by the same 33% that our base price just did.

I use rsync to backup my data, and access it with sshfs through Macfusion. The only caveat to the service is that they don't provide a backup service or software like other suggestions that might come up in response to this question (e.g. Mozy, CrashPlan, JungleDisk). They just provide highly-reliable space at rock bottom prices which is accessible by almost any standard data transfer tool that you might be interested in using. The responsibility is then up to you to set up that backup.

I'm not affiliated with them, just a satisfied customer for over 5 years.

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I tried Mozy and Carbonite but eventually decided to go with BackBlaze.

I like the fact that you can go month to month with Backblaze. After having to fight with Mozy Customer Support for weeks to get my money back (after finally getting fed up with their buggy software), I like the lack of contract with Backblaze.

Backblaze offers the same 2 weeks free and "unlimited" backup as Carbonite but you don't have to select what to backup, it "just works" immediately after installing.

Most importantly, however, with Backblaze you have the option to request a DVD or even a harddrive with your backed up data. With Carbonite, the only option for recovery is downloading it, which could take a long time if you have many GB backed up. The DVD or HD is not free, but the prices are reasonable. If you ever need to get your data back in a hurry, you'll appreciate having the option to get a DVD or HD via overnight delivery.

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I guess this post is kind of late. I just started using Nuevo Cloud, they sell space at $0.10/GB and there's no limit. I just click on Finder, goto Connect to Server then login into my account at Nuevo Cloud and start uploading my files. It's really simple. And I don't have to think about which client to use because their service works in Mac's without any extra software to install.

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Please disclose your affiliation with the mentioned service/product. Otherwise, your answer will be considered spam and treated accordingly. Thanks! –  Alex Aug 11 '13 at 9:31
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My Dad was using Mozy on his Mac but he had endless frustrations—the system was too slow when uploading huge files, too disappointing. He later switched to Safecopybackup and never looked back. He now has everything on his Mac and Windows machines backed up on a single account with no extra charge. They give 3GB free trial for life.

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