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What Online Backup Company should I use?

Here’s a question I get asked a lot–What online backup company should I use?

We’re going to get to that in just a second.  But first, if you haven’t read the post “7 mistakes you’re making managing your photos (and how to fix them)” I highly recommend you go read that first!

 

{Stick with this post to the end and you can get a free month of backup service for your computer}

On to the question.  The reason this gets tricky is because every single persons situation is unique.  We all manage our photos a little differently just like we all clean our house a little differently or have different systems for doing laundry or meal plan (or don’t meal plan–why is that so hard?) and cook dinner differently.

But.  There are some questions we can ask ourselves and a list of things to look for to help us make the decision of what online company to choose to backup our computers and photos.  A pretty important decision if you ask me.  My memory is so bad that if I lost all my pictures, it’s basically like I never existed.  I remember nothing.  Which is why taking photos and printing photos are so so so important to me.

My first question:  If you got on your computer one day and realized ALL your photos were missing, how much would you pay to get them back?

I’m just guessing your answer is “a lot”.  You’d probably pay a LOT of money to get all those photos back.  Now keep this in mind when deciding what online backup system works for you.  Instead of having to pay a lot of money to try and retrieve lost photos (I payed over $1000 once to recover photos from an external hard drive I didn’t have properly backed up), paying a small monthly fee won’t seem so bad.

Also keep in mind that even if we’re willing to pay a lot of money to try and recover photos, those photos won’t always be recoverable.  I think we sometimes have a false sense of security hearing the stories of people whose photos were recovered.  For each of those, there’s a story of someone who lost years and years of photos and memories. It’s far better to get them backed up in a reliable way than hope that some smart tech person can recover them for us for a pretty hefty fee.

Here are some things to look for when deciding what online company to use:

  • How much is the monthly fee
  • Is it unlimited
  • Is there a file size limit
  • Are images compressed at all (quality reduced)
  • Can you also back up external hard drives or just main computer hard drive
  • How is their customer service
  • What’s their reputation for recovering lost data

I did a lot of research and reading and comparing and debating (and more debating and more research and more comparing) when I was trying to decide what company to go with and it can be overwhelming to say the least.  I know a lot of people get so overwhelmed they end up not choosing anything.  Please, please, please don’t do this.

For me, I wanted something affordable, unlimited, no compression on my photos (you never know when I may need to print one of those babies billboard size), no file size limit, and external hard drives had to be included (I have several external hard drives I need backed up as well).

I also wanted somewhere that I knew someone who had actually used the system to recover something.  It’s one thing for a company to say they’re properly backing up your computer.  The proof comes when you actually have to utilize it and recover something.

There are several really good companies that would meet all these requirements.  In the end, I chose Backblaze (I’ll tell you exactly why below).  I have several photographer friends who were already using Backblaze and two of them had used the recovery program to retrieve lost files.  That was important to me.  Knowing they’d actually recover the data should it be lost (my luck of hard drive failure is ridiculous).

Backblaze features include:

  • $5 a month (so so so worth it)
  • unlimited file storage
  • no compression of your data (quality not compromised)
  • includes any hard drives you want backed up (note you have to plug them in at least every 30 days and go on the system to say you want them included in the backup–they can help you figure this out)
  • great customer service
  • NO cost for restoring data (I’ll explain this below)

I’ve been using Backblaze for a few years now and during that time I had my iMac hard drive crash.  At the time I wasn’t using Time Machine (first preference now for data retrieval of the main hard drive) so I used Backblaze to recover ALL the data.

what online backup company should i use

A few months ago my main external drive (the one with ALL my photos) also crashed.  I had most of the photos on Dropbox, but a few files weren’t so again I used Backblaze to restore ALL the lost data from that 3 terabyte external hard drive.

To recover photos, you can do them file-by-file and download a zip file from Backblaze.  Or, if it’s a big recovery, you pay $189 for them to send you an external drive with all of the data on it.  You can keep that drive OR you can put the information on your own external drive, mail the Backblaze drive back within 30 days and they’ll give you a full refund.  So data recovery is essentially completely free.

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Side note.  Sometimes people complain about having to pay for backup storage.  Are there free services out there?  Yes.  But.  Free is never free.  Keep in mind that if you aren’t paying for something, the saying goes–you’re the product not the customer.  You get what you pay for.  And paying for backup storage is worth it, especially at $5 a month.

 

Now, I don’t recommend ONLY relying on an online Backup company to keep your photos safe.  I have a checklist of the process I recommend (which you can access on this post).  But.  This is where I would start RIGHT NOW.  Your photos don’t need to be organized.  You don’t have to DO anything.  You just sign up for the backup company, it starts automatically backing up your computer (which can take several weeks), and then continues to backup your computer without you ever having to do anything again.  You don’t have to remember to do anything or do anything manually.  It just does it all for you.

Get this in place and you can definitely relieve some of the worry about losing all your photos.

If you use this referral link, you can get a free month of service.  Anyone can sign up for a free trial period.  Then, if you decide to buy (have to use this link to sign up in the first place), you can get 1 free month.

If you choose not to use Backblaze, totally fine too.  There are plenty of good companies out there to choose from.  Just choose one of them.  Today.  Trust me on this one.

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  • Susan

    Thanks Lindsay!!! 🙂 Very helpful!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel

    Does Backblaze just allow you to back up files from one computer, or would my family also be able to back up to my account?ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Rachel, you can get it for multiple computers but I think you have to pay for each computer.ReplyCancel

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