In this article I’m going to document my personal experience with various cloud backup softwares in my search to find the best one for my needs.
My requirements are as follows:
- Windows/Mac compatibility
- Backblaze B2/Google Drive Compatibility
- Can’t be stupidly expensive
Backblaze Unlimited Backup
I’m just going to get this out of the way because it’s the one that everyone seems to reccomend. The bottom line is it’s a good program from a good company. It’ll backup as much data as you can hold in your PC and external drives for $5 a month and the restore process is pretty easy. They also have the option to ship your data to you on a hard drive if you need it. BUT. There’s one major flaw that nobody seems to talk about with Backblaze. It doesn’t backup filesystem metadata.
So what does this mean? Imagine you have a folder with a bunch of pictures in it, and those pictures were taken March 2012 and they were added to your PC April 2012. Well, if you restore that file from Backblaze, your PC is going to say that every one of those pictures were added to the system on the day of the restore. This can entirely screw up sort-by-date and lots of other stuff. Any metadata that’s not embedded in the file itself isn’t preserved. On MacOS that means all your finder tags… gone. All your file comments… gone. All of your files are backed up, but if you need that metadata, look elsewhere.
Unlike Backblaze, Cloudberry isn’t a storage company. They just make the backup client, and you’re free to use whatever cloud storage provider you want. The program was nice once you got past the ugly interface (it’s meant to run on server machines, so it makes use of simple UI elements. It’s efficiently ugly). There are scheduled backups, image backups, and a nice restore system. The company itself is also nice to deal with in my short experience. The main issue I had with the program was one of principle. There’s a 5 terabyte limit on backups. Now, would I ever realistically backup 5 terabytes? I seriously doubt it. But the point is I can’t, and I really dont like that.
Another con is that the Mac app doesn’t support google drive at time of writing.
Pro tip: if you buy a windows license, there’s a place on their website where you can get a free Mac licesne here!
Just don’t, ok? Time machine is cool, but it’s nowhere near reliable. It’s usually described as “probably better than nothing.” You can google it for the horror stories.
Arq is a nice little program made by a smaller dev team, but they’ve been around for a while and the backup format is documented. You can backup to multiple cloud storage providers including Backblaze B2 (the enterprize cloud storage from the people who make Backblaze backup). I highly recommend it if you don’t have some kind of unlimited cloud storage from GDrive or something. Arq can also backup to a local drive or NAS. You can set budgets for how much data Arq is allowed to use. It has deduplication, which just means if you backup two of the same file, it’ll only use the storage space of one of said files. It also has file versioning, so if you delete a file, you can go back in your file versions and find it. Even different versions of it, depending on when you modified it. It’s like a more robust time machine. It’s the solution I ended up settling on, and now it’s backing up my Windows desktop and the Macbook that I’m writing this on right now. Also, it retains all filesystem metadata for Mac AND windows, there’s no backup caps, and it’ll backup any kind of file and any directory you tell it to. Nice.
I’m using it with B2 and Google drive and it works really well. The first scan of a drive can be pretty slow but after the first backup, things are quick.
- If you are a student, most of these programs offer student discounts, USE THEM
- Most programs offer a demo, try before you buy