Plans and pricing
Real time: Real-time backup means that files are backed up whenever they change, usually upon creation or save. It’s also called mirroring and is handy for keeping an immediately available copy of rapidly changing data sets. For less volatile data sets, the payoff doesn’t compensate for the drain on system resources. Instead, scheduling should be used.
Continuous backup: In this case, continuous simply means backing up on a tight schedule, generally every 5 to 15 minutes, instead of every day or weekly. Use continuous backup for rapidly changing data sets where transfer rates are too slow, or computing power is too precious for real-time backup.
Performance: Most backups proceed in the background or during dead time, so performance isn’t a huge issue in the consumer space. However, if you’re backing up multiple machines or to multiple destinations, or dealing with very large data sets, speed is a consideration.
ANY BACKUP IS BETTER THAN NO BACKUP
Free or paid, we highly recommend that you back up at least your essential data against theft, malware or ransomware, and natural disasters, not to mention user error. Even if you work online, a local backup is a lot quicker to restore. And this goes beyond PCS: We get a lot of emails asking how to get data back from a stolen phone—the users generally don’t like the answer.
BEST FREE ONLINE BACKUP: IDRIVE
There’s no more complete online backup storage service than idrive. And though it’s not the cheapest, it’s still affordable and comes with backup clients for nearly every PC and device, including Windows Phone—a rarity these days. The company also provides additional storage for syncing all your devices and PCS, allows sharing of files with anyone, and has the ability to back up to a local drive. idrive has two personal plans that cover one user with unlimited computers and devices: $69.50 a year for 2TB, and $99.50 a year for 5TB. If you enable the separate sync service, you get an equal amount of storage just for that task, at no extra charge.
Business plans allow unlimited users and computers, but significantly less storage per dollar, starting at $99.50 for 250GB. Don’t get completely caught up in the price-pergigabyte game: The size of your essential data is probably a lot smaller than what’s being offered as a minimum these days, unless you’re into HDR and 4K.
idrive also has a very nice ship-it-to-you