Information Technology Reference
diligent offsite backups, an Internet backup service can provide extra
insurance for your particularly important files.
These services are no substitute for duplicates; you'll still have to
maintain those locally yourself. As for versioned backups, the biggest
issue is speed: even with a fast Internet connection, you could easily
spend weeks doing an initial full upload of a moderately large hard
disk, and of course restoring files may also be quite slow. So you may
wish to limit the files you back up online—perhaps only the contents
of your home folder, or even just your ~/Documents folder. Alternatively,
choose a service such as CrashPlan or DollyDrive that lets you seed
your initial backup by sending them an external hard drive.
Finally, at least one ISP (Rogers in Canada—and there may be others)
reportedly blocks heavy upstream traffic of the sort that online
backups require (likely because, in the case of cable modem access,
it reduces the bandwidth available for one's neighbors). That's in
on their own. If your ISP does block heavy upstream traffic, your
backups could stall frequently, or you might incur extra charges for
your data usage, or both. Check with your ISP to confirm that using an
online backup service won't run afoul of their policies.
Tip: I mentioned this earlier, but it's worth repeating: If you want to
find out how much data you've sent or received over your broadband
connection in a given period of time, try the $7.99 app NetUse Traffic
For all these reasons, most people should consider Internet backup
services as a supplement to conventional backup methods—a
convenient way to get offsite storage—not as a replacement for local
All things considered, if I had to choose just one of these services to
recommend at the moment, it would be CrashPlan: not only is their
Internet backup service versatile and reasonably priced, but their
software can also be used for backups on your local network or with
a friend's computer, making it a great all-around choice.