Backblaze is a computer backup provider which is based in San Mateo, California. The company was founded in 2007 and is centered upon giving customers a simple and effective way to backup their systems securely and effectively. The company offers cost effective packages, which are some of the least expensive in the market.
- Backup frequency
- Mobile and web options
- Extra features
Backblaze offers their customers unlimited data and bandwidth to back up their machines. Prices are reported per machine. Backblaze does not offer packages with multiple licenses.
Users may pay per month ($5/month), year ($50/12 months), or every two years ($95/24 months). This is a reasonable price for a single computer, one of the best. The requirement to purchase another full license for each computer may become cost prohibitive for some people.
Frequency of Backups
Upon installation and activation, the software begins to scan the computer for specific file types (media and documents) by default. All of these files are then added to the backup queue and are backed up. This option is attractive for those wanting a software which manages most of the work for them. These files are then continuously monitored for changes and when changes are detected, the software performs an incremental backup of these files.
Backblaze does not offer the user as many options at startup, but users can change the defaults with a few clicks. Users can set backups to occur at specific times or intervals in addition to their continuous backups by Backblaze.
Backblaze is extremely transparent about the speed and performance of their software. Because of the variability of the many factors which comprise the speed of uploads, it is difficult to promise any results for speed or performance of backups. Backblaze gives customers the ability to test their own connection and lets them see exactly what their expected data upload speed will be per day. This tool is highly unique.
As backblaze uses continuous backups, the company has developed another tool which can improve the customer's experience. Users can designate the amount of bandwidth and computer resources which are designated for the transfers, improving the upload speed as well as the general computer experience.
In independent speed tests, the company scored considerably slower than many of their competitors, with an average upload in a standardized test file upload of 100MB which was comprised of mixed file types. Backblaze software uploaded these files in just over four minutes, which was nearly four times the time taken by the top performing software.
The Review Team is impressed with the tools set for customers to customize their experience and the company's transparency. As such, while their speed is not as quick as other companies, their transparency is considerably better.
Mobile and Web Options
Backblaze's mobile (Android and iOS app) and web interfaces are quite similar, with some customers saying that there is little difference in the two and that going between each is very easy. Backblaze targets two populations with their services, and they design to their demographic. Backblaze is designed for those who want low-cost and secure automatic backups as well as for those who want simplicity.
Users will find that navigating through the process is easily managed with Backblaze. The missing elements - sharing, file editor, and media playing capabilities are functions which can be managed with other apps, although doing so with files saved on Backblaze requires that users download the file. Those looking for these additional features can use other cloud storage for those needs or look for a provider with a larger feature set. Those wanting a straight-forward backup service will not miss these services.
In the event of a computer (with Backblaze installed) being lost or stolen, users can track their computer to find its current location with Open Street Maps. This service has been independently tested with very accurate results. Backblaze does not include a feature to wipe data from a missing/stolen machine as do a few other companies with similar features however.
Users can either download files to restore or order a 128GB USB ($99) or 4TB external hard drive with their restore files on them. The company states that the cost of the USB is fully refundable if it is returned after use, but does not specify if this service is available for the external drive. Some companies offer initial backups (which take the longest) to be loaded onto external hardware and sent to the company rather than the restore files, as does Backblaze.
- Free trial
- File sharing
- Other versions
- Customer support
Users are able to test the system by downloading a free 15-day trial. This trial is fully-featured and includes unlimited space. Users are not required to provide billing information before receiving a free trial. It is notable that the trial term is slightly lower than for many of their competitors.
Another drawback of the free trial is that the company states that the process of an initial download, which begins as soon as the user downloads Backblaze's software can take a significant amount of time. Backblaze is unusual in that the software determines which files need to be backed up as a default setting. Users can de-select file types to tell the software that it should not backup the specific file types or individual files. This process is less user friendly than many of the other software options on the market. Some users state that the initial backup took several days to complete in the background, depending on their connection and hardware. In this case, it is possible that the initial backup operation could take the entire time of the free trial in extreme cases.
Unlike most of the other leading services, Backblaze does not include any options for file sharing. The Review Team looks for companies with some form of secure file sharing, usually with a password to protect the file. Most companies offer this service in some degree, with only a few companies which do not offer any file sharing at all.
Backblaze states that their service keeps all previous versions of backups for up to 30 days. However, there are several reports from customers which suggest that when they went to restore these files, that they were not saved. As the company did not respond to the Review Team when asked about this issue, as well as some others, the Review Team cannot confirm or disprove this claim.
Backblaze offers users a few choices for protecting their data. They are able to use the built-in and default SSL encryption or add a personal passcode to the SSL encryption. Backblaze does not disclose their level of encryption (256-bit AES being the most commonly used protocol) online. Customer service representatives did not respond to requests for information on the specifics of their encryption. The Review Team cannot state the exact protocol used by Backblaze.
The addition of a personal passcode key allows users to secure their data in the servers, however the caveat to this added layer is that without this key, no one (including company employees) can access the data. Resets are not available for this option.
Contacting support is frustrating, customers report that they do not receive answers to their requests. The only method for customers to use to contact the company is a web support ticket program. The Review Team was not successful in receiving answers from Backblaze. Several of the leading companies offer multiple methods of customer support, one of the most common is an online chat option. Backblaze is lacking both responsiveness to customer requests as well as multiple methods for which customers to contact the company.
The Bottom Line
Backblaze is a solid company with much to offer. They are reasonably priced and extremely straightforward. The Review Team looks for transparency in company communication, both online and with their customers. In some areas, Backblaze was very transparent, while in others, the company fell below expected disclosures. As a rule, Backblaze's straightforward backup service is perfect for those wanting a provider to simply backup their files. Those looking for other features, such as sharing, editing capabilities, etc. will be disappointed and better suited to find another provider.