Code 42 Software was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Minnesota. The company has solid roots in the IT industry. Code 42’s backup program, CrashPlan, offers plans for individuals, families, businesses and enterprise users which are highly secure and dynamic. CrashPlan works with Windows, Mac and Linux systems. Users are given several options as far as the location of where the backup is stored - locally on an external drive, in the cloud or even on another computer.
As the business product is one with many more features and better explained on its own, for reason of clarity, the information presented in this review is targeted to the personal products unless otherwise noted.
Code 42 offers a free and full featured plan for individuals which is one of the best in the industry. There are a few differences in the Code 42 Free CrashPlan and a paid subscription. Primarily, subscribers to the CrashPlan Free do not have online backup of their files (all fines are backed up to a local drive – external hard drive or flash drive) and rather than backups being performed continuously, backups run once per day. CrashPlan Free includes a free 30 days of online storage.
Business users can request a free 30-day trial.
While many companies offer a free version of their software, CrashPlan Free is one which is able to do much more, with higher levels of security. Those who are budget-conscious will be able to have a daily backup of their files for the cost of an external drive.
Individual plans include unlimited storage for the computer(s) which are installed.
- Individual – $5.99/month or $59.99/year (one computer)
- Family – $13.99/month or $149.99/year (2-10 computers)
- Business – $10/month per computer (unlimited computers)
Frequency of Backups
CrashPlan Free does not include continuous backup; backups are performed once per day. CrashPlan Individual and Family allows users to schedule their backups whenever they wish. The default option is for backups to be performed every fifteen minutes. These continuous backups require the user to seed a backup set with the files which are to be backed up and then subsequently monitored by CrashPlan. After this initial backup, which is usually large and can be time consuming, CrashPlan monitors these files for changes to them. When one is detected, CrashPlan backs up the changed files, while saving previous versions of the backup (paid subscriptions only).
This method of backup is considered to be better than performing scheduled backups, as it is performed in nearly real-time and requires few computer resources once the initial backup is complete.
Free users are limited to one backup per day on their subscription.
CrashPlan keeps prior versions of backups online for their paid subscribers. The company states that they keep unlimited versions for an unlimited time, but in reading documents better explaining the details of Code 42 policies, versions may be deleted after 4 years. Even though this is not really unlimited, it is a far more generous policy than the majority of online backup providers. CrashPlan Free does not include file versioning capabilities, although users could save multiple backups with different file names on their external drive. Those looking for (nearly) unlimited file versioning in an online backup will find it with CrashPlan.
Mobile and Web Options
CrashPlan has free apps for Windows, Amazon, Android and iOS devices. These apps only work for those with a paid subscription since these are the only subscriptions which save files into the cloud. The apps allow users to access and download files to their mobile devices, after which they can share them. This sharing feature is highly limited compared to other providers, however. The apps have been rated with 3-4 stars in the apps stores, and a common comment involves the lack of thumbnails (photos) or a search functionality. For most customers, the app serves their needs.
The web interface allows users to view and access their files from any web browser. This functionality is standard to most companies and their offerings. CrashPlan uses a file tree to display files, which resembles File Explorer. The software lacks an interface to display which files are downloaded on the computer’s hard drive right in the explorer window.
CrashPlan doesn’t offer many unique features for their mobile or web interfaces, but provides the basic features expected in a backup program.
CrashPlan excels in the encryption of files however. The company uses the 448-bit Blowfish encryption on all of their servers which store user files and 128-bit AES encryption when transmitting files.
Users can generate a private key to access their account. This added security measure allows users to secure their files so that they are the only person who can access their account. This added layer can be problematic in that if this key is lost or forgotten, users cannot reset it and the company cannot assist them in doing so either.
File restoration requires a private password, which is an added layer of security missing from many of the other online backup providers in the industry which were reviewed by the Review Team.
While CrashPlan is a solid backup provider, they are missing sharing capabilities which other companies offer on their web interface. They do not include the ability to share files with other users besides designating another computer as the target for backups. Mobile users can share downloaded files from their mobile device to via email. This void is not the most significant as far as critical features, but would be a nice addition to an otherwise comprehensive program.
Independent speed and performance test vary in their findings, based upon which function is being performed and measured. Initial backup seeding provided highly variable results, with some sources reporting quick uploads (100MB mixed file type in under one minute), while others state that through a LAN connection, this process can take several hours. Other reports state that CrashPlan backups (after the initial seeding) create a memory load which slows most systems.
The speed and performance of any online software are dependent on several factors, which are even variable with individual users. The Review Team recommends that users unsure of how their system will perform should use the free version (and trial of online storage) before purchasing a subscription. Decisions about the software should be made after seeding the backup and experiencing several days of the online backup to see how the software works on the user’s system.
Code 42 CrashPlan offers email support to their users. The company does not offer much support to their free plan, other than support forums. Missing are online chat, or phone support. Business users enjoy better access to support.
CrashPlan doesn’t include bells and whistles with their service. They provide backups and do so in a way which is solid. Rather than focus on peripherals and “wowing” their customers, they simply focus upon doing the best that they can with their software. The company’s features detailed by the Review Team are among the best in the industry.