Backblaze Review

Updated: April 07,2022
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We geeks sure love the cloud. Storage, streaming, computing - the modern world offers cloud-based solutions for many Earthly problems. Choosing the right one is tough, so our Backblaze review is here to present one of the better options in this very saturated market.

Backblaze’s main claim to fame is that it provides unlimited storage space, but the company has other tricks up its sleeve as well. An incredibly simple and mostly automated backup procedure, competitive pricing, and some handy bonus features all work together to create an excellent product that can compete with the best in the biz. There are some downsides, too - but more on those later. Let’s get right into it.

Backblaze Review - Logo
4

Good

Starts at$7
SPECIFICATIONS
  • Unlimited storage capacity
  • Third-party app integrations
  • Physical hard drive shipping for restoration purposes
  • Automated backups
What we liked
  • No file-size limitations
  • Simple to use
  • Great file-sharing options
What we disliked
  • Licenses are for one device only

Main Features

Creating Backups

First things first: Backblaze’s backup capacities are unlimited, and they have no file-size limits. That said, each license provides support for just one device. You can inherit previous backup states on new devices or delete old backups and transfer licenses, but you’ll need to pay for several licenses to actively sync multiple devices.

The backup procedure is about as simple as it gets, and the initial portion starts automatically as soon as you register, download the app, and enter your Backblaze login details. After Backblaze’s hard-drive review, the software begins the online backup procedure immediately.

By default, this first backup won’t include system directories such as i386, MSOCache, Program Files, Recycle Bin, and Windows. You’ll also have to add extensions manually for virtual drives and system files like .iso and .msi. You’re free to tweak the Exclusions menu, adding or removing any file types or folders you wish, and even limiting the file size for your uploads, down to a minimum of 5 MB per file.

backblaze preferences

backblaze preferences 2

Restoring Files

After creating your first Backblaze online backup, you can restore files from the cloud through the web platform or mobile app. The interface allows you to search for files by name or simply browse through the list - much like File Explorer for Windows. You can also filter by timestamp to help locate specific file versions, and even view hidden files.

Files can be downloaded directly to your device or shipped to you on physical media - via flash or physical hard drive - through the “Restore Return Refund” program. You can also put them on B2, Backblaze’s cloud storage platform, for easier sharing. We’ll talk more about these options in the Additional Features section.

Like all good cloud backup services, Backblaze supports file versioning. Similar to Carbonite and pCloud, it is sensitive to time rather than the number of older file versions available. That means you can have as many versions as you want, but Backblaze reviews your files constantly, deleting the oldest file versions once a month. We personally prefer IDrive’s versioning solution (which saves the 30 latest versions of each file, regardless of when they were created),  but this system works better for people who update files very frequently.

When you transfer uploaded files to B2 cloud storage, they will be timestamped and stored indefinitely. Just remember that, unlike Backblaze, B2 has storage limits (10 GB for Backblaze users by default), so this option is best used for smaller files (e.g., text documents).

File Sharing

To compete with the best online storage solutions these days, a company like this needs to have a competitive file-sharing platform, too. Backblaze handles this through its cloud storage service, which you must sign up for if you wish to share files with others.

The process is straightforward, but it does require logging in through the web portal, which is a bit annoying. From the View/Restore section, you’ll need to select your file(s) and then click on the “Share with Link” button. Unfortunately, there is no way to fine-tune access to these files.

If we pit pCloud or IDrive vs. Backblaze, pCloud and IDrive allow a Google Drive-esque level of control over your files, allowing you to fine-tune who can edit and view them. With Backblaze, whoever receives the link to your shared files gets full and unrestricted access. That’s great for sharing your music collection - not so much for sensitive documents.

Transfer Speed

An important factor when picking a cloud backup service is how much of a pain the backup process will be, especially for very large files. Our Backblaze review already mentioned that the company offers to ship physical drives to speed up this process, but we’ll talk more about that later. For now, let’s see how the program did in our Backblaze speed test, shall we?

The short answer: Not that great. Our 200 Mbps connection at the office managed only about 21 Mbps upload, and 13 Mbps download speeds. This is better than IDrive’s snail pace when downloading files, but IDrive was significantly faster at uploading them. Backblaze also got trounced in both speed categories by pCloud, which maintained both download and upload speeds of nearly 70 Mbps.

When comparing Backblaze vs. Carbonite, things looked a bit better, with the latter lagging in both categories. Considering that Carbonite is one of the slowest online backup services around, Backblaze’s victory is a bit hollow. Luckily, you can still take advantage of physical-drive shipping for speeding up the download process, but your initial backups may take quite a while.

Security And Privacy

Transfer speeds are all well and good, but security can make or break cloud storage services these days. While Backblaze has excellent security features practically all across the board, there is also one questionable decision we’ll have to address.

Let’s start with the good stuff: Backblaze’s encryption uses a hybrid method with 2,048-bit RSA key pairs securing symmetric 128-bit AES keys. The 128-bit keys are, in theory, not as secure as 256-bit keys would be, but in reality, you’d need a supercomputer or decades of effort to crack them, and they would then be useless, considering that they change with each login session. The company also offers users the option of getting a private encryption key, and features biometric, as well as two-factor authentication options for mobile devices.

So far so good, right? So why is our Backblaze security review not giving the company a glowing recommendation across the board?

It’s quite simple, really. While you can set up a private encryption key easily, you have to enter your master password every time you plan to download anything from online data storage. Since file restoration works only from the web interface, you can see where we’re going with this. Backblaze says it purges your login credentials as soon as you’ve successfully logged in, but it’s still a less-than-ideal solution.

In terms of privacy, Backblaze implements the standard stuff that you’ll find with almost every online backup service these days. You can review what Backblaze collects in detail by reading its Privacy Policy and Data Processing Agreement documents. In short, it will be any data that you supply, including your email address and phone number. They’ll also know the number and size of your uploaded files and, unless you use a VPN, your IP address. All of these may, in theory, be given to third parties, including government agencies. These are standard policies for just about any online service these days.

User Experience

Installation Process

Backblaze is one of the best cloud storage providers for people who like keeping things simple. To get your first backup underway, all you need to do is provide your email address, choose a password, verify your email address, and install the app.

The desktop software will automatically start the initial backup procedure, which you can interrupt at any time to add or remove folders and files. By default, the app backs up everything except your operating system and application files, empty directories, and temporary internet files.

Web Interface

We’ve mentioned earlier in our Backblaze backup review that the company’s design prioritizes simplicity over aesthetics. That doesn’t mean it’s overly sparse - the web interface has all the basic features you will need. You can view, download, restore, or share files, check various reports, settings, and billing information, and even use the Locate my Computer feature to find a stolen or lost device through its last known IP address. Backing up files requires downloading the app for your computer or mobile device, however.

backblaze overview


Desktop App

Design is another area where Backblaze won’t win any best cloud backup awards. While everything is functional, the color scheme and overall design are intensely reminiscent of the late 1990s. That said, there is a kind of beauty in its simplicity, and the desktop app provides a much-needed upgrade compared to the web interface.

The desktop app handles backups automatically for the most part, but you can use the Performance tab to check and adjust CPU and internet usage. You can speed up the backup and restore operations or give your computer and internet connection some breathing room.

You can also do a Backblaze storage review to check which files are scheduled for backup and make modifications using the Exclusions menu. Pending issues or reports can be read from their respective menus, while the Security tab allows you to add a private encryption password to your account (it’s not enabled by default). The Settings menu houses global account settings, and the Schedule tab lets you fine-tune backup scheduling.

backblaze control panel
Mobile App

The mobile app is very basic, but it gets the job done if you need to access your files remotely. You can use it to search for, view, and download files from your online storage. Unfortunately, Backblaze’s cloud backup supports only one device per license. What’s more, unlike IDrive and pCloud, the app’s primary purpose is accessing your computer-file backups rather than backing up mobile data.

That means you can’t use the app for an automatic backup of your phone’s documents, contacts, or media. On the bright side, the app supports biometric authentication for logging in, and you can also use your phone for two-factor authentication when logging in from your computer.

backblaze mobile browse

Additional Features

B2 Cloud Storage 

Every new Backblaze user gets 10 GB of storage on the B2 cloud storage service. We’ll keep our Backblaze B2 review brief: All you really need to know about B2 is that it provides additional cloud storage separate from your standard Backblaze account, and it’s useful primarily for sharing your files with other people.

B2 can also be great for storing multiple versions of older files, complete with timestamps for easy navigation. As these are separate from your Backblaze storage, they won’t get deleted unless you do it manually.

Aside from what’s included in the Backblaze sign-up package, every additional gigabyte of storage and increased download capacity needs to be purchased separately.

Restore Return Refund  

Even the best online backup speeds won’t cut it when you want to create extensive backups and don’t want to spend days on them. That’s why it’s unfortunate that Backblaze only provides its physical-drive shipping service for the purpose of file restoration, but not initial backups. You can choose between a USB flash drive of up to 256 GB for $99 or an external hard drive for $189.

As the name of the service suggests, these costs can be refunded if you return the drive without any damage within 30 days. You still have to pay for shipping costs, but that’s a small price to pay for saving yourself the headache of restoring your backups at Backblaze’s less-than-impressive download speeds.

Locate My Computer

Earlier in our Backblaze review, we mentioned that the company provides an uncommon service. Utilizing your IP address and location services, it can help locate a stolen or lost device. It can also help police identify potential thieves through images and videos that they may upload automatically without realizing it via the automatic backup procedure.

All you need to do is log in to your Backblaze account through the web interface, make sure that mapping is on, and click on the Locate my Computer button. This will display the computer’s latest sign-in location. You can also check the latest backups to see if the potential thief has inadvertently uploaded any new files from your device.

Customer Support

Our review of Backblaze’s customer service will be brief, as there isn’t much to say. The company offers support through email or live chat along with an extensive self-help FAQ, but there’s no phone support. We sent an email to the support staff during working hours and got a reply within four hours, which is pretty decent. If you need help immediately, reach out to the live chat operators. They work in two shifts: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, and 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Pacific time from Tuesday to Friday. There is no live chat every other Wednesday.

Pricing Plans

Like everything else about Backblaze, the pricing plans are easy to understand. The two main options are the Personal plan - that we based our review on - and Backblaze Business, which is aimed at companies. While there are some differences when comparing Backblaze Personal vs. Business plans in terms of features (the latter offers a web-based admin console, for example), the pricing scheme is identical for both.

You can opt for monthly, yearly, or bi-yearly payments depending on whether you prefer flexibility or maximum savings. Both plans offer unlimited storage capacity for one device only (additional ones can be added for the same price). Backblaze will cost you $7 per month, $70 per year, or $130 if you pay for two years in advance.

Signing up for an account will also get you 10 GB of storage on the B2 cloud platform. Adding more will cost you $0.005 per gigabyte, while increasing your download capacity from the default 1 GB per month will set you back $0.01 for each additional gigabyte.

Alternatives

Backblaze is a great service, but it certainly has stiff competition. You can read our IDrive and pCloud reviews or check out the table below for a quick overview of what that competition has to offer.

Backblaze Pricing Plans

Monthly

$7 /mo
SEE PLAN

Yearly

$70 /yr
SEE PLAN

Two-Year

$130 /2 yr
SEE PLAN

How Does Backblaze Compare to Other Online Storage Platforms

Backblaze Logo
Starts at $70
  • Unlimited storage capacity
  • Third-party app integrations
  • Physical hard drive shipping for restoration purposes
  • Automated backups
  • Remote access via mobile app
SpiderOak Logo
Starts at $69
  • Top-of-the-line security and file sharing features
  • Unlimited devices
  • Up to 5 TB of storage
  • Point-in-time recovery
  • Free 5 GB trial
iDrive Logo
Starts at $69.50
  • Full-disk image backup
  • Free disk shipping on demand
  • Unlimited devices
  • Up to 10 TB of storage
  • Snapshots and versioning

Conclusion

Having come to the end of our Backblaze review, it’s time for the verdict: Is it worth your time and money? That depends on your needs, mostly. If you want to never worry about storage space, alternatives such as Carbonite are a lot more expensive without offering anything special to compensate.

We also have to give Backblaze credit for its excellent security features (minus how private encryption keys are handled) and overall ease of use. Bonus features such as Backblaze B2 cloud storage, the ability to locate lost devices, and physical drive shipping for restoration purposes are just icing on the cake. Backblaze’s biggest weaknesses are supporting only one device per license and having a rudimentary mobile app.

To summarize: If you’re looking for unlimited online storage, Backblaze is the way to go. Otherwise, we feel that other options, such as IDrive and pCloud, offer more bang for your buck.

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FAQ

Is Backblaze Secure?

Yes. You can get private encryption keys as well as two-factor and biometric authentication. Check our review for details and Backblaze’s price.

How Long Does Backblaze Keep My Files?

Thirty days. Your files are technically stored indefinitely, but the oldest copies of duplicate files are deleted once a month.

Is Backblaze Really Unlimited?

Yes. In addition to unlimited storage for backups, all Backblaze users also get access to 10 GB of B2 cloud storage. The trial account also comes with 10 GB of storage, so you can test out all the features before making a purchase.

Does Backblaze Protect Against Ransomware?

Yes. We mentioned in our Backblaze review that Backblaze stores older copies of your files for up to 30 days. Should you become a victim of a ransomware attack, you can quickly restore that data online or request a physical drive for recovery purposes through the Restore Return Refund program.

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