Free Online Backup With CrashPlan

Category: Backup

In the crowded field of online backup services, Crashplan is often overlooked. Crashplan is a bit cheaper than most of its competitors, and it has a couple of unique features that make it worth a look. You can even use Crashplan to do unlimited online backups for free. Here's how it works, and what you need to know…

Crashplan - Better Online Backup

CrashPlan is an online backup service that I've discussed in the past, but now there's a free version that I think you'll find interesting. Crashplan's client app is available in Mac, Linux, and Windows versions. You can download it for free, and that's all you need to start backing up data. The client will back up your data locally to hard drives or network-attached storage. The really neat thing is that you can also back up your data to a friend's computer, over the Internet, for free!

To do this sort of backup, you send an email to a friend or family member, requesting permission to use their computer to store your backup files. The friend accepts the invitation, installs the Crashplan software, and adds you to his "friends" list. Now, as long you're both connected to the Internet, you can back up your data to your friend's machine. Your data is encrypted before it is transmitted to your friend's machine, so he or she won't know what you are storing on it. Of course, you'll probably return the favor, letting your friend use your empty disk space. Both of you can limit the amount of space used for backups, or end the relationship at any time.
CrashPlan Free Online Backup

The CrashPlan philosophy is safety through multi-destination backup. By backing up in multiple locations, both online and offline, you ensure that your data can be restored even if something happens to one of your backups. Crashplan makes it easy to back up your files to multiple destinations, providing the redundancy you need for a really dependable backup. And CrashPlan doesn't care if you use a Mac, and you want to backup your files on a PC, or vice versa. The software runs on PCs, Macs, Linux and Solaris computers. (See my related article Hard Drives Are NOT Forever for some tips on choosing a backup strategy.)

Crashplan offers its own servers to store your data, in a plan called Crashplan+. A free 30-day trial comes with 10 GB of storage space. Unlimited storage space for a single computer costs $50 per year, slightly less than MozyHome's $55. A family Crashplan+ provides unlimited storage for up to 10 computers at a cost of $120 per year. That's less than Mozy or Carbonite, but more than the $80 charged by SOS Online Backup.

Other CrashPlan Backup Features

Crashplan can create multiple backup sets, a feature that some users find helpful. It also backs up changing files continuously (as often as every minute) and gives priority to recently changed files. Crashplan does not integrate with Windows Explorer, so there are no context menu commands or little markers indicating which files have been backed up.

Of course, you can restore data from Crashplan, too. But you cannot search for a specific file or a group of files that meet specified criteria. You have to slog through folder trees to find and tag the file(s) you wish to restore. Also, you can only restore files to the computer at which you are currently working. You can't sit at Dad's machine and tell Crashplan to restore data to Mom's machine. However, you can tell Crashplan to restore a file to your Desktop, a folder, or its original location on your current machine.

You can do online backup for free using Crashplan, if you have a friend who's willing to share disk space with you. Another added benefit of using CrashPlan is that you can overcome one of the biggest drawbacks of online backup - the time required to make a full backup, or to restore your data. If you have multiple gigabytes of data, it can take days to transfer the data over the Internet, even with a high-speed connection. But if your friend lives near you, the initial full backup or a subsequent restore can be done much faster by going over to his place and connecting a standard network (ethernet) cable to his machine.

Here's one more interesting point about CrashPlan. (This is a bit geeky, so feel free to skip to the end if your eyes begin to glaze over.) If you have your own web server running Linux, or a web hosting account with Linux shell access, you can install the free CrashPlan software on that server, and backup your Windows or Mac computer to it. Here are the technical details. So there's another free online backup option for you.

Have you tried Crashplan's free online backup, or the paid version? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Free Online Backup With CrashPlan"

Posted by:

16 Dec 2011

a great Online Backup service been using for over a year got the 3yr. plan well worth the money !

Posted by:

Mike Frankel
17 Dec 2011

Mozy Home is $6/month. With the 1-year plan you get one month free; the 2 year plan you get three months free.

Posted by:

Joel Eisenman
19 Dec 2011

The Mozy Home Plan you mentioned is limited to 50 GB - not unlimited storage. More space is available at a higher price. See

Posted by:

20 Jan 2012

Online Storage & Online Backup by MiMedia. Not just another online storage solution, Online Photo Backup MiMedia brings you a totally new approach to backup, protect, access, enjoy & share your digital life

Posted by:

28 Sep 2013

Been using Crashplan+ for a year now £40 and it unlimited storage, I use it for documents and .CR2 files, and have no issues at all, its a great service and when you edit a document crashplan creates a to do list then every 15 minutes backs up new or altered files, its a great service for the money.

Posted by:

06 Feb 2019

Crashplan home free is no longer available or functional

"This is a reminder that after October 22, 2018, the free version of CrashPlan for Home will no longer work. This means that any data that you previously backed up using the free version will be inaccessible and you will not be able to back up or restore files, even to local folders or friends’ computers"

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