Some online backup services, including IDrive, Livedrive, SpiderOak and SOS Online Backup, offer enhanced file versioning and the ability to manage multiple users or back up a variety of computers. For most users, experts recommend a simple, easy-to-use backup service like MozyHome or CrashPlan+. However, full-featured backup may be for you if you want more control over your data.
Among full-featured online backup services, SOS Online Backup (*Est. $80 per year for 50 GB) gets the best reviews. It's more expensive than basic services, but reviewers say it offers significantly more functionality. Up to five Windows PCs, Macs, iPhones and Android devices can be backed up with one account, and you can access your files from any computer with an Internet connection, as well as via iPhone and Android mobile apps. Additionally, your Facebook profile and files on external hard drives and network attached storage drives can be backed up. If you want a local backup of your data, SOS Online Backup will also save your files to an external hard drive.
SOS Online Backup offers robust sharing functionality, and you can send your files to others directly from the site's servers. Data is encrypted three times to keep it secure. If you need more storage, 100 GB (*Est. $100 per year) and 150 GB (*Est. $150 per year) plans are also available. Business accounts are available with storage starting at 250 GB (*Est. $500 per year) and ending at 1 TB (*Est. $1,600 per year). Although these allow for backups of unlimited computers, they are probably overkill for most home users. Reviewers say the SOS interface strikes a good balance between ease of use and customization. The restoration process is also pretty easy, and transfer speeds are quick.
IDrive (*Est. $5 per month for 150 GB) is another option for those who want a robust online backup service. For those who don't need much storage, IDrive also offers a 5 GB free account, while business owners with lots of computers can get plans that offer up to 1,000 GB of storage (*Est. $80 per month).
IDrive has lots of useful features such as file searching and drag-and-drop file restoration. It also saves the last 30 versions of your files. A Timeline Restore feature allows you to restore all your data to the way it was on a specific date. Reviewers say these features set it apart from cheaper online backup services. Like most of its competitors, IDrive requires separate software, but there's also a Mac version. However, Windows-based IDrive accounts aren't compatible with the Mac software, or vice versa. The interface has been redone, and reviewers say it's less cluttered and easier to navigate. Even so, some reviewers prefer SOS Online Backup, which offers unlimited file versioning and lots of other additional features.
Most of the accolades for Livedrive (*Est $8 per month for unlimited storage) have come from British sources such as PC Pro and Expert Reviews, despite the fact that it's also available in the United States. Livedrive blurs the line between basic syncing and full-featured online backup services; while the basic Backup subscription offers unlimited storage for a single PC, their Briefcase syncing plan (*Est. $16 per month for 2 TB) synchronizes data Dropbox-style between multiple devices. The Pro Suite subscription (*Est. $25 per month for 5 TB) offers all the features from both the Backup and Briefcase plans, giving you 5 TB of syncing Briefcase space and unlimited storage for up to five computers. All plans offer version protection for the last 30 alterations to a file, and deletion protection for 30 days. Files can be accessed via web browser or mobile iOS and Android apps.
Reviewers say Livedrive is a cinch to set up, and scheduling new folders to back up is as easy as right-clicking on it and selecting the appropriate option. The service offers 256-bit AES encryption, the option to backup local network attached storage drives for an additional fee (*Est. $8 per month), and unrestricted upload and download speeds.
However, while Livedrive wins awards and high ratings from Expert Reviews and PC Pro, each of which basically swoon over the online backup service, the comments left on the reviews are awash with tales of reliability woes from users who have had data disappear and poor customer-service experiences. Some say the syncing service can be buggy, as well, and several commenters say upload speeds are poor.
SpiderOak (*Est. $10 per month for 100 GB) is unique among full-featured online backup services. Rather than offer a handful of different storage plans, it only has one. Users can also get 2 GB of free storage. That isn't limited to a set number of computers, either; you can back up files from any number of PCs as long as you don't go over your storage limit.
SpiderOak is also a syncing-style online backup service, another relative rarity among full-featured cloud storage providers. The service automatically syncs your data between multiple PCs, Macs and Linux computers, and the syncing extends to any folder or folders you choose, rather than being limited to a single location. Android and iOS apps are also available. SpiderOak backs up external and network-attached drives and allows you to share files with friends. A strong file-protection policy keeps even SpiderOak employees from being able to access your data, and the service keeps a backup of your files on its service forever, even if you've long since deleted it from your synced folders.
A couple of flaws hold the service back from top-tier contention, however. Although PCMag.com's Michael Muchmore gives SpiderOak a rating of 4 out of 5, he says files upload very slowly and adds that the interface isn't as user-friendly as the competition's. NotebookReview.com says that file restoration is "clunky," and NextAdvisor.com agrees that the "plethora of options can at first glance seem confusing to the cloud novice."