crashplanThe need to backup your data is very important, but not always easy to do. I have talked before about Backing Up Data with XCopy, but if you are not into writing BAT files, or know someone who does this isn’t necessarily an easy solution. There are also a lot of online solutions as well, such as Carbonite, but they can cost you money. But there is a solution out there that is both free for local use, and a paid for service if you want to use their cloud storage, and it is called CrashPlan. CrashPlan has four different backup plan packages, and I think it will be easier if we look at them so we can see the whole scope of CrashPlan.

The first of their four backup packages is their basic one that is just called CrashPlan. With this package you can install their program and set it to backup to a local hard drive on your computer. You can also configure it to backup to other computers that you own that are on your local network, or in other destinations. What is really great about this solution is, it is FREE for personal use. Which means if you don’t want to write a complicated BAT file, you can install this program and configure it to do your backups to a local hard drive for free. Or if you are a little techier, you can configure it to backup to another computer or network drive, even if they are in remote locations.

The next package that CrashPlan offers is CrashPlan+, with this plan instead of backing up to your own drives or computers, you can backup to their online cloud storage.  This is similar to the Carbonite solution, and like Carbonite will cost you a yearly free.  With this solution you don’t have to remember to do your backups as they happen fairly continuous.  They are stored online at CrashPlan with their secure online storage.  What is also nice with this solution is you can get the CrashPlan apps for your mobile devices so you can access all your data remotely from other devices.  The costs for going with a CrashPlan+ package depends on how much data you want to backup.  If you want a single computer with a maximum limit of 10GB it can cost as low as $2 per month.  If you want to backup a single computer with an unlimited amount of storage that can cost as low as $4 per month.  They also have a Family Unlimited Plan that will allow you to backup up to 10 computers with an unlimited amount of storage for as low as $9 per month.  With the term “as low as” keep in mind they are referring to the price if you pay for the maximum number of years in advance that they will allow.  So if you just want to try it for a year, it may cost more.

The next two plans are called CrashPlanPro and CrashPlanPro Enterprise. Both of these solutions are business solutions, which is why I am going to cover them both at once. Basically they both operate like CrashPlan+ in that they will give you unlimited storage for backups, but give you a greater number of systems you can backup with. CrashPlanPro can be used to backup a local business, while CrashPlanProE can backup an enterprise system, including servers and multiple platforms from a variety of destinations. These options are not cheap, and are meant for business use and not for home use.

So to summarize, the main reason I pick CrashPlan over other online backup solutions is that with CrashPlan you only pay to use their program when you start backing up your data to their servers. This means if you want a nice, friendly to use interface to backup at home, CrashPlan is the way to go.