Dear Lifehacker, I have been using CrashPlan ever since my house was burgled last year and a few laptops loaded with family photos were stolen. However, CrashPlan had a sharp price jump after its Australian data centre was opened. Is there any more affordable alternative that offer unlimited space and real time backup for three computers? Thanks, Crash Priced
Chicken picture from Shutterstock
A good starting point is our Top Five Best Online Backup Tools -- admittedly, this article is getting a bit long in the tooth but all of the services mentioned are still available.
Apart from the ubiquitous DropBox, the cheapest option of the five is probably JungleDisk; especially if you're storing small amounts of data. Pricing starts at $2 a month with 5GB free storage (additional storage costs 15 cents per gigabyte, per month). However, if you have tonnes of data, it might be more affordable to go with an 'unlimited' storage option: Carbonite pricing starts at $59 per computer, per year.
Another decent option is Backblaze, which offers unlimited storage and continuously backs up your important data in the background without bogging down your system. Prices start at $3.96 per month.
One potentially cheaper option is to back up machines at home onto a network server, and then back up that to CrashPlan or similar -- this involves more hardware costs upfront but translates to less ongoing licensing.
If you really don’t want to spend any money, you could try spreading out your backup amongst multiple online services (Dropbox, Skydrive, Box, iCloud and others). But going with one service that works continuously is a much more reliable alternative. Ultimately, backup is a worthwhile expenditure and we'd pay the money for a solution that works.
Also be sure to check out our guide to setting up an automated, bulletproof file backup solution.
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