Ask LH: How Can I Back Up Online When My Connection Sucks?

Hey Lifehacker, I live in Adelaide and don’t have access to ADSL in my area, but I want to back up my data online. What’s the best way to upload 50 or 60GB of data to Google Drive or Dropbox? Thanks, Backing Away

Hard drive picture from Shutterstock

Dear BA,

This is a tough one. The big advantage of a service like Dropbox is that it continually backs up without you having to think about it. If you have a slow connection such as dial-up, that process can be painful or non-functional. As we’ve noted before, using mobile broadband is generally too expensive to be practical for large amounts of data, though once the initial upload is complete it might be feasible. Nonetheless, backing up is important, and even if you can only occasionally back up online, that’s better than nothing.

Corporate backup services for businesses sometimes offer the option of sending in a hard drive or USB drive to have data uploaded, but that isn’t available with Google Drive or Dropbox. Thinking a little laterally, here are a few suggestions.

  • Check local computer stores to see if one is willing to do the uploading for you. This will cost money, and might take a while — uploading 60GB is a slow process even with a decent ADSL2 connection — but it would get the job done.
  • You could advertise on Airtasker or Gumtree to see if someone elsewhere in Adelaide is willing to help you upload those files. Obviously this is easier if you have a laptop, and your helper would also need a plan that’s generous enough to cope with that large upload. You’ll also need to trust them — a variant would be to ask a friend or relative.
  • With a laptop, you could try utilising free Wi-Fi (there’s plenty on offer in the Adelaide CBD). Realistically, though, the slower speeds and data limits are likely to make this impractical.
  • In the absence of online backup, set up automated backup at home to a separate computer. While online backup is great, on-site backup still has a place — especially in this context.

If Lifehacker readers have other ideas, we’d love to hear them in the comments.


Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our [contact text=”contact form”].

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


11 responses to “Ask LH: How Can I Back Up Online When My Connection Sucks?”