Choosing the Best Backup Software
In this guide we will look at how to choose the best backup software for your PC or Mac, this includes covering the different kinds of backup software available as well as pointing out various things to be aware of before making a choice!
Choosing the best backup software for your PC or Mac can be a difficult task, a task which should warrant plenty of time and careful consideration to ensure you are making an informed decision. Be very clear, this is the software which will help keep your important data safe should you ever face any problems with your device, this includes protecting any work files, documents, family photos plus any other important digital information you might have saved.
Remember, any data on your PC or Mac is always vulnerable to dangers such as fire, theft, hardware failure and, in modern times, the dangers of ransomware and cyber crime! A well implemented backup solution will help protect your data against all of these dangers!
Which Backup Software Should I Choose?
Whilst there is often no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing backup software, some solutions will be much better suited to your individual needs than others. This means taking some time to understand your own backup requirements as well as what is offered by a given piece of backup software is very important.
Some useful questions you might want to ask yourself include:
- How much data do I need to backup
- How many PCs, Macs or other devices do I need to backup
- Do I need cloud backup (a copy of the backup kept off site for extra safety)
- Do I need a local copy of the backup (useful for restoring large files quickly)
- Do I require strong encryption, 2FA or other security requirements
- Do I need a solution which will also synchronise files between my devices
- What is my budget (and do I need any additional hardware such as an external hard drive)
- Am I happy paying a monthly subscription or would a one-off licence fee be preferable?
This list is not exhaustive, but it should help give you an idea of what key features are important to you and help identify which software excels in such areas.
Which Backup Software Can I Trust?
This is a good question to ask as the role of backup software is very important and you must be able to trust the provider you decide to go with!
All of the software reviewed here on bestbackupreviews.com is personally installed and tested by the site editor and must meet a certain standard to be included on the site. This approach means you can be assured all software listed here is professionally built, reliable and capable of doing the job it is intended to do.
You can see a full list of our backup software reviews by clicking here!
Cloud vs Local vs Hybrid Backup Software
When choosing backup software it is important to know where you want your backups to be stored, this will typically be on a locally attached external hard drive, a NAS device, or in the cloud.
Cloud Backup Software:
Some backup solutions such as Backblaze, SpiderOak One and Carbonite, amongst others, are cloud focused products, this means they exclusively make use of cloud storage which is included as a part of the software subscription fee.
Cloud storage is potentially a very useful component of a good backup strategy and sees a copy of your data being safely stored off-site and potentially available for recovery from anywhere which has access to an internet connection.
Such cloud focused software is usually very easy to get installed, configured and, thanks to cloud storage usually being included in any subscription, will often reduce the need to buy additional hardware such as external hard drives or NAS systems.
Whilst cloud focused backup software has many great benefits, it is almost always only available as part of a monthly or annual subscription service. If you don’t want to be paying monthly for backup software then it might not be the right choice (check out the Hybrid backup software section a little further down for a good alternative).
Local Backup Software:
Some software is designed without cloud backup in mind, local backup software is ideal for those wanting to store their backups on an external hard drive or NAS system on the same network as the PC which is being backed-up.
Popular choices in this category include Paragon Backup & Recovery, MiniTool Shadowmaker and O&O DiskImage amongst others.
Whilst cloud storage is undoubtedly useful, If you don’t want or need to make use of such a resource then local backup software, which is usually available as a simple one off cost (or in some cases, free) can provide a very cost effective way of a backup.
Hybrid Backup Software:
The majority of backup software available today provides a hybrid approach to storing backups and includes options for backing up both locally, to NAS devices and optionally to a cloud storage provider of choice.
This hybrid approach usually means premium backup software can be purchased for a one-off fee (without a subscription) and then cloud storage can optionally be purchased separately as it is needed, either from the same provider as the software or from another big cloud storage company.
This approach can potentially make for a good way of saving money on cloud backup costs given that existing cloud storage accounts (such as Dropbox, OneDrive etc.) can be made use of if you are already subscribing to and paying for such cloud storage.
Free Backup Software vs Premium Backup Software
Whilst looking at the different types of backup software which are available, you might have noticed that there are plenty of free options in addition to those products which charge a one-off or monthly licence fee to use.
Naturally, it is worth asking yourself if a free product will actually meet your own backup needs and, if so, then this can be a great chance to save some money. Otherwise, premium backup software might be needed given that it often tends to provide much more functionality, have better technical support included and might even come with cloud storage and free upgrades included as well!
In the remainder of this section I will compare these options further.
Free Backup Software
Many backup software manufacturers now offer some free backup software in their lineup, often as a way of showcasing a limited set of the functionality available in their full (paid for) versions and tempting users to upgrade.
If your backup needs are fairly simple, say, running a full backup once a week to an external hard drive, then you will be sure to find plenty of free backup software choices capable of this task.
On the other hand, if your backup requirements are more complex and involve advanced functionality such as encryption, compression, advanced scheduling and the storing of data in the cloud, then free backup software might start to fall short!
Premium Backup Software
As was mentioned above, many backup software manufacturers now supplement their premium backup software with a free offering to help showcase the basic backup features and allow free users to evaluate the software before purchasing an upgrade.
Premium backup software usually tends to provide much more functionality than the free alternatives and, crucially, manufacturers almost always provide additional help and support options to boot (support is often provided only via forums or similar for free software).
In addition to more help and support for your software, premium backup software often has additional support for more advanced encryption, compression, scheduling, cloud storage, recovery media and much more, this makes it potentially a much better investment when it comes to protecting valuable data!
Open Source Backup Software
Whilst this could reasonably come under the “Free Backup Software” section above, it is fair to split open source backup software into its own section given that such software is usually community built and community supported.
What this means is that you can often find open source backup software such as Duplicati and Blobbackup which is fully functional, despite being free to use, as opposed to a limited free version of a premium product.
If such open source software does meet your needs then this can be a great option, especially given that the software is free to make use of. On the other hand, as mentioned above, support is often provided by the community and can, as such, be hit or miss as to what help is available and how quickly it might come when needed (relying on support forums could see you waiting days for an answer)!
So, which option is best?
If you think you might need advanced features or additional help and support in setting up your backup, then a premium offering might be best. Going with a well known backup company such as Acronis, EaseUS, Ashampoo, Backblaze etc. will also reassure many users that the software they are relying on has been professionally built and tested to a very high standard.
If your backup needs are fairly simple then looking at a free offering could be a good and cost effective choice. If you are potentially happy to take on a bit of a learning curve and live without professional support then an open source choice such as Duplicati could be the way to go!
Our Favourite Backup Software
Below is a list of our current favourite backup solutions as tested and reviewed on bestbackupreviews.com. Remember, the rating given by us is only a guide and that the software with the highest rating might not necessarily be the best for your own personal needs. With this in mind, please refer to our detailed reviews of each entry for more information on the software itself and how it might help with your individual backup requirements.
1. Backblaze Backup
Backblaze backup is a great tool for those wanting to ensure all of their important data is backed up to a safe and secure off-site facility. Simply sign-up, install the native software on your PC or Mac and Backblaze will automatically take care of the rest – Excellent!
The service offers unlimited data storage and file versioning by default as well as advanced security options for those wishing to use a personal encryption key and 2FA with their cloud backups. At just $7 / month (or $70 / year), Backblaze is an excellent choice and probably one of the quickest, easiest and most cost effective ways to get you backups sorted out, as such, Backblaze comes highly recommended by bestbackupreviews.com!
You can start a 15 day free trial of Backblaze Backup by clicking here!
2. Ashampoo Backup Pro 15
Ashampoo Backup Pro 15 is a fully featured backup suite with a great set of features for performing secure cloud backups in addition to local file and system image backups. Support is included for advanced encryption and compression as well as a powerful scheduling engine allowing for a secure and reliable backup scheme to be implemented with ease.
Multiple mainstream cloud storage options are available (including Google Drive and Dropbox) meaning, as a one-off purchase, Backup Pro 15 provides great value for those looking for a powerful backup solution!
Backup Pro 15 is priced at $49.99, also be sure to check out the Ashampoo Deals page by using this link!
3. Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office
Acronis has become a market leader in the backup world in recent years and rightly so! With their replacement to True Image now available, Cyber Protect Home Office, they have continued to refine their flagship backup offering and it continues to impress!
The core of such an application is, of course, getting the necessary PC or Mac backed up quickly and securely and this is an area Acronis excels in. The addition of cloud storage and integrated anti-malware in recent years has helped to make this already solid backup application even more secure and has, in turn, helped facilitate new features such as ransomware protection, archiving and device synchronisation amongst many others.
Acronis offer a 30 day free trial of Cyber Protect Home Office including a trial of their excellent cloud storage, click here to find out more!
4. MSP360 Cloudberry Backup (Pro for Windows)
Cloudberry Backup provides an impressive set of features for those seeking a reliable, versatile and very powerful backup solution. One of the biggest draws for many will be the ability to choose where backups are stored with support for all of the major cloud storage providers included in the software.
In addition to the excellent cloud backup capabilities MSP360 also provides an impressive set of related tools including full system image backups, advanced encryption options and a system recovery media tool.
Cloudberry Backup is a one-off purchase of $49.99 (although bear in mind you may need to pay for additional cloud storage depending on your needs).
5. EaseUS ToDo Backup (Free)
EaseUS ToDo Backup is easily one of the best free backup solutions we have ever come across! Not only will EaseUS perform file and image based backups of your PC but also allow the backing up of shared drives, encryption with personal encryption keys, email alerts and use of cloud storage locations including Google Drive! EaseUS provides an excellent set of features, many of which are usually only found on paid for software!
Whilst they do offer a premium home version for $29.99 which has additional features including Outlook email backups and system disk cloning, the free version is definitely worth a look first given its ease of use and excellent feature set.
Click here to get EaseUS ToDo Backup for free!
6. SpiderOak One
SpiderOak One is a very impressive, security focused, cloud backup service. Despite being cloud only (no image backups supported) it does feature built-in file synchronisation, file sharing and historic file versioning, all of which are included on all accounts by default.
Pricing is very reasonable starting from just $6 / month, especially given this pricing is for a set storage allocation (starting at 150GB) and allows an unlimited number of devices to be backed up on each account.
Overall, a great cloud backup service and a solid choice, especially for those looking for an economical way to backup multiple PCs to the cloud!
SpiderOak offers a 21 day free trial of SpiderOak One click here to find out more!
7. ASCOMP BackUp Maker
ASCOMP BackUp Maker is a lightweight, easy to use and highly functional piece of Windows backup software which is suitable for home and commercial PC users alike.
Ideal for those looking to get their PC backed-up both quickly and with the minimal of fuss (thanks to the nicely designed backup wizard) as well as anyone wanting to take advantage of cloud storage, strong backup encryption, file compression, advanced scheduling features and much more to boot, BackUp Maker is a very smart choice.
Best of all, BackUp Maker is completely free for personal (non-commercial) usage and very reasonably priced for commercial usage at just $39.90 for a single user (2x PC) licence. More information is available at the ASCOMP website.
8. Crashplan for Small Business
If you are seeking a cloud backup solution with unlimited cloud storage and file versioning then Crashplan is the way to go!
In addition to the very generous storage and versioning quotas on offer, Crashplan also allows you to include all of your external drives for no additional cost, this makes Crashplan an ideal solution for creative professionals and freelancers with lots of data to keep backed up!
Pricing for Crashplan is a simple $10 per PC per month with no annoying upselling, you can start a 30 day free trial by clicking here!
9. iDrive Backup
iDrive is a well established player in the online backup world and as expected they offer a solid and reliable backup solution. Whilst not unlimited, their personal backup plans provide a very generous 5TB of storage which can be used to back up as many of your personal devices as you like.
iDrive also offers many other features including the syncing of files across devices, system image backups, restores via post and the option to use personal encryption keys. They also feature “true archiving” meaning no file versions are ever deleted unless you specify them to be.
Starting at only $69.50 / year iDrive provides excellent value, they also offer a free 5GB account should you wish to test out their service which you can access by clicking here!
10. Paragon Backup & Recovery (Free)
Backup & Recovery (Community Edition) is the latest free backup application from Paragon, a company with a solid reputation for producing PC utility software including the excellent Hard Disk Manager suite!
Focused on providing a basic yet functional backup solution, Backup & Recovery allows both file and system image backups to be taken whilst providing more advanced features including scheduling, encryption and compression to boot.
You can download Paragon Backup & Recovery for free by clicking here!
11. Duplicati Backup (Free & Open Source)
Duplicati is a free and open source backup application notable for providing great cloud storage support and many of the features normally found in commercial backup solutions.
Duplicati also has support for running on Windows, MacOS and Linux and thanks to the web based user interface. This is an interesting approach so it will be interesting to see how it performs.
You can download Duplicati Backup for free by clicking here!
12. Backup4all (Version 8.9)
Backup4All is a comprehensive piece of backup software from Softland, the same company behind the popular (and free) Fbackup software line.
As a premium (paid for) application, Backup4all goes much further in its offerings than Fbackup does and provides users with multiple backup options, advanced encryption and compression options plus the ability to backup to many different cloud storage providers amongst other things.
You can download a 30 day free trial of Backup4all by clicking here!
13. Arq Backup (Arq 7)
Arq Backup is a cloud backup solution which places an emphasis on simplicity, security and value for money. All of the major cloud storage providers are supported including Amazon S3, Backblaze B2, Google Drive and Dropbox meaning you can backup your important data to one or more cloud providers of your choice.
Arq 7 is priced at one-off $49.99 per device, there is also an option to subscribe to their Arq Premium service which provides use of the backup software for up to 5 devices alongside 1TB of included cloud storage for only $5.99 / month!
Arq offer a free 30 day trial available by clicking here
14. Macrium Reflect 8 Home
Macrium Reflect 8 Home is a solid backup offering which places a clear emphasis on creating image based backups whilst providing the necessary tools to manage and make the most from them.
Both file level and image level backups are supported and thanks to the powerful scheduling software, up to AES 256-bit encryption and the Image Guardian module, backups can be run automatically and kept safe thus helping to ensure your backups are there and working whenever you might need them.
Macrium also offer a 30 day free trial of Reflect 8 Home.
15. AOMEI Backupper Standard (Free)
AOMEI Backupper Standard provides a simple and free way to keep your system backed up. Files, folders and full system image backups are quick and easy to perform using the well designed and easy to use interface.
Other useful features included such as email notifications and the choice of full or incremental backup modes make this an excellent choice for your everyday backup needs!
You can get AOMEI Backupper Standard for free by clicking here!
16. MiniTool ShadowMaker (Free)
With the free version of ShadowMaker MiniTool have done a great job of delivering a very credible and very useful free backup solution! Supporting both Image and file level backups, folder sync, encryption, compression and a recovery media builder ShadowMaker really does have a good set of features available for free backup software!
There is also a Pro version of ShadowMaker available for $29 which offers additional features including advanced encryption support, universal restore, command line tools and the ability to manage backups through the WinPE based recovery console.
You can get the ShadowMaker Free edition by clicking here!
17. Carbonite Safe
Carbonite Safe Backup provides a quick, simple and cost effective way to get your PC backed up with very little fuss! In general Carbonite performs well as an online backup tool, installing and configuring your first backup can be achieved in only a few minutes and everything seemed to work well during my testing. It is also great to see Carbonite are clearly taking support seriously offering a well maintained knowledge base plus phone, email and live chat support to their customers 24 hours per day.
All plans offer unlimited storage (with a few restrictions) and at as little as $6/month for a single PC Carbonite is priced very competitively with other, similar cloud offerings providing good value for money in this respect.
You can start using Carbonite with a 15 day free trial by clicking here!
18. MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro (v3.6)
MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro is a powerful suite of backup and disk utility tools available for Windows PCs. Whilst backup is clearly the main focus of this suite, functionality such as file/folder synchronisation, disk cloning and PC recovery help to compliment the core backup tool and make this a comprehensive backup application.
You can get a 30 day free trial of ShadowMaker Pro by clicking here!
19. Genie Timeline 10
Genie Timeline 10 provides a solid backup solution for getting a PC backed up quickly, safely and with the minimum of effort. Cloud, network and external drives are all usable as storage locations and should you need to perform a recovery the application makes finding files very easy via the backup search box or the timeline tool integrated into Windows Explorer itself, excellent!
Reasonably priced and easy to use, Genie Timeline 10 proves a good choice for those seeking a straightforward PC backup solution!
A free trial of Genie Timeline 10 can be downloaded by clicking here
20. O&O DiskImage 16
O&O DiskImage 16 is a solid backup product and works very well within certain limitations, if you are mainly looking for a local backup with plenty of disk imaging and cloning options then DiskImage 16 has you covered.
A free trial of O&O DiskImage 16 can be downloaded by clicking here
Blobbackup is a lightweight piece of backup software with a focus on being easy to use alongside providing extensive compatibility with many major cloud storage providers.
This means, out of the box, Blobbackup has support for some big, well known cloud providers including Amazon AWS, Backblaze B2 plus any other S3 compatible provider.
Blobbackup is now free and open source! You can download Blobbackup by clicking here
22. Veeam Agent Backup for Windows (Free)
Veeam is notable as a major player in the corporate IT backup world, Veeam Agent Backup is a free backup tool built on this experience providing both home and professional users a free tool for backing up their PCs.
The software is well designed, reliable and aims to provide a simplified set of backup features to the individual PC user. Whilst this software integrates with Veeams other products we see it as being most useful to the home user as part of a local backup strategy, especially given the fantastic performance of the software and in-built security features such as Cryptolocker protection!
You can get Veeam Agent Backup for free by clicking here!
23. FBackup for Windows (Free)
Fbackup is a free to use backup tool provided by Softland (who also make Backup4all). It is notably free for both personal and business use and features backup compression, encryption and cloud storage support amongst other useful features, all great to find on a piece of free backup software!
Having a “paid for” alternative, Softland, have understandability had to remove some functionality from FBackup, however, I feel what we are left with is a very capable tool which is not only easy to use but is more than capable of providing backups for those looking for a basic yet reliable free backup solution.
You can get FBackup for free by clicking here!
24. Auslogics BitReplica
Auslogics BitReplica is a simple and easy to use backup application which focuses on helping users get their PC backed up as quickly and easily as possible.
The interface is clear and well designed which in-turn helps getting both local and cloud backups set up both quick and easy. This ease of use coupled with cloud support, multiple backup methods (full, differential etc.) and a powerful scheduling engine mean BitReplica is a great choice for anyone who needs to get a backup running with the minimum of effort.
You can get a free trial of Auslogics BitReplica by clicking here
25. DriveImage XML (Runtime Software)
As a tool for creating ad-hoc image backups DriveImage XML does a great job, it is quick, easy to use, free to install and once running there are few configuration options to worry about. This means a full disk backup can be taken very quickly as and when it is needed.
It should also be pointed out, however, that encryption is not available within DriveImage XML, whilst this won’t affect many home based users (who this software is aimed at) if this is a priority for you then you might need to look elsewhere.
You can download DriveImage XML for free by clicking here!