May 2021 Update:
As of updating this review in May 2021, Blobbackup has now made the move to becoming free and open source software! I was very impressed a few months ago when I first reviewed this cloud based backup client and, if you haven’t already, this is now a great time to try Blobbackup out for yourself!
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 know cloud providers including Amazon AWS, Backblaze B2 plus any other S3 compatible provider.
This ability to chose you own cloud provider will, of course, be more important to those seeking more control over their own data and is an area in which there (sadly) still aren’t too many providers allowing customers to use their own cloud storage. With this in mind, Blobbackup starts off on the right foot by making such a choice available to those who require it!
Storage aside, with what looks to be very fairly priced lifetime licences, on the face of things, Blobbackup looks like a great piece of software form a new, up and coming developer. Let’s go and take a look at what it can do!
Key Features of Blobbackup
- Well designed, lightweight and easy to use software
- Take control using your own cloud storage accounts
- Potentially unlimited historic versioning (disk space permitting)
- File level backups only (no options for image backups)
- Incremental backups featuring built-in de-duplication technology
- Built in zero knowledge encryption support (limited to AES-128bit)
- Support for Windows, MacOS and Linux systems
- No options for email notifications
- Great value perpetual licencing
Downloading and Installing Blobbackup
At just under 43MB the Blobbackup installer can easily be downloaded form the Blobbackup website, a 14 day free trial is available meaning no account sign-ups or payment details are needed to try out the software for yourself.
Once downloaded the actual installation itself was very quick, a couple of choices as to where the application will be installed and whether or not to set up desktop shortcuts and Blobbackup was ready to go. So far so good!
Once the software has loaded up for the first it becomes clear this really is a “no frills” application, no help files popping up, no special offers filling the screen or even a fancy welcome page, just the software itself. In many ways a very refreshing approach meaning you can get straight to the business of backing up with the minimal of distractions!
Backing up with Blobbackup
One of the first and most important things to start with is, of course, getting an initial backup set running, this task can be started by using the prominent “Add new” button found in the middle of the main window. Once this process has started the first thing the software will ask us to do is select our storage location, this can be any S3 compatible cloud storage provider, an SFTP server or a local drive and such storage is set-up here as a part of the configuration process itself.
At present it is clear that some of the more popular cloud providers including Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive are missing, but it is noted that these are pencilled-in for later releases of Blobbackup and will all make a nice addition when they do arrive.
I have set-up a local directory as storage for the purposes of my testing and seeing how everything works. As can be seen below, we can specify the location of the destination folder alongside setting a name for the backup set and optionally an encryption password should we need one all on the same screen.
It is great to see that Blobbackup both offers zero knowledge encryption and also makes this easy to configure as a part of the backup configuration. Sadly, only 128bit AES encryption is offered at present meaning this might not be suitable for some users (although probably ok for the majority of individual, non-commercial users it should be said). Once all other options on the above screen are completed we can click “next” to continue configuring the backup set.
As can be seen above, the next screen we encounter in configuring our backup allows us to finalise all settings and then save the new backup set ready for use. One of the first (and most important) things to do on this screen is to add some files / folders using the “Include” screen, this can be seen below.
With no image backup options available we are limited to using only file-level backups within Blobbackup. Moving on we can, on the “exclude” tab, set rules for excluding various files and file-types using a filter as per the screenshot below:
Use of such a filter would see us having to work out rules for excluding certain file types from our backup ourselves, for example “*.ISO” would be needed to ensure any ISO files are left out of our backup set automatically. Functional this might be (and not a big deal for IT savvy people) but I would like to see a nicer user interface appear here for those less tech-savvy in the future!
Next, we come to the “Schedule” tab, a simple but effective tool which makes backing up daily and even hourly simple to set-up. I would like to see this extended to allow for more frequent backups (e.g. every 15 minutes) which I think is necessary for people like myself who regularly have files updating throughout the day.
Continuing onwards, after configuring scheduling we move onto a file version retention screen for the setting of our file versioning options. This is a very simple screen and we are given only two options which are either forever (unlimited versioning) or a specified number of days for which to retain. Whilst it is great to see “forever” as an option (many providers limit users between 30 days and 6 months) I think the software is missing some additional options here, for example, I might only want 1 year of versioning but to always keep the original copy of a file, with Blobbackup I would be out of luck!
Finally, we get to the “Advanced” tab, here we can set performance metrics which include specifying the number of threads in use, the upload speed / bandwidth limit for cloud backups and the level of file compression applied by the application.
This is, to be fair, probably too in-depth for many users, although it is nice to see that Blobbackup do provide such advanced settings for those that require them. With this final tab configured (or most likely left on default settings) we can save the new backup set, it will be ready for us to use either manually from the home screen or when the scheduling engine is ready to pick it up.
As can be seen above, once the backup does eventually run we get a log entry confirming this (and if it was successful or not) on the main homepage of the application itself. I quite like to see such detail on display but maybe this is information that many would like to see hidden away behind a menu option and replaced with just a green tick, for example, to indicate everything is ok?
Overall, getting a backup working within Blobbackup was a quick, easy and painless experience so far, I particularly like that I can essentially set-up as many backup sets as is required, all with varying schedules, storage locations, retention policies and excluded files making for a very useful yet still lightweight backup tool.
A few (small) disappointments do exist, however, as was mentioned above. With these in mind I would like to see more frequent scheduling options available (at least every 15 minutes), more control over file version retention and a nicer interface for excluding files, all things I’m sure will get better with time as it needs to be said that Blobbackup is still a fairly new piece of software!
Restoring with Blobbackup
Now we have seen a backup in action we can have a look at restoring some of our files using Blobbackup, this begins by highlighting the backup set to restore from (on the homepage of the app) and clicking on the “Restore” button found on the main toolbar.
Once we have (optionally) provided our encryption password the backup set will become visible, the first thing to do is select the version to recover from which can be done using the drop down box atop the recovery window.
Once the correct version (date) is selected we will be able to see all files contained within this backup set, we can then select all files or only those necessary to restore and then choose a location to restore them to. Interestingly, we must choose the location to restore to and don’t appear to have an option to restore files to their original location nor set a default location, not a big deal but hopefully a couple of points for Blobbackup to consider moving forwards?
As can be seen above, once the restore operation has completed we get any notifications from the main log found on the homepage, just like we did with the backup. With this complete I think it is fair to say Blobbackup easily passes the test for making restores quick and easy, great work here!
Other Features of Blobbackup
At this point we have seen both backups and restores in action within Blobbackup, with this being said there isn’t actually much else to say of Blobbackup!
Let me follow that up by saying it is not necessarily a bad thing that this software is quite basic, for a number of reasons, first and foremost due to the very reasonable pricing of only $39.99 for a single lifetime licence per PC!
It is also great to see a piece of software which is easy and straightforward to use and down to business in its approach, I often feel some other backup software developers are too busy filling their products with features nobody really wants and in-turn making them harder to navigate and use. This very simple approach from Blobbackup will work well for many, especially those who want to learn how to use their new software quickly, get it up and running and then get on with other things!
One of the most important features for securing backups is the ability to enforce a user defined password on the backup set. Blobbackup not only allows users to enforce user defined encryption on their backups but makes this very easy to do so, no need to seek out hidden menus and settings screens, simply add your password in the prominent password box whilst configuring the backup and the rest is taken care of by Blobbackup.
The only small issue I have come across in regard to security is that Blobbackup only uses up to 128bit AES encryption at the time of writing my review. This is, perhaps, not a big deal for many but something to bear in mind if you do require a higher level of security.
Blobbackup Software Support
Blobbackup have a very functional set of documentation available via the Blobbackup website. If you requite additional support you can contact the Blobbackup support team via the dedicated support email ([email protected]).
Blobbackup is now free and open source software, more information can be found on the Blobbackup website!
Blobbackup Review Summary
There is a lot to like about Blobbackup, it is a very basic tool but one which is laser focused on the core task of getting your files backed up safely and securely to the cloud. This simplicity, in-turn, helps make Blobbackup easy to start working with and enables users to feel comfortable with the software very quickly indeed!
As of May 2021, now that Blobbackup is a free and open source backup solution it becomes even more available and accessible to everyone who is looking for reliable, secure and affordable cloud backups!
With the above said, I feel that there are a few areas in which Blobbackup could be improved. Limitations on file versioning, scheduling, the file exclusion tool and the recovery tool, which lacks an easy to use option for automatically recovering files to their original location all spring to mind.
In conclusion, Blobbackup is a very promising tool, especially for those seeking a simple and effective way of backing up to a cloud provider of their own choosing, a great job Blobbackup!