There are numerous Cloud service providers in the market today. Many are now familiar household names, for instance, Google Drive and Dropbox.
However, there is a subtle difference in the services that they provide.
Some offer pure Cloud Storage where you can save and share your files while others offer a complete automated Cloud Backup solution.
Unfortunately, many people confuse the two. As a result, they don’t have a proper backup solution in place.
Today, I’m going to show you how to create the perfect backup solution in the Cloud using the best resources available.
What’s the difference between Cloud and Online?
The Cloud is fundamentally a vast computer system maintained by third parties. Because of its size we have greater flexibility in how much data we can store and how we can retrieve it.
The Cloud service providers usually put all their computers and storage in one massive installation referred to as a Data Center.
We connect to these remote data centers via the Internet, i.e. we need to be online to reach our data. Therefore, we could replace the word ‘Cloud’ with ‘Online’, to give us ‘Online Storage’ and ‘Online Backup’.
For simplicity, I prefer to use the terms ‘Cloud Storage’ and ‘Online Backup’ so there is a distinction between the services.
Cloud Storage and online backup resources
In this section you will discover:
- Cloud Storage – a look at the leading names and what you can get for FREE!
- Online Backup – a look at Backblaze and how it compares with similar resources.
1. Cloud Storage
A Cloud Storage service allows you to store selected files online so you can share them and access them whenever you wish; e.g. Dropbox and Google Drive.
If you need additional storage, then most providers have a pricing plan so you can purchase the amount you require.
Here are some of the current FREE and paid Cloud Storage offers (prices in USD):
Table 1: Cloud Storage Comparison Chart
2. Online Backup
An Online Backup service allows you to back up your whole computer so you can easily restore your files; e.g. Backblaze, Carbonite, and Livedrive. These services usually entail loading a small application on your computer and then letting the backup run in the background.
The initial backup may take a while depending on the amount of data to backup. After that, only new or changed files will be backed up.
There are many features that could be compared for each Online Backup service provider, but in the table below I’ve just selected a few key points:
Table 2: Online Backup Comparison Chart
The perfect solution of Cloud Storage and online backup
My preferences for backing up are to use a combination of the ‘free’ Cloud Storage and a ‘paid for’ Online Backup service.
Cloud Storage – Google Drive
Google Drive is my main storage point because it syncs data between my local computer and the Cloud.
By installing the small Google Drive application on my Mac, I can create folders on my MacBook that will automatically be copied to the Cloud.
The application creates a folder called ‘Google Drive’, and then I create sub-folders within that:
I can access these files on the web by signing into my Google Account. See the same sub-folders displayed because they are in sync:
Online backup – Backblaze
Backblaze provides my Online Backup service. It backs up my computer, including the files in the Google Drive folder, and also my attached external hard drive (at no extra charge).
There are no limits to file size or network speeds. Backblaze is designed to be both secure and encrypted and runs continuously in the background backing up my latest files as they are created.
The perfect solution
By utilising both Cloud Storage and Cloud Backup I have created the perfect backup solution. My data is now stored in 3 separate places: My Computer, Google Drive and Backblaze.
This means that when things go wrong with one of those locations I can always get my data back from one of the other two.
Cloud Storage is different to Cloud Backup.
Cloud Storage will only save the files that you choose to copy or move to the online location; e.g. Google Drive.
- This is a manual task that you must remember to perform.
Cloud Backup continuously monitors for changes and saves them automatically to an online location; e.g. Backblaze.
- This is an automatic task that you can set and forget.
And while we’re on the subject of computer backups, don’t forget to ensure you’ve got a backup solution in place for your WordPress website.
Even if your web host handles it’s own backups – be sure to use a third-party backup tool that you have control over. Learn more in our article on WordPress backup plugins.