Carbonite offers computer backup services for individuals, families as well as small and medium businesses. The system works simultaneously with its customers quietly and conveniently saving and uploading encrypted files and sending them to cloud based servers for safe keeping.
Carbonite was founded in 2005 but not officially launched until 2006. Since then, the online backup service has “backed up” more than one hundred billion files for its customers, as well as restoring seven billion files customers deemed lost.
Those are some pretty impressive numbers from a company named after a freezing substance from a popular science fiction film. Carbonite has been honored with several awards: it was Best Windows Back Up Tool by Lifehacker.com, was listed as Labs Winner by PC Pro magazine, and was chosen as Editor’s Choice by NextAdvisor, the independent research website.
What are the Key Features?
– Automatic Back-Up: Carbonite systems automatically detect new or updated files and upload them to their system. Documents, photos, and music are all included with the basic subscriptions. You can manually back-up video with the basic packages. To include video in that automatic back-up system, you need to choose their home premium subscription package. Premium subscriptions also include external hard drives, operating system and software packages.
– Unlimited Back-Up: Unlike some services that make you choose which files you’d like to save, Carbonite gives you unlimited space to save anything and everything you want protected. They also offer “mirror image” back-up which can secure an exact copy of your computer’s memory including downloaded files and even programs saved on your hard drive.
– Unlimited Access: Carbonite subscriptions include unlimited 24/7 access to your files through the internet on their cloud servers. They offer free mobile software apps covering iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry for convenience. Customers also have access to share their files (videos, photos, and documents) with friends and family.
– State-of-the-Art Security: Files uploaded through the Carbonite system are encrypted before they ever leave your personal or business computer with 128 Blowfish encryption. They are uploaded using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology just like that used in online banking. They are also HIPAA compliant. Their data centers where your files are held are temperature controlled, have uninterruptable power supplies, internally secured servers and are guarded 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What are the Advantages / Disadvantages?
Carbonite has several plans available and they are among the cheapest on the market. However, their non-business plans show to allow back up for only one computer. If you want to back up more than that, you need to buy a premium package or multiple packages.
Another drawback is while their basic personal plan does cover both Windows and Mac computers, any more advanced home plans only work with Windows based systems. Mac users with more than one computer are out of luck unless they opt for the more expensive business packages.
While they do offer a 15-30 day trial based on the package you choose, after that you must prepay for a yearly package. There are no monthly subscriptions available. Should you choose to cancel a subscription half way through your subscription period, customers tell us don’t expect a refund, prorated or otherwise.
Some reviews show Carbonite backups are slow when compared to similar software programs. However, once you have uploaded 200 GB of data, it is common for the speed to reduce in general no matter what system you’re using.
Is there any other similar Products?
While Carbonite prices may break down to be among one of the cheapest per-month cloud based storage solutions, other companies offer month-to-month pay options which can make a difference to some budget-minded consumers.
Mozy Home Free is a similar service but has options that Carbonite doesn’t offer. One is offering a base 2 GB package for free, not a trial, but a full account. While many of us need more than 2GB to back up our files, this is a great way to show off their services and reel in customers to upgrade to the paid packages after they get used to the service.
MyPcBackup is another great cloud storage service that has full 24/7 Business Level support. Another good feature is the option of adding users (computers) onto their base plans. While their plans have base fees, for an added amount (which is lower than the base fee) you can add another user onto the account. For example, the Enterprise Plan can have additional users for only $2.95 / month to the base fee.
Livedrive Backup offers up to 5TB of storage for home users and 10TB+ for business. You can add more users for an additional fee of $11.75 / month or 1TB of extra storage for $6.25 / month. Like Carbonite, Livedrive offers unlimited storage with auto syncing and backup with file encryption, file sharing and file hotlinking.
How much do I have to Pay?
Pricing for Carbonite is among the most affordable available today. Home packages range from $59.99 to $149.99 annually. They contain backup for one computer each and feature automatic backup, access from anywhere 24/7 and simple file recovery should the need arise.
The advanced home package extends to not only your home computer but also external hard drives as well. The highest level of home protection also extends to videos as well as documents and pictures like the other plans. All three plans are listed as unlimited GB storage.
There are two business plans that range in price from $229.99 to $599.99 annually. Unlike the home packages, the business packages are limited with a per-computer GB size restriction unless custom plans are created. They do offer a 15-day free trial for personal accounts and a 30-day free trial for business accounts.
Is Customer Support Good?
Carbonite boasts a U.S. based customer support team available 8am to midnight Eastern time 7 days a week. Their service is described to be simple to use and hassle free but for those with questions, their website hosts a comprehensive FAQ page containing a searchable base and video tutorials.
The extensive detail provided will answer most any user’s questions. However, should you have problems beyond that, they provide email, chat or telephone support regardless of subscription level.
What do customers say about Carbonite?
Customer reviews are mixed at best. When the product is used as instructed, most consumers advise the service worked flawlessly, files were backed up and if needed restored to their system in a timely manner. However, the details described from some users don’t necessarily paint a worry-free picture.
The majority of unhappy users indicate the backup creates a huge power drain on their computer system. However, this could be consumers with above average expectations or it could be a result of a computer that isn’t properly maintained, thus providing a slow response regardless that is compounded when utilizing the service.
Consumers have mixed reactions to their customer service as well. Some adamantly claim they’ve never had a worse experience while others have had little to no problem reaching their service department and had their problem solved to their satisfaction.
There has been issues raised regarding how long the initial backup took and some customers do not understand that downloading data is much faster than uploading. There are websites such as Speednet.net where you can find out what your particular upload speed setting is. If you get 3mBit which is fairly common, that means you can upload approximately 3 megabytes every ten seconds or 18 megabytes each minute.
You can compute how long it will take to back-up your system by computing how much data you have (let’s say 100 GB) divide 100,000 (100 GB = 100,000 MB) by 18 (megabytes uploaded per minute). Take whatever number you get and divide by 60 minutes to get how many hours. Be informed. That way, you won’t be surprised or disappointed.
The Bottom Line
Carbonite is a leader in the field of cloud storage and back up. There are many services out there and what company you choose should depend on what your personal needs are regarding space, time, and cost. While experiences have been mixed, this product will do what it says it will do, it will back-up your computer files for you for a fee.
This is the type of service you want to purchase and stick with for a lifetime though, it’s important to choose a company that will be around for the long haul.
Where to Download a Free Trial?
You can try before you buy here.
Where can I find more Information about Carbonite?
You can visit Carbonite’s official website for more details about their plans and services.