IDrive

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In case you’re out there for a web-based backup service, there are numerous variables to contemplate, together with storage dimension, pricing, superior backup options, and ease of use. IDrive hits excessive marks throughout all these classes, and it provides a superb price-to-storage ratio, too. It additionally delivers a constant expertise throughout its desktop, cellular, and net platforms. It could possibly be a bit sooner, however it’s an in any other case glorious alternative for shoppers and worthy of our Editors’ Selection distinction, alongside SOS On-line Backup and Acronis True Picture 2018.

Worth Plans and Getting Began

IDrive provides probably the greatest worth propositions among the many many on-line backup suppliers we examined. None of its plans restrict the variety of gadgets you should utilize or limit you from performing backups of exterior or community drives. IDrive does supply a free 5GB account, however most customers ought to spring for the Private tier’s 2TBs of knowledge for $69.50 per yr. The business-level subscription provides sub-account administration options, precedence assist, server backup, and a vast variety of customers per account for $99.50 a yr.

For comparability, Carbonite and Backblaze respectively cost $60 and $50 a yr for a vast storage plan. Nonetheless, competing top-notch companies corresponding to SOS On-line Backup ($44.99 for 50GB) and Acronis True Picture ($50 for 250GB) cost significantly extra per gigabyte of storage.

Desktop Interface

To make use of the service, you first must create an account and select to both use a non-public encryption key or the default IDrive-managed key. As with SOS On-line Backup, the personal encryption key possibility means you alone can entry your backed-up information—and that not even the corporate may also help you when you lose the important thing. The Default possibility, during which IDrive maintains your encryption key, works higher for individuals who are inclined to overlook a password once in a while. These are good choices, although we’re upset that there is not an possibility for two-factor authentication.

After you make that initial choice, a download of the local application automatically starts on the next page. The actual installation is quick and it prompts you to enter your just-created login shortly thereafter.

IDrive

IDrive’s installer places an icon in the notification area of your Taskbar, from which you can launch the full application, access settings, and manage the backup schedule. It also integrates with the File Explorer in Windows by implementing a right-click option for adding items to your backup set.

We like the clear organization and relatively attractive design of IDrive’s desktop application, but aren’t huge fans of its bright mix of colors, primarily since there’s no consistency to these choices. Still, it’s a nice change of pace from the drab look of most other services. In the top right, there’s a section with an account panel, but most links redirect you to the web portal. Below that, there’s a universal search bar on the right and a module that shows the remaining storage for your account on the right. Down the right side, there are tabs for Backup, Restore, Scheduler, Sync, Server Backup, and Settings, with a Disk Image Backup button towards the bottom. Navigating the interface is generally quick, though we noticed slight delays when waiting for the folders to populate in the Backup and Restore sections.

Backup Options

From the Backup tab, IDrive lets you select files and folders from a file explorer pop-up window. It prepopulates the section with a folder tree of your user folders—Documents, Pictures, Music, and so on. Checkboxes next to each make it easy to specify individual items for a backup set.

IDrive

By default, the service selects the IDrive cloud as your backup destination, but you can change that to Local, Wi-Fi and Express Device options. With this selection, you can use an external hard drive or the IDrive One, an external encrypted drive (in 1TB or 2TB capacities) that offers wireless access via Wi-Fi for local encrypted backup as well as media streaming. The Express Device refers to the IDrive Express service for bulk uploads and restores. This is also particularly helpful in the case a disaster leaves you without any other way to get to your data.

Like Acronis True Image, IDrive also lets you back up your entire disk image. If you ever find your hard drive beyond repair, this option could be invaluable, as you can restore a previously working version of your system with the structure and OS intact. Apps for backing up NAS devices are also now available for Asustor, Netgear, QNAP, and Synology hardware.

IDrive backs up your data using the Continuous Data Protection option by default. Under this setting, which is similar to what you’ll find in Carbonite, IDrive looks for updates to your files and uploads the changes after a specified amount of time. Unfortunately, the smallest amount of time you can select is 15 minutes. Otherwise, you can set up hourly or daily backups with the Schedule option from the main interface. If you need to free up some space, the Archive cleanup tool checks for and deletes files stored in the cloud that you have removed from your local computer.

IDrive

The Sync tab lets IDrive work similarly to file syncing services like Dropbox and OneDrive. You set a location for this folder (to which you can append any number of subfolders) for instant backup and syncing treatment. You’ll see file changes reflected on any other computers on which you’ve installed IDrive and logged into your account.

During file processing and uploading, you can click a down arrow next to the words “Backup is underway,” to see which particular files it is currently processing and an estimate of how long the whole backup will take. This panel also lets you pause the backup. We wish you could also do that from the system tray menu. You can also use a slider to control bandwidth usage in case the upload is slowing other work. A backup log shows how long it took, and IDrive can send an email when it’s finished.

Backup Speed

For performance and bandwidth testing, we timed how long it took IDrive to back up two 100MB folders of mixed file and content types. We used PCMag’s fast 100Mbps (upload speed) corporate Internet connection so that the Internet connection wouldn’t be the limiting speed factor.

IDrive’s backup performance is only average. It’s time of 1:50 (minutes:seconds) on this test is slower than both Acronis True Image’s 0:51 and SOS Online Backup’s 1:17. It was, however, well ahead of MozyHome’s 2:43 and SugarSync’s 3:37. Take a look at how the rest of the online backup services fared in the chart below.

Online Backup Upload Speed

Restoring Data

As with everything else in IDrive, the Restore tab is chock-full of capabilities. You can search for files, drag and drop them to the desktop, or restore them to place in your folder structure using checkboxes. Or you can just restore everything in place at once.

Right-clicking a file here offers the View Previous Versions option, which opens a panel below, from which you can select from all saved file versions. Indeed, with continuous backup turned on, new file versions were accessible right after we saved updates. But you only get 10 back versions, compared with SOS’s unlimited versions.

IDrive

A new feature called Snapshots aims to address ransomware concerns. It shows you a historical timeline of your backup set and lets you recover files at any point along the timeline, should anything nefarious occur to your hard drive. This historical backup of data does not count towards your total backup limit.

Like SOS, IDrive keeps all backed-up files, meaning if you delete them from the PC drive, you’ll still have a copy online—forever. If you desperately need a file back that you deleted locally, IDrive’s unlimited version retention can save your life. Carbonite and MozyHome only keep these for three months.

Other options on the restore page include deleting files from backup, moving them to a trash area (from which they’re recoverable), and a Share button that launches the Web client, discussed in the next section.

The Web Possibilities

IDrive has one of the more capable web clients you’ll find among online backup providers. It has a similar design and right-hand menu as the desktop interface, but there are a couple of new options for creating shortcuts and managing sub accounts. You can manage all of your account and subscription settings from this portal.

From the site’s Backup tab, you can choose a computer in your plan, dig into folders, and click on any file to download it. You can also upload files to any backed-up folder, use a search box to find any file, browse the Sync drive, and peruse an Events log.

IDrive

IDrive in the browser also has a capable photo viewer with sharing, rotate, printing, and full-screen capabilities. But it doesn’t play music or video in the Web client. You can share files via Facebook, Twitter, or email. If you choose, you can set up password protection and assign viewing and editing roles to different contacts. You can also connect IDrive to an Office 365 account for saving OneDrive data. Given all these capabilities, IDrive works well as a collaboration tool.

The web interface is also where you can purchase an IDrive One personal cloud device or arrange to use the IDrive Express service.

Mobile Clients

IDrive offers powerful mobile apps for Android and iOS that are capable of performing many of the same tasks as the desktop and web clients. If you’re only interested in backing up your phone, IDrive also offers a mobile-only $4.99-per-year unlimited plan.The app has a fluid design and we didn’t have any performance issues when testing the app on a Google Pixel running Android 8.0 Oreo.

IDrive

From the main screen, you can access and restore files from the desktop file sets or perform mobile backups. Swiping from the left brings up a menu for managing sharing, creating shortcuts, and syncing your account. The settings also include a good range of options for updating account options, changing upload quality, and scheduling mobile backups. Files eligible for backup include contacts, photos, videos, calendars, SMS texts, and music. Notably, you can set videos and photos to upload automatically to the Timeline or back up your data from Facebook and Instagram.

A Drive Away From Home

IDrive may not be the fastest service, but it does just about everything you need an online backup service to do—and more. With continuous backup, folder syncing, file sharing, archiving, File Explorer integration, robust mobile apps, and an unlimited number of devices per account, it’s also priced competitively. For all this capability and value, IDrive is a PCMag Editors’ Choice for feature-packed online backup, an honor it shares with SOS Online and Acronis True Image.

If you prefer not to back your data up to the cloud, take a look at our roundups of the best local backup services and external hard drives.

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