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Carbonite Raises Online Backup Prices

Remember how Code42 announced last year that it would be sunsetting its CrashPlan for Home backup service (see “CrashPlan Discontinues Consumer Backups,” 22 August 2017)? That won’t happen until 22 October 2018, but Code 42 encouraged home customers to switch to Carbonite, offering a 50 percent discount for the first year.

The cost of a new subscription to Carbonite just went up because Carbonite has quietly increased prices 12 to 20 percent:

  • Carbonite Safe Basic was $59.99 per year; it’s now $71.99. It doesn’t back up external hard drives, and you must select videos for backup manually.

  • Carbonite Safe Plus, which adds external hard drive backup and automatic video backup, was $99.99 per year but now costs $111.99.

  • Carbonite Safe Prime, which provides courier recovery service, remains $149.99.

Notice also that Carbonite changed the wording on its plans, switching from showing the yearly price to a monthly fee that’s billed annually, somewhat hiding the price increase.

To the company’s credit, Carbonite is keeping the CrashPlan discount prices the same, so they’re now better than 50 percent for the first year. After that, they’ll go up to the new, higher fees.

Given that Backblaze is a TidBITS sponsor, you’d expect us to recommend the service, but that was true before they signed on as a sponsor. Josh has been a happy Backblaze user for years, and in our initial coverage of CrashPlan’s exit from the consumer market, Joe Kissell tapped Backblaze as his new favorite online backup service, saying that it “is fast, reliable, and secure, and it costs $5 per month per computer.” And yes, Backblaze backs up external drives and all types of files for no extra charge.

Joe doesn’t recommend Carbonite for Mac users because it doesn’t offer either versioning (seriously?) or the option to use a personal encryption key, and he found that it artificially restricts upstream bandwidth, making it slower than many other services. I’d now add that Carbonite will be more expensive than Backblaze after the first year.

Of course, there are many other options for online backup, and you can also roll your own online backup solution if you like. Joe’s article links to a variety of packages, and Glenn Fleishman has written about using ChronoSync to perform cloud backups (see “Investigating ChronoSync 4.7 for Cloud Backup,” 22 December 2016).


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Comments about Carbonite Raises Online Backup Prices

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So glad I stuck with CrashPlan nka CrashPlan for Business. Not worth jumping around looking for bargains when virtually the entire record of your life's activities and/or business is at stake if and when there is a crash. I keep reminding my friends what MTBF means.
khoivinh  2018-02-12 22:51
This doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe both Carbonite and CrashPlan had originally priced their products for growth, but given how long they’ve been in the market, it seems counterintuitive to me that they would be raising prices at this time. Shouldn’t the cost of storage be getting *cheaper* with time, rather than more expensive?
Dennis B. Swaney  2018-02-12 23:15
But if their cost is cheaper and they pass that on to their customers then they will reap less money. This way not only do they NOT pass on their savings, but they also jack up their profits!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2018-02-13 10:34
I agree, and that was one of the reasons I wanted to write this article — it seemed counter to general trends that storage-related costs go down over time.
Jochen Wolters  2018-02-23 00:21
Haven't participated in a TidBits discussion in a long time, but this topic always gets to me. :)

The problem with cloud backups is that if you delete a file from your computer — intentionally or by mistake — most services will also remove that file from your backup after some time.

Not surprisingly, this information is usually somewhat difficult to find on their websites, but both Backblaze and Carbonite also remove files 30 or 60 days (depending on your plan) after they've been deleted from the source computer. They also limit versioned backups to that timeframe.

So if you lost some files more than one or two months ago without realizing it, these backups are worthless.

CrashPlan, in contrast, keeps files indefinitely and only thins out older versioned backups after a while.

I'm well aware that Joe Kissell abandoned CrashPlan because of the way they handled the shutdown of the CrashPlan Home service, and I agree that that was a marketing trainwreck. And the recent redesign of their client software isn't that "impressive" either.

Nevertheless, moving to a service that timeboxes backed-up files is just not an option.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2018-02-23 09:52
In Joe's most recent "Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac," he says that IDrive provides indefinite retention of deleted files. It costs quite a lot more than Backblaze in part because of that.

That said, I think it may be helpful to take a broader view. A good backup strategy has three parts: versioned backups, bootable duplicates, and off-site backups. Each part doesn't have to provide every facet of a backup — you don't expect to be able to recover your entire disk from an off-site backup, and you don't expect your bootable duplicate to retain old versions of files. So it's not unreasonable for an off-site backup not to maintain versions and deleted files indefinitely — that's what your local versioned backup is for.