Carbonite Review

Carbonite's unlimited plans and multiple backup options have made them popular with both individuals and businesses. However, sharing files through Carbonite is relatively complicated.

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The Good

Store large quanities of files on any plan

All of Carbonite’s personal plans include an unlimited amount of storage space, making them a perfect choice for individuals hoping to back up their entire hard drive. Only one computer may be backed up per license, but there’s no limit to the amount of data that can be backed up from that computer. There are also no restrictions on the sizes of individual files. Whether it’s a small document or a large video file, it can all be uploaded to the cloud, synced across devices, then restored later if you need it. These unlimited personal plans are also ideal for users who are looking for a cloud storage plan they can stick with for a number of years without having to worry about increasing storage limits or paying higher monthly fees.

Plans that fit easily into your budget

Considering the fact that all of Carbonite’s personal plans come with an unlimited amount of storage space, their rates are surprisingly affordable. Their Basic plan only costs about $5 per month per computer and you’re able to upload as many files as you want to the cloud. One thing to be aware of with Carbonite’s pricing structure is that you must pay for at least one year of service upfront. There are also two- and three-year terms available if one of these suits you better. The longer you subscribe for, the more money you save. If you plan on sticking with the same cloud storage service for a considerable amount of time, you’re better off paying for a longer term when you sign up if you can manage it.

Quickly restore files to your computer

In the event of a computer crash, restoring your files from Carbonite is as simple as logging in to your online account and downloading everything back onto your device. However, when time is of the essence, this may not be ideal. That’s why Plus and Prime members have additional restoration options designed to speed up the process. These users are able to create a local backup of their hard drive in addition to storing their files online. Restoring this way is going to take much less time because you aren’t limited by the download speeds of your Internet provider. In addition, Prime members are also eligible for courier recovery service, where your files are quickly shipped to you following a computer crash. These additional options are quite rare among cloud storage providers, but they could really help to eliminate some of the headache of restoring your files, so it’s worth considering when choosing a cloud service.

Discuss files within the cloud

Using Carbonite’s Sync & Share center, you’re able to invite others to view certain files and add comments for the rest of your group to see and respond to. This resource is particularly valuable to teams that need a simple way to collaborate on projects. It allows you to easily access all the necessary documents and stay up to date on what your other team members are saying without having to bounce back and forth between your cloud storage account and your email inbox.

Back up your servers

Business owners with a lot of data to back up should take a closer look at Carbonite’s server plans. They provide high levels of security and the ability to customize your settings to suit your organization’s needs. Like Carbonite’s other backup plans, you’re able to try out their server backup service for 30 days before committing to a purchase, which is a good place to start if you’re not sure if the service is right for you. Businesses who go with the Server Pro Bundle plan aren’t limited to just backing up servers either. This plan includes as many laptops, desktops, and servers as you want as long as your files don’t exceed your total storage space.

The Bad

Must download a separate app for sharing

The Carbonite desktop app provides you with the tools you need to back up and restore your files, but sharing them with others requires you to download their Sync & Share app as well. Most other online storage services incorporate all of these tools into a single app, but Carbonite requires you to move back and forth between the two different apps. This isn’t going to be a big deal if you’re only looking for an online backup service, however.

Mac users have fewer options

Though Carbonite works with both Windows and Macs, their Plus and Prime plans are only open to Windows users. This means Apple customers need to look elsewhere if they’re not content with the Basic plan. However, as all of Carbonite’s plans include unlimited cloud storage space and 24/7 customer support, the Basic plan works just fine for most people. The only reason you’d want to upgrade is if you were interested in backing up external hard drives or making a local backup of your files.

Annual pricing only

Carbonite requires you to pay for a year’s worth of service at a time, which could be a problem if you’re on a budget. Personal users or small businesses may not have the money to pay for an entire year of cloud storage upfront, so it’d be nice to see Carbonite give these individuals the option of paying monthly for their services.

Missing a free storage plan

Because Carbonite only offers unlimited plans to their personal users, you must pay if you want access to their services. For most individuals looking to do a full backup of their computer hard drive, this won’t be a problem. But, if you only intend to back up a few important files, a company that offers free storage space is a smarter choice. The majority of the industry does have some sort of free cloud storage plan, usually with about 2GB of space, though some give you much more.

Back up one computer only

Carbonite’s plans only allow individuals to back up a single computer per license. If you have two or more computers that need backing up, you must buy additional licenses. This is true for the personal plans, though businesses can pay extra to upload files from as many devices as they want. Carbonite is not the only company to place restrictions on the number of computers that may be backed up, but there are also several companies without them and these may be better options for some. Dropbox is a good one to look into because they offer similar services to Carbonite while allowing you to back up files from an unlimited number of devices.

The Details

Personal Plans

  • Max File Size: Unlimited
  • Monthly Price: $59.99/year/computer - $149.99/year/computer
  • Storage Limits: Unlimited

Business Plans

  • Max File Size: Unlimited
  • Monthly Price: $269.99/year - $599.99/year
  • Storage Limits: 250GB - 500GB

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