Carbonite provides unlimited cloud storage for a very affordable pricing. The service is highly intuitive, and it doesn’t need much information to start backing up your data. Available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, Carbonite also has a web app which makes restoration easy in case of a data loss.
Personal plans start at $5 per month for unlimited storage. It provides business plans too which can be used to backup unlimited servers but those plans are capped at 500 GB.
Carbonite was founded by David Friend back in 2005, and the reason it sounds so familiar is because its name is inspired from the fictional indestructible substance that was used to freeze Hans Solo in Empire Strikes Back.
It is headquartered in Boston, MA with offices in California, Munich, and Germany. The company claims to have backed up over 500 million files and recovered over 40 billion files since 2005. They have about six data centers all over the world, two of which are in Boston itself.
Who Should Use It?
There was a time when Carbonite provided the same plans for both personal and business use but all that has changed now. For personal usage, you get all the essential features you would need, including automatic cloud backup, external hard drive backup, and courier recovery service. If you are just looking for a backup service to store all your laptop’s data online, then this is an excellent choice.
Carbonite is compliant with:
- SOC 2, TYPE 2
Carbonite also provides some exceptional features for business users. It supports remote file access, granular backup, hyper-v and live applications. The service lets you backup data from unlimited SAN, NAS, and EHD servers. As a business user, you would be happy to know that Carbonite follows most of the necessary guidelines
- Unlimited storage space
- Continuous backup
- Incremental backup
- Bandwidth throttling
- Private encryption
- Windows Explorer integration
- Mobile app
- & more...
Backup and Restoration
All the main operations on Carbonite are done through its desktop app only, so to get started, you have to download the app from its website. There isn’t a direct link to it; you first have to sign up for a free trial and then you get a download link.
After the desktop app is installed, you can either manually select all the folders for backup, or you can let Carbonite pick it for you. If you do select automatic backup, then Carbonite will upload all the documents, images, music and emails on the system.
But, it does not just backup data according to the folders they are in; it scans and selects data according to file extensions. So if you do choose to backup all your images, then Carbonite will not just look in the main Photos folder, but it will search all the image files present on the disc.
After the first backup, there is no way to directly back up subsequent files through the desktop app. If you have a folder that needs to be uploaded, you need to right-click it and select Carbonite from all the options. While it can be a little confusing for some, we find this option extremely helpful since this means that you wouldn’t have to go back to its app every time you want to upload a file.
It also has a color-coded system to keep you updated on the status of the files. A green dot means the file has been backed up; yellow dot means the file is yet to be backed up, and no color means the file hasn’t been selected for backup.
Carbonite creates its network drive on your hard disk when it's installed which makes it easier to access all your data in one single place. Restoration is easy whether you want to restore a single file or your entire backup. The time will obviously depend on your internet speed. Since Carbonite has bandwidth throttling, you can be assured that it is using your full internet speed. There is also an option to restore your backup to a different computer.
Coming to the settings, Carbonite does not bother its users with too many complicated settings. You can decide what to backup and when to backup, and that’s it. There is only one more option which lets you choose if you want to reduce the internet speed consumed by Carbonite, which could come handy if you are working on something simultaneously.
Privacy and Security
Right when you are installing the software, Carbonite will ask you if you want to manage your encryption key or not. If you do choose to enter your key, you should remember that it is never saved on Carbonite’s server and if in case you forget or lose your password, you will lose your data too.
It has a 256-bit encryption both on the local side and the server side. While the encryption is strong and managing your key is a great plus, Carbonite has its servers in the US. According to the guidelines, the NSA can go through the backed data whenever they want.
If you are using this, we would recommend always setting an encryption key so that even if the government is snooping through your data, they only get the encrypted version of it.
Web and Mobile App
Even if you have signed up through the desktop app, when you log into the web app you have to fill your entire account information and without that, you just cannot move forward. And we have to mention this, the web app is very limited. It does not have all the features the desktop app has. You can access your data, restore backup or download the desktop app back again. Apart from that, the only extra option is to buy a subscription.
The mobile app has been specially created to make it easier for the users to back up their phone pictures. When we tested the app on an Android phone, we found out that the backed up pictures can also be previewed and shared on social media. But, if you have used a private encryption then the previewing option won’t be available. The app can also backup other files on the phone and SD card.
Pricing and Plans
The plans for Carbonite are divided into two categories – personal plans and business plans.
Basic personal plans start at $59.99 per year. The Plus plan for $99.99 provides an option of mirror image backup while the Prime plan has an option of couriering an external hard drive with all your backup data. Though we did notice that for Mac users, only the basic plan is available.
Coming to the business plans, it's disappointing to see that Carbonite only allows 500 GB of data to be backed up. Though, the features are commendable which include bare metal recovery, backup from servers and unlimited machines. If Carbonite decides to increase the limit, we are sure more businesses would be interested.
What's It Missing?
While Carbonite does provide unlimited storage, it only allows backup from one machine. That means you would have to get more Carbonite accounts if you work on more than one computers. Apart from that, there is also no file sharing or syncing. Though you do get sharing options on the mobile app for pictures, it would have been much better if documents could be shared through links. There is also no option for network drive backup. Surprisingly, it does not allow video backup unless you get a top tier plan. And of course, it only gives a 14-day free trial.
One of the only truly unlimited cloud storage solutions, Carbonite has a lot to like. They offer both home and office plans, starting at just $5 per month, which is one of the cheaper options on the market. Carbonite is also very simple to use. Just simply install their software, choose which files to backup, and then access the files anywhere an internet connection is available.
- Very simple to use
- File versioning
- Unlimited cloud storage
- Easy file restoration
- Not as many features as other solutions
- Some users complain of slow speeds
- Free Storage: Unlimited storage
- Free Trial: 15 days
- System: Windows and Mac
- Price: Starting at $5/month
- Mobile Apps: iOS, Android, Windows
- Synchronization: No
- Free External HD Backup: No
- Continuous Backup: Yes
- Incremental Backup: Yes
- Backup Scheduling: Yes
- Bare Metal Backup: Yes
- Exclude File Extensions for Backup: Yes
- Network Drives: Yes
- Bandwidth Throttling: Yes
- Web Access: Yes
- HIPAA Compliant: Yes, but only Carbonite for business
- File Size Limit: No limited
- Included Machines: 1
- Local Encryption: 256-bit
- Server Side Encryption: 256-bit
- Keeps deleted files: 30 days
- File Versioning: 90 versions
- File Sharing: Yes
- Multiple Accounts: No
- Share Photo Albums: Yes
- Music Streaming: No
- Folder Collaboration: No
- Outlook Backup: Yes