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17 Online File Storage Services Tested

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the kicking-the-tires dept.

186

prostoalex writes "PC World reviewed 17 online file storage services. According to the summary: 'Of the 17 services we tried, our favorite backup service is IBackup, while the GoDaddy Online File Folder is our pick of the storage sites. And for sharing files, we like the free 4shared.com service.'" They're also thoughtful enough to include a warning about the pitfalls of saving your data online.

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186 comments

And thankfully... (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587114)

...there's a printer friendly version [pcworld.com] with the entire article on one page, so you don't have to click through 458 different pages, each with its own half-sentence of the article on it.

I'd also note that Apple's .Mac [mac.com] service is missing. It provides AFP, WebDAV, and web-based access for Mac (and Windows) users, as well as online file storage [mac.com], online file, calendar, mail, and preference syncing [mac.com], online backup [mac.com], and the normal collection of web [mac.com] and email [mac.com] services.

Re:And thankfully... (4, Informative)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587120)

And a pathetically tiny amount of storage space, and no domain name registration.

I'd register a dotmac account in a second, if they didn't max out at two gigs of storage.

Re:And thankfully... (4, Informative)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587204)

I'd register a dotmac account in a second, if they didn't max out at two gigs of storage.

Actually, I just checked, and .Mac currently maxes out at 4GB of storage.

It's possible this still isn't enough for your needs, but in case it is, I thought a correction was in order.

Yaz.

Re:And thankfully... (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587342)

Last I checked, I got 2.5GB of space through Gmail for free, and I've got a hundred invites that I can give to myself. Now in all fairness it's not continuous space, but its just as easy to rar it into fifty pieces and distribute those over multiple accounts, with help from something like the Gspace Firefox extension.

Re:And thankfully... (1)

zaajats (904507) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588407)

Last I checked, I got 2.5GB of space through Gmail for free, and I've got a hundred invites that I can give to myself. Now in all fairness it's not continuous space, but its just as easy to rar it into fifty pieces and distribute those over multiple accounts, with help from something like the Gspace Firefox extension.
I wouldn't risk it for (critical) data, as using Gmail for file storage like that is against Google's TOS, and they might just close your account.

Re:And thankfully... (2, Insightful)

Kyle_Katarn-(ISF) (982133) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587393)

I'd also note that Apple's .Mac service is missing. It provides AFP, WebDAV, and web-based access for Mac (and Windows) users, as well as online file storage, online file, calendar, mail, and preference syncing, online backup, and the normal collection of web and email services.

I reckon that's probably because it was written by PC World. Whaddya think, hmm?

Re:And thankfully... (2, Informative)

telbij (465356) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587460)

Another one they missed is Strongspace [strongspace.com]. Although they are a bit more expensive, they offer SFTP and shell access in addition to their web interface. I don't doubt that some of these others have cool features in their clients, but I'm guessing a sizable minority are happier using standard unix tools like rsync. How scriptable are those other services?

Slashdot (5, Funny)

TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587505)

I like to use Slashdot.

Oh, and if you'll excuse me:

EUBlwnaUF7o+vCdUMIVZE7y9zYT3oEDfgE0Qtcbrtr+TmY+cby taK1IINefHALf9
MODwUT4bXdlAXI3y8vW840JVYJ9ZSv7q6H Z6PGnkER0yfzcmCedJiRKE7liPupAN
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w/ 6AB1ICsH4DCYvZoNFFyh9lVqSYpBxBOLmGpWFzPBPmvguJAyU6 i/7OPRBOdnAI
1iCR6xmaNsFiv3xKwar2FODwdDYvvQK3unPm zUH8cOaGL7MQ8AIlBxG6oQO3pY6Q
hFpjybv7jzT4kGrthEk9 RbFZo9zgLLcgJZ2OM3zHCgmNFvQCXrmmGvBzi2Kl/Mb1
97rv ys8ffGM2DLUnYJd4bw+JPLicafZD7cs/eVJ7R9f7webpA66jGc mxrO1uquWF
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p0WzEAWtOq8+aSoJ0bvARyP/ S3YXXnnhlcJeei3J8dTSAa79l+4iuv5ItMb0lNqo
HFGqUXR/ 4DESI3vb42US1wfsaqhpLwROZkWfiJgjV+qpAIphQBIIlJ2RDS BGFqyb
8VKPbqbhq8Xi2SPsFERIrRQ2B53pJiKLNYkBZnWsYz 5II5zEf5DtTK7b4yh6nIEa
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lAgUkQeLhE9zNk0QVWiCNblrF4yb fp/q9676jyT+w26q5FmnWXX/EGbS3AcxJcbn
cLMLw78cS8mC kPCzhX7hRCBf06Ca874UVscHWOaCuemrsdPR9OvEiUocKMSd+s 83
dqsiWNks0hWUROn0za5k9pqtkdP+svtg7MuY5tTNZ8jWhV /oL+QEtGH/y49D2uGI
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Re:Slashdot (2, Interesting)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588183)

I like to use Google. When I accidentally trashed most of my bin/ directory [membled.com], I was able to recover most of the scripts from Google's cache.

Another alternative is to make yourself a Sourceforge/Savannah/whatever project and use their CVS service. You do keep your important stuff in version control, right?

.Mac is not encrypted == It's useless. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587999)

You're not missing anything. Dot Mac is not a serious contender. Unfortunately I only found this out after buying a .Mac subscription. On the box it seemed pretty neat. But it turns out that it literally does not contain any encryption - anywhere. So it's absolutely useless for my needs.

Here's my bullet point summary:

* The Windows iDisk client simply does not work (I've yet to get the client to connect).
* iDisk traffic is not encrypted.
* Backup archives are not encrypted. From the help file: "Backup doesn't encrypt information it backs up."
* iSync does not use encryption.
* The .Mac mail server does not support secure connections.

Maybe I'm spoiled by having access to an encrypted IMAP mail server - but their lack of security seems absolutely terrible. .Mac really is a disaster waiting to happen. Having an automated backup / sync set to happen every few days + checking .Mac email + casually using wireless internet at a public WAP == intercepted data. It's absolutely unacceptable.

I also don't like that Apple can casually view all the data that I upload to iDisk (since there's no encryption).

Re:.Mac is not encrypted == It's useless. (1)

zbaron (649094) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588080)

* The .Mac mail server does not support secure connections.

Yes, it does. Just use IMAPS on port 993 and turn on TLS/SSL for SMTP.

If you're going to pay for something.. (1)

dotdan (902253) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587119)

it's still cheaper and faster to buy a harddrive, and pay someone twenty bucks to install it.

Re:If you're going to pay for something.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587135)

Except that if a fire took out your office, your carefully installed harddrive would be gone too.

We use iBackup. Nightly pgp-encrypted backups, and we sleep soundly knowing that if the bottom-most server on the rack catches fire and slags everything above it, that we can get new gear running, pull the data back down, decrypt it (after manually typing the key in from the printout stored in one of two offsite vaults, if necessary) and be live again in days.

Re:If you're going to pay for something.. (0, Redundant)

mlow82 (889294) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587287)

Except that if a fire took out your office, your carefully installed harddrive would be gone too.
How is the risk of a fire at the location of iBackup's servers less than that of a fire at your office?

Re:If you're going to pay for something.. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587309)

A dead backup is only a problem if you find out it's dead when you needed it.

iBackup has a fire? Backup to one of the other services while you're still live.

Re:If you're going to pay for something.. (1)

magefile (776388) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587318)

Well, assuming for the sake of argument that iBackup's site isn't any more protected than theirs, if iBackup goes south, they still have their own stuff; if their own stuff goes south, they have iBackup. It'd take two catastrophes in different locations to lose all their data. Duh - isn't this Backup 101?

Re:If you're going to pay for something.. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587324)

It isn't but if the backup is gone your original still works. It would take two simultaneous fires to take down both the backup site AND your office to destroy the data, even more if you have multiple off-site backups (say, tapes in a warehouse somewhere).

Re:If you're going to pay for something.. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587336)

iBackup is a datacenter. I'd be surprised it they didn't have a nice Halon system in place. They can afford the kind of site-based protection that smaller offices can't. Also, as other posters have mentioned, if they do have a fire it only takes out the backup. As long as your live systems are working, you can backup to somewhere else. Data in 2 places is more secure against loss (but more vulnerable to theft/unauthorised access) than data in 1 place.

good idea, still too expensive (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587124)

I've been waiting a long time for the arrival of internet storage -- I'd much rather let someone else manage the integrity and provide peace of mind.

Concerns about services going out of business, security, their own data integrity aside for the moment (but NOT to be ignored), these listed and reviewed services still far exceed prices I'm (and I'm guessing many others) willing to pay. I easily have 100+GB I would like guaranteed safe and ongoing synced and always backed up.

For now, I continue to maintain multiple hard drives on multiple machines with scripts that maintain backups, not easy, but effective and way more cost effective. And I expect soon NAS will come down in price enough to easily compete with any internet service -- of course internet services should come down in price too.

Sigh... always just waiting for that tipping point, that threshold, but at the same time seeing my requirements always slightly ahead of that threshold... pictures get bigger, videos get easier, and my mp3 collections (ripped from my own CDs) is a given constant.

Also for large internet storage, the big-pipe problem remains. I want an online storage from which I have reasonably unencumbered upload and download access. It would also be nice to see full T1 speeds at least (something not accessible to normal DSL or even cable subscribers). Don't know if and when that gets solved, and if solved how much additional expense is incurred. Sigh again.

Re:good idea, still too expensive (2)

p!ssa (660270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587151)

no worries mate, you have a complete backup of your data (even phone calls) in the basement of the AT&T san francisco office. I hear they even have a redundant copy down south somewhere.

This is one service you don't want to go cheap on (2, Insightful)

imaginaryelf (862886) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587761)

You say it's too expensive and then you say you're concerned about these services going out of business.

Well, you can't have it both ways. A cheap backup service is much more likely to go out of business.

Backup is one service where you don't want to go to the lowest bidder.

If your data is important enough, you'll pay a professional service a professional rate, to back it up. A backup service should be much more than some guy selling off pieces of his own USB drive attached to the Internet.

Re:This is one service you don't want to go cheap (5, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588265)

"A cheap backup service..."

An expensive backup service might be expensive because it's buying shiny crap at exorbitant rates. Which makes it even more likely to fail than the cheap one. The price tells you nothing about either what equipment they're using, the failure rates of said equipment, their redundancy level, or their solvency.

"Backup is one service where you don't want to go to the lowest bidder."

Yep, that's one of those typical backup salesman lines to watch out for.

Backup is, in the end, about this: redundancy, redundancy and redundancy.

For backup purposes, you'd be better off buying cheap pieces of USB drives off two different guys in their basement than a single expensive service.

You _do_ want to go for the lowest bidder. Several of them, in fact. Redundant array of inexpensive backup solutions, as it were.

Re:good idea, still too expensive (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587799)

You ought to look at ExaVault [exavault.com]. $25 for 50GB or $40 for 100GB. The catch (or the bonus?)... its cheap because they use open source software (e.g. rsync).

Re:good idea, still too expensive (2, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587882)

Actually, from the article, the yearly prices for storing any significant amount of data (100Gb+) are so high that buying an external HD pretty much pays itself in 1 or 2 months. From the article:


Mozy's for-pay service is cheap compared with the norm: $20 for up to 5GB, $30 for 10GB, and $40 for 20GB--per annum. You get only five free restore operations per month, but that should be more than enough for most users.


and


The pay plan is more expensive than that of the other free service I looked at, Mozy, but at $10 per month or $100 per year for up to 10GB of storage, ElephantDrive's per-gigabyte rate is half that of either IBackup or XDrive. If your system doesn't have a fast upstream broadband connection, however, it could take days to upload multigigabytes of data to this or any other online storage service.


*sigh*

Re:good idea, still too expensive (3, Informative)

OlivierB (709839) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587895)

Sounds like you could use a Dedibox from http://www.dedibox.fr/ [dedibox.fr]
They Offer a dedicated server with 160GB of HD, your OS of choice, 100MB bandwith and unlimited data.
You can SSH, FTP, VNC, whatever you want. How does that sound?
Price is 30/month.

Re:good idea, still too expensive (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588052)

It would also be nice to see full T1 speeds at least (something not accessible to normal DSL or even cable subscribers)
I have 20MB/s download and 1MB/s of upload. Granted the upload is somewhat less than a T1, but the download is just 10x faster. So all in all, I wouldn't trade my DSL connection with a T1, but for a pouch of gold.

what about eSnips? (2, Informative)

justshawnf (866632) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587145)

I'm kind of dissappointed they didn't look at http://www.esnips.com/ [esnips.com]. I know it's still beta, but 1 Gb storage free look like the best one going.

Re:what about eSnips? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587157)

you should read the article - at least one of the services has 25GB of free storage.

Sharepoint (3, Informative)

mkendall (69179) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587148)

For businesses wanting online storage and sharing of files, an obvious contender not mentioned in the article is Microsoft's Sharepoint [microsoft.com], which is available as a hosted service from a number of providers such as Apptix [apptix.com] (who have a free 30-day trial).

Re:Sharepoint (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587387)

Sharepoint is more of a document management system then a filespace. We use it at work, it's not that great. Zope is better in just about every aspect (except checkin and checkout which are still a royal pain in plone)

Oh I forgot ifolders. (2, Informative)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587395)

Ifolders rocks. It's different in that everybody has the files locally but all files are synced. Cross platform too. Really great and open source.

Data Dumps (4, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587150)

Reminds me of a scene in The Turing Option [amazon.com] where the main character has to physically make a trip to an out of country data dump to retrieve some bad mojo. This leads to a question of where the posts data dumps are located? Which jurisdictions do they fall under and therefore what laws?
And relatedly when gigabit connections become common sometime in the future you could keep your mp3's or divx movies in a dump and not notice any latency accessing them when the net isn't down ( ;) ).

Re:Data Dumps (1)

peetgrobler (984456) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588217)

Would you seriously backup your data on-line without encrypting it first? I *always* encrypt backups. My off-site backups are encrypted, then put on CD.

MySpace (2, Funny)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587174)

I'm still pissed about MySpace. I uploaded all 10MB of my pirated mp3s there back in 1999 (I also used IDrive until they too sold out). Now MySpace is just a cesspool of bad web design and a mirror of our vapid post-millennial American excuse for a culture.

I want my 10MB back.

Re:MySpace (1)

palswim (982779) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587722)

Call me a n00b or whatever you wish, but are you serious? MySpace has been around since 1999?

If so, I'm sure it hasn't always existed as it is now, but that means we could've killed it before it took off, back when Internet attacks were easier and security wasn't the main concern. But then, hindsight is always 20/20.

Re:MySpace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15588125)

'tis true. I had a myspace locker way back then full of French house music linked to by a DJ/music site. We just used to hand out the login/password to whoever wanted it, really.

Crazy days.

Re:MySpace (1)

stoborrobots (577882) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588163)

Which MySpace [planetmirror.com] are you talking about? PlanetMirror's offering is the only thing I know of called MySpace which offers file hosting (100MB these days). I don't know if it's in any way related to what you're thinking about, but today's MySpace [myspace.com] is in no way related to any file-hosting service I've ever heard of... Maybe the domain got recycled?

Perils (3, Insightful)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587187)

The major peril given a single-word mention in the article is PRIVACY. Remember, Google handed over Gmail emails, there's sure as hell nothing stopping them or any other company from handing over all of your data to the courts and probably even the NSA if they asked for it. Their advice to encryptt should be taken seriously. Can any more encryption-savvy slashdotters suggest some powerful encryption tools that would be suitable for backing up files online to be accessed from a remote location?

real backup services allow private key encryption (2, Informative)

jbellis (142590) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587451)

at least Mozy does, even in their free offering.

Re:Perils (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587789)

Ran any more encryption-savvy slashdotters suggest some powerful encryption tools that would be suitable for backing up files online to be accessed from a remote location?

RAR archives can be encrypted, and I haven't heard of any cracks. Install WinRAR and it's a right-click away.

Re:Perils (1)

gavinchappell (784065) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588133)

I've never heard of RAR files being encrypted, which version do you need for this? I know they can be password protected, but that's perfectly crackable.

Re:Perils (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588179)

I've never heard of RAR files being encrypted, which version do you need for this? I know they can be password protected, but that's perfectly crackable.

A RAR file with a password IS encrypted. But that is secure, as far as I know (unlike most ZIPs). If for instance I look for RAR password crackers, I find only things like Elcomsoft [elcomsoft.com] who say "At the moment, there is no known method to extract the password from the compressed file; so the only available methods are 'brute force' and dictionary-based attacks.... WinRAR has incorporated AES (using the Rijndael algorithm) encryption since V2.9." Sounds good enough to me.

Encryption tools (3, Informative)

ronys (166557) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588158)

For encrypting single files, gpg [gnupg.org] is probably the simplest solution. Note that you don't have to bother with key-rings, digital signatures, etc. Just use conventional encryption and a GOOD (can't emphasize this enough) password.

A more user-friendly approach would be to use an encrypting file system, such as TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org], which presents a single file as a drive on your machine, and backup the encrypted file regularly.

Re:Perils (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15588488)

losetup -e aes256

sounds like a security risk (4, Insightful)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587201)

Anyone who takes thier data seriously would never think of doing such a thing. You have no idea what happens when your files get copied to some third party network.

Re:sounds like a security risk (3, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587249)

But couldn't use use that same argument with any type of hosting/shared server? How about companies like Iron Mountain that handle off site backup storage/archiving? Even if you kept 100% of your data in house, unless you keep everything under a very tight lock and key, it's still subject to employee/insider theft/misuse.

Re:sounds like a security risk (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588381)


But couldn't use use that same argument with any type of hosting/shared server? How about companies like Iron Mountain that handle off site backup storage/archiving? Even if you kept 100% of your data in house, unless you keep everything under a very tight lock and key, it's still subject to employee/insider theft/misuse.


It's all a question of managing one's risks:
- A tight contract with a company that handles off site backup storage/archiving including penalty clausules for data loss or data leaks is a much more controlable situation that buying the $20/year plan from an online storage company.
- Internal employers can only access the systems you give them access to and via the hardware you allow them to use, while you have no control whatsoever on what employees from a 3rd party company can do.

First rule of security (data security or otherwise) is that there is no such thing as 100% foolproof security, thus the best one can do is limit the risks and have a backup plan for when things go wrong - using an el cheapo online backup provider for backing up potentially sensitive corporate data is a choice that actually increases data loss/leaking risks.

encryption is still legal (1)

BlueHands (142945) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587679)

as far as I know anyways. Encryption is going to be just as safe for 99% of the world as having it sit on some hard drive within their control.

But that's beside the point. The vast majority of people don't have interesting data. The family photo album or the mp3 collection just doesn't matter to anyone but me most of the time. One person's treasure is another person's trash.

Or hell, let us be honest - most people browser the internet using IE. Most people are NOT worried about security. If you are worried about security you most likely already encrypt everything anyways and uploading it somewhere is going to change the safety of your data much.

Re:encryption is still legal (2, Insightful)

tehshen (794722) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588501)

Everyone has interesting data. Most of my e-mails could be considered "boring", but they're interesting enough for Google to search through them to generate ad keywords so they can show ads at me.

An MP3 collection leads to "buy this type of music!" ads. Photo albums (with tags) lead to "Go to this place!" ads. There's a lot that can be found out from your files, even if you think they're uninteresting.

Re:sounds like a security risk (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587710)

I have about 20 GB of photos that I'd like to backup. Nobody really cares about them except for me and a few family members. None of them are private. They have value to nobody but me.

But they have a great deal of value to me. They could be on a public server and it wouldn't matter. They just need to be available to me.

Security isn't always about keeping other people out.

Re:sounds like a security risk (3, Interesting)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587771)

Anyone who takes thier data seriously would never think of doing such a thing. You have no idea what happens when your files get copied to some third party network.

I can't really say that I care what happens to my heavily encrypted data while it's on some third party network. If they can't give it back to me in identical form, they don't get paid any more, and they aren't the only place where I store it.

Not seeing your point.

GDrive (5, Interesting)

ironring2006 (968941) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587206)

So I started trying to read through all the 17 different ones they reviewed, but when I saw such small numbers as 50MB and actual dollar $igns, all I could think of was the Gmail space [mozilla.org] extension for Firefox. 2GB and growing storage in a single gmail account. Also, it's not like those that have gmail accounts don't have extra invites laying around. Mind you, it isn't quite as elegant a solution as some of these offerings, but the price is right and the storage space is always growing (to infinity + 1!!!! [elliottback.com]).

I know a lot of people that use their webmail accounts in this manner (yahoo, hotmail, etc) where if they think they need to be access a file somewhere else, they'll just e-mail it to themselves in an attachment. In all honesty though, the adoption rate for something like this for home personal users isn't going to ramp up until the average upload speeds of a home connection increases. Especially for large files, too many Joe Computer users are going to think their computer froze just because it's taking so long to upload their files.

Re:GDrive (2, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587300)

Gmail Drive is good if you dont mind it being slow, unreliable, and having the possiblity to completely fail at any given moment. Much less Google locking you out if they decide they dont like people using Gmail as a file backup.

Missing the obvious... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587211)

What?! No review of Gmail Filesystem [jones.name]?

Re:Missing the obvious... (1)

really? (199452) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587734)

Exactly. One of the cheapest, albeit, if you are worried about privacy, it might be less than ideal. No I don't know for a fact, but rumour has it they go through your mail.

On the other hand, why not get a cheap hosting plan that offers shell access. Park your, properly encrypted, of course, files there. If you use Linux/*BSD most desktop file managers allow seamless SFTP access to remote places. If you are a Windows user "SftpDrive" is your friend, gives your $HOME a letter under windows. Pretty much guaranteed safe transfers as they all go over SSH. Also, if you chose your hosting company carefully, they can't be subpoenaed to release your data.
Makes sharing files with your buddies easy to, as all you have to do is drop their public keys in your "authorized_keys" file.

Streamload has been my option for 4 years now. (5, Informative)

sleeplessmind (984416) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587224)

about five years ago a friend turned me to streamload for file sharing. I tried it out and didn't like the fact that i had to get people to send the files to me through unaffiliated forums, so I quit. However a year later, I was going to Australia for an unknown amount of time, but i couldn't Bing my HD. I turned to streamload once again but this time for file hosting. Now I use it for file sharing, and back-ups when I need to (currently in Japan, so it helped a lot.) Their new service is a little buggy still but over all Streamload is the way i would go. It is cheap as follows:

- Basic Account - $4.95/month or $44.95/year - Unlimited Storage
Download Up to 2 GB/mo.

- Standard Account $9.95/month or $99.95/year - Unlimited Storage
Download Up to 25 GB/mo.

and it goes all the way up too:

Premium Account $39.95/month or $399.95/year - Unlimited Storage
Download Up to 100 GB/mo.



Or even terrabytes for businesses (a state university in America, I believe, Uses a fair percentage of streamload)
http://streamload.com/ [streamload.com]
Stremaload also allows you to host files for people that do not have Streamload accounts. The downloads are cheap and the uploads are quick. (By the way. My streamload account has more then 40 terrabytes of things that i can download.)

Missing the machine (1)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587801)

I was going to Australia for an unknown amount of time, but i couldn't Bing my HD.
Ah, I see you didn't have the machine that goes, "Bing!"

Re:Streamload has been my option for 4 years now. (1)

adinb (897001) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588135)

I just happened to speak with them last night--they said max file size was 2.14GB, which is a serious PITA and a dealbreaker for me. Have you been able to upload larger files?

All of these do waaaay more than I ever want (2, Informative)

nitefly (899022) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587279)

That's why I just use http://www.dropload.com/ [dropload.com] when I want to move big files around.

Re:All of these do waaaay more than I ever want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587768)

I use YouSendIt [yousendit.com], which purportedly allows users to send 1 GB files (I've never sent something this large, so I can't personally verify this). You don't even need to sign in to use the site. Uploads are pretty slow, but I've found the service to be useful.

(Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with the site.)

Amazon S3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587344)

AWS [amazon.com] S3 [amazonaws.com] doesn't have the best interface, but it is cheap ($0.15/GB/yr), fast, and reliable. And they'll XSLT transform your XML for you on the fly.

In the Clear (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587348)

I can't believe that while the headlines are filling with reports of spilled personal ID data, PC World would even consider recommending any distributed data service that doesn't encrypt your data locally before sending it over the network for storage. Instead, they include the weak "Be sure to encrypt all files holding personal data", when of course that's the first feature that every service should automate. PC World influences millions of naive PC users around the world, and flipping off security like that is causing people to take serious risks that can't be undone. It's like a car magazine ignoring the flashy new models failure to include door locks, with an afterthought "be sure to remove all your valuables from your car".

Every distributed or remote data service must include automatic default scrambling features on the client. Probably in open source, to be sure they're really scrambling it, and not just spinning it around with some untested scrambling function. That's the starting point. After that, those minimally secure services can compete on other features.

Re:In the Clear (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587438)

Even following every point you outlined, that's still no guarantee of anything. Leaving the security of the data to the provider means you trust that provider completely. There's no way the system can be fully checked outside of a full access inspection, which I doubt would be feasible under most circumstances.

I do agree that leaving it up to the user makes it likely that people won't do right by themselves, but for those that care, the solution is evident in any case.

It's a fairly sticky problem.

Re:In the Clear (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587511)

If I scramble my data with a password using well-examined software before I send it to the remote storage, I don't have to trust them at all.

Using remote storage with open-source local scrambling clients that many cryptologists have studied automates that process for the masses.

The security isn't a sticky problem. Publishing even minimally responsible journalism seems to be the sticky part.

Re:In the Clear (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587542)

There's still a broken link in the chain of trust. The masses aren't about to start compiling their applications anytime soon, which means they'll likely be relying upon precompiled binaries provided by the service. It's not too big a leap to imagine an unethical company putting in a backdoor for their own (or NSA, or add your bogeyman here) use. Verifying that kind of infrastructure is still possible, but the burden is fairly large, and not likely to be undertaken.

Re:In the Clear (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587572)

The solution to that problem is mass magazines like PC World telling people not to use any remote storage unless they're using a client scrambler that's been examined by plenty of experienced people without an direct interest in the remote storage provider. There are plenty of encrypted filesystems and drivers that could front for remote servers that they could recommend people use. Which is why my original post criticized PC World, not the technology. PC World should be part of the solution, not the problem.

Re:In the Clear (2, Informative)

cheezedawg (413482) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587714)

Mozy encrypts all data locally using a 448-bit Blowfish cipher before uploading. You can chose your own private key when installing the software- even the free accounts.

ftp (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587355)

whats wrong with ftp? [wikipedia.org]

Re:ftp (2, Insightful)

mrs clear plastic (229108) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587566)

The ftp protocol is not encrypted. Your account name and password is transmitted in the clear over the network.

Pleas, by all means, use scp instead of ftp. The scp protocol is covered (encrypted). It is part of the ssh suite of applications. Every Linux system comes with it. There is a suite of tools for Windows called Putty. They also include scp.

Truly

Cleara

Re:ftp (1)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587677)

While FTP is nice for file storage, it has no security. Someone else has already recommended SCP. I like to use SSH-FS [sourceforge.net] when I need security and want the remote server to appear like it is local.

Amazon.com's S3 and JungleDisk (4, Informative)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587374)

Unfortunate that the review doesn't mention S3 or JungleDisk as those are excellent options for these same things and are much cheaper for most uses than e.g. GoDaddy. Their open source clients do lots of nice caching and encrypting as well.

Slash.storage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587403)

UUEncode your files and post them to slashdot as replies. Easy file storage and you get mod points at the same time!

17 ways to share my pr0n collection! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587404)

Rock on!

bring the cost down (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587469)

The biggest problem (aside from upstream bandwidth, which isn't something they can necessarily do anything about) is obviously price. I know lots and lots of people who've looked at this kind of storage for backup, but invariably just go to using hard drives with USB enclosures because they are thousands of dollars less than it would cost to use even the cheapest of these services for more than a few dozen gigabytes of data.

Looking through the features, I think I see why they all cost so much -- they all offer "live" storage, where you can send links to friends and view files over the internet at any time. That's certainly a great feature, but do people REALLY need every file they've ever backed up to be available at a moment's notice? Of course not.

All these services are selling file system space, but nobody seems to be selling actual BACKUP services. Where is the service that lets me upload my 500 GB of data, and then they back it up onto a 400GB Ultrium tape for $100? Who cares if it takes 24-48 hours for my tape to get loaded and cached for restoring? I can't download 500GB overnight anyways, and I've obviously had a catastrophic failure of some sort on my end if I need to restore that data, it will take me at least a day just to get new hardware in place and set up to receive. A 24 hour wait is NOTHING in such a situation, and presumably your day-to-day critical stuff is either replicated locally or can be stored in a more expensive live online file system.

Ever since QIC/Travan capacities were left wanting over a decade ago, there hasn't been a single affordable backup solution available to the home/small office community. Any decent tape system these days costs upwards of $10k (and easily $250k) and requires more than trivial expertise to set up and run properly. It's a perfect opportunity for a qualified online operator to distribute the huge capital investment over lots of small customers who quite literally have no affordable alternative.

Re:bring the cost down (1)

lordkuri (514498) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587960)

you haven't looked very hard have you?

http://www.fsnhosting.com/backups.php [fsnhosting.com]

I sell exactly what you're looking for =)

Re:bring the cost down (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588222)

I sell exactly what you're looking for =)

I don't see anything like what I was talking about. Your offsite backup is a live RAID5 array that costs $150/month (which, I'll grant you is a MUCH less expensive option than the ones in the article, and I'll certainly direct some customers towards a service like yours).

I'm talking about something more along the lines of selling a high capacity tape archive for 200-300% of the media cost, and then the tape goes into your vault until the customer requests a restore (which would be paid for, of course). Basically, people would pay a few hundred dollars at once for someone with a hugely expensive tape system to backup their stuff, and maybe another maintenance fee per month for tape storage and the smaller incremental backups that would be on a disk system until reaching tape capacity.

Where have the nerds gone? (3, Insightful)

shoolz (752000) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587478)

Why are we discussing the merits of 17 different online storage services when you can host your own for pennies? Mine is a PII 75Mhz that I bought for $25 and it's sitting 3 feet away from me.

Re:Where have the nerds gone? (3, Insightful)

kcomplex (414253) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587564)

The only reason I would want online backup is to protect against theft, fire, multiple hardware failure, or other disasters. Being three feet away isn't quite far enough.

I am surprised by how high the prices on these services are. I just checked my Dreamhost account, and I now have over 25 gigs available for $10/month. I had no idea it had grown so much since I last checked.

Re:Where have the nerds gone? (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587728)

A friend of mine was dilligent about backing up all of her data. She kept a comptuer and USB drive. She never left the USB drive plugged in, in case a faulty power supply sent a spike down the line. She dilligently backed everything up every week. She followed all of the prescriptions.

Then someone broke into her apartment and stole both her computer and the USB drive sitting next to it.

I often think of that, when I think of the backup hard drive I keep in my computer case.

raidarray.net (2, Informative)

dkuntz (220364) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587592)

I'm surprised they didnt review raidarray.net. I use this service. Supports:
A. ftp backup
B. Driveletter mounting in Windows
C. Normal SMB mounting
D. NFS Mounting

I signed up for their middle plan, $15/mo, 50gig storage. Their higher plan is $25/mo for 100gig, or $10/mo for 25gig.

They're fast, seem to be stable. I was forced into using an offsite backup when the company I was working with was forced to downsize, and my dedicated server with them was going to be pulled. I was able to completely back my user data up within under an hour (30gig of data or so).

And yes, I did apply to be an affiliate, but it'd be tacky for me to try to get money from fellow /.'ers... Just say no to trolling for money.

What protocols do they support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587596)

Without that information a review is *completely* useless. Which ones support rsync, scp, NFS, AFS, NCP, CODA, etc.? You have to be able to copy files to/from the service for them to be useful. I gave-up on the online services since not a single one I found would support any standard method of file access. I'd pay a good bit for offsite storage with access via standard rsync.z

Data safety guarantees (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587623)

Well, let's see what they commit to contractually:

  • Ibackup Pro Softnet makes no representation or warranty ... (C) that the data and files you store in your account will not be lost or damaged.
  • XDrive Xdrive, in its sole discretion, may terminate your password, account or use of the Service and remove and discard any Data within the Service if you fail to comply with this Agreement. ... XDrive makes no representation, warranty, or guaranty as to the reliablity, timeliness, quality, suitability, truth, availability, accuracy or completeness of the service or any content.
  • FirstBackup Subscriber does not desire this Agreement to provide liability for loss or damage due directly or indirectly to occurrences, or consequences there from, which the service is designed to deter or avert. If subscriber desires additional liability coverage, it shall be the subscriber's sole responsibility to secure it from an insurance carrier or other agency of subscriber's choice, at subscriber's own expense. Subscriber shall bring no suit against FB as a result of any loss arising from this Agreement.
  • Acpana The software product and all services are provided "as is" without any warranty or condition of any kind, either expressed or implied. Use of the software product and all services is at end user's own risk
  • ElephantDrive The company's aggregate liability, and the aggregate liability of its licensors, to you or any third parties in any circumstances is limited to $100.
  • Mozy You understand and agree that ... you will be solely responsible for any damages to your computer system or loss of data

So, even though some of these outfits make advertising claims like "IT NEVER FORGETS ElephantDrive uses military-grade encryption and large scale disaster recovery techniques so your data is stored safely for as long as you keep your account.", they don't stand behind those claims. It would thus be inappropriate to trust any of them with important data.

Re:Data safety guarantees (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587798)

they don't stand behind those claims. It would thus be inappropriate to trust any of them with important data.

There are varying degrees of important. Really important data should be redundantly protected at dozens of remote call centers on multiple continents linked by non-internet direct lines, all under your control. Slightly less important data can be protected under the wing of a large outsourcing corporation like IBM, with the guarantees and penalties you mention spelled out in detail, at the cost of several dollars per megabyte per month.

What are in this article are consumer grade data backup. Like any consumer grade service it comes with nothing more than a gentleman's guarantee. But on the other hand, it's damned cheap compared to a really secure solution (which most people are priced out of anyway).

But the protection they provide is pretty good. Let's assume your computer dies. Let's assume that your system, and these online storage people, will die every 5 years. The chance of them dying on the same week as eachother, without warning, is about 1 in 260.

That's good enough odds for most people.

Re:Data safety guarantees (1)

kilgortrout (674919) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588476)

What kind of waranty do you think you get from any hard drive manufacturer or OS vendor?? It's pretty much the same deal IIRC.

Strongspace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15587796)

I was using .Mac but got irritated by its backup software bugs and GUI-only operation and access unreliability, not to speak of size limit (they did increase it lately, though).

For easy backup (rsync) and secure web access to files and sharing (https), no bandwidth limit, the Strongspace [strongspace.com] is perfect. I like it a lot and recommend it everywhere (as you can see for yourself)...

FolderShare (1)

fluor2 (242824) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587800)

Please check out FolderShare (www.foldershare.com). All you need is to have a computer on-line somewhere, and you can easily set up syncing with your computer anywhere. Pretty nifty. I use it for backups of my computers. I have one computer at work, and two computers that share the same folders at home. No longer need for backup.

Strongspace (2, Informative)

sun10384 (127920) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587829)

I personally use Strongspace [strongspace.com]. Its a secure file storage solution which is accessible with a web interface or sftp and even rsync. Since the storage is built upon ZFS, it allows for some nifty tricks as multiple backups and even revisions. And did I mention that they use GiB? I mean, that has to be turn on for you folks. Here is a list of plans [strongspace.com] on offer, how you can put it to good use [strongspace.com] and some FAQs [strongspace.com]. Check it out!

A simpler solution (1)

Cicero382 (913621) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587962)

If it's the security of offsite storage you want, there is a better solution.

Join up with a friend and each get a hard drive with a caddy (a slide in tray which holds the drive, making for easy removal). Make them the same type of HD (and caddy, of course). Now you can each backup up your critical data onto the caddy drive and swap them. Next day/week/month backup onto the drive and swap again etc, etc. If you don't meet at work or very regularly, look at it as a good excuse to get together for a beer! ("But, darling I *have* to meet up with Joe. It's the offsite backups.")

Of course, you have to encrypt your data - not that you don't trust your friend (ahem!) but he might be burgled.

The beauty is that you can each back up any way you want and HD can store a *lot* - you can even use multiple disks.

I've done this with a 120GB disk and it works quite well. Now all I have to do is figure out the logistics of many participants and we can all have a weekly piss-up :-)

Connected TLM (1)

seanyboy (587819) | more than 7 years ago | (#15587963)

It's only on Windows, but at work we use Connected TLM [connected.com].
It's fantastic.

Re:Connected TLM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15588435)

I take it your workstation has at least a gig of RAM? We use Connected TLM, whenever the POS starts up it takes about 300megs, on a 512meg system everything else swaps to disk and the system slows to a crawl.

Admittedly the latest version is better than it used to be, still very bad though.

It's most endearing feature, a cancel button which is often greyed out but even when not greyed out does squat.

No mention of rsync.net ? (4, Interesting)

arafel (15551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15588373)

I'm amazed nobody's mentioned rsync.net [rsync.net] so far, particularly on Slashdot. Cheap storage, access via rsync, instructions for mounting it remotely on Linux/FreeBSD (as well as Windows), plus they've given some thought [rsync.net] to both the legal and privacy aspects: "rsync.net does not merely recommend that users encrypt their data, but provides resources, tutorials and unlimited technical support for such usage".
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