CrashPlan**, it’s a remote backup solution for (almost) everyone.**

The principle is easy enough: install the software client (available for Windows, Mac OS X or Linux), change the default selection of files that will be backed up (if you want to) and you’re on your way to never loose a file again!

Where are your backup stored? You have the choice.

  • One option is to pay CrashPlan developers (the company is called Code 42) a small fee each month for them to store your backup: this is what they call CrashPlan Central. Pricing and details from their FAQ: 50GB of storage for 5$/month, 0.10$ per additional GB.
  • The second option is to backup to other computer(s) you own. Just install the client on any another computer, re-use the same email address & password that you used to create your account on your personal computer, and you’ll be able to select those computers as a backup destination.
  • The third option is to backup to **friends. Friends are anyone who installed CrashPlan, and allowed you to use their computer as a backup destination. This is probably the best option for most people. Especially if you use it in both directions: allow your friends to backup to your computer(s), so that you’ll store their backup on your hard drive, and they’ll store your backup on theirs. Everyone wins! Note that backups are encrypted** before they are sent to remote destinations, so your friends won’t be able to see the data you’re storing on their hard drive. Only you will be able to restore the data to it’s original usable state.

How do I use CrashPlan

  • I have a Windows-based PC that I use as my file server at home, so I’m using it as a backup destination.
  • I was already paying (50$ US per month) for a dedicated Linux server in a data center in California. I’m using this computer as a backup destination too.
  • I installed CrashPlan on my parent’s computer, and added them as my friends. I allowed them to backup to my home file server.

Costs

  • To backup to others, you’ll need to pay a one time fee of 20$ US (or 60$ US for the PRO version which offers a couple of added features), after the usual 30 days trial.
  • Update: CrashPlan is now free, even to backup to others.
  • It costs nothing to run the client in backup destination mode; i.e. if you install CrashPlan on a computer only to use it as a backup destination, it doesn’t cost anything. You only have to buy licenses for computers which you want to backup.

Support

I almost always received answers within 24h to emails sent to Code 42 support. In all cases, they were able to help me, or if I asked for a new feature or fix, it was always implemented or fixed in a subsequent version of the client (which auto-update itself by the way). Very good support.

Recommendation

Get it! It just works, and it’s an easy way to backup all your family’s / friend’s data.

CrashPlan website: They have a nice video tour (screencast), features matrix, and FAQ.