Required Online Backup Solutions for Designers

Ensuring that all your files are safe and secure is a must for any web designer. This article assesses a variety of different online services that have proven to be the most affordable and popular over the years.

Why Use Online Backup?

As the owner of an online web hosting company, I know how important it can be to have a backup of all your information from personal files to client files. I’ve lost plenty of important data including website backups, tax information, and web designs over the years. I now use multiple online backup services to ensure that all my data is 100% secured.


  • Website:
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Pricing: $9.99 per month for 50GB (2GB Free Trial)
  • Works With: Windows, Mac, Linux

Dropbox is one of the easier online backup services I have seen around. It offers automatic updating among files on all computers that are connected, as well as sharing with other users using Dropbox. Dropbox offers a free 2 GB service, then after that, services start at $9.99 per month for 50 GB.

Jungle Disk

  • Website:
  • Rating: 3/5
  • Pricing: $0.15 per month per 1GB
  • Works With: Windows, Mac, Linux

Jungle Disk is one of the most well known online backup services – as it is run using Amazon and Rackspace servers. It works just like another hard drive on your computer. All your files are encrypted using a key that is only known to you. Jungle Disk offers a pay as you go service for only 15¢ per GB that you use. It provides accessibility on all your computers and public access to authorized users.

Sugar Sync

  • Website:
  • Rating: 3/5
  • Pricing: $4.99 per month for 30GB
  • Works With: Windows, Mac, Mobile Phones

Sugar Sync is one of the few online backup systems that offers support for mobile phones. It’s one of the cheapest systems I have seen offering 30 GB for only $4.99 per month, and it offers real time updating of files. Sugar Sync is one of the only services that offers streaming of music from your phone and browser.

Mobile Me

  • Website:
  • Rating: 2/5
  • Pricing: $99 per year for 20GB
  • Works With: Windows, Mac, iPhone/Ipod Touch

Owned by by Apple Inc. Mobile Me allows you to sync all your emails, calenders, contacts and more together for a yearly price of $99. Mobile Me comes with 20 GB of disk space and 200 GB of bandwidth. It’s the only online backup service that supports use with the iPod Touch.


  • Website:
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Pricing: $9.95 per month for 5GB
  • Works With: Windows, Mac, Linux, Mobile Phone

Box is one of the most business oriented services that I have seen offering services such as comments, branding options, file embedding, user permissions, and more. Box offers you the option to have multiple users when purchasing business accounts to allow your staff to access files and work more efficiently.


  • Website:
  • Rating: 3/5
  • Pricing: $4.95 per month for 150GB
  • Works With: Windows, Mac

IDrive is by far the cheapest service that I have found. It offers 150 GB of disk space for just $4.95 per month for a personal account. However if you need a business plan, services start at $9.99 per month for 50 GB of disk space. IDrive offers you the option to create multiple users for free online Box as well as allowing time line restores and restoring of files up to 30 modifications ago.


  • Website:
  • Rating: 1/5
  • Pricing: Free (25GB)
  • Works With: All Operating System That Support Web Browsers

SkyDrive is owned by Microsoft, and offers 25GB of free online backup services. The primary downside is that they do not offer a desktop application to easily retrieve files and backup new files; you are instead forced to visit their website, login and upload using a web based form. SkyDrive accepts files no larger then 50MB.


  • Website:
  • Rating: 3/5
  • Pricing: $9.95 per month for 10GB
  • Works With: Windows, Mac, Linux

Owned by the same company as IDrive, IBackup offers less features and targets web developers and businesses who wish to backup databases and servers that contain important information and client data. IBackup supports Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems unlike IDrive giving companies a larger option for operating systems.


  • Website:
  • Rating: 3/5
  • Pricing: £39.95 per year for 100GB
  • Works With: Windows – Mac and Linux coming soon

LiveDrive offers automated backups, accessibility from anywhere in the world, file syncing, and sharing. LiveDrive offers you the option to play your music, edit your files, watch your videos and Facebook integration from anywhere in the world using their simple web based portal. It’s also one of few backup services that supports FTP access, version history and local caching.


  • ulrich says:

    and last but not least, Ubuntu One. Though Ubuntu/Linux only…


  • Simon says:

    I like Dropbox a lot, but what about Windows Live Mesh? Isn’t it the same like Dropbox?

  • Kevin says:

    I’ve been using MobileMe for a while, and it works just fine. The interface is simple and clear and it offers the ability to backup your contacts, emails and calendars too.

    The only missing function for me is the ability to backup a file on your hard drive automatically. But it adds a nice iDisk logo on your desktop ;)

  • Rohan says:

    Such an article was published on nettuts not long ago.

  • Yoosuf says:

    Box and SkyDrive are Ultimatly great

  • Kevin says:

    What ever happened to GDrive? Was that just vaporware?

  • Niels says:

    I’ve been using dropbox for a while and can’t belive how cool it is. I’ve tried other solutions to sync and backup before and ultimately you end up never using them because they’re clunky or flaky.

    Dropbox just works and you ultimately stop worrying about it syncing properly. That’s the hallmark of online backup!

    not affiliated – just a happy user.

  • Jonas says:

    Whoever has written this has no clue about online backup and storage.

    You are comparing apples and oranges. Some of these companies truly provide online backup services, others provide online storage.

    There is a huge difference between just storing your data and automatically backing up your data.

    Hey, please make a two separate list.

  • Johnathan Barrett says:

    I use MobileMe and love it. I don’t really use the storage, more for email and contacts/calendar syncing but the storage is great I think. Always nice and fast. Why does it have such a low score?

  • Andy says:

    Check out CloudBerry Backup. great way to backup your data to Amazon S3 on Windows!

  • Sam says:

    I’m interested in trying out Jungle Disk, I’ve heard good things about em. Their pricing is actually $2.00 a month though plus the $0.15 per month per 1GB.

  • Frank says:

    SkyDrive is my favorite, but I have not looking into a few of the others. I am going to spend some time looking, thanks for the post.

  • John Vilsack says:

    I appreciate the idea behind this article, but I feel that the execution is lacking.

    I was hoping for some sort of pros and cons from a designer’s perspective on the various tools. Instead we are presented with an arbitrary scoring system in which there is no baseline established for why one product is particularly better than another.

    I have used both Jungledisk and Dropbox and based on the topic of the article (backing up files for data recovery) I would have to say that Jungledisk should rank higher.

    Simply put, the cost to benefit ratio of Jungledisk compared to Dropbox for the purpose of backing up only weighs heavily in favor of the former. Amazon S3’s cost of storage is dirt cheap and in most scenarios a freelancer would take some time to get to where they were using 10 dollars a month in storage costs.

    If you expand the overview, Dropbox’s expanded feature set offer more value especially if you are working collaboratively. Some of these features alone would persuade some people to opt for this service (myself included), but the article is not about these features.

    Taking a look at Jungledisk’s features and benefits, the software uses the S3 platform and can prove even more beneficial if a designer were to leverage some of Amazon’s other services including the Amazon Cloudfront content distribution network.

    But…this article isn’t supposed to be ABOUT these things.

    We are living in a time where people are looking for ways to cut their costs. Dropbox is great for what it does, but if you are looking for a low cost backup solution and your needs are not heavy, Jungledisk definitely deserves some attention.

    This article is a good start, but in the future I’m hoping to see more research and less personal preference in an article that uses words like “required” in the title.

  • Dan Harper says:

    I’d definitely be using MobileMe if it allowed me to flag a folder to be automatically synced.

    MobileMe seems to work the other way around: Keep your files in the ‘cloud’, then sync them back down to your computer – basically working on the cloud.

    So I’ve been using Dropbox instead.

    But if I can replicated Dropbox with MobileMe, then I’d definitely switch over – automatic syncing of calendar & ‘Find my iPhone’ would be even more worth it.

  • Sean Clarke says:

    I’ve used Carbonite for a few years now – unlimited storage space for around $50

    just backs up silently in the background….

  • Valerie says:

    This article was sort of helpful, but would have been more useful if there were an explanation of the rankings. Now I’m just wondering why each got the ranking it did and what were the specific strengths/weaknesses.

    The Nettuts article had more of this info, but I’m still trying to figure out which option is good for web developers to backup client sites. Most of these seem geared for backing up personal media, at least that’s how it seems without more info.

  • Thanks for the tricks, but that article doesnt help me to choice one, but i’ll try somes!

  • Kevin says:

    What ever happened to GDrive?

  • Ahmad Alfy says:

    I have been using DropBox for a while and it’s awesome
    I also use it to Sync files between my computer and my laptop

  • rob says:

    I use Mozy which is $4.95 a month for unlimited storage, syncs with whatever folders I tell it to, incremental backups going back months, saved my skin on a few occasions!

  • Nadya says:

    Want to learn a new way to backup the data to S3? Try CloudBerry Backup. It is powered by Amazon S3 reliable and cost efficient storage. What safer place to keep your files than Amazon’s servers? If you want to take part in beta sign-up on the website

    CloudBerry Lab team

  • Have you tried these services yourself? I’ve gone through many online backup services and have found they don’t always do what they claim to do.

  • Dan says:

    I would like to see SpiderOak Online Backup and Sync on this list. SpiderOak offer secure online backup, sync and webshares for windows, mac and linux and give users 2GB free.

    SpiderOak also lets you backup ANY number of devices and computers with one account and sync’s files and folders independent of OS.

    I have been using them for 6 months with zero issues and i love their support.

    check them out at

  • Thanks for the list. I’ll try dropbox. 2G free and it’s encrypted. Looks like a good deal to me.

  • Dan says:

    +1 for Mozy, best backup solution on the market. Inexpensive, unlimited space, versioning built right in, and automatic backups 20 minutes after your computer is idle. It couldn’t be easier.

  • diggnfuhx says:

    I would suggest a deeper look at WuaLa.
    Nice P2P/Server Java-Based Online Storage System,
    it is possible to trade Online-Time and Hard-Disk-Space for
    Online-Storage-Space or to Buy Storage Space.
    Drag and Drop, automatic Backup, Drive Association
    , Installation or just Startup from the Browser is possible.

    Also sharing Files per Link/Password,Friendlist is no Problem at all and
    Files could be reached without over http://

    1GB free for New-Users, upon Invitation 2GB and 512MB for the
    one who invites you.From Time to Time Promo-Codes are get also
    free Storage-Space.

    Google-Tech-Talk about WuaLa :

  • Robert says:

    Would just like to point out – not sure how big the European userbase is on TF – but geographical location is a big issue with these storage and/or backup as well. MobileMe’s iDisk is just painfully slow for anyone not located in the US. (As far as I know they have their servers still somewhere around Cupertino (a mere 8700km away from me).
    This isn’t a huge issue when you’re just automatically syncing (and uploading) your files, but downloading may take _ages_ (speeds vary between 20kB/s – hello 1998! – and 40kB/s for me, on a 30mbit connection.)