Automated Remote Backup Solution (Free!)

After my recent computer crash, I put some serious thought into how I wanted to handle future backups.

This is not the first time I've found myself in this situation - in true panic mode over major data loss, and without a current data backup on hand.

When I sit and think about what I stand to lose, it's a lot. Every file and program I use to manage my online business, my accounting for the year, all of my contacts and emails, several years worth of photos - pictures of my family even!, products and downloads I've invested thousands of dollars in, my own products I have tons of time invested in... The list goes on and on.

I would be absolutely heartbroken over a true data loss, not to mention left scrambling for months trying to recover and get things back up and running 😯

There is no good excuse for not having current data backups. That said, its the rare person that actually has them 100% of the time. And of those people, an even smaller percentage that has a foolproof backup system.

I didnt. And according to the comments left after my recent computer crash, most of you dont either. Seriously - when's the last time you did a thorough backup of your computer. And just how safe is that backup?

Dont feel bad. You're not alone. Everyone else who is reading this is in the same boat. We know we should. We say we will. We plan to do it. But when it boils down it, you'll procrastinate until its too late, because you wont realize the importance of it until you're staring at a blank screen or a fried hard drive.

Its one of the most sickening feelings you will ever experience.

When this happened to me (again!) recently, I decided to finally do something about it. To find a real solution.

I know me - putting it on the calendar isnt going to work. Taking the time to create CD's isnt going to work. For starters, I'll never get around to it. And honestly, every backup solution I can think of has its pitfalls.

What good are CDs if the house burns down? Even if you ran a cron job every night to transfer files to an external hard drive, you'd have to store it off-site or in a fireproof safe. And let's be honest - who's going to go to all that trouble?

Besides, that stuff can get expensive.

I looked around, did my research, and decided to test one of those online backup services. Mozy (Mozy Unlimited Backup - $4.95/Month) was recommended to me by two of my forum members, as a very affordable and reliable solution - so I signed up.

Before you knock the idea, check out Mozy's ideas for alternative backup solutions...

Alternative Backup Solutions...

  • Burn a new CD or DVD every Sunday night and store it at your brother-in-law's office.
  • Pay $200/year for an online backup service that uses old, mediocre software.
  • Buy a $200 external hard drive and hope your office doesn't burn down.
  • Do nothing and don't worry about backup. (We suggest closing your eyes, plugging your ears and repeating "I'm in my happy place, I'm in my happy place.")
  • Run a cron job of rsync, gzip and mcrypt piped over ssh to your friend's server over his DSL line.

Seriously, for less than $5/month you never have to worry about it again!

I was skeptical, I admit. But I read over the website and decided to give it a shot. Its certainly well worth the price - I cant compete with $4.95/month for a true and reliable backup solution.

They also offer a free online backup service for up to 2 Gigs. I looked at both options, and decided I'd just go ahead and sign up for the unlimited package ($4.95/mo). I know full well that I have more than 2 gigs of data, and the price is incredibly reasonable. That said, if you dont need a lot of backup space or just want to backup photos or other personal data, check out their free offer:

2GB Totally Free Online Backup! Compliments of Mozy

So here's what happened when I signed up: I walked through the signup process in a matter of minutes and was installing the Mozy software. I had no idea how complicated it was going to be, or what to expect, and in the back of my mind I was noting which programs or which folders I would want to tell it to back up for me.

It turned out to be much easier than I thought. In fact, I was incredibly impressed. Once Mozy was installed, it walked me through a few quick screens and I was done. Mozy actually scanned my hard drive and made a list of all of the program files and folders I should back up, so I didnt even have to do that!

Within minutes - literally, less than 10 - the backup was running in the background and I was completely free from all future backup responsibility. Wow. WOW... πŸ˜€

Who knew that 5 minutes and 5 dollars could buy such a HUGE sense of relief. I dont know about you, but my data is invaluable - and that was a seriously small investment to have ongoing protection and backup security.

I got lucky with my last "crash" and was able to restore my data. It took me days, and I'm still not completely done - and I wont even tell you the panic and stress I went through in the midst of it all.

Others are not so lucky. You never know when that fatal crash might happen to you. What do you stand to lose if your computer crashes, catches fire, or completely locks up... while you are sitting here reading this blog post and debating whether its worth 5 bucks, or even just 5 minutes of your time to sign up for the free 2 Gigs?

Think about it. But dont think too long. Decide whether you want to sign up for a free account for 2 gigs of data backup space, or whether you want unlimited data storage. Those are the only 2 real options. Pick one and go for it - and never worry about your data again.

Pick One:

sleeping easy at night

P.S. Yes, they are Mac-compatible too πŸ˜‰

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»


  1. Hi Lynn!

    Yep. Like I had mentioned over at the forum, I've been using Mozy for a bit over a year now and it's worked fine for me.

    I tried a couple of online backup services before that and I wasn't impressed. Mozy is alot easier to setup and use for ALOT less money.

    I still use two external backup drives (they're really reasonably priced these days) that I rotate each one out weekly. That one goes offsite into safety deposit box. heh heh

    NICE not to have to rely on CDs anymore except for quick copies of something.

    Glad ya got it under control now! πŸ˜‰

    Rick Wilson 8)

  2. Thanks again for the recommendation, Rick - Mozy rocks! πŸ˜‰ I'm curious why you still use the 2 external hard drives in addition to Mozy - is that just for "peace of mind" or another reason?

  3. Angela Wills says

    I love Mozy. Have been using it for about 4 or 5 months now and it's great. Before I started using it I bought an external hard drive for backups but really I barely ever remembered to back things up even though I have it here.

    Another thing I've been meaning to do is back up my websites! This is something people absolutely should be doing too and I keep thinking I have to do it now. I'm planning to use another automatic backup service called CP Site Saver, recommended by Lynette Chandler. It logs into your control panel on a regular basis and backs your site up.

    For me, the only way is automated with this kind of stuff.

  4. Lynn,

    Nothing is foolproof but you might say it's partly "peace of mind" also! πŸ˜‰

    The only files I don't back up online (to Mozy) are files that contains "sensitive" info. Personal data, passwords etc. Most other files there's no problem uploading them.

    I also do daytrading during the week mornings and have stuff that I would rather have personal control over the backups.

    But ... I'm REALLY not paranoid! LOLOL

    Rick Wilson aka CorpRebel 8)

  5. That makes perfect sense πŸ˜‰ Thanks for taking the time to share that, as I was curious. And thanks again for the recommendation - I am SO relieved!

  6. Internet Marketing Blog says

    This sounds great Lynn.

    Do you know if Mozy can be used to backup my remotely hosted servers too? Or is it just for home PCs?

  7. I'm not sure... The solution Angela mentioned sounds good for that though.

  8. IMB,

    Mozy has a business version called MozyPro for office backups.

    Full info at their site.

    Rick Wilson 8)

  9. Aurelius Tjin says

    Yah, I must agree with you Lynn. You must be extra careful at times and keep a back up, you'll never know what will happen!

    Good move Lynn. πŸ™‚

  10. Hi Lynn,

    I have been reading about the online backup industry for a while now. Online backup is maturing and slowly getting the attention of the general consumer. One website worth mentioning is the backup review site:

    This very informative site, not only posts up to date news and articles from the industry, but also lists about 400 online backup companies and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis and features a CEO Spotlight page, where senior management people from the industry are interviewed.

  11. Thank you, Jenny - I look forward to checking it out!

  12. Duncan Stott says

    Hi Lynn,

    Relieved to see that you got your backup sorted out.
    Mozy sounds like a great Idea!

    During the early days, I too suffered several HD crashes.
    Those were the days of dos/win 3.1/win 95 and un-reliable floopy disks.
    We were then forced to up grade our pcs to include backup tape drives.

    These days, I simple use an external HD for my internet connected
    PC & WiFi connected Notebook.

    I back up new & updated data between both units plus transfer total
    data to my office pc at a different location just to be extra safe.

    Data loss can be a terrible the old saying goes....its not a question of "IF" but a question "WHEN".

    Have a nice day all.


  13. Thats a good find Lynne. Following your last post, I ordered a 160GB back up drive (should be arriving tomorrow!), so I guess I will see how dedicated I am at backing up to it.

    I have also got 2 others for collegues and the plan is to swap drives weekly, so we each have a ful set of data off site, that is never more than a week old.

    Still have to remember to do the backups though!

  14. Good luck with that, Charlie - I'm very happy not to have to worry with it, and to have a fresh backup off-site every night.

    Duncan - I remember those days well πŸ˜†
    I was a Unix Sys Admin back in the mid 90's, and my first home pc had Win 3.1, 9600 baud modem, 4 megs of ram LOL...

  15. Duncan Stott says

    Hi Lynn,

    Reading your last post got me remembering the early days of
    IBM & ms dos once again.

    Those early days were full of trials & tribulations.
    All you had to do was download
    some new software to your PC & all hell broke loose.
    I can tell you a lot of patience was the order of the day back then...the
    newbies today with MS XP haven't a clue. LOL

    It wasn't all bad news though as I have a story I'll love to share.
    Back in those early years, I remember receiving an amazing PC related catalogue.
    It was slim but nevertheless full coloured and carried a ton of amazing stuff.

    Do you know.......I still find myself making purchases from them.
    They have an beautiful website, plus they literally over deliver on products specifications & pics.

    Perhaps you are all familiar with them, but if not go, take a quick look at:

    I guess my hidden story inside this story is simply that we
    all need to take note and act on delivering great value to our customers,
    just like I found tigerdirect has done year after year.


  16. Ahh yes, I am very familiar with them and on their mailing list (still!) myself πŸ˜‰

  17. I'm also a Mozy lover. I love how hands off it all is.

  18. Chris Jacobson says

    I may have to look into this service. Up until now I've always uploaded backups to my web server which is located elsewhere.

  19. Man, I like this post. You made me feel much better about my latest programmer venture. I devloped not just 10 days ago, a script custom 100% written that will do this exact function with local and ip-ip and subnet access to file share or upload contents from one ftp to another or email files to whomever and how often as you choose.

    All this running by itself, set it and forget it.

    I read this post and must say it made me smile, I might get into doing something like this for public use, can't beat their price thoe for JUST Space not including the script to runs it all.

    The spacing is fine, but when you have dedicated servers all over the place, and tons of local and remote emails, I can have backups all I want.

    Not to self promote, here at all. Just mentioning this post opened my eyes to bigger things.

    what do you think, should I do public!

  20. A note to my reply, I didn't read into their service in more detail, my backup solutions works from the web or server to server only.

    This solution is a software in which you download and it runs set with the computer time clocks to schedule harddrive backups.

    But I do have a killer solution for server backups, or personal ftp or site backups, even sql or databases'.

    Thanks, in advance!

  21. I'd say theres definitely a market for it πŸ˜‰ There are similar services out there, but I dont know how many people are actually using them - or educated about why they should.

  22. I believe my best bet would be develop this into something server to server, or example: a cpanel plugin of some sort (other contorl panels also), so hosts or personal dedicated servers acting as hosts, can offer their clients automative backups.

    Most custom built server, do this on the backend, for the client most of the time and you can set crons as a hosting client to making daily or whenever backups of your entier directory or certain files or folders.

    I will see what I can come up with, hmmm. Interesting. might be my next project.

  23. Thanks for the great recommendation, Lynn. Previously I already knew the importance of using back up resources for my online business, but the sheer cost of setting up one was just something I couldn't afford at the moment. But since you've recommended Mozy & they offer backups at such a super-low price, I'll definitely check them out....thanks ! πŸ™‚

    P.S. (Oh....and btw Lynn, I previously sent you a private message at the forum on a particular biz matter, but I haven't received any reply yet....hope to hear from you soon with regards to that matter, thanks ! )


  24. marketing training says

    Hi, yes you are right most of us, especially ME are guilty of not backing up our files.

    And I'd paid severely for this slip. Thanks for this one. I will bookmark it right away

  25. Thanks, John - I'm on it!

    Chris - keep us posted. Sounds interesting πŸ˜‰

  26. Hi Lynn,

    I use carbonite (no 1 on for automatic online backups at $50/year for unlimited space.

    Works great.

  27. Tuppy Glossop says

    Lynn, you've mentioned that you're slowly moving many of your sites over to WordPress.

    Given that, you might find this plugin helpful:

    I use it for several of my blogs. It allows you to schedule backups, and/or to do them manually. Additionally you can choose to download the backup, have it save to the server, or have it sent to an email address.

    I simply created a new Gmail account solely for this purpose, and each day a backup of my site is emailed there automatically.

    I also use Mozy, and agree with you that it's a great service. The initial upload took a while, but since then it's been almost invisible, and very effective.

    Thanks for the great blog.

  28. Excellent - thank you for the link! πŸ˜€

  29. Thanky thanky thanky!
    Lynn. I've been concerned about not having my computer backed up for some time now and have been considering an external hard drive. My concerns with that were as you stated, where to keep it primarily.
    This is a great relief to me and at a great price. It's doing the initial back-up as I write this (5 days?) and I guess it will be for awhile.
    What a relief. Now I can spend the next free money I get on more RAM.
    Thanks again.


  30. I know how you feel, Duane - I was really happy to find this and find it to be so easy at such a low price. No more stressing over data backups! πŸ˜€

  31. I have been also using Mozy for about 4 months. Love it, love it, love it. It is very easy to set up - something important to this non-techy!

  32. Dennis Edell says

    I have the same question that I have for ALL backup services. How do you really know it's safe?

    I'm talking theft here. Seeing as they can essentially copy/download anything they please, how do you really know?

    There's a lot more I'd like to keep private, then just passwords and moms maiden name πŸ™‚

  33. I dont know Dennis, but you could ask that of just about anything - even being piped into the internet alone...

    I dont usually keep sensitive information on my computer anyway, but you can always put it in a password protected directory and remove it from the backup option too.

  34. Dennis said:

    "I’m talking theft here. Seeing as they can essentially copy/download anything they please, how do you really know?"

    The software loaded onto your PC is specific to that PC. That software encrypts the data and then uploads these files to their servers for storage. They use the same encryption technology that banks here in the U.S. use.

    They can only access the files themselves NOT the data in them as the data is encrypted.

    I mentioned in an earlier comment here that I upload everything to mozy that I deem "non sensitive", which is most stuff. The remainder is backed up on external drives that I rotate and keep offsite. But then again ... I'm not normal! LOL

    Personally, I am VERY comfortable with Mozy as I've been using them for a little over a year now. A great convenience AND peace of mind.

    As for "how safe is it?" ... Lynn sums it up in her last comment. πŸ˜‰

    Have A GREAT Week!

    Rick Wilson aka CorpRebel 8)

  35. FYI, Mozy has a coupon code for the month of August 2008. You'll get 10% off annual and biannual options by using the code "AUGUST" when you sign up for a Mozy account @

  36. Austin Texas Notary says

    Mozy is great, but I would STILL manually back things up weekly or at least monthly on a external hard drive. I just got the infamous Aprils Fool's computer virus that 60 Minutes talked about. I got it two weeks prior. Even with Mozy some of my files got corrupted with this virus. I saved some data only because of the zip drive. Unless 100% of your files are in the perfect place for Mozy to back up, they won't back them up unknowningly to you. That is why I lost some data.

    It's GOOD to be paranoid when it comes to your data. Just use Mozy and 2nd hard drive back up system.

  37. I did try Mozy, but after researching further and digging into some negative experiences from others (with Mozy), I settled on JungleDisk.

    It functions in the same way, automated, background backups. Plus it's Mac compatible (like Mozy), which is a must for me πŸ™‚

    Another must have for me is to reliably back up just the changed components of files, something which I require as I keep all my sensitive data in a TrueCrypt volume (something others above may like to consider). This is a single file of around 2gb, generally only 2-300kb is changed on a daily basis and that is all that is backed up by JungleDisk.

    I would recommend the following solution, to cover both your sensitive files, and also to ensure you have speedy access to your backup data (it's not fun to have to wait to download your backups from a remote me!)

    1) use Truecrypt to store sensitive files in an encrypted volume
    2) use a local hard drive for automated local backups (I use Timemachine on OS X, for Windows, consider something like Robocopy)
    3) use automated online backup such as Mozy or Jungledisk
    4) sleep soundly at night

  38. I've had nothing but frustration w/online backup services. Mozy has never successfully backed up my computer, even though I'm pretty tech savvy and worked w/their tech support. ElephantDrive's software wouldn't even open, even after troubleshooting with their tech support and mine at work. I've easily spent the same amount of money on failed cloud backups as I would on an external drive. It's exceptionally frustrating--any tips, especially from Mac users?

    • Wow, I've never had any issue at all. But I'm running Vista & XP on my two PC's that I use with Mozy. I have no idea what the issue could be...

      An external drive is certainly an option, but it's important to keep a copy of your data off-site. Computer crashes are one thing, but a house fire or other unfortunate disasters would take everything on-site (computers and backup disks alike).

      They weren't able to troubleshoot and fix the issue at all?

  39. Neither ElephantDrive nor Mozy nor my workplace tech could even identify what the issue is, let alone fix it. So frustrating! I'm still looking for a solution, but it's maddening because everyone says such good things about Mozy. I liked ElephantDrive because they offer a little more flexibility in their storage options...

  40. I have had the same 'fantastic' experience as you guys, trying to start up my machine in the morning and nothing happening. In the end luckily I got it back to work, but ... I had to do something about it.

    I had a look at Mozy and a lot of other online backup progs as well and decided to use And up to today I LOVE it. We have had a few instances that we deleted files and once that a harddrive got corrupted, and in all instances we good get our data back.

    Lessons learned:
    (1) although I am not doing it (yet), a backup once a month or so on a harddrive would be helpful as it can take days to get your data back from the online services. Especially when you have a lot of data (like me) that you backup. I have all my photos etc also backuped.
    (2) I am using as many online solutions as possible since that moment. I switched over to google apps for my email (instead of outlook). I am not using the excel and word version of google as I find it too slow.
    (3) Do a 'crashtest' once in a while: sit before your computer and pretend that it is not starting up! What would be the impact? Which documents can you get to, can you get to your passwords etc etc. This is a real eyeopener for most people.


  41. forgot one important thing.

    An online backup is NOT the same as backing up your computer once a week or so when you do not overwrite the old backup.

    What I did not realize is that when I delete a file from my pc, this same file will also be deleted from the online backup after approx 30 days (that at least is the policy with Carbonite). Asking around learned me that this is rather standard procedure.

    So if it is your idea that you will not loose files, that you need to reconsider this solution. If it is to have a backup in case your computer stops working GO FOR IT! It is fantastic.


  42. While I was seriously thinking of online offsite backup, the few comments about having a fast internet connection got me thinking that 2 backup disk in a small fire resistant box might be helpful especially for photos and videos.

    Anyway, the speeds where I live is to slow to upload GB of stuff

    • Hi James,
      that is an issue that a lot of people do not think about, you are right. I have been living in SA where we had a maximum of 2GB download (and upload), after that we had to pay $100 per GB. And we had a 1MB download speed, in those cases it does not work.

      On the other hand, you can also decide to make backups of your photo material (as this normally is the biggest part of the backup) and only use the online backup for documents etc. I would suggest trying out Mozy, the free version and only backup those docs'


  43. I like Mozy, but several years ago, I had found ADrive (from AOL) when I was reviewing free backup services. ADrive gives you 50GB for free. Of course, upload times are slower and file size is limited on the free plan, but 50GB is quite a bit of space for free storage.

    • Not bad! Are the backups automated, or do you have to do them yourself? I love the automation with Mozy. I'm also loving their new features, particularly mobile apps! The apps allow you to access specific files within your backups from ANY device (such as your iPad or mobile phone) which is super helpful when I'm traveling and realize I need an image or document. πŸ™‚

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