Bye bye Crashplan… er, so what’s next?

the majority of you know I like to back up my data. I’ve had too many run-ins with people handing me crashed hard drives and charred memory cards, expecting me to work magic on them, knowing full-well that their life’s work is included on it. A couple of weeks ago, I even got laughed at for having backups of backups, and storing a lot of stuff “in the cloud”. Well, that’s a story for another rant. I thought Id might as well type something, seeing as I’m saying goodbye to one of my oldest and dearest backup chums, Crashplan.

There are many backup solutions out there, but a few years ago, I punted for Crashplan. Mainly because they had a Black Friday sale on in 2011, and I got a years’ subscription for practically pennies. This year, I won’t be renewing my subscription. And I thought it’d be fair to throw my opinion and experience out there.

I live in the good old United Kingdom of England, where broadband is expensive, yet plentiful At the moment, my broadband speed is something like 120Mbps. It’s lovely and fast. One day, I was a complete pillock, and deleted an entire folder of images, which totalled about 500Mb. Grrr. But, never mind, I knew I had a backup. I went to restore it…. Aaaaaand it took forever. Considering the speed of my bandwidth, I’d expect it to take about a couple of minutes for that amount of data.

I checked with Crashplan to see if they’re throttling speeds…

Due to CrashPlan being a shared service, backup and restore speeds are greatly affected by ISP-provided bandwidth, server traffic, and geographical location in relation to the backup server. Users overseas generally see slightly slower speeds than our stateside users due to the geographical distance between the US and their country (not to mention the generally slower Internet speeds the US has relative to the rest of the world). CrashPlan for Home servers are located in the continental US.

It may also be that your ISP is throttling the traffic - I recommend calling them to confirm.

If your restore speeds drop (and remain) below 1 Mbps, please let us know and we will get logs to troubleshoot.

Well, naturally, I was straight onto Virgin. I know they do throttle some data, but not to the point of what I was experiencing, and as expected, their response was to the negative. This screenshot, showing an almost entirely straight line shows there’s no variation.


So, someone was telling me porkies. I did some calculations. I had about 600Gb of data stored on there. I worked out, at the speeds it was going, it’d take *11 weeks* of my machine constantly downloading, to restore all of my data, should a major issue occur. OK, 600Gb isn’t a small amount of data to be pushed through a little underground cable, but GTA 5 is roughly 60Gb from steam, and it took about an hour, so 600Gb would take at the bare minimum, 10 hours. At the acceptable maximum, a couple of days. I’d whinge at a week.

Crashplan then asked me to send in logfiles. These logfiles consisted of 26Mbs worth of information ZIPPED, and upon closer inspection included the name of every file I’d uploaded there, in plain text. This is where the trail goes cold, and my experience with Crashplan tech support ended. Maybe I’m wrong, but when a tech support department asks for many megabytes of logfile data to answer a simple question, then you’re in trouble. I was going to send an email saying “look, I see what I’m sending. You probably need about 5 lines of it. Tell me what I can cut and paste”, but I clearly never sent it. I just bit the bullet, paid my full-price subscription for another year.

Over the course of the year, my love affair with Crashplan ended. I just didn’t care any more. I began to explore other avenues Currently, I have the majority of my stuff “archived” to Google Drive. It’s roughy £8 per month for 1Tb of space. I back up stuff, I just created an “unsynched” folder on Google Drive (this means you can’t see it from your PC), copy stuff to Google Drive the normal way and then move it into this folder on the web interface. If I need to download it, I just go back into the web interface, right-click and download it again.


I’ve seen grown men physically vomit at the thought of using Google Drive in any form, but it’s a solution.

All of this is my own experience. It could have been something on my end preventing the download running faster, seeing as I never actually finished the tech support thing. But, if you’re in the UK, I’d suggest taking the trial, uploading a few large files and then trying to restore them. Now that I have a different patooter, I might give them another go. Might.