Updated August 2020

What is the Best Personal Cloud Storage in 2021?

IDrive, Backblaze, Livedrive, Carbonite. SOS, Dropbox, CrashPlan






SOS Home





5 TB






No of computers







Free for life version (not trial)

Versions retained

30 days

30 days

30 days

30 days



Ext Disk and NAS backups?

Where is the data hosted?



In the UK

Annual price







About personal cloud storage backup

Personal cloud storage backup services are provided to home and domestic users for their own personal data. There is no reason why these services can’t be used within a business environment and our testing shows very little (if any) in the features when compared between personal and business services. It is true that business services will often comply with regulations such as HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, SEC / FINRA, whereas personal services won’t.

With a personal backup account, your data will be backed-up and protected automatically.  All you have to do is make sure you store your data in a folder which is configured in the backup source and the automated service will take care of the rest. You’ll need to check the online and email backup alerts to check your data is protected.

All the services we review here are low-cost and will protect your most-precious data and photos from any type of failure your device might suffer.

Most of these services as the name suggests, provide 30 days retention on your data. Phrases like history, retention and snapshots often confuse, but they don’t need to. If you create a file, it will be backed-up online indefinitely and won’t be part of any 30 day history period. What is does means is that the system will only retain 30 additional modifications of that file. Let’s say you have a Word doc and you edit and save it 31 times, then only the last 30 backups will be retained. The 1st modification will be purged from the service. Most services say 30 days, and this means 30 versions because they expect you to run one backup per day. 

Assumptions we have made

We are reviewing low-cost and basic personal cloud storage and have made some assumptions based on what is expected from a service like this. Because of this, we haven’t specified which services provide these features.

You won’t need to backup a single file larger than 10GB, your data won’t be regulated by medical, military, police or government, and you don’t have an active RTO and RPO policy in place.

IDrive cloud backup

$52.12 per year

Free account available, low cost service, fully automated, files synced across all devices, multiple device and OS support.

No UK data centres or further details on where the data is stored. Heavy fees of $0.25 per GB for quota overuse. 

IDrive personal backup overview

IDrive personal backup is the only one we reviewed which doesn’t provide unlimited online storage, however, they offer a 5TB quota at the lowest price of all reviewed, and they allow unlimited devices to share the same account. The only other service which allows this is zoolz and their price is nearly double of IDrive. If you have more than 1 device you want to backup, and your total storage requirements are no more than 5TB, IDrive will be the best option for you.

IDrive are one of the leading cloud backup providers that provide personal cloud backup, business online backup, hardware devices and object storage.

IDrive personal storage pricing

IDrive Personal pricing

Installing and using IDrive Personal

IDrive have streamlined the signup and installation process. Create your free account, download the software and off you go. The software interface detects your OS and add the most likely folders you’ll need to backup. In our instance on a Windows desktop, the profile with \desktop \ documents\ music \pictures and \videos were auto-added. You can simply remove these and add other as you like.

Backing up with IDrive Personal

After selecting the folders and schedule, the backup is ready to start. The UI is very descriptive during the backup process and gives you the confidence everything is going well. The system generates a concise backup report and sends through a simple (non-spammy) alert via email.

IDrive personal backup report

Restoring with IDrive Personal

IDrive’s client software and portal are very well designed and slick in how they work. Restoring with IDrive is simple through their UI whether you have data stored on their cloud or locally on your hardware. you can navigate your files and choose to restore them to the original or an alternative location. You can restore data via the desktop software or the web portal.

If you choose to restore your data to an alternative location, there is a feature that locates where your data has been restored to.

The data stored online has the timestamp of IDrive’s system rather than the local time when we uploaded the file and the most recent version is shown each day. If we backup a file 10 times in one day, only the most recent file is available for restore.

Backblaze cloud backup

$60 per year

True unlimited storage for one PC (and a USB disk), recovery disk posted out to you on demand, locate a missing PC

Only one device supported

Backblaze personal backup overview

Backblaze is one of the products we reviewed which provide truly unlimited storage on one device as well as one external USB hard drive.  We couldn’t see any ‘gotchas’ with their unlimited storage offer.

Backblaze are one of the world’s most recognisable names in cloud storage and cloud backup, and recently their B2 object storage platform.

Their website is limited in explaining their compliance standards and where the data is stored. This is a minor point and not a problem because Backblaze have been a firm favourite for low-cost and reliable cloud backup for our team who want a basic and no-thrills cloud backup for their personal data.

Backblaze personal backup pricing

Backblaze personal backup pricing
Livedrive cloud backup

$83.88 per year

True unlimited storage for one PC, and a large reseller network.

Only one device supported, external disks not allowed, 

Livedrive personal storage backup overview

Livedrive offers a varied array of services and is focused very heavily on the reseller market. This means there are plenty of 3rd-party resellers around who might be able to offer you a bespoke version of Livedrive’s service which you can’t get direct from Livedrive themselves.

Livedrive are certainly one of the largest cloud storage providers in the UK.

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