Most of us know that it is important to back up our data so we don’t risk losing our precious photos, videos and work. I prefer to back up the data using a combination of external hard drives and cloud-based backup (storage). For saving data to the cloud, I’ve been using Backblaze for several years.

Death Valley at night with light painting. California.
I am backing up approximately 10 TB of data using Backblaze, most of it photos and videos. Many of these are night photos, such as of this photo of Death Valley in California. These are very special and precious to me, so backing up is crucial.

Simple to choose, simple to use

One of the things I love about Backblaze is that it’s simple from the very beginning. The deals are simple. It’s $7/month, $70/year or $130/two years, all including a 15-day free trial. Any plan you choose has unlimited data backup. And it doesn’t matter what kind of file type or size.


Like every other online backup service, Backblaze allows you to back everything up automatically when it’s changed or when you add new data. And yes, Backblaze allows you to back up from external drives from a single computer. How many? As many as you wish.

How do you use Backblaze?

I will describe how to use Personal Backup, the choice you would most likely use.

The system requirements are MacOS 10.9/Windows 7 or higher, broadband connection and 5 GB of free space.

The installation for Mac or Windows is very basic, just like any other software installation.

Choosing your settings in Backblaze

I will be using screenshots from my Mac. However, the options for Windows are the same.

After installing Backblaze, you can set and forget your options. Backblaze will then run in the background unless you want to do something different.


Settings menu in Backblaze.
Settings menu in Backblaze.

This allows you to choose the drives that you will back up. I’ve also chosen to show the Backblaze icon in the menu bar, which allows quick access.


Performance menu in Backblaze.
Performance menu in Backblaze.

You may choose between Automatic Throttle and Manual Throttle. Automatic Throttle automatically adjusts the speed of backups. If you turn this off, you can set how much of your internet bandwidth you wish to use for backups. Maxing it out to the right uses more of your bandwidth and backs up faster.

I’ve used it maxed out for years, forgetting that I had set it that way, and never had an issue even with multiple computers working simultaneously. However, if you have limited bandwidth, using Automatic Throttle might be a better choice. Backblaze allows you to check your home bandwidth and also describes throttle.

Backblaze allows you to choose the amount of threads that you back up simultaneously. Multi-thread uploads give you the ability to upload multiple files or multiple parts of one file simultaneously. Backblaze’s current maximum is 100.

Currently, Backblaze recommends eight threads. That seemed to work well for my needs. Adjust this for your particular needs. Add more threads to see if the performance changes. If you see improvements in the upload rate without any performance issues on your computer, then try adding some more to determine the optimal amount of threads.


Schedule menu in Backblaze.
Schedule menu in Backblaze.

Choose between Continuously, Once a Day or Only when I click <Backup Now>. If you choose Continuously and have selected optimal performance settings as done above, your data will be backed up as you use your computer normally. Nothing else needs to be done.

Exclusions menu in Backblaze. This is done automatically, and shows you some of the files that people typically don't wish to back up if they are backing up files.
Exclusions menu in Backblaze. This is done automatically, and shows you some of the files that people typically don’t wish to back up if they are backing up files.

Backblaze works in the background

That’s it. Backblaze goes to work. You will not be aware that anything is different, but your data is constantly being backed up. For $130 for two years, this offers incredible piece of mind.

If you were to have a catastrophic failure in which your drives and backup drives fail, you could back up your entire system from Backblaze by either having them mail you a hard drive or downloading the data.

I should add here that if you have them mail you an 8TB drive for $189, you have the option of keeping the drive or returning it for a full refund. Doing the latter makes this service free, a rather fantastic deal.