Backblaze B2 is an IaaS service that offers unlimited cloud storage at affordable rates. Sharing and syncing features are limited within Backblaze B2. However, there are plenty of third-party app integrations that can upgrade your storage needs.
In this Backblaze B2 review I'll examine the pros and cons, features, and pricing of Backblaze B2. I'll also check out some of the possible integrations that help make B2 complete.
BackBlaze B2 Pros and Cons
Backblaze B2 Pros
- Affordable – plans from only $5 per month.
- 10GB of free storage space.
- Easy to use cloud storage and cloud backup solution.
- Unlimited storage.
- Plenty of third-party app integrations.
- European and US servers.
- Unlimited versioning.
Backblaze B2 Cons
- Desktop application is only available through third-party.
- No default at-rest / AES (has to be enabled).
Backblaze B2 Features
This Backblaze B2 review covers its main features, plus extras and pricing plans.
Ease of use
Backblaze B2 cloud storage is relatively easy to use. Signing up is a breeze; all it requires is an email address and a secure password.
B2 is an IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) cloud-based storage. So before I begin storing files, I need to create a bucket.
Buckets are excellent organization tools, which work like a virtual container; they can hold files and folders.
I can use them to store related items in and by giving the bucket a unique name, it's easy to locate.
I can create a bucket by clicking on the ‘buckets' tab located on the left side of the web interface. This opens a page where I can see all my existing buckets and create a new one.
Each bucket has an unlimited data capacity, and I can produce up to a hundred on one account.
Backblaze B2 Applications
I can use B2 on my desktop as a hard drive or as an application. I can also use it on my mobile and through the web interface.
The web interface isn't the prettiest I've seen, but it's easy to use. The menu is down the left-hand side, and all my buckets are listed in the center of the page.
Each bucket has its own panel, which displays all the options and settings for it. To change any settings, I don't have to go into the bucket itself; I can do everything from the panel.
Uploading is simple, I can click the upload tab in an open bucket, and a dialog box will appear.
I can drag and drop files and folders into the box, and they'll begin uploading automatically. Each time an individual file has been uploaded, a tick appears on the thumbnail for a short time.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get the upload to run in the background. As soon as I tried to work with my cloud, B2 canceled my upload.
So I had to leave it on the screen until it had been completed. This prevented me from using my cloud until the upload was complete.
Backblaze suggests several third-party applications I can use to mount B2 as a local drive on my desktop.
The desktop drive is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. B2 will be mounted in Windows File Explorer, Mac Finder, or Linux File Manager.
Features differ on the desktop drive depending on the application you've chosen to mount it. Some apps support file synchronization and offline use, whereas others don't.
However, many of the free apps that enable you to mount B2 are difficult to use. They're for more advanced users and require you to work with command-line.
Easier to use applications like Mountain Duck incur an extra cost, but they offer a free trial to try them out.
The desktop app is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux via third-party applications, some of these applications cost.
I used SmartFTP, which is free and worked well. To integrate SmartFTP, I had to add a new application key to my account and use the key to link the two applications.
I can't create buckets using the desktop app, but I can upload them to existing buckets.
First, I have to select the bucket I want to use and then click upload. A dialog box is then opened, which allows me to add files or folders from my local drive.
The Backblaze mobile app is available on Android and iOS allows me to access my B2 cloud storage. From here, I can access my buckets and download files from them.
However, If I want to create a new bucket to store phone data, it needs to be created in the web interface.
In the mobile interface, there are no thumbnail previews when selecting files. To avoid mistakes when downloading, I need to double-check the file name before I begin.
Once my files are downloaded, they're stored in the B2 app. I can then view, work with them, or share them like any other file on my mobile.
I can also upload items by tapping the upload icon in the bottom right corner of the mobile interface.
Backblaze B2 has four data centers. Three of these are located in the US; two are in Sacramento, California, and one in Phoenix, Arizona. The final data center is located in the Netherlands, Europe.
When signing up to Backblaze, I was given the option to store my data in Europe or the US. I can't change the region my data is stored in after I've created an account.
Transferring between regions isn't supported either. If I wanted to switch regions, I'd have to re-upload my data to a new account.
However, I can own multiple accounts, so it's possible to manage accounts linked to different servers.
Backblaze has acknowledged that having the option to switch regions is on their roadmap for the future.
The web and mobile app offer automatic login, which I can use if I'm the sole user of the device. Using this feature, I won't need to enter my password each time I log in to B2.
I can change my password by accessing settings and selecting ‘change password' in the web interface.
This opens a dialog box that asks for my current password and prompts me to choose a new one. I then have to confirm the new password for it to take effect.
Forgotten passwords can be reset using the ‘forgotten password' link on the login page. Backblaze will then ask for my email address to send me a link to reset my password.
I wasn't impressed with the level of default security that Backblaze has. Backblaze B2 uses a secure socket layer (SSL) to encrypt data in transit, but it doesn't include at-rest encryption. Backblaze suggests that at-rest encryption can interfere with file sharing.
This video explains how SSL encryption works.
Backblaze offers to apply Server-Side Encryption (SSE) to individual buckets as they're created. I can also manage encryption in ‘Bucket Settings.'
SSE means that data will be encrypted before it is stored on the cloud. Backblaze B2 uses 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which encrypts data at rest.
There are two options to use with SSE; Backblaze B2 managed keys or customer-managed keys.
- SSE B2 managed keys: B2 will encrypt each file using a unique encryption key. The encryption key is then encrypted with a global key that is saved and used to decrypt files.
- SSE customer-managed keys: A unique encryption key and AES algorithm will be used to encrypt data. The user manages the encryption key.
SSE encryption doesn't incur extra costs, but it limits what I can do with my files.
Creating snapshots and downloading files involves additional servers to the ones used to store data at rest. The servers would need access to encrypted data, which means they need the encryption key to perform these actions.
Two Factor Authentication
I can enable Two-factor authentication (2FA) in my account settings. 2FA prevents anyone from entering my account if they figure out my password.
Each time I log in, it will ask me for an additional code which will be sent to my mobile. The code is randomized every time it is sent.
On mobile, I can set the Backblaze app to remember my password. However, if anyone manages to access my phone, this could compromise the security of my cloud.
Backblaze offers fingerprint login, an extra layer of security for the mobile app to prevent unauthorized access.
Backblaze fully complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR is designed to protect how personal information is collected and stored.
Backblaze will collect information such as my email address and password required to log in. My phone number will also need to be stored if I activate two-factor authentication.
However, I can relax knowing Backblaze won't share my information with third parties without my permission.
Third-Party Application Integrations
To integrate a third-party application, I had to generate a new Application Key. I can do this by clicking on ‘App Keys' listed in the menu under accounts on the web interface. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Add a New Application key.'
Once generated, Backblaze provided me with two codes; a KeyID and an Application Key. By noting this information, I can use it to link my B2 cloud storage to third-party applications.
When adding keys, I can limit the type of access when using integrations.
Sharing and Collaboration
If I want to share files, I can create a public bucket. Before I can do this, I must verify my email. This is so Backblaze can confirm I have permission to share.
There are no options to protect my files with restrictions or a password when creating a public bucket. Anyone with the link can access them.
The ‘Master Application Key' has complete access to my account, whereas additional application keys can be restricted.
An application key gives me control over who can do what with my data. A key can also be given an expiration date and be linked to specific buckets and files using a prefix.
I can use keys to share specific buckets, files, and folders without compromising private data security.
B2 supports another way of sharing called Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS). With CORS, I'm able to share my cloud contents with web pages hosted outside of B2.
Usually, this type of sharing is prohibited by another browser policy called the Same-Origin Policy (SOP). But, by setting CORS rules on my bucket, I can host my files in another domain.
Data can be synced to B2 using the command-line tool, but I can also use a third-party app. The incredible thing about B2 is there are so many integrations.
The one I used was called GoodSync. By connecting my Backblaze account using a new key and following these simple instructions by GoodSync, I was syncing in no time.
I can select a local folder from the left-side menu and the bucket to sync it with on the right. This creates a two-way sync path. This means GoodSync will sync changes made in my local drive to my B2 cloud and vice versa.
I used my home Wifi connection to test the upload and download speed of Backblaze B2. When I performed the upload test, I had an upload speed of 0.93Mbps. The size of the file I uploaded was 48.5MB, and it took 8 minutes 46 seconds.
The upload speed is dependent on connection and bandwidth. Admittedly, my connection wasn't the best, causing a slow upload. The fact I couldn't work with files in B2 while the upload was ongoing was irritating.
With Backblaze, I'm only able to download five files at one time. If I want to download a folder with more than five files, Backblaze offers to take a snapshot instead.
A snapshot is a zip file that is created when I download my files from B2. Snapshots can take several hours to process, depending on the size of the file or folder.
When I created a snapshot, it was put into its own bucket with the prefix ‘b2-snapshot-‘. This bucket isn't visible under the ‘Buckets' tab; to view, click ‘Browse Files' or ‘Snapshots.'
Taking a snapshot is a convenient way to download, especially if you have a lot of files. The maximum size of a single snapshot is 10TB.
Based on Backblazes statistics, they state that it should take approximately one minute per gigabyte to process.
With snapshots, I have three retrieval options; direct download, USB flash drive, and USB hard drive.
- Direct download: The snapshot will be downloaded to my local drive as a zip file.
- USB flash drive: I can opt to have a flash drive containing the snapshot mailed to me. This way, I have a physical copy, or I can upload content anywhere I want. Flash drives hold up to 256GB of data and cost $99.
- USB hard drive: Hard drives cost $189 and can hold up to 8TB of data. The snapshot is uploaded to the hard drive and sent through the mail.
The option of a flash drive or hard drive is great if I need a physical copy of my data. Backblaze runs a refund program for B2 customers who don't need to keep a USB copy of the snapshot.
If the flash drive or hard drive is returned within 30 days of receiving it, Backblaze will give a full refund. The only cost incurred would be the return shipping.
I can order as many flash or hard drives as I want. However, there is a five per year limit to the number of refunds I can claim.
Object locking stops any changes, including modification and deletion, from being made to specific data. This prevents potential attacks from threats such as ransomware which can encrypt and remove files.
‘Object Lock' must be enabled in a bucket at the time of creation. A retention period must also be set before adding any files to the bucket for object lock to take effect.
I need to click on the ‘Object Lock' option on the enabled bucket to choose a retention period. This opens a dialog box, and I can schedule a retention policy.
Backblaze keeps all versions of my files indefinitely by default. A number will appear in brackets alongside a file when there's more than one version available. The number indicates how many versions of that file there are.
Keeping all versions of a file could take up unnecessary space in my cloud storage. To eliminate this potential problem, B2 allows me to create lifecycle rules for my files.
Using the lifecycle settings in a bucket, I can choose only to keep the most recent version of a file.
I can also decide how long I want to keep prior versions before they're deleted. I can't apply lifecycle rules to files that are locked.
When applying these settings to a bucket, the rules are valid for all the files in it unless I customize them.
When customizing, I can choose specific files from a bucket for the lifecycle rules to apply. I can decide when I want versions of a particular file hidden and deleted by entering a file-name prefix. A file-name prefix is the first word in a file's name.
File prefixes could be linked to several files. For example, if I had a file named ‘fluffy cat' and ‘fluffy dog,' the rule created using the prefix ‘fluffy' would apply to both files.
Backblaze will always keep the most current version of the file available when using lifecycle rules.
Lifecycle rules are an excellent way to stop my cloud from becoming cluttered with different versions of the same file. But, if I need to recover a previous version, it could prove problematic if my file has expired.
Although it's nice to have the choice, I think I'll stick to allowing Backblaze to keep all versions and erase them manually.
Caps and Alerts
Backblaze has a nifty little feature that allows me to set data caps. Backblaze is unlimited, and it could be relatively easy to go over the threshold I've set myself. Data caps stop me from going over these limits.
I can enable caps for daily storage, bandwidth, class B transactions, and class C transactions. The alert feature emails me when I reach 75 percent of my total limit, then again when I've used 100 percent.
Backblaze offers an extensive support page that contains relevant help topics and answers to frequently asked questions. It also includes links to articles and pages that discuss the topic in more detail.
The customer support page is easy to navigate, and you can search for specific help.
Backblaze B2 Support Options
There are three support plans available; The GIGA, TERA, and PETA. The GIGA is the freebie, which supports customers with B2 cloud storage. With the GIGA, you should get a response within one business day.
The two Premium customer support options are the TERA and PETA. These offer extra levels of support which includes computer backup as well as B2 cloud storage help.
The TERA and PETA plans have three pricing systems within them. One price for B2 support, another for computer backup, and the third price includes both.
TERA support enables you to add two named customer contacts with access. With TERA, Backblaze should respond to emails within four business hours.
Backblaze B2 support in the TERA plan is $150 per month, which is billed annually. Computer backup support also costs $150, but it'll cost $250 per month if you purchase both.
PETA support has an incredible two-hour response time to emails. It also gives you the advantage of 24-hour phone support and the ability to connect through a Slack channel. You can add five customer contacts with access to this account.
The PETA plan offers computer backup and Backblaze B2 support at the cost of $400 per month each. If you require both types of support, this will set you back $700 per month. Like the TERA plan, these charges are billed annually.
It isn't unusual for IaaS providers to charge for customer support. However, it is uncommon for them to provide free support, which Backblaze has done, so credit is due.
Backblaze B2 offers an import service for moving large amounts of data securely to your account. The Backblaze Fireball has a 96TB storage capacity which you can load up and mail back to Backblaze.
For a 30-day rental of a Fireball, it costs $550 plus $75 shipping. A $3,000 deposit is also payable but will be refunded after the safe return of the Fireball.
Backblaze is a pay-as-you-go-storage solution offering the first 10 GB for free.
Once you've exceeded 10GB, there are separate costs for storage and usage, which we'll discuss here. There's only one storage option that has fixed rates and no hidden charges.
Backblaze B2 Storage Prices
After the first 10 Gb is used, Backblaze B2 charges $0.005 per gigabyte per month. This works out at $5 per month for a whole terabyte of storage.
Your data is calculated hourly to work out your monthly storage usage, with no minimum retention requirement.
Backblaze B2 Usage Prices
Backblaze B2 doesn't charge for uploads or class A API (Application Programming Interface) calls. However, downloads and class B and C API calls come at a cost.
The first 1GB of data downloaded in a day is free; after this, downloads are charged at $0.01 per gigabyte.
The first 2,500 class B transactions are free. Afterward, class B calls cost $0.004 per 10,000. Class C calls are also free for the first 2,500 and, once used, cost $0.004 per 1,000.
For a complete list of free and paid API calls, check out Backblaze's page.
You can check all usage under the ‘Caps and Alerts' tab on the web application.
You can make payments via all major credit cards and debit cards. Backblaze receives payment information in encrypted form, which is then processed through Stripe, which is a secure payment service.
No one at Backblaze will ever view your payment details.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Backblaze?
Backblaze Inc. is a cloud storage and online backup service AND unlimited backup service provider, founded in 2007 with its headquarters in San Mateo, California. Backblaze's main competitors include Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Dropbox, and Carbonite.
Is Backblaze B2 Secure?
Yes, Backblaze protects all data using SSL protocol as well as offering SSE. Therefore, B2 is as safe as you want it to be. You have the choice of whether or not to encrypt your files.
Can I use Backblaze B2 to Backup My Data?
Yes, with Backblaze cloud backup you can use B2 to backup data. However, Backblaze offers a much simpler automatic backup service for business and personal use backup (no need for external hard drives).
What is the Maximum File Size I Can Upload?
Although buckets can store unlimited amounts of data, you're limited to a 10TB file upload.
Does Backblaze Sell My Data?
No, Backblaze does not sell your data. However, they may share your data, but only to provide you with their services.
Why Do Bucket Names Have to Be Globally Unique?
Bucket names have to be globally unique to protect your Account ID. If a bucket were ‘Account' unique, your account name would be required when making a URL or API call. This means it may be publicly visible when using URL or API.
By making a bucket globally unique, it eliminates the need to provide an Account ID. Only the Bucket ID will be visible publicly.
Can I Encrypt Files That Are Already in a Bucket?
No, you must create an encrypted bucket before you upload files to it. If you encrypt a bucket after files have been transferred, they'll stay in a normal state. The files that are uploaded to the bucket after it is encrypted will be protected with SSE encryption.
Backblaze B2 Review – Summary
The sky's the limit with Backblaze B2's unlimited pay-as-you-go plan. B2 is easy-to-use as a storage service if you're just simply uploading and downloading. However, other features such as syncing require a bit of know-how.
That said, there is still plenty to love about B2, including its vast support of third-party apps and unlimited file versioning. With 10GB of free storage followed by low-cost rates, it's an excellent option for personal and business users.
The addition of data capping prevents you from accumulating large bills, so no harm in giving it a try to see what you think.
I have been using Backblaze for a few months now and I am amazed at how well it works. The interface is easy to use and the customer service is great. I can always count on a quick response from the company whenever I have a question. My files are backed up automatically and I can get them back whenever I need them. I am so glad that I found this service because it has made my life so much easier.
The best part is that it's unlimited
I have been using Backblaze for a couple of years now and I love it. I can't believe I was paying for a backup service before. The best part is that it's unlimited, so I never have to worry about running out of space. I also love the fact that it's automatic and runs in the background without me having to do anything.
It's great to know that my data is safe with Backblaze. I've been using the service for a few years now and have never had any problems. It's nice to be able to access my files from anywhere, even if I don't have my computer with me. I also love that the service is encrypted so that nobody can access my files without my permission. All in all, it's a great way to protect your data!
Unlimited means unlimited
I work as a photographer I have a lot of LARGE media (photo and video) files I need to backup in the cloud. What I love most about Backblaze is that the backup REALLY is unlimited!
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