Free* Offsite Backups

*All software used is free, but does requre some hardware.

Digg | Furl | reddit |

Do it yourself free* offsite backups for windows users.

A friend and I were recently discussing the need for offsite backups. Building a redundant setup at home is pretty easy these days, but that doesn't protect me from theft, or a localized catastrophe. Neither of us are heavy Linux users (we both run Linux based firewalls, but these are downloadable ISOs that don't require much Linux knowledge.) I researched several services that would provide this service, and they were either restricted on amount of data, or the cost to use them was prohibitive. Services like http// are fantastic, but the free 2gb is not enough for me, and even the upgraded package at 30gb for $4.95 a month is too restrictive. If 2gb is plenty of space for you, you can stop reading here. Click the Mozy link, and get a free easy to use offsite backup service. The link IS a referral link, so if you click it, we'll both get an extra 256mb of space to use on their free plan.

Another solution I looked at was JungleDisk, which takes advantage of Amazon's S3 network. Unfortunately for the amount of data that I want to back up it would cost me $30+ a month. A very tempting service was Carbonite. They offer unlimited offsite backup for only $4.95 a month with discounts for ordering 6 months or a year at a time. The problem is, in their terms of service they have the right to deny service to "abusers". I would never intentionally try to abuse the system, but without any definitions, it makes me nervous. There is also no function to keep multiple versions of files. So if I'm working on a novel, and I decide I want to revert to a version I had a couple weeks ago, I'm out of luck.

The method I've put together leverages free software packages in addition to a small initial investment(or no investment if you have some old unused hardware). Both of the core applications used in this process are free for windows users, but can be run on Mac and Linux if you are willing to pay a small fee. Setting this all up on a Mac or Linux box is out of the scope of this document, but you could easily apply the principles outlined to accomplish it on the platform of your choice.