Some weeks ago I wrote about backing up your important files on Ubuntu to Google Drive. It’s a trivial process that will save your hide on the day disaster strikes. You lose your laptop unexpectedly for example or you fall prey to a ransomware gang as has become trendy these days. But what if for some reason you cannot use Google Drive? What should you do?
I found myself in such a situation recently. While in the process of trying to add a new tool to my webhost, I later discovered the tool was not meant for sites in Zimbabwe and wanted it removed from my hosting platform. I wrote an email to the web hosts support with this request and the person who answered the ticket was a French guy. English is not his first language and he thought I wanted out of their service. He wanted to delete everything. I mean everything including the backups they had of my sites.
This was valet service. They do everything while I work on other things that need my attention. I had no backups of my own. Fortunately, the French guy was asking for confirmation that this is what I wanted. Had he just deleted everything, I would have lost all my sites and my only fallback would be the backups I made over a year ago before I moved to the valet service. That frightened me enough and I wanted to do an immediate backup in case there was some miscommunication in the reply I sent to his email. That hit a snag.
When you cannot use Google Drive
The service allows me to log in via ssh, to use SCP, FTP, FTPS and Rsync but it would not allow me to install anything. I couldn’t install the scripts I need to back up my files to Google. This was an almost vanilla Debian environment meant for highly optimised WordPress hosting and caching and nothing else. What I needed was a cloud service that would allow me to use these protocols to back stuff up.
Turns out finding such a service is harder than you that it seems. During the rush to roll out cloud services a lot of cloud providers have rolled out their own proprietary protocols and abandoned the good old ones like FTP, FTPS, SCP and Rsync. The last one is especially powerful and will match any proprietary protocol any day. The appealing option was for me to buy a storage VPS, install Ubuntu and backup to it using rsync but I that would mean keeping an eye on the thing, setting up firewalls, keeping it up to date etc. I just didn’t have time for that.
After extensive research, I came up with 5 cloud backup services that you can use to back up your files using these prevalent open file transfer protocols for when you cannot use Google Drive, OneDrive or a similar service.
The five winners are:
- Rysnc.net these guys have been around for a long time. I had issues that prevented me from using their service though. The first one was the fact the minimum storage size you can buy from them is 400GB which goes for $10.00 per month or $108 per year. Google gives you 2TB for less than that! What’s worse, is it does not even offer redundant backups for this. You will have to pay almost double if you want it. Still, they are a noteworthy service that deserves inclusion
- Livedrive.com offers FTPES, FTP-SSL and FTP Secure protocols when you sign up for its briefcase plan which goes for about $130 per year. You get 2TB and although it’s $30 more than you pay for Google Drive you get the same perks Google offers including redundant storage and more. You can even mount the remote drive and treat it like a local drive if your connection is fast enough you won’t even notice that this is not a local drive.
- Adrive.com allows you to use rsync, FTP, SFTP, SCP and a couple of more protocols. It starts at a reasonable $2.50 for 100GB and I ended up settling for this one. They even give you two months to test the service. The biggest drawback is that rather low speeds of about 60 Mbps. Maybe it’s because I am still at the trial phase. I will see how it goes.
- Drivehq.com supports WebDAV, FTPS and SFTP and plans start at about $4 per user although they have an unconventional pricing model where you have to have at least 3 users. This makes it somewhat expensive if you just want to use the service alone
- Bakop.com support FTP. Their plans start at $4.99 but they limit the amount of data you can transfer to and from their services.
Bonus mention goes to Veerotech.net which supports FTP as well and has RAID plans starting at $3 per month.