Are Free Online Backup Plans Just Free Trials?

Free Online Backup Plans Aren't Permanently Free, Are They?

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Those free cloud backup plans aren't actually free forever, are they? Don't you have to pay for them eventually, after 30 or 60 days or something like that?

The following question is one of many you'll find in my Online Backup FAQ:

"Those 'free online backup plans' from your article are just free trials. Eventually you'll have to pay to keep using them."

That is absolutely incorrect!

As of my last update, all of the plans I've included in my Free Online Backup Plans list are 100% free.

Yes, you're understanding that correctly - I mean free as in zilch, zero, nada... $0.00... forever.

It's true, most online backup services do offer free trials for their non-free plans, but several really do offer completely free backup plans that you can continue to use for as long as you want.

These free plans are typically identical to the paid plans aside from the significantly smaller amount of backup space offered. However, if that's all the space you need, you really can get a "free lunch" so to speak with one of these free backup plans.

For example, MiMedia offers 10 GB of free space. 10 GB! Most average computer users could easily get away backing up all of their important stuff with that much free storage. Most MP3 files are only 3 or 4 MB in size, most high photos are similar in size, and all but the rarest of documents average considerably lower than either music or images. Even most short videos come in at under 20 or 30 MB, depending on what device made them.

Now granted, not everyone is average. As of this writing, I have a bit over 350 GB backed up to my Backblaze cloud backup account, which of course is way more than 10 GB. However, I'm backing up several virtual machines, a number of ISO images, nearly 25 GB of music, and lots of other non-standard types, and sizes, of data that most people just don't have.

Like with all things, online/cloud backup included, there are lots of choices out there. It's possible that in this case, the right choice might be not paying for one of these services at all but simply utilizing a free plan.

The most important factor in this case (i.e. deciding between a free or paid plan) is how much space you'll need. This isn't quite as easy a question to answer as it sounds. See How Much Online Backup Space Will I Need? for more on how to answer this one.

All that said, of course these companies are hoping that you're both happy with the service you're getting with the free plan and that at some point you decide to purchase more space, but that doesn't make them free trials.

Here are a few more questions that I'm often asked during the search for the right backup service: