Carbonite Review

A Full Review of Carbonite, a Cloud Backup Service

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Person using Carbonite on a computer

Lifewire / Julie Bang

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Carbonite is one of the world's most popular cloud backup services, and for good reason.

All of their backup plans are unlimited and come with a lot of features, putting Carbonite near the top of our list of unlimited cloud backup plans.

Carbonite has been around since 2006 and has a massive customer base, making this company one of the more established among cloud backup providers.

Keep reading for details on Carbonite's backup plans, updated pricing information, and a complete list of features. See our Online Backup FAQ if you have specific questions about online backup in general.

Carbonite also owns Mozy, which was its own online backup service before its 2018 acquisition.

Carbonite Plans & Costs

Valid March 2023

Carbonite offers three Safe plans (they used to be called Personal), all billed annually (or in 2 or 3 year payments) and designed for home computers or small businesses without servers. The prices you see below are for backup from one computer without discounts; follow the links for up-to-date savings information and for prices for the 2-year and 3-year options.

Carbonite Safe Basic

Carbonite Safe Basic grants you unlimited storage space for your backed up files for $71.99 /year ($6.00 /month).

Carbonite Safe Plus

Carbonite's Safe Plus gives you an unlimited amount of storage just like their Basic plan, but adds support for backing up external hard drives and backing up videos by default. It's $111.99 /year ($9.34 /month).

Carbonite Safe Prime

Like the two smaller plans, Carbonite's Safe Prime gives you unlimited storage for your data. Beyond the features in Basic and Plus, Prime includes courier recovery service in case of a major loss. It's $149.99 /year ($12.50 /month).

If one of the Carbonite Safe plans sounds like it might be a good fit, you can try the service for 15 days without any commitment.

Unlike some other backup services, however, Carbonite does not offer a 100% free cloud backup plan. If you only have a small amount of data to keep backed up, check out our List of Free Cloud Backup Plans for several infinitely less expensive options.

Carbonite Features

Like all cloud backup services, Carbonite does a large initial backup and then automatically and continuously keeps your new and changed data backed up.

Beyond that, you'll get these features with your Carbonite Safe subscription:

Carbonite Features
Feature Carbonite Support
File Size Limits No, but files over 4 GB must be manually added to the backup
File Type Restrictions No, but video files must be added manually if not on the Plus or Prime plans
Fair Use Limits No
Bandwidth Throttling No
Operating System Support Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7; Mac 10.10+
Real 64-bit Software Yes
Mobile Apps Yes
File Access Desktop program and web app
Transfer Encryption 128-bit
Storage Encryption 128-bit
Private Encryption Key Yes, optional
File Versioning Limited to 12 versions
Mirror Image Backup No
Backup Levels Drive, folder, and file level
Backup From Mapped Drive No
Backup From External Drive Yes, in the Plus and Prime plans
Continuous Backup (≤ 1 min) Yes
Backup Frequency Continuous (≤ 1 min) through 24 hours
Idle Backup Option Yes
Bandwidth Control Simple
Offline Backup Option(s) No
Offline Restore Option(s) Yes, but only with the Prime plan
Local Backup Option(s) No
Locked/Open File Support Yes
Backup Set Option(s) No
Integrated Player/Viewer Yes
File Sharing No
Multi-Device Syncing No
Backup Status Alerts Email, plus others
Data Center Locations North America and the European Union
Inactive Account Retention As long as the subscription is active, the data will remain
Support Options Chat and self-support

Our Experience With Carbonite

I know that choosing the right cloud backup service can be tough—they either all seem the same or they all seem different, depending on your perspective.

Carbonite, however, is one of those services that I find very easy to recommend to many others. You'll have no trouble using it no matter your technology or computer skills. Not only that, it lets you back up all your important stuff without charging you an arm and a leg.

Keep reading for more about what I like and don't about using Carbonite for cloud backup.

What We Like:

Some cloud backup services offer just one plan, which I personally prefer. However, a range of options isn't always a bad thing either, especially if you want options—and many people do. That's one reason I like Carbonite—it has three different plans, all of which are reasonably priced, considering you're allowed to back up an unlimited amount.

Something else I like is how easy it is to back up your files to Carbonite. Since this is the most important thing you do when backing up, it's good that they've made it really easy.

Instead of having to browse through the program to pick which folders and files you want to back up, you just locate them on your computer like you'd do normally. Just right-click them and choose to add them to your backup plan.

Files that are already backed up are easily identifiable, as are ones that aren't being backed up, by a small colored dot on the file's icon.

My initial backup with Carbonite went very well, with a backup time on par with most other services. What you experience will depend a lot on whatever bandwidth is available to you over this time period.

Something else I appreciated with Carbonite is just how simple it is to restore your data. For obvious reasons, I think restore should be as easy as possible, and Carbonite definitely makes it a breeze.

To restore files, just browse through them online, and back up files directly through the program as if they still existed on your computer, even if you've deleted them. Because Carbonite saves at least three of the most recent versions of each file regardless of age, and can keep up to 12 versions of each file, Carbonite makes it simple to restore a specific version of a file from a different time or day.

Restoring is also supported by a browser, so you could actually download your backed-up files to a different computer if you wanted to.

One more thing I like is that Carbonite not only lets you back up your files automatically when changes are detected, like I mentioned above, but if you want, you can change the schedule to run just once per day or during a particular timeframe.

So, for example, you could choose to run backups only at night, when you're not using your computer. It's not common to see a slow computer or congested internet connection when backing up continuously. However, if you do, this is a nice option to have.

What We Don't Like:

Something I found frustrating while using Carbonite was that it didn't back up all the files in the folders I selected for backup because, by default, it backs up only certain file types. This might not be a big deal if you only have pictures and documents to back up but otherwise might be a problem.

However, you can easily change this option by right-clicking the file type you want to back up and then selecting to always back up those types of files.

In Carbonite's case, the reason all file types aren't backed up automatically is to avoid causing issues if you were to restore all your files to a new computer. For example, excluding EXE files is probably smart because of those potential issues.

Something else I don't like about Carbonite is that you can't define how much bandwidth the program is allowed to use for uploading and downloading your files. There's a simple option you can enable that restricts network usage, but there isn't a specific set of advanced options like I like to see.

Final Thoughts on Carbonite

Carbonite is a good choice if you're in a position where you don't need to back up external drives or more than one internal drive—meaning their lowest-tier plan, a relatively inexpensive one at that, is perfect for you.

If you're not quite sure whether you should choose Carbonite as your backup solution, see our review of Backblaze. It's one I recommend regularly, in addition to Carbonite. You may find that feature you can't live without.

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