Software & Apps Backup & Utilities What Is Local Backup? by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on October 14, 2019 Michel Brinkmann / Getty Images Backup & Utilities Design Cryptocurrency MS Office Windows Linux Google Drive Apps File Types Backup & Utilities View More Tweet Share Email Local backup is when you use local storage, such as a hard drive, disc, flash drive, tape, or external hard drive, to store backed up files. Local backup is the method used to back up data with commercial backup software and free backup tools and is sometimes an optional, second backup method with online backup services. Local Backup vs Online Backup Local backup is an alternative solution to using an online backup service, which sends your files over the internet to a secure data storage facility owned and operated by a company that you pay a fee to for data storage. Doesn't Require an Internet Connection Backing up files locally is usually a better way to go only if your internet connection is slow. With online backup, the files you back up must be uploaded online to be stored, and downloaded to be restored, whereas local backup doesn't require an internet connection at all. On the plus side, local backup gives you the security of knowing exactly where your data is and who has access to it, plus the freedom to store your physical backup device anywhere you like. See our Online Backup FAQ for more on these differences.