What Is Offline Backup?

What Does it Mean When a Cloud Backup Service Offers Offline Backup?

Photo of an external hard drive and a laptop
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What is Offline Backup?

Offline backup is an optional feature where files you want to backup to an online backup service are first backed up offline by you and then shipped from you to the backup service company's offices.

Offline backup is usually an added cost and you'll only be charged for it if you utilize the feature.

Why Should I Use Offline Backup?

Some initial backups made to an online backup service can take days, or even weeks, to complete, depending on lots of things like the number of files you're backing up, the speed of your Internet connection, and the size of the files.

Considering the added cost, offline backup is usually only a good idea if you know that backing up everything you have via the Internet will take longer than you're willing to wait.

It's a little funny to think about, especially in a world where the Internet is used to transmit everything, but when you have a really large set of files to back up, it's actually quicker to snail-mail all of it than to use the Internet. That's the basic idea behind offline backup.

How Does Offline Backup Work?

Assuming of course that the backup plan you're on supports offline backup as an option, the process usually begins by choosing offline backup as the method you'd like to make your initial backup with. This usually happens when paying for the service or when installing the cloud backup service's software on your computer.

Next, you'll use their backup software to backup everything you want to an ​external hard drive. If you don't already have one, or don't want to buy one, some cloud backup services include the use of one as part of their offline backup add-on.

After backing everything up offline, you'll ship the drive to the online backup service's offices. Once they get the drive, they'll attach it to their servers and copy all the data into your account in a matter of seconds.

Once that process is complete, you'll get a notification or email from the online backup service, letting you know that your account is ready to be used normally.

From this point forward, the online backup process will work for you like everyone else - every change to data, and every new piece of data will be backed up online. The only difference is that you got up and going very quickly.