Will My Internet Be Slow If I'm Backing up All the Time?

Constantly Backing up Data Will Bring My Internet to a Crawl, Right?

Man in a suit looking at his watch
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With your data being backed up over the Internet at all times with online backup, does that mean that it's constantly uploading everything on your computer? Won't that make everything else you do online really slow?

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

"Won't my Internet connection be slow if I'm sending all my files over the Internet all the time?"

Generally, no, you should not notice that your Internet connection is slower during uploads, especially if your large initial upload is already complete and are just doing normal web browsing, video watching, music streaming, etc.

After the initial upload of your data, the software installed on your computer that was provided by your chosen online backup service watches for changes and additions to files and locations and then uploads those changes. The whole of your selected data isn't continually being backed up.

For example, let's say it's Tuesday night and you've just completed your initial backup of 320,109,284,898 bytes (almost 300 GB) of data. Then on Wednesday morning, you make a 5,011 byte change to a file. After that change is saved, only that 5,011 byte change is backed up, keeping what's on your computer in sync with what's backed up on the remote server.

Next, let's say you add a 6,971,827 byte MP3 file to a folder you've previously selected to be backed up. Only that new file is uploaded, not your entire music collection all over again.

It's actually a little bit more complicated than that, and one cloud backup service may do it slightly differently than another, but that's the gist of what's called incremental backup.

Additionally, some online backup service's software have advanced bandwidth control options that allow you to limit upload rates to certain levels, only backup when you're not using your computer or device, etc.

If bandwidth control is really important to you, look for my favorite services that feature Bandwidth Control (Simple) and Bandwidth Control (Advanced) in my Online Backup Comparison Chart.

Here are some other online backup concerns that I often get asked about:

Here are more questions I answer as part of my Online Backup FAQ: