Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Amazon S3 For Home Computer Backup

I've been working over the last month, trying to get a very inexpensive online backup solution for my home computer. I settled on using Amazon S3 to store my files. That was the easy part. Then I had to pick which S3 browser/client I would use to upload, organize and move my files to S3. There are quite a few free S3 clients to choose from. They all have their pros and cons, so let me say that I think it's mostly just a matter of opinion what one my choose to use.

I started out using Cloudberry explorer's free edition and the s3 Fox plugin for Firefox. I used them both to upload files to S3. There was a bit of a problem with this when it came to syncing files. Sometimes Cloudberry didn't recognize the files uploaded through S3 Fox and sometimes S3 Fox didn't notice files uploaded by Cloudberry. So, at this point, I knew I needed to pick one S3 client. I chose S3 Fox. Here's why: It's just a plug-in, so it takes up very little space on the computer. Plus, Cloudberry's free edition expires every 18 or so days (see comments below for clarification on this), and I didn't like the idea of having to download the new edition every few days. Those are the reasons I chose S3 Fox.

I did use Cloudberry Backup (free trial) for a bit, but it didn't really serve the purpose I had. I just wanted it to sync the files I already had on S3, but it just made a whole new backup of all my files. So, I had two copies of everything. Not what I was going for. Although, I did find that this was an easy to use program and for someone is looking for automatic backups rather than syncing of files, this might be a viable option.

So, once I chose to use S3 Fox, I had to delete all I had uploaded on my S3 account and start over again, uploading everything. I have about 6-7 gig of data I want to store online. This took about 4 days, since I didn't really baby-sit each upload. It's wise not to upload more than, say 2-3 gig at a time, since uploads did get tripped on occasion. S3 Fox has two syncing options: up to S3 or down to your computer (Cloudberry has more). You can create sync folders of the stuff you want to sync. I found it easiest to group things that needed syncing often together and things that didn't need syncing often in another group. I figured I could just sync my files manually every month or so... that was better than the once a year backup I had been doing!

But, I still wanted more. I wanted the syncing to be automatic. So, I'll tell you more about my free solution next post.


  1. Lindi, CloudBerry Explorer freeware doesn't expire in 18 or so days. It is just that the version you got expired that quickly b/c it was out for several months already. Our newer version will only expire in 4 months.

  2. Thanks for the clarification. That is helpful.


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