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3 Reasons Why Online Backup is Better Than You Thought

3 Reasons Why Online Backup is Better Than You Thought

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    BestBackups.com is a review site for online backup providers, with almost 50 providers reviewed now.
    Lifehack Partner

    When was the last time you made a backup of your hard drive?

    Take a moment to think about everything you are at risk of losing. Taking a quick look through the contents of my computer’s hard drive, I saw things like pictures, videos, tax information and receipts for online purchases, all of the software I’ve downloaded and configured.

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    Losing all of this information is losing a part of yourself. Going about our daily routines, we rely heavily on the physical hard drives in our computers to stay healthy. Like everything mechanical, it will fail. What are you going to do to help keep the information most important to you safe when disaster strikes?

    As you may have  noticed, over the past few years the price of external storage has plummeted. About 2 years ago, you could have purchased a very portable 250 or 500 GB hard drive for about $100 or so. The low prices of external storage mean you can get a 1 TB external hard drive a little bigger than a pack of playing cards for the same price. But the question is, what has this done to online backup and cloud storage pricing?

    Cloud storage pricing has dropped at an alarming rate over the past few years. The extremely low prices definitely warrant taking a good hard look at online backup options before spending $100 or $200 on an external hard drive that’s bound to fail.

    The best solution for you will be an online backup of some kind. With all of the services available, how do you know what the best option is? Take a look at some of the reasons you will want to use cloud-based storage and some of the options available to you.

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    1. Online backup is easy and automatic.

    Once up and running, online backup doesn’t require you to have a good memory. I know there have been a bunch of times I didn’t remember to plug in my external hard drive when it was time to back up my computer, how about you? The initial backup can take some time to complete. However, once it is complete the backup process is barely noticeable. As you are working, the new information will be seamlessly backed up whether it be something new or a revision of something you have been working on for a while, like your zombie novel.

    2. Less likely to be damaged

    Physically having an external hard drive in your possession leaves it open to all kinds of potential hazards. Some of the hazards might be your fault like stepping on it, dropping it or knocking over your coffee cup on it while a backup is in progress. Other possible ways to damage the external hard drive are a little less your fault. There could be a fire at your house or office that consumes the hard drive. Something all too common would be an electrical surge such as a lightning strike nearby that could damage the hard drive or corrupt the information on it.

    Another very good possibility is the hard drive simply wears out. I’m sure you yourself or you know someone who’s lost all of their important information because the hard drive crashed. Because the servers used for online backup are consistently running, the hard drives are replaced with good regularity. Also many of the servers use what’s called a RAID set up which means your information is redundantly backed up on multiple hard drives. This way if one goes bad, the information is still safe and you don’t see any interruption of service.

    3. Security and peace of mind

    The reputable online backup services offer a great deal of security. They don’t have access to your individual files, they are just providing you with storage space. What’s nice about using an online backup solution is the peace of mind. A huge security benefit is the encryption they use. In most cases, people don’t encrypt their flash drives or larger external hard drives so using an automatic online backup would be added security for most people.

    Another reason storing your information in the cloud is more secure in most cases is because someone isn’t going to break into their server banks and physically take your information out. Unless they are some highly trained espionage team like you’d see on mission impossible, you can rest assured your vacation photos from Niagara Falls will be safe. In fact, many of the data centers are spread out over large distances and there are actually several backups of your information.

    Google Drive

    Google Drive gives you 5 GB of free storage accessible from any computer and most mobile devices through the Google Account you may already be using. Additional space can be purchased if you need more space. For $4.99 a month you can get 100 GB of Google Drive storage. Using the Google Drive Offline app, you can easily sync all of your important information and keep safely online.

    Dropbox

    Dropbox is one of the most well known names in cloud storage. Initially you’ll get 2 GB of storage for free. The space is accessible through pretty much any device connected to the Internet. When used on an Android device, there’s options for automatic picture or video upload. Additional space can be purchased also. 100 GB of dropbox space will run you $9.99 a month.

    Carbonite

    Carbonite is an automatic backup software for your computer. The yearly price of the entry-level service is $59 a year. This $59 gets you unlimited storage space on the Carbonite servers to backup video, audio, photos, documents and even your computer settings. If you need more features, other backup options are available too.

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    Other Options

    Overall, the online backup of information is more secure than it’s ever been. There are a huge plethora of options available not just the 3 listed above and it’s worth looking around for a good online backup solution because these type of backups rely less on human interaction meaning, first and foremost, the backups actually happen. And with all of the security involved in the transmittal and storage of your data, it’s pretty darn safe overall.

    Featured photo credit:  Defect hard disk drive with smoke. Open drive as symbol for data loss. via Shutterstock

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    Published on September 25, 2020

    10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

    10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

    When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

    VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

    How to Choose a VPN

    • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
    • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
    • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
    • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
    • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

    Why You Should Trust Us

    Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

    Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

    1. NordVPN

    The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

    Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

    NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

    In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

    NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

    Buy this VPN.

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    2. ExpressVPN

    ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

    Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

    Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

    Buy this VPN.

    3. Surf Shark

    With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

    Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

    The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

    Buy this VPN.

    4. CyberGhost

    Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

    The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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    What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

    Buy this VPN.

    5. IPVanish

    IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

    IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

    Buy this VPN.

    6. Private Internet Access

    Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

    One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

    In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

    These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

    Buy this VPN.

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    7. Hotspot Shield

    Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

    Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

    Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

    Buy this VPN.

    8. TunnelBear

    As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

    The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

    Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

    Buy this VPN.

    9. Norton

    Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

    As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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    Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

    Buy this VPN.

    10. StrongVPN

    The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

    StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

    As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

    Buy this VPN.

    Bottom Line

    Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

    With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

    We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

    Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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