Cloud storage is a generic term for storage supplied for your use on the internet. Since it’s available from anywhere it can be used for transferring files from place to place and can provide safe offsite storage for backups and must have files. Not all storage is the same. Prices and features differ. Here is a review of the storage systems supported by my favorite WordPress backup plugin BackWPup.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides it’s Simple Storage System or S3 as it’s cloud storage offering. It’s apart of it’s more comprehensive Web Services but can be purchased stand-alone. S3 is “pay as you go” which means you are only charged for the actual services you use. But there are several charges involved. You are charged for:
- GB of storage. Currently starting at $0.14 per GB per month with rates decreasing as storage increases.
- Data Transfer in and out of S3 storage currently $0.10 per GB per month in and $0.15 per GB per month out with the first GB free.
- Requests; GET, PUT, COPY, POST, or LIST currently $0.01 per 1000 requests. GETs are $o.o1 per 10,000 requests.
But for the first year you can take advantage of the AWS Free Usage Tier getting a free package of all AWS services for one year. For storage this includes:
- 5 GB of Amazon S3 standard storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests
- 30 GB per of internet data transfer (15 GB of data transfer “in” and 15 GB of data transfer “out”
This is amazingly cheap. particularly for the first year.
Azure is a computing, database, storage, and messaging offering. If you are only interested in storage for backups, videos or music files Azure is not for you. Prices start at $54.95 per month because you can’t unbundle the storage from the other services. If you or your company is already using Azure then adding on other storage requirements are simple. But for the common blogger this is not a good choice.
Rackspace Cloud Files™ is another “pay as you go” service. Rackspace is primarily a CDN (Content Delivery Network). For doing backups speed is not of the essence, but if you also want to use CDN to enhance the speed of serving videos or other large files, Rackspace is incredibly fast. Much of the speed comes from their use of the Akami CDN network and multiple redundancy, storing files on geographically widely distributed servers. When retrieving a file it is automatically routed to the nearest server with the file.
Prices start at $0.15 per GB per month. Data transfer in is $0.08 per GB, transfer out is $0.18 per GB. Requests are free!
You can also use Rackspace to enhance your WordPress speed with plugins like CDN Tools and W3 Total Cache.
While DropBox supplies online storage, it is primarily a file syncing program. It works by installing a small app on your local machine that communicates with DropBox servers. When a file is uploaded to DropBox it will automatically synchronize that file with any other computer that has been setup to use that file. When a BackWPup backup is loaded it automatically syncs the file to your computer as well in the background. This means that you should provide storage on your computer for you backup files instead of leaving them in the cloud.
If you have more than one machine or have friends that you want to share files with DropBox can do this for your with their DropBox directory. Any file put in the DropBox directory will automatically be sent to the cloud and any other computer set to sync with it. Great for moving files between the office and home.
Pricing for the first 2GB is free for as long as you want! Above 2GB you must buy a plan starting at $9.95 per month for 50GB. If your backups never total more than 2GB you’re golden.
SugarSync is another file synchronizing program. Like DropBox it has a small app that keeps all your computers in sync with the SugarSync server. One feature I really like is the SugarSync Manager which lets you see all the synced files you have on all the computers you sync to and lets you delete move and change syncronization easily.
SugarSync gives you the first 5GB free, twice what DropBox offers. You can also earn more storage by referring friend to SugarSync. Above 5GB plans start at $4.99 per 30GB per month or $49.99 for a year. Less expensive than DropBox.
This is currently my favorite for backup storage. It will be a while before I can use up 5 GB for backups.