Updated May 2013
Unlimited online backup plans are just that: plans by online backup service providers that offer an unlimited amount of storage space for your data.
Several years of tax returns, some music, and even a video or two might do just fine on a free online backup plan. A bit more data than that might be well suited with a standard plan from any of the popular online backup services out there.
However, if you have 10,000 MP3s, 40 ripped Blu-ray movies, and a few virtual machines that you can't live without, an unlimited online backup plan is probably a better fit for your data.
Below is a list of every unlimited online backup plan that I could find, ranked by my personal preference based on my experiences with each. If price is the biggest factor for you, you can skip right to my Price Comparison: Unlimited Online Backup Plans.
CrashPlan+ Unlimited is my favorite unlimited online backup plan because the software is so fantastic (very easy to use), the encryption level is so high (very safe), and the price is so low ($5.99 per month or as low as $3.96 per month with a 4 year prepayment).
Another clear and sizeable plus in my book is a note in their FAQ that says "We don't limit in any way." That's a powerful statement in this industry. They go on to explain that that means no bandwidth throttling, no file size limits, and no file type restrictions. You are, however, restricted to backing up from one computer.
A second unlimited online backup plan is also available from CrashPlan called CrashPlan+ Family Unlimited. The Family Unlimited plan is identical to the standard Unlimited plan but allows backup from up to ten computers. This plan costs $13.99 per month, or as low as $8.96 per month when you pay for 4 years in advance.
Backblaze is just super-simple. Few would have any problem figuring out how to set the software up to backup whatever is you consider important.
Backblaze costs $5.00 per month for unlimited online backup for one computer. If you're willing to pay up front for 2 years of service, the price comes down to $3.96 per month.
McAfee Online Backup is an unlimited online backup plan by a household name in computer security.
This is McAfee's only online backup plan and it comes in at $5.00 per month for unlimited online backup for one computer. The only payment term for McAfee Online Backup is one year so you will have to prepay the whole 12 months at once.
Nomadesk is another unlimited online backup plan that I found fast and really easy to use.
With a 1 year prepayment, the longest term you can prepay with Nomadesk, this plan costs $9.00 per month. Month-to-month will run you $10.00 per month.
The Livedrive Backup plan is Livedrive's only truly unlimited online backup plan and costs $8.00 per month.
One year prepayment brings Livedrive down to $7.00 per month while a two year prepayment will save you a little more at $6.00 per month.
One interesting thing about Livedrive Backup: it's relatively inexpensive, at just $1.45 per month, to add a computer to your account. Some services force you to purchase a higher tiered plan, sometimes with more computers than you need, just to get the other one in your house on the account. Most require another full priced account altogether.
Carbonite has three unlimited online backup plans, all of which have to be paid one year at a time.
Carbonite Home's cost comes in at $4.92 per month, Carbonite HomePlus at $8.25 per month, and Carbonite HomePremier at $12.42 per month. The more expensive the plan, the more features you get. You can read all those details on Carbonite's pricing page.
I know many of Carbonite's plans are very popular so it might surprise some that I've ranked it so low, but I find the bandwidth throttling that occurs after you've backed up at least 200 GB really unfortunate. It's hard to rank a service high that bills itself as unlimited when it restricts you as soon as you start to treat it as such.
That said, Carbonite is a solid company with a long history (Internet-relative, of course) of keeping data securely backed up. If the throttling isn't an issue for you, Carbonite could be a good choice.
BackUp Solutions has a single unlimited plan that runs $9.95 per month.
BackUp Solutions has UK, Canada, and US datacenters.
MyPCBackup has one unlimited plan which costs $12.95 per month. A one year prepayment brings it down to $9.95 per month and a two year to $8.95 per month.
I've also seen very regular discounts on MyPCBackup Unlimited that cut those prices in half or even lower, so keep your eye out for those if you're interested.
Note: One JDI customer reported to me that his account was locked and was told to upgrade to a business-class plan as he approached the 2 TB level with his backup. The "Acceptable Use" policy on the MyPCBackup site is vague at best so this doesn't surprise me.
Just Develop It (JDI) operates MyPCBckup, as well as ZipCloud, JustCloud, and Backup Genie, three other online backup services that offer identical unlimited online backup plans.
Does Unlimited Really Mean Unlimited?
For the most part, yes. You should be able to backup as much as you like.
However, you should read the small print before purchasing any unlimited online backup plan, especially if you have a massive amount of data to backup. Some unlimited plans may have fair use rules that limit the amount you can backup over a period of time, or even in total.
Most unlimited online backup plans also allow individual files of any size but you should check the plan's details carefully if that's important to you.