Benefits of online storage
I’ve had online storage hosting for over a decade, it’s been invaluable to my traveling and photography. And, I consider it something few people take full advantage of.
In my previous article about online photo hosting we looked at why photo hosting can save your travel blog or photography website, and save you money. Is there a difference in photo hosting and online storage hosting? Yes.
Dedicated photo hosting deals nearly exclusively with photographs only, both for back ups and for sharing. They also often offer e-commerce solutions to sell your work.
Online storage hosting deals with just about any file type for the purposes of backing up, and to a degree sharing.
What do I have to backup that’s so important?
This depends on your life & travels. But here are some examples that might help:
- Photographs you don’t want to share or display, ever
- Back ups of photographs
- Passport copies
- Scanned in certificates, diplomas and qualifications
- Address books and phone numbers
- Documents, spreadsheets, contact data
- Edited or unedited video footage
- Information you don’t want to share online but need access to
- Backups of your website
- Backups of your databases (WordPress/Joomla etc)
- Backups of your smart mobile/cell data
- Backup all the files on your computer
Can’t I just email myself all this?
Sure, email accounts like Gmail and Yahoo offer gigabytes of storage. You can simply email yourself passport copies, scanned in images of certificates, and upload photos. And, so long as it’s secure, it’s worth doing.
However, email storage isn’t specifically built as a backup storage medium. Uploading files one at a time, or even 5 at a time and not being able to view them without downloading again is pretty exhaustive.
Google Docs and now Bing’s Office online help, but I’ve always been wary of sharing so much on an email account. This is where online storage comes in.
Another factor I look at is that with email and travel. There is a remote chance when using public computers that someone may compromise your account. Especially if you are using it frequently and have many accounts linked to it – e.g. google account. With online storage you don’t have to login unless necessary.
The main advantages / disadvantages of online storage over email
Advantages of online storage:
- Batch upload everything at once, either through a web interface or, through an application
- Many let you backup your backups
- Pro accounts will post you out a flash drive, DVD, or hard drive of your backup should you lose everything
- Faster to upload than email
- More secure
Disadvantages of online storage:
- Another password to remember
- Desktop application can take a while to configure
- The fear of putting all your files in one location
- An added cost if you have a lot of big files to store
I heard there are security issues with online storage?
There’s a risk with everything. Online storage has been hyped a lot by the media as being unsecure, yet it’s a huge industry. Choosing a good host is important here as it is anywhere.
One with a track record of longevity and a lack of problems is usually a good sign.
“In over a decade of using online storage I have yet to have a security problem.”
I don’t host passwords online, and I don’t put sensitive information to do with personal details online.
What to look out for in choosing an online storage provider?
Most online storage providers have different packages. It’s important that you know what you want to store first, and how much it all comes to in terms of space.
Unless you have amounts of over 20GB of photographs and video, the chances are you won’t even have to pay for online storage as many companies offer free accounts.
What you do need to be careful about is their terms & conditions. Many free accounts require you to log in every 30 days or you will lose your files.
“This can come as a nasty surprise to many people should they log in after 4 months and find they are locked out!”
Others only support computers with incremental back ups. Meaning they do not support external flash disks or drives.
Some only have desktop applications which are of no use if you are traveling without a laptop.
Read the terms & conditions carefully before choosing.
Does everyone need online storage?
No, you don’t have to have it. If however, you are traveling long-term. Or want to make a back up set of things you don’t want to lose. It’s certainly worth taking a look at.
In fact I would go as far as to say for long-term travelers you’d be pretty foolish not to have some sort of online backup medium.
Where to find online storage?
There are many online storage companies out there. I’ve written a pretty big review of the most popular one’s on my resources page. Including photo hosting providers. I’ve tested and used them all myself, so it comes with what you get on this site, experience & practicality.
“As an example I give the full details of how one company destroyed all my data in 2008, and what I learned to prevent it from happening again.”
Some examples of companies I’ve reviewed are Mozy, Amazon S3, and Humyo (safecopy)
I give the basic pro’s and con’s of each one that I’ve tested myself. Plus comparisons & a link to their websites that can save you some time in searching for them.
The review page is now live here: Online storage & photo hosting reviews (please be warned, it’s a quite a big review)
Have you considered using online storage when you travel?
How’s it worked out for you?
This is an additional article written to help others in travel & life, and to remind me of what I too have learned along this journey