How Much Online Backup Space Will I Need?

Will I Need Just a Few GB or Should I Get an Unlimited Plan?

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Every plan by every online backup service seems to offer a completely different amount of backup space - some offer just a few GB while others offer thousands... or more! How in the world do you decide how much backup space to buy?

The following question is one of many you'll find in my Online Backup FAQ:

"How do I figure out how much online backup space I'm going to need?"

Once you've determined what you need to back up (see What Exactly Should I Back Up? for help with that), calculate the space that data is using and make sure that whatever online backup plan you're looking at has enough storage for that amount of data.

It would also be wise to estimate what you expect to add to your important data in the future. Calculating your future needs is more of an art than a science so some educated guessing is certainly expected here.

Considering the difficulty in knowing how much backup space you might need someday, it would be wise to at least be aware of an online backup service's policies and prices regarding storage overage. Most online backup provider's plans are tiered and they'll contact you with an opportunity to upgrade as the backup space you're using approaches their next tier.

If you're still not sure how much space you might need then consider a cloud backup plan with unlimited space. These plans are rarely much more expensive, if at all, than space-limited plans and you won't have to worry about uploading more than your allotment. See my Unlimited Online Backup Plans for a ranked list of these types of plans.

On the other hand, if you find out that your most important files take up less than a few GB, consider one of the many backup providers that offer feature rich but completely free plans. See my Free Online Backup Plans for a list of those, ranked by the amount of free space they offer.

Here are a few more questions that I'm often asked during the search for the right backup service:

Here are more questions I answer as part of my Online Backup FAQ: