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I want to talk for a minute about a particular service I really enjoy and have been using since 2012. I also want to be very clear that I’m not being paid to write this. I only endorse products and services I actually use. As of this writing I do not gain a percentage of any sales made in relation to this article.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about backing up your computer.

It’s important. Super important, in fact. Hard drives die all the time, and SSDs die, too; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I back up my computer all the time to two locations: local and offsite. The former is in the form of a Time Machine I set up using an external HDD (3TB, USB 2.0). The latter is an offsite backup solution that send folders I choose to the cloud.

This cloud backup service is called CrashPlan. You might have heard of it, and if you have, that’s great. If you’re already a user, that’s even better. There are many cloud backup plans out there but this one I find is the best and the overall experience is outstanding, in my opinion.

Starting out, you get a free month to give it a shot. Signing up at requires zero payment, and if your free trial ends, you’re not on the hook for more months. The way the service keeps your membership up to date is through a serial number. You can purchase one or more licenses on the site, and plug them into computers where CrashPlan is installed. You don’t actually have to punch in your account information all the time in the CrashPlan app.

Backups occur in the background, out of sight. If you’re busy using your computer, it’ll backup at a slower and quieter pace. When you’re machine is idle, it’ll speed up, and spend more time working on your files.

One thing that sets CrashPlan apart is the fact that it can be used to backup your files to a local disk as well as another system on or offsite for free. The only thing you pay for is cloud. All files are encrypted before transmission and remain so when they land in the cloud. Only you can see the contents of a file and only your account and decrypt them.

Use a smartphone and access your files anywhere. Use another computer and download them from their Web site. Backup up to ten computers in your household for as low as $8.96 a month or get started with just a single computer for as low as $3.96 a month. Obviously the more machines your have and the farther ahead you pre-pay, the better your deal will be.

Give CrashPlan a shot. I love them. They’ve been running on my system for almost three years now and I haven’t had a single complaint. It’s a backup service I can set and forget and they’ve done a great job of staying out of the way while making sure the files I find most important are backed up on a regular basis.