Want The Ultimate Cloud Backup Service? Run Your Own!


Backing up your important documents, photos, music and other files makes sense.  In fact it's essential.  And backing them up to the cloud, via a service such as Dropbox, also makes sense too, because you don't have to remember to take manual backups.

But there are a few inherent problems with such cloud-based backup services.  How can you guarantee they're secure?  And if you want lots of space, it can get expensive.

Wouldn't it be good if the necessary software was available to run your own Dropbox-like service, on your own server, just for you?  Well, you may be surprised to know that there is.  And it's all free.

The product is called OwnCloud.  It's a free, open source product that's been around since 2010 and now has some 650,000 users worldwide.  A number of companies even run commercial cloud backup services using the OwnCloud software, so it's definitely proven and trusted.

Of course, setting up a service like Own Cloud isn't for the newcomer.  You'll need a little techie experience, as well as a web server on which to run it.  And if you want proper off-site backups, then it's best if that server isn't in the same building as the PC you'll be backing up.

Once you have a suitable server running PHP, head to https://owncloud.com/ to download the software and to read the installation instructions.  From there, you can also download the Windows client application, which keeps your PC backed up to your cloud. That's free, too.

If you want to experiment with OwnCloud on your own PC, then by far the easiest way is OwnCloud In A Box, which is complete Linux setup, fully installed with OwnCloud Server and all the necessary prerequisites.  You can download it (free, again) as installation media to burn to CD and install on a spare computer, or as a virtual machine image to mount on an existing PC alongside Windows, using WMWare Player (free) or VirtualBox (free, too).

More about OIAB is at http://susestudio.com/a/TadMax/owncloud-in-a-box .  I've recently been testing out the VMware Player version on my main PC, and it's superb.  When I find the time, I fully intend to set up a full-scale installation of OwnCloud and use it instead of DropBox, to save the money I currently spend on my 200 GB of cloud storage space.




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