Cloud Backup Services for Artists and Graphic Designers

This article is a quick guide to different backup services you can use to backup the artworks and graphic designs you have created over the years. Services mentioned below are ones that I personally use or have used.

Why back up?

If you don't backup your files, you should. You really don't want to lose days, months or even years of your work, photos of your vacations and loved ones, and important documents.

Setting up a backup service for your computer is actually quite easy, straightforward and isn't too expensive.

The backups I use

I use physical storage and cloud storage for backups.

Physical storage are for files that I don't need access to. These are for archival backups.

Cloud storage is for files that I access frequently. The files will be downloaded from the cloud so there is some waiting time before the file can be opened. But internet speed nowadays is fast so that slight delay isn't really a big issue.

In terms of cost, buying external drives as a one time purchase is obviously cheaper in the long run compared to paying monthly for cloud services.

Ideally, there should always be two backups just in case the original backup fails for whatever reason. My two backups are the physical hard drives and cloud storage.

Hard drives can be damaged for many reasons:

  • Water spilled from cups
  • Kids throwing your drives out the window
  • Dropping hard drives
  • Damage from magnets from magnetic accessories
  • Fire damage to house
  • Stolen

If you use cloud storage, obviously you don't have to worry about all these.

But for cloud storage, you have to choose a reliable company. I've actually stored my files with a company that went bankrupt before. Below are the popular cloud storage service providers and prices (US$):

Apple iCloud Google Drive MS OneDrive DropBox
50GB $1/mth
100GB $2/mth, $20/yr
200GB $3/mth $3/mth, $30/yr
1TB Personal $7/mth or $70/yr, Family $10/mth or $100/yr
2TB $10/mth $10/mth, $100/yr Personal $120/yr, Family $204/yr
3TB $199/year
10TB $100/mth
20TB $200/mth


iCloud is a service provided by Apple that comes with a backup service and it works great with iPhones, iPads and Macs. iCloud will backup everything.

iCloud is a monthly subscription service and the prices are as follows:

  • 50GB: US $0.99
  • 200GB: US $2.99
  • 2TB: US $9.99

If you have multiple devices, the online storage will be shared across those devices and can be shared with family members too. I personally use the 200GB plan to backup my iPad, iPhone and my wife's iPhone.

Unfortunately, 200GB is quite easy to reach and the next tier is 2TB and is more expensive although still worth the money if you calculate the per TB cost, and really worth it if you share with family members.

In the event that your Apple device is lost, stolen or damaged, you can get a new device and restore everything from iCloud. Your downtime is the time you take to buy a new device and have everything downloaded back.

The downside is when you have no access to your device, you also won't have access to your files. You won't be able to access your files even with another computer. If you need to access your files with another computer while your computer is down, check out the three services below.

Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and DropBox

These three online storage and backup services with many features for work and collaboration.

These services can be set to sync with your computer so the all your files are duplicated online. Depending on your set up your backup services, they may or may not backup settings.

In the event that your computer is down, you can still access your files through the websites of the respective companies. In theory, if your computer is down, you can still continue with your work using a tablet. This is something you can't do with iCloud.

Google Drive prices:

  • 15GB: Free
  • 100GB: US $2 a month or $20 annually
  • 200GB: US $3 a month or $30 annually
  • 2TB: US $10 a month or $100 annually
  • 10TB: US $100 a month
  • 20TB: US $200 a month
  • 30TB: US $300 a month

Dropbox prices:

  • 2TB: US $9.99/month with annual plan
  • 2TB for six people (family plan): US $16.99/month with annual plan
  • 3TB: US $16.58/month with annual plan

Microsoft 365 prices:

  • Personal 1TB: US $6.99/month or $69.99/year
  • Family 1TB each for six: US $9.99/month or $99.99/year

Dropbox is great for backing up computers with more than 1TB - 3TB internal storage.

Microsoft 365 provides online storage with OneDrive and that's great for backing up computers with 1TB or less storage. Microsoft 365 also includes all the apps from Microsoft Office.

I'm personally using Microsoft 365 Family plan (US $99.99/year) and Google Drive 200GB ($30/year) and iCloud 200GB ($36/year). I'm using Microsoft OneDrive to backup my computer and online storage. I've the 200GB Google Drive because my email is using more than 15GB. The total I spend yearly for backup is $100 + 30 + 36 = US $166 or $13.9/month.

For backing up computers, you'll probably need the 1TB or 2TB plans.

If you think you may not want to spend the money, imagine your computer has just crashed, now go research the prices of data restore services. After that, imagine your computer is stolen or went up in flames and no data can be restored.

By the way, if you want to sign up with Microsoft OneDrive, use this affiliate link to add 0.5GB to your storage capacity.



Great recommendations on the

Great recommendations on the cloud servers.

I've tried all of the mentioned servers, and personally I like iCloud and Dropbox the best. ICloud really helped as extra storage for my ipad, very fast upload and good download speed. Downside is that sometimes I had to redownload the file because its copy is missing from ipad. Not great when you needed it urgently and no internet...

Dropbox is awesome. History backup is useful sometimes. Fast upload and download speed. If only it had cheaper option, I'd subscribe to dropbox....

Google Drive is great option for alternate storage...cheaper annual fee compared to dropbox. However I've encountered several problems like storage error. I lost some files because of this. It happened a long time ago so I forgot what problem it was exactly, but I have been wary of GD since.

Also it is rather hard to manage storage in GD. I have deleted files and trash, but still lacking storage space... It's like you have phantom files somewhere that takes space.... Forcing you to upgrade storage.

Microsoft Onedrive is cheap but awfully slow speed imho. Therefore I never really used it...

Someone told me Amazon AWS is cheap for long term cloud storage. Have you ever tried it?

The price of storage devices

The price of storage devices (SD cards, hard discs etc) is so low nowadays that I can't find a good reason why I should have to pay a monthly subscription in order to keep my backup in the cloud.
I bought for instance a 200 GB SD card for my smartphone for 30 euros. I can transfer this card to any device but it is not needed because I have already similar size storage on each and every device.

An 1TB SATA hard disc ( these are more reliable for backups) on the other hand costs around 60 euros and will last for many many years if you use it just for your backups. You can even use it as an external storage device and connect it with a usb on your pc.

The main disadvantage of cloud backups aside of the relatively limited storage that can be upgraded in a higher price, is that all these services require a working broadband connection in order to access the backuped files.
Something that can be a problem if your pc or your devices are dead for any imaginable reason.
And why at the end of the day rely on other people's storage if you can set up your own?

Cloud storage is actually a storage at somebody else's computer ( no matter what is the size of this computer).

I agree that it is better to

I agree that it is better to keep two backups and on different drives or devices. A good way to keep copies is to have two discs in RAID mode.

The spinning hard drives especially those that can be re writable multiple times ( f.e those that are for surveillance cameras) are the most reliable particularly if you put them in cases as external drives.
The SD cards are those whose performance deteriorates over time. The SATA discs can last literally forever if you don't use them constantly. You've just have to put them into a case or even better in a desktop pc that you will use just for backups. I mean connect whatever drive you have in there and keep it aside, into a plastic bag or under a plastic cover or a cabinet to protect it from dust, disconnected from the internet and power unless you use it, for updating your backups and whenever you need to get something from there. It is not that expensive to make a basic desktop pc full of drives for backup purposes. If you set it up with a linux OS you can mount and unmount the discs only whenever you need them. I mean boot from the main disc that can be a SD one and then mount the others.

Data centers are prone to cyber attacks and hacking. The most controversial document leaks came from hacked data centers and servers and not from people who kept their backup locally.

The only chance to lose your backups from your house is in case of a fire or a natural disaster. But in this case the last thing you are going to care about is the backup....!

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