Carbonite vs. Google Drive and DropBox
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Carbonite vs. Google Drive and DropBox

Depending on if you plan to use online storage for collaboration, saving and sharing certain files, or backing up your entire computer, each of three services offers different benefits. While they all offer online storage options in similar ways, they can each suit different needs for individuals and businesses alike.
Covered in this report
Carbonite — Best Features
Unlimited storage on all Home plans.
Backs up all of your computer files.
Best for: Those who want their entire computer backed up rather than a few files.
Best deal: Free Trial - [activate coupon]
Google Drive — Best Features
You can get 5 GB for free.
Can connect with other Google apps for further collaboration.
Best for: Businesses and students collaborating on smaller projects.
Best deal: 20% Off - [activate coupon]
Dropbox — Best Features
Dropbox for Teams plan offers unlimited data storage for collaborating and sharing with clients and partners.
Can earn free storage up to 18 GB with 250 MB for each referral.
Best for: Business collaborating on much larger projects and need administrative assistance, per its Teams plan.

Nowadays, most of our information and media is saved on our computers—perhaps too much. When a hard drive crashes or a power source fails, you can potentially lose innumerable documents, presentations, photos, videos, music, and more. In an effort to relieve some of the stress this loss can cause, several companies have developed online backup services to back up all of those files on the internet for safe-keeping. Carbonite, Google Drive, and Dropbox are three major providers of this service. With so many choices of prices and plans, you are sure to find one plan that meets your specific needs.

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Benefits of Online Storage

Millions of people have benefitted from the transition to online storage for data backup. The service has several different benefits, some of which you may not have thought about to begin with.

Safe Backup

According to Carbonite, 15,123 hard drives crash every day, and 43% of computer users lose their photos. Hard drive crashes are one of the most common ways people lose valuable files next to accidental deletions. Online storage of these files can prevent this data loss by backing up your files in what’s referred to as a “cloud” online via the service’s secure servers. Whether you are backing up documents, media, or music, you can benefit from these online solutions to hard drive failures and otherwise lost files.

Carbonite is best suited for those who want to back up an entire computer rather than just selected files. The service automatically backs up everything each time you’re connected to the Internet and offers unlimited storage to do this.

Types of Files

Image courtesy of Google Drive (

Google Drive seems to be geared more toward individuals and businesses who want to share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, while Carbonite and Dropbox—except for its Dropbox for Teams plan—seem to be more for those individuals who want to save and share photos, videos, and music (but documents too, of course).

Dropbox can be used for businesses, students, and collaboration in general, especially if you do not require a lot of space. Carbonite offers special business plans for connecting more than one user (which is different from sharing documents with individuals) as well.

Google Drive, Google + Photos, & Apps

Image courtesy of Google Drive (

Google Drive is, however, also affiliated with Google+ Photos for photo storage. So if you’re looking to save and share photos and videos from your latest family engagement or friend’s party, you may consider Carbonite or Dropbox over Google Drive unless you also intend to use Google+ Photos.

Google also allows interaction with its other apps for further collaboration:


Image courtesy of Google Drive (

One of the biggest perks to online backup is the ability to access your data from multiple devices, anywhere. No matter which device you may be working from—whether it is your mobile phone, tablet, or desktop computer at work or home—your files will always be up-to-date and available for use. All three plans are available across all of these devices via apps and desktop-installed programs.

You can keep these files private or share them with anyone, even if they don’t have these services.

Collaboration / Sharing

Image courtesy of Google Drive (

One of the unique features of online storage is the ability to share data with other users, such as your photos, videos, documents, music, and so forth. This means it’ll be easier to share with your parents across the country your baby’s first steps or your latest vacation photos. You can share music with friends or homemade videos with your social media following.

But another important aspect of data sharing is the ability to share documents such as Word docs, spreadsheets, and presentations for collaborating with coworkers, fellow students, or friends on a particular project. Google Drive tends to market itself more toward this purpose for online backup, as does Dropbox for Teams. If you don’t need a large amount of data storage for a particular collaboration, Google Drive’s free 5 GB of storage will probably be best suited for your needs.

Dropbox for Teams

Dropbox has a specific plan geared toward businesses and collaborative teams called the Dropbox for Teams plan. For example, your team can receive dedicated phone support and a huge amount of space—as much as you may need—starting at 1,000 GB for five users and 200 GB added for each additional team member. If you are a corporate web designer or marketer swapping larger files of design ideas with your coworkers, employees, clients, or partners, you can especially benefit from such a plan.

Also part of the Teams plan are administrative tools, called Active Directory, which will allow you to monitor the storage usage and activity of each member of your team. This will help you to manage licenses as your connected team grows, and you’ll get a centralized bill for all of your designated users and bank-grade security for your peace of mind.



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Carbonite has several plans

1 computer plan:

  • Basic: Unlimited backup - $72 / Year
  • Plus: External hard drive backup and automatic video backup - $111.99 / Year
  • Prime: All of the above plus Courier Recovery Services - $149.99 / Year

Multiple Computer Plan:

  • Core: Unlimited computer and includes 250 GB of backup that can be expanded - $287.99 / Year

Computers + Servers Plan:

  • Power: 1 server and unlimited computers, includes 500 GB cloud backup - $599.99 / Year
  • Ultimate: Unlimited servers and computers, includes 500 GB cloud backup - $999.99 / Year

All plans include unlimited storage, and all include automatic backup whenever your computer is connected to the internet, which means not having to physically add files like Google Drive and Dropbox. If you accidentally delete a file or your computer crashes, Carbonite can retrieve this data from its online servers—a feature which you must pay for Dropbox Pro plans. The service also promises top-notch security for your files, which are encrypted and then transferred to secure servers in their state-of-the-art data centers.

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1 Computer Plans

The Home Plan is a basic plan that provides automatic online backup for all of your photos, music, documents, videos, and any other data. HomePlus offers this same automatic online backup plus local backup of your operating system and all of your applications. HomePremier has all of these features plus automatic video backup and the option to have your backed-up information available on a hard drive which can be shipped to you

Business Plans

Carbonite’s business plans offer unlimited computers/users, which is different from Dropbox, who only offers five users (or more if you pay more). However, unlike its Home plans, the data is then limited to 250 or 500 GB, though more can be purchased for an increased price.

Google Drive


Image courtesy of Google Drive (
  • 15 GB - Free
  • 100 GB - $1.99 / month
  • 1 TB - $9.99 / month
  • 2 TB - $19.99 / month
  • 10 TB - $99.99 / month
  • 20 TB - $199.99 / month
  • 30 TB - $299.99 / month

These prices do not include any taxes or fees that may be applied based on your country of residence.

More Free Space

While Google Drive does not offer a free trial, they do offer a larger free account to start out with than Dropbox (though not as much as Carbonite’s unlimited data trial). This is perfect for those who don’t need a lot of storage for their data, such as coworkers or fellow students working on a project that requires more than Dropbox's 2 GB of storage.

Cheaper Plans

Their monthly plans are much cheaper than Dropbox’s, costing half as much. But since Google Drive is more geared toward documents than photos and videos (though that service is available via its Google+ Photos integration), and documents are generally smaller in file size than media files, this may account for their cheaper rates.


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Dropbox has pricing plans for individuals and businesses.

Individual plans:

  • Basic: 2 GB of space, sync files across devices, and shared folders and links - Free
  • Plus: Everything in the Basic Plan plus 1 TB of space, offline file access, remote device wipe and priority email support - $9.99 / month
  • Professional: Everything in the Plus Plan and shared link controls, smart sync, present and track your work, full text search, 120 version history and priority chat support - $19.99 / month

Business Plans:





$12.50 / user / month – starts at 3 users

$20 / user / month

Starts at 3 users

Call for price

2 TB of space

Unlimited space

Individualized support to help admins manage at scale

Sharing and collaboration tools

Everything in the Standard Plan plus…

Everything in the Advanced Plan plus…

120 days of file recover

Sophisticated control and security features

Network control

Smart Sync

Advanced admin controls

Account capture

256-bit AES and SSL/TLS encryption

Tiered admin roles

Enterprise mobility management (EMM) support

Office 365 integration

Advanced user management tools

Advanced training for end users and admins

Admin console and audit log

File event tracking

Domain insights

Granular sharing permissions

Invite enforcement

24/7 phone support

Remote device wipe

Advanced user management tools


Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)

Domain verification


Live chat support

Device approvals


Dropbox Paper admin tools

Single sign on (SSO) integration


User and company-managed groups

Business hours phone support


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Pro vs. Team Accounts

In comparison to individual Dropbox Pro Accounts, Dropbox for Teams offers better customer support, more space, and a better price. For example, a Dropbox Pro 200 account for five users would be 200 GB per account plus $199/year for each additional user for $995/year. Dropbox for Teams for five users offers as much storage as you need for $200 less per year to start with only $125/year for each additional user. The Teams plan also offers unlimited version history—which costs $195/year on the Pro 200 plan—in addition to all of the other features mentioned in the Collaboration/Sharing section of this report. For Pro accounts, you can also pay $39/year for “Packrat” unlimited undo history—a feature that comes for free with the Teams package.


Online storage can be invaluable for backing up files and sharing them with family, friends, and collaborators. If you’re looking to safely back up your entire computer for fear of hard drive crashes, Carbonite’s annual plans will be best suited for you. If you’re looking for less expensive plans and app integration on your collaborations, go for Google Drive’s free 15 MB or monthly plans.

And if you’re a larger business looking to connect and administrate more collaborators on major projects, Dropbox for Teams may be best suited for you. The three services are similar in some ways but offer many different features that can fit within your budgets and fulfill your needs. Carbonite offers a free trial and Google Drive and Dropbox offer smaller free storage plans with no end date, so give them a try and see what works best for you.

All price plans, features, pricing plan names and prices can change rapidly in this industry. So always check with each company to make sure you understand what each company is offering.

Additional Information
Carbonite Coupon: Free Trial - Activate
Google Drive
Google Drive Coupon Code: WINTERGIFT - 20% Off - Activate
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Comments (5)

I think we should look at these products differently to be able to evaluate them fairly

Backup Solutions: Carbonite and CrashPlan File sharing solutions: Google Drive and DrobBox

Carbonite is not actually Unlimited... see fine print..!! after about 35G it slows upload speed so much a point that it is no longer usable, mine slowed down to about 150kbs, (Note dial up is 36-48kbs). Because of this speed limitation, my backup never exceeded about 180-200GB of the 1.5TB I was trying to back up. This placed my critical fast changing document files in danger, because Carbonite never caught up...!  (trying to find the fine print now to post)

Carbonite is not actually Unlimited... see fine print..!! (here it is)

this is how it reads now:

This bandwidth policy allows you to back up larger amounts of data at a faster speed. After you reach 200GB in your backup, your upload speed will be reduced. The current maximum speeds are as follows:

The first 200GB of data can achieve upload speeds of up to 2 mbps (megabits per second). At 200GB or more of data, upload speeds are limited to around 100 kbps (kilobits per second).

this is how it used to read: 

This bandwidth policy has three tiers. Users performing a smaller backup will usually see faster upload speeds than users with larger backups. However, depending on your Internet connection, your computer\'s configuration, other Internet-enabled software you may be running, and how often you use your computer, actual backup speeds may vary. The current maximum upload speeds are as follows:

The first 35GB of data can achieve upload speeds of up to 2 mbps (megabits per second). Between 35GB and 200GB of data, upload speeds can reach up to 512 kbps (kilobits per second). At 200GB or more of data, upload speeds are limited to around 100 kbps (kilobits per second).

so perhaps things are looking up..

but realistically it is a 200GB MAX backup at $60/yr

@Inbrahim Alomar - I agree, each of those reports would be great to write, especially because Carbonite is a bit different from Google Drive and Dropbox. Maybe we\'ll tackle those two in the future!

@Billy Zimmerman - I certainly see what you\'re saying, I hadn\'t seen that fine print in my research! But one comment I might have is that the fine print just says that above 200GB would be slower, not necessarily not allowed. But thanks for pointing out the download speed limitations!

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