File restore could be simpler, but no other online storage service does so much so well
Review Date: 20 Aug 2010
Reviewed By: Stuart Andrews
Price when reviewed: £3 (£4 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
SugarSync is best known as a cloud storage and synchronisation service, but thanks to generous data allowances it's also a viable option for online backup. Used in this way, it behaves a lot like Carbonite, complete with the dot-labelling on folders and documents to be synced or not synced, and continuous, automatic synchronisation of files as they're added or modified - frequently within a few seconds.
The service's synchronisation features are a boon if you have to work with a number of netbooks, laptops and desktop PCs, running Windows or Mac OS X. Install the client on each PC, and by default any file you place in the special "magic briefcase" folder will be synchronised with files created in the "magic briefcase" of the other machines. Other folders can also be synchronised if you wish.
SugarSync's other major plus point is as a means of sharing media. Pictures uploaded from the local Pictures folder are automatically added to online photo galleries, which you can view using any web browser or share with fellow SugarSync users, and integration with Facebook now allows you to publish stored photos or albums to your wall. Meanwhile, applications for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones enable you to do more than view stored documents and images on the move; you can also sync pictures taken with your phone camera with your PC.
Sadly, SugarSync falls down slightly as a backup solution. First, the right-click feature that makes it so easy to add files or folders to a Carbonite or Mozy backup doesn't work here; you can't include or exclude folders or choose to backup right now. More seriously, the restore process isn't straightforward. To restore, you need to re-sync files using the client, and - as the service sensibly avoids overwriting files during synchronisation - run through and remove unwanted duplicates.
We also found both the initial backup and restore a bit slower than rival services, with our 1GB of test material taking nearly eight hours to upload. We do, however, like the easy web client - which makes it possible to download files from just about anywhere - and the idea of a dedicated archive folder, where you can manually move files which won't be synced, just safely stored.
Overall, then, SugarSync isn't the ideal product for basic online backup and restoration, but its myriad other features make it a great choice if you want synchronisation and file-sharing powers as well. Admittedly, Microsoft's Live Mesh and SkyDrive services offer these features for free, but SugarSync's killer combo of features is more than worth the monthly premium.
Personal: 30GB, $5/mth, $50/yr; 60GB, $10/mth, $100/yr; 100GB, $15/mth, $150/yr; 250GB, $25/mth, $250/yr.
Business: 100GB for up to three users $30/mth, $300/yr, additional users at $10/mth, $100/yr; additional storage $30 per 100GB/mth, $30/yr.
Author: Stuart Andrews
Have to pick up on a few points here-
1. You can include/exclude folders using the File Manager - it's easy
2. There is no backup now option as it backs up continually. Any file changes are *immediately* detected and result in upload as soon as they occur (not the case with some other solutions)
3. Microsoft Live Mesh wasn't the answer for me as it was too buggy when I tried it. In fact, it's still a beta and will soon disappear completely. How can PC Pro seriously recommend this as an alternative??
Found Sugarsync to be stable and, importantly, reliable over the past couple of years. Has never let me down. Also, it's far more flexible than other options where you are limited to a single sync folder (who remembers to transfer their files to a sync folder after every version update?)
Just my thoughts...
By mgill on 21 Aug 2010
I've enjoyed reading your reviews of backup software. Any chance of a mention or review of BuddyBackup? It's a free alternative that you can use to backup on a friends computer (and vice versa). I've been using it for a couple of months now it it seems pretty good.
By nanlonan on 23 Aug 2010
I have experimented with a number of these offerings (more for synchronisation than backup) and my experience is that a number have come a long way in the last year or so, from buggy, beta type software to something more professional. Personally, I now use Livedrive and find it excellent both for sync and backup. It isn't free, but offers limitless storage and I find it very effective. It doesn't seem to have been reviewed for a while, but it may be worth another look.
By Philip on 24 Aug 2010
I've been using SugarSync for about a year now and I'm really satisfied. Very little system load compared to other similar products I've tried and has never once crashed.
If you sign up via my referral link below we both get an extra 500 MB if you sign up for a free account or 10 GB if you sign up for a 30 GB account or larger:
Many features, very stable, easy on system resources
Sometimes if you choose manually to move the files to all synchronizing computers (instead of just moving them to the shared folder of ONE computer and then letting SugarSync sync the others via the internet) Sugarsync creates duplicates even though we're dealing with completely identical files (same checksums). Sugarsync renames the duplicates according to where they we're found again so you'll get to versions of the same file (but with different names) on your computers.
Sometimes you can circumvent this by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-R thereby ordering SugarSync to do a clean restart. But how it really works I don't know....
By larryvega on 17 Nov 2010
SugarSync runtime errors
Not mentioned in the review is that SugarSync will crash and produce a runtime error if your My Documents folder exceeds 50,000 files - regardless of how much storage you purchased. You will have to break up your Documents up into separate library folders and back them up separately. Additionally, technical assistance is poor. If you can't resolve a problem, expect to wait for a couple of days before you get an email response.
By DougD on 2 Jul 2012
Sync365 just works for me!
I used Sync365.co.uk provides backup and a folder to sync perfect.. £9.99 gives me 5TB of space and for my Mac it works perfectly...
I tried all the others and this for me just worked and they guys there seem really helpful..
By M4rzi on 29 Nov 2012
I love it
I have used SugarSync for online backup of current work for about two years and I love it. It is fast, works seamlessly in the background, can backup any folder anywhere and doesn't slow down my PC. It is clever enough to notice changes in folders and file structure without having to upload every files again, as opposed to some other software. I use it to back up and synchronize active work files over two PCs and a laptop (about 10,000 files), so I always have the latest version with me. I can also access all files with my mobile. Never failed me. I never had to contact support.
Only feature missing: I wish it could synchronize the same set of files between my PC and my external hard drive as well.
By frapro on 23 Jan 2013
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