- Good smartphone, tablet app
- Easy to share files, however big
- Fast backup process
- Local backup option
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Uses less memory than similar software
- Limited to one device per account
- Doesn't support Linux
Zoolz Home is an online backup service created by the renowned Genie9, the brains behind the hugely successful Zoolz for Business software. The other software they have on the market works similarly to this cloud service, though this backup solution is aimed more at your average person, and has been put together with the general backup needs of everyday users in mind. There are plenty of cloud storage options online, many of them free, but Zoolz – which is actually one of the cheapest on the market – is about as secure and reliable as they come, with ultra strong security to ensure maximum protection of your important files and data. It is practically foolproof and entirely hacker resistant, so much so that it is difficult to imagine somewhere better to store your precious and confidential files.
You can sign up for a minimum of 12 months with prices varying depending on the length of your subscription, though the most you'll end up paying is $1.25 a month. Another biggie is that there are no restrictions on the amount of data you can backup – it's totally unlimited, and you can access it from any device with the useful accompanying Zoolz app. Anyone unconvinced can check the software out for free with the 14-day free trial. Their customer support is in another league, with an entire wiki website dedicated just for user queries and FAQs. Plus, as it's ran by a savvy bunch, you can get hold of them through Twitter and Facebook, as well as the old school methods.
In order to begin backing up files, all Zoolz requires you to do is select all the folders and files you need to be protected, and you can backup any kind of file – whatever the size or kind – that is stored on your computer device. There is also the added option to backup external hard drives and network drives too, which is a nice feature that so many other types of cloud storage software are lacking.
Beginning the backup is easy; you first download the software. Set up takes no time at all and all you do to start the free download is enter your email address and create a password, no further information is needed. You are immediately taken to a homescreen, or dashboard in your browser where you can view a summary of all your activity on Zoolz. It also lets you monitor how much data you have left through the clear storage meters. This also acts as a reminder of how many days you have left of the free trial.
Then, it's data selection time. Zoolz allows you to select from various sources, like mail, desktop, documents, office, pictures, bookmarks, music, ebooks and PDFs as well as videos through ‘smart selection'. You can go deeper into your files and be ultra selective in the “my computer” tab.
Once selected, you can watch the backup in process. Then you are taken to the backup settings screen where you can specify precisely how you want the software to run. This includes some fantastic options, like the ability to enable bandwidth throttling and control how much upload bandwidth Zoolz is allowed to use.
Only one device can be backed up per account/subscription with Zoolz, and it is able to back up data from Windows PCs, external drivers, network locations and servers. As aforementioned, though you have to pay per device backed up, the amount of data on each is unlimited. Once backed up, you can access and share the data from that device on the web on any computer you like, whatever operating system it runs, as well as a multitude of different devices and apps as listed above. The impressive Zoolz Viewer app makes this simple; you can easily flick through backed up photos, share the files with whoever you like (a notable feature is that there are no limits on the size of the files shared), do specific searches and check out your encrypted files on your smartphone or mobile device. This makes it ideal for both home and professional use.
When it comes to backing up data, security is always key, especially for personal or professional documents which are private, confidential or which contain sensitive information. This is something which Zoolz' backup service certainly isn't lacking in. Everything that is transferred is done so via a secure connection, and they ensure that all your files are encrypted before they even leaves the computer or device on which they are initially stored. This means nobody will be able to tamper with them when they are on their way.
Once your files have reached the Zoolz servers, they are doubly secured with 256 AES encryption, a highly reputable encryption algorithm. This is a massive bonus and provides you with much needed peace of mind. To give you an idea of just how strong this encryption is, if you forget your encryption password, there's simply no way of retrieving the files. Luckily, you can set your own personal memorable password when you are going through the set up process, which, once confirmed, is unchangeable. Other than one or two vital tech staff who are granted access in case of emergency, not even those working at Zoolz itself can see your stuff, so you can just imagine how hard it would be for a hacker to get their hands – or eyes – on anything.
Devices and Operating Systems
Zoolz Home currently only supports Windows and Mac operating systems, which is bad news for those with Linux or Unix, though perhaps this might change in future. Right now, Zoolz are focusing on Windows and Mac, and have perfected the service on offer for devices operating on iOS, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista systems. While there are other software programs that do support every operating system, these often have to compromise on quality and speed of service in order to do so, so in many ways it is a great thing that Zoolz Home doesn't do this and sticks to what it knows and is good at.
It does however have apps available for mobile devices running Android or iOS. This is great if you want to access your account and files on the move or from your smartphone or tablet. The app available is Zoolz Viewer, and you can get it from the Android store as well as on iTunes, meaning you can use it on your Android smartphone and tablet, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Ease of Use
In order to sign up and begin a risk-free trial, you just have to download the software from the main website. Once downloaded, it's all an easy ride; you just enter your basic details and that's it and you're able to use it free for 14 days. Remember, you don't have to enter your credit card details, so it's all good. The software itself has a clean interface and is incredibly easy to use, navigate, set preferences, change your settings, upload and search files. The simple layout and colors used add to this, and in the event that you get stuck, which you may well do at first, there's a handy little tutorial video on hand from the creators themselves to guide you through it all.
Plans and Pricing
Zoolz advertises its prices by the month, but rather than pay each month, you instead just make a one off fixed payment that covers your whole subscription plan for whatever length of time you sign up for and the amount of storage you need. The overall amount you pay will depend on how long you want to sign up for. As with many services, the longer you sign up for, the cheaper it will work out each month, and the most economical way to use Zoolz is opt for an unlimited plan for a five year period. If you were to initially sign up for a shorter time then decide to buy the software again once the plan runs out, you wouldn't end up losing out on too much cash anyway as for example the 2-year plan is pretty cheap as it is.
These are the only pricing plans available at present, and the minimum sign up is 12 months. Prices are charged on a per user basis, however there are absolutely zero limits when it comes to the amount of data you back up. When you think it's going to cost you merely $1.25 per month for lifelong, insanely secure back up of every file stored on your computer, it is pretty much a total steal, especially when you look at the amount many similar software companies have the audacity to charge for what is effectively the same service. With prices like these, it is a genuine no brainer for anyone with files they care about – businesses, students and individuals with meaningful personal and/or professional documents and files alike.
The customer service available is good, and there are a multitude of ways to get help, including free access to a particularly useful and knowledgeable tech team who are on hand to assist you with any complicated problems. These are contactable largely through the website and email, though there is also a phone number available for sales. As well as a video tutorial, they have also put together an elaborate Zoolz wiki which is not unlike an FAQ section, only it contains the answers to practically every single problem you are likely to encounter when using the software, all on an easy to navigate and use website. It is well worth skim-reading or doing a search before contacting anyone directly, as the chances are it will have the answer you're looking for, and it's immediately available.
For those who shun these kinds of “traditional” contact methods, they also have a presence on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, where enquiries are also dealt with speedily. If you @ them on Twitter, or post a comment on their Facebook page, you can expect to wait no longer than a day for a direct response.
Ultimately, if you are in the market for an online backup service, you have nothing to lose with Zoolz Home. It more than ticks the boxes for everyday backup needs, and provides the same peace of mind and sense of security that super costly software does, only for a tiny fraction of the price. Sure, it has a couple of disadvantages and there is room for a little improvement here and there. But when you have unlimited, super secure data backup for nothing more than spare change every month, and a vast number of notable features such as versioning, i.e. being able to access old versions of updated files, ability to backup external hard drives and network drives along with easy going software than anyone could operate, these small complaints seem grossly insignificant.
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