Online Backup and Offline Backup: Difference & Which is Better?

What are online backup and offline backup? If you want to figure out their differences, please keep reading!


by Jonna Lasted Updated April 26, 2024

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Why Do You Need to Backup?

In order to keep your data from loss, there are so many reasons why you need to back up your data, such as:

  • Hard Drive Failures: Hard drives are susceptible to crashes, which can result in the loss of data.
  • Human Error: Files can be unintentionally deleted or become corrupted due to human actions.
  • Security Threats: Viruses and malware can delete files, posing a significant risk to data safety.
  • Device Changes: When transitioning to a new computer, the need to transfer and safeguard files becomes essential.

You could find out that backup is important, which can ensure data potential recovery in cases where the original file, folder, or document is either lost or unusable.

The Difference between Online Backup and Offline Backup

Computer backup services can be broadly categorized into two main types: online backup and offline backup. You may not know the difference between them, so let's see how to differentiate.

Online Backup Offline Backup

What is Online Backup?

Online backup, often referred to as cloud backup, involves storing copies of your data on remote servers via the Internet. This type of backup is typically managed by third-party providers. Users can access their backed-up data from anywhere with an internet connection. Online backup services offer PC automated backups, making backup convenient for individuals and businesses.

What is Offline Backup?

Offline backup, also known as local backup, prefers to store data on physical storage devices that are not directly connected to the Internet. This includes external hard drives, network-attached storage (NAS), or even traditional tape backups. Offline backups are often under the direct control of the user or organization. They offer data privacy and faster access to backup data but may lack the convenience of remote access.

Pros and Cons - Online Backup vs. Offline Backup

Now you may have an overview of online and offline backup in your mind. Let's talk about the advantages and disadvantages of having better understanding and after reading you can choose the way you like to backup.

So let's get started with the benefits of online offline backup.

For offline backup:

Efficient Backup and Restoration: When it comes to handling large volumes of data, offline data storage holds a distinct advantage in speed. The process of uploading and restoring large data is notably faster with offline backup compared to online backup, and particularly those offline backups not connected to a network, offer a higher level of security against threats.

Portability: Offline backups are conveniently accessible for most individuals. A simple connection to your hard drive or the insertion of a USB stick allows your data to be backed up swiftly. The majority of offline backup media devices are lightweight and small, making them easily transportable. It provides the flexibility to carry your data securely wherever you go.

For online backup:

Universal Accessibility: Your online backup data is accessible no matter where you go on your mobile devices.

Protection from Physical Threats and Natural Disasters: Online backups protect your data from physical theft and natural disasters, which means you don't need to worry about losing something your data will be gone because your personal data remains in the cloud.

Let's see the cons - online vs. offline backup: which is better?

Local vs Cloud  Backup

For offline backup:                 

Susceptible to Physical Damage: Anything from natural disasters to a simple spill of water can make physical backup devices useless. Once they're damaged, data recovery becomes exceptionally challenging, and valuable information may be lost forever.

Lack of Data Security: Many offline backup devices lack encryption and password protection, potentially granting unauthorized access to sensitive information like official documents or personal information.

Easy to Technological Failures: It is not safe to place complete reliance on a single piece of hardware because hard drives can fail, tape drives may lose data integrity due to heat or magnetic exposure, etc.

For online backup:

Limited Control Over Data: When you back up an entire hard drive to a cloud, you essentially give up control to that service provider. It means that if the service provider's servers experience a catastrophic failure, your data is at risk of being lost.

Dependency on Internet Connectivity: Online data backup is entirely reliant on your Internet connection. When the Internet connection is weak, the backup and restoration processes can be time-consuming.

Prolonged Upload and Restoration Times: Even with a blazingly fast internet connection, the initial upload and backup of data to online storage can be time-consuming. The same speed applies to the process of data restoration.

Now you can find out that online backup and offline backup both have their disadvantages and advantages, when you know about it you can choose what you want to get and what you want to avoid to your preference.

Recommended: Best Free Online Backup Solution for Computer Files

Now, you may know why you need backup and the difference between online and offline backup. You can choose a way you like to backup. In order to back up data with ease and convenience, you can choose online backup with a free third-party tool - CBackup. It provides a safe and easy way to backup critical files and folders to cloud drives like Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox.

Cbackup Main Page

CBackup is a professional cloud backup tool that provides 10GB of free cloud backup storage for its CBackup Cloud. And it can help you to combine cloud storage to create a larger storage space for totally free. It must be called the best free online backup solution to back up your important data. OK now, let's learn about how to use CBackup to create online backups for computer files.

1. Download the CBackup desktop app and sign up > Log in.

Download CBackupWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

2. Choose Storage > add a cloud drive like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and click Authorize Now, and then finish the following prompts to complete the authorization.

Select Google Drive

Tip: If you don't want to add any cloud drives, you can use 10GB free CBackup cloud to store your computer data. Just click Backup on the left pane > Backup PC to CBackup Cloud.

3. Now click Backup on the left pane > hit Backup PC to Public Cloud to create a backup task.

Create Task

4. The final step is to select local files or folders you want to backup and choose a destination folder as your target location > click Start Backup then your files will backup to the designated cloud drive.

Start Backup

Tip: If you need to set a scheduled task to automatically backup your files at the designated time like creating auto backup to OneDrive, you can create a scheduled task (before starting the backup task) by clicking Settings > Scheduler and choosing the time you want to backup. (In advanced version)

Specific Time Mode


This article gives a detailed description of the difference between online backup and offline backup. After reading it, you can get a better understanding of backup and you can choose a way to backup your data for restoration from accidents. No matter in what way to back up, it has advantages and disadvantages. If you want to backup online, you can consider using CBackup to back up your data with ease and safety.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna becomes a professional in the areas of cloud backup and restoration, data protection, etc. after years of learning and researching. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.

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