Backups Solutions on a Budget

Photo by Patrick Lindenberg on Unsplash

Lets face it, the world is basically going to crap right now.  I’m sure people have been dealing with this in various ways, but I for one have been doing whatever I can to get back a sense of control.  I’ve made a concerted effort to improve my health by working out more.  I’ve also paid more attention to my financials, and have a plan for if something were to happen with my job.   All of this is in an effort to not let a possible future event not totally derail my life.  But there is an area in my life that has not been getting as much attention, but is equally as important: my data.  We all have files that are important to us, that are difficult (if not impossible) to replace, and it would be in our best interest to back ‘em up. 

So we know that we need to back up our stuff, but what’s the best way of doing it without breaking the bank?  Like I said before, the world is in the crapper right now, so now is not the time to be spending a bunch of money on tech.   Luckily for us, we can probably put together a solution with just the stuff that’s laying around in the house, and resources that are available to everyone.    

Option 1) external hard drive / thumb-drive / flash drive 

The first and probably most obvious option for backing up your stuff would be to use an external hard drive or thumb-drive.  Chances are that you have some sort of drive that you are not using that could help with this.  Even If it’s something small, like a 16 GB thumb drive, thats still probably enough to make a copy of your most important files.  Well just have to come up with another solution for the bigger stuff like photos and media. 

Option 2) use an old phone or tablet 

If the search for a spare drive was a bust, what you could use instead is an old phone or tablet.  Most people will have one or more of these laying around.  The basic idea here is the same:  these old devices will probably not be flush with storage space, but there might be enough storage space on there to back up those important documents.  Plus, you’ll be getting some extra value out of the old device that you already paid for.  Win-win if you ask me.  

Option 3) user cloud storage

The next option is probably the most robust of them all; using Cloud storage. This one’s nice because like the other option, it’s free (provided that you stick with the base options) and you don’t have to rummage through your house looking for old stuff.  It’s also nice being able to access your files from anywhere and know that they are safe from the “my house caught fire” type of situation.  

A couple of mainstay options for cloud storage include:  Google Drive , or OneDrive.  The free level of both options comes with a generous amount of storage, with OneDrive including 5 GBs and Google Drive including 15 GBs ( but with that 15 GBs being shared with between your Drive files, your Gmail emails, and your Photos).  If you find that you prefer something else, there are a ton of other cloud storage options out there as well. 

Option 4 ) make a home server 

Now the last option here is probably my personal favorite, and that would be to stand up your own personal home server.  With an old computer and a little bit of know-how, you could be on your way to storing and backing up all your media, your old pictures, your movie collection, you name it.  The added bonus to this one is that if you don’t know anything about systems 

administration or network storage, this is a great place to get your feet wet.  If you’re looking for a straight-forward way of turning an old rig into a file server, or a NAS (Network Attached Storage) then TrueNAS CORE is a great solution.  TrueNAS CORE recently had a name change, so most people still know it by its original name, FreeNAS.  The good people over at How-to-Geek have put together a walk-through on how to set up TrueNAS , but just know that their write-up is technically for FreeNAS.  Not much should have changed though, so you shouldn’t get too lost following it. 

With using some of these options together, you should be able to back up most of your most important files.  That will leave you with one less thing to worry about, so you’ll have more time to frantically wash your hands. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *