⚡️ Quickstart: Backup all your files offsite with Backblaze
6 min read

⚡️ Quickstart: Backup all your files offsite with Backblaze

Making automatic backups protected by an encryption key, which only you possess, is not as difficult as it sounds.
- This Instruction is part of the Backups Layer. Learn about Layers.

As you follow this Instruction, use the Table of Contents in the hamburger menu from the top-right to navigate quickly.

To successfully complete this Instruction you'll need

  • A desktop, running either macOS (10.10 and above) or Windows 64-bit (7, 8, 8.1 and 10), and
  • A modern and updated browser running on that desktop.
  • A password manager, set up on your desktop, to create and store good passwords for the Backblaze account you'll be making. Use this quickstart if needed.
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By the end of this Instruction, you'll have...

  • Set up Backblaze Personal on a 15-day no-cost trial, ready to seamlessly switch to the monthly subscription plan.
  • Be automatically backing up your files to remote storage, using the Backblaze app installed on your desktop computer.
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Helpful words

When we use words in a way that is unfamiliar, come back here then click through to an explainer in the Glossary.

Let's get started!

Signup icon in brand blue.

A. Signup through the Backblaze registration page

You'll need an account with Backblaze to automatically backup and restore files using the Backblaze app.

  1. Open up your browser, then go to https://www.backblaze.com/cloud-backup.html.
  2. Click on the Try it free button, which will take you to https://www.backblaze.com/free-trial.html.

B. First, create an entry in your password manager for a new username-password combination

Use your password manager to create, then save, a new username-password entry. After this step, you'll use this entry to create a new Backblaze account.

  1. In your password manager, enter the email address you want to register with.
  2. Generate a good, random password. The password manager can do this for you. Make sure it's 32 characters long, uses symbols, numbers, and alphabets.
  3. Save the entry.
Email notification icon.

C. Then, use the new entry in the password manager to fill out the fields on the registration page

Copy then paste the email and password from the password manager into the registration page.

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D. Download the installer

We'll need to download the installer, which will set up the Backblaze app on our desktop computer.

Submitting the registration form may trigger a download of an installer. Skip this download. This particular installer is created for your account, aiming to help you avoid needing to login. But, it also means you'll need to bypass security settings for your MacOS to take advantage of this convenience.

Instead, we'll download manually from https://secure.backblaze.com/download.htm. Be sure to choose the correct one for your operating system.

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E. Start the installer

Windows: Double-tap the .exe and continue. Follow the prompts.

macOS: Double-tap the .dmg and continue. Follow the prompts.

Icon of a human and a key.

F. Log in to your Backblaze account

You'll need to sign in using your username-password to let the Backblaze app know to backup your data using the account you created earlier.

Preview of the Backblaze installer window where you'll need to paste your email.

Like you did earlier, copy then paste the email and password from the password manager into the installer.

Icon of a thick-bordered cog.

G. Follow the displayed instructions to install the app and start backing up files

The instructions are specific to your operating system. The installer walks you through this step, so we won't confuse you by giving alternative guidance here :-)

Follow the prompts in the installer to install the app and start backing up files.

By default, Backblaze backs up all your data. Most people need a complete backup. You can change this behaviour.

Icon of a vault.

H. First, create an entry in your password manager for a new private encryption key

Use your password manager to create, then save, a new private encryption key. After this step, you'll use this entry to enable encryption in Backblaze.

A private encryption key will ensure you, and only you (not Backblaze even), can access your files.
  1. Generate a good, random password. The password manager can do this for you. Make sure it's 32 characters long, uses symbols, numbers, and alphabets.
  2. Save the entry. Make sure you can distinguish it from the earlier Backblaze username-password combination. We use a different name, such as "backblaze.com private encryption key".
Icon of a switch. Not a wall switch. The slide-y switch in digital settings menus.

I. Second, switch on encryption using your private encryption key

This is arguably the most important step. Everyone who has a Backblaze account should set a personal encryption key. Using a personal encryption key adds a layer of security that prevents anyone but you from accessing your files, no matter what.

Encryption is a great way to prevent unauthorized access to information, because encrypted content is useless without the key to decrypt it.

We're using key and password interchangeably, because this key is just another password. For example, in an earlier step you saved your private encryption key as a password in your password manager.

Do not forget or lose this key. In addition to keeping it in your password manager, feel free to write it down, then store it in a secure place, such as a safe. If you lose the private encryption key, you will not be able to decrypt the files backed-up on Backblaze. The company cannot help you recover the key.

  1. From the Backblaze window that displays after a successful install of the app: Settings (button) -> Security (tab)
  2. Tap Enter Your Private Encryption Key (button) and paste the encryption key you created.
  3. Tap Set Private Key to begin encryption.
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J. Let the backup happen, in the background.

The first backup will take ages (think days), because it is backing up all the data on your desktop computer. Exactly how long depends on the speed of your internet connection, and the total size of all your files.

Subsequent backups, of the files you add or change, will be much faster.

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Recommended next step

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We recommend setting up local backups as well. Remote backups like the one you just created are for when your local backups get damaged or lost. Local backups are faster to access and are easier for day-to-day use, like if you made unwanted changes to a file and want to go back to yesterday's version.

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Tools used

🛠 Product Profile: Backblaze Personal
Backblaze Personal is good for business uses. Backblaze B2, their “enterprise” product competes with AWS S3 and is not a backup tool.

Sources

  1. https://help.backblaze.com/hc/en-us/articles/1260804002669-Beginner-s-Guide-to-Personal-Online-Backup
  2. https://help.backblaze.com/hc/en-us/articles/217667388-How-to-Install-Backblaze-Mac-
  3. https://help.backblaze.com/hc/en-us/articles/217665388-What-does-Backblaze-Backup-