Best Solution for Online Backup: Amazon S3 via Jungle Disk?

After writing a long post on the various ways of local backup, I saw a better solution in the Paul Stamatiou's post about online backup to Amazon S3 via Jungle Disk. S3 (Simple Storage Service) is an online storage web service offered by

As a disclaimer, I am not against local backup tools and I am planning to continue using at least 3 of them in the future:

1. External hard drive, 500 GB
2. Portable hard drive, 150 GB
3. USB drive, 4 GB

However, an encrypted backup on Amazon S3 looks like a tempting option and is probably the best solution for online backup, at least for now. The service is competitively priced at 15 cents per GB per month. Jungle Disk, which provides the interface to Amazon S3, costs $ 20 (one-time purchase).

I tried this backup solution during the weekend and it works OK. The best way to grasp the concept is to watch the explanatory screencasts from the JungleDisk website.

Initially, I was thinking about using Jungle Disk's virtual drive as just another drive (or a folder) but I gave it up in favor of running backups of a few folders:

1. Scanned documents (in PDF format) and other various files as .doc, .xls, .ppt. The size is about 2 GB.
2. Photos from Picasa, 7 GB.
3. Other various files, such as mp3 and video.

The initial upload took 1 day and 17 hours over a cable connection (upload speed 520 kbits/sec) but the subsequent backup is incremental and it takes much shorter time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Jungle Disk? How can you trust a company with such name?

Yes, I know, it does not sound serious but it goes nicely with Amazon, rain forest, etc. In addition, the company does not have access to your data, which is encrypted before it leaves your computer, and the access to Amazon S3 should be available even if Jungle Disk goes bankrupt.

Can anybody read your online files, tax returns, etc.?

The files are encrypted before they leave your computer and are protected via a password and encryption keys.

What are your thoughts about online backup? Which service do you use?

How do you backup your computer files?
How to backup your medical blog?
Why I Started Using Amazon S3.
How I Use Amazon S3.
Image source: Wikipedia.

Amazon S3 Simple Storage Service - Everything You Wanted to Know. Digital Inspiration.
Amazon S3 Buckets Described in Plain English. Digital Inspiration.
Bulletproof Backup Strategies. EfficientMD, 08/2008.
Thoughts on Dropbox from, 09/2008.
S3 Browser - Freeware client for Amazon S3. User Interface for Amazon S3 Service.
A Round-up of GUI Clients for Amazon S3 Storage & CloudFront. Digital Inspiration, 2009.
Web storage: Amazon S3 is nearly 80% more expensive than Amazon Cloud Drive


  1. I currently use the Mozy online backup service, but I have hit the 2GB limit of their free account and don't want to pay the $5/month charge. I'm going to try out JungleDisk and see how well it works. Thanks!

  2. On the subject of file backup, sharing and storage ...

    Online backup is becoming common these days. It is estimated that 70-75% of all PC's will be connected to online backup services with in the next decade.

    Thousands of online backup companies exist, from one guy operating in his apartment to fortune 500 companies.

    Choosing the best online backup company will be very confusing and difficult. One website I find very helpful in making a decision to pick an online backup company is:

    This site lists more than 400 online backup companies in its directory and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis.

  3. Very interesting article. Thanks!

    Amongst SMBs, a popular tool is SecoBackup. I use SecoBackup Community Edition for backups to Amazon S3 (yes, its free for commercial use, and has no limits of any sort, which I like)

    Its free and simple to use but is designed with enterprise features (I dont use the Enterprise edition, but all the features are in the community edition also!) gives me the benefit of its advanced capabilities.

    One of the key capability is that it stores all files with compression and de-duplication applied to them, and files are encrypted before leaving the computer.

    I backup multiple computers, and Secobackup stores duplicate files only once and hence saves me a bunch of storage costs at Amazon!

    I used JD before I switched to SecoBackup.

  4. Use at home and in work. Nice combination and I can access both data types in both locations. Mozy if free and obviously somewhat limited whereas backupanytime is a premium paid for service (Boss pays)


  5. I use JungleDisk/S3 for months now with no issues. Got same S3 J: Drive on my MAC and 2 WinPC's so always have access to my data. Billing is straightforward no catches........

  6. Ive heard good things about the jungle disk. I usually save to an external, as well as an online backup company. after all, 2 heads are better than 1 :o

  7. I use 2 online backups on my wife's PC. I use We do this so we don't get stuck with one vendor and the good thing is that the data is on Amazon S3. I am paranoid about backups having lost disks in the past. I also keep a copy of select documents on my pen drive.


  8. For me SafeCopy is a perfect fit. I can backup USB drives, share files and backup both my Mac and PC with one account. I'm very happy with it and it may be worth checking out. Good Luck!!

  9. NetCDP is much faster. It won't take 1 day 17 hours over cable for that amount of data.

  10. I think i will also oopt for Safecopy backup.I just like the fact that i can backup multiple computers on a single account.