Wondershare UBackit

File Backup

  • Backup files, partitions, NAS disks, hard drives, effectively, incrementally and automatically.
  • Provides many features, such as, disk clone, Outlook backup, scheduled auto backup, and more.
  • Supports 1000+ file formats backup, including JPEG, PNG, AVI, M4V, MOV, MP4, DOC, XLS, PST, etc.
Free Download Free Download Learn More >
data backup

Online Cloud Backup VS. External Hard Drive Backup

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jun 14, 2024 • Filed to: Take Data Backup • Proven solutions

Have you ever felt the pain of losing all your documents? We store everything on our computer, from our work to our favorite family photographs. It’s risky to keep so much in one place, someone only needs to steal your computer, and you’ve lost everything. That’s why you should back up your files.

Online backup vs external hard drive; which one is better? These are two popular ways of backing up your data. As we all know, copying data to an online backup involves storing your info in the cloud, while an external hard drive backup on the other hand stores data a safe storage device. But the big question is which of these two backups can satisfy your requirements? Well, their features will help you make the decision. Thus seat back because you're about to find out, as we look at the pros and cons of each option! External hard disk vs cloud storage; you’ll soon know which to choose.

Basics on Online Cloud Storage and Hard Drive Storage

Hard drive storage and online cloud storage are two popular ways to backup data. You might have used one of these methods before. Do you know what each of them is? You can read our descriptions to find out more information. You can also see their key features.

What is Online Cloud Storage?

cloud storage

Cloud storage is a type of backup where you can save your data off-site. You can then access your files through the public internet, or a private network. This data is in the hands of a third party called a cloud provider.

A cloud provider will host, secure, and manage the servers so you can access your data when you need it. These servers save data. These are virtual and run in the cloud environment. If you want to increase your storage, more servers are created.

Your data is inside a pool of servers in one or multiple data centers. It’s stored on multiple devices. That way, if one goes down, you can still easily access your data. There are all sorts of ways to reach information on the cloud. You do it through the internet, but it's accessed through apps, mobile devices, and computers.

Public storage, private storage, and hybrid are the main types of cloud storage. You can connect to a public one over the internet, and it is shared with other companies. Private cloud storage is inside your network, and you can have full control. The hybrid cloud uses a mixture of the two and can be used to supplement internal storage.

How can you backup your data to the cloud storage? More details...

Key Features

What is External Hard Drive Storage?

An external hard drive is a disk that stores data. This device is separate from your computer and can be connected to access files. It connects to your computer through a USB lead. These devices are also known as a portable hard drive.

External hard drives can come in all different sizes. Some even have 1 TB of storage. It has a lot of space, and it can hold over 250,000 photographs. That’s a lot of vacation snapshots!

external storage device

Don’t get this confused with an internal hard drive. That’s a hard drive that’s located inside your computer and stores files on your device. These can easily be used to back up your data. You just need to transfer your files to the disk and plug it back in if you need to access it.

How can you back up to your external hard drive? More details...

Key Features

Cloud Backup VS. Hard Drive Backup

So, you know what cloud and hard drive storage are and their key features. Which still doesn’t help you decide what’s best. That’s why we’ve put them to the test. This is a battle: portable storage vs cloud storage. Grab a seat and let us explain the pros and cons to you.

It’s important to choose a backup method that you can access easily from any device. You want the backup process to be straightforward. It’s also useful to access your files from multiple devices for work and travel.

The cloud is easy to use. If you have an internet connection, you can upload your files. You can even transfer files from your phone to your iPad and Computer. This service is useful for photo editing.

If you try and do this with an external hard drive, you’re going to need a lot of extra wires. This process is going to take a lot longer to set up. Who has that much time to waste?

You want your data to be secure, especially with a backup. There’s no point in backing up your data if it’s just going to be hacked or lost.

Security for cloud storage has come a long way. It used to be easily hacked. Now cloud storage uses 256-bit AES encryption and zero-knowledge encryption. This service protects your data. For zero-knowledge encryption, only you know the encryption key, stopping hackers from getting their hands on your information.

Hard drives also have good security; you can’t hack them unless they’re plugged into a computer. It means your data is most likely safe. But, there’s a human element involved. If you lose your external hard drive, then someone can easily access your data. It’s not a good option for someone who’s always losing things.

Sync technology is a system that runs in the background. It will give you automatic updates and will upload any new or mortified files. That saves you time!

Sync technology is on the cloud. It’s one of its main advantages. You can get your data updated without you having to do anything.

Automatic updates can also be set-up on a hard drive. Just remember that it needs to be connected to an update. But, overall, it’s pretty easy to set-up. A good choice if you’re not updating and creating new files regularly.

A big difference between hard drives and cloud storage is cost. This can make hard drives seem very attractive. You pay a small one-time fee and get terabytes of storage. They’re even dropping in price because more people are turning to the cloud.

Cloud storage is paid monthly. You also have to pay for any extra storage space you might need. But, monthly subscriptions can sometimes be better if you don’t have a large sum of money to pay upfront.

When you’re using online storage, pay extra attention to the legal stuff. Using some services will grant them access to use your files. They can’t take copyright away from you, but they can use them for their own purposes.

A third-party isn’t involved in an external hard drive, so you never run this risk. But, cloud services can be great if you don’t mind your files shared. Plus, you can always opt for private cloud storage.

Both hard drives vs cloud backup has their downfalls. An external hard drive can break easily. A lot of them end up breaking down. You don’t have this problem with the cloud.

On the other hand, the servers on a cloud can go down. That’s no good if you need to access them in a hurry. Luckily most providers store data in multiple places to stop this.

So, there you go, we think a cloud external hard drive just about wins. It’s a modern way of saving data that will continue to develop.

Cloud External Hard Drive
Access options Access from multiple devices Use a USB connection
Data security Strong but may be hacked Strong but may lose the device
Sync technology Automatic updates Automatic updates when connected
Cost per unit Monthly subscription One-time purchase
Ownership Can share your files Maintain ownership
Reliability The server may break down in some cases May break

Anyway, the table above has given you a concise comparison between cloud backup and hard drive backup. But do you know what cloud backup tool can help you backup your information without compromising the database? All you need is Wondershare UBackit backup per is the top leading cold backup tool that has the maximum capability to store your important data fast and efficiently. Moreover, with the availability of advanced AI technology, you can backup files in a lightning last manner (up to 30x faster). Sounds cool right? Don't think twice about downloading Wondershare UBackit NOW! Check out its key features below.

Key features of Wondershare UBackit


We hope you’ve found all the information you need to decide if you need cloud storage vs hard drive storage. Both hard drive online storage and external storage have merits, and it can be a tricky decision. You should choose cloud back-up if you want to access your data from multiple devices. Pick a hard drive if you want a secure and private connection. If you’re itching to back up your data, you can use Wondershare UBackit. It’s a cheap and effective way to keep your files safe.

Recoverit author

Amy Dennis

staff Editor

Home > Resources > Take Data Backup > Online Cloud Backup VS. External Hard Drive Backup