Jungle Disk I get asked all of the time what I believe is the best backup service, and the answer typically varies depending on the needs of the person. Some people need a lot of storage but not a lot of bandwidth, or visa versa. When you’re considering what backup service to use I recommend checking out Jungle Disk, which in a way offers the best of all worlds.

How Jungle Disk works is really cool. The first thing that you do is create an Amazon S3 storage account (available in the United States and Europe), which is known as one of the most reliable online storage services available. Then you setup Jungle Disk on your computer, which adds a drag-and-drop interface for managing the encrypted files on your Amazon S3 account. You can even schedule backups of important files and directories on your computer to make sure the data stored on the Amazon S3 servers is always up-to-date.

So why is using Amazon S3 so nice? Instead of having a tiered structure for plans (ex. 20GB for $5/month) you pay only for what you use. Here’s how the pricing goes in the United States:

$0.15 per GB-Month of storage used

Data Transfer
$0.10 per GB – all data transfer in
$0.18 per GB – first 10 TB / month data transfer out
$0.16 per GB – next 40 TB / month data transfer out
$0.13 per GB – data transfer out / month over 50 TB

$0.01 per 1,000 PUT or LIST requests
$0.01 per 10,000 GET and all other requests*
* No charge for delete requests

To put that in perspective you could store 5GB worth of music, which is about 1,000 songs, for as little as $0.90 per month. That’s a very affordable way to back up precious documents, photos, and music.

If you want to use Jungle Disk it costs $20 for a lifetime license, and can be installed on as many computers as you want. That’s especially great news because they offer a version for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There’s even a portable version available that runs on all three platforms thereby giving you access to your files on literally any machine that can connect to the Internet. Oh, and it’s also available for Windows Home Server.

The only downside is that there’s no web-based access to your files when using Amazon S3. Jungle Disk does offer that as an option, but you’ll have to fork out $1 each month for the Jungle Disk Plus service.

Arguably one of the best things about using Amazon S3 as your backup solution is that you’re in control of your files. Privacy is an important issue these days when it comes to storing files in a remote location, and Amazon has proven that they can be trusted with your data.