Arq joins the ranks of Mac-friendly online backup services

There’s yet another contender if you’re looking for an online backup solution. Haystack Software has released Arq, a backup application that uses Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3). Arq offers encrypted backups, flexible scheduling, and the ability to select and exclude files as you see fit.

As access to faster bandwidth has increased while storage costs have come down, online backup services have become more appealing. Arq joins a slew of backup options available to Mac users. All of them aim to complement a local backup plan, and, for most Mac users, Time Machine does the trick. But as we all know (and we do all know, don’t we?) that if something really bad happens—your computer and backup drive suffer a horrible fate at the same time—then you need offsite storage.

Arq has a clean interface that lets you drag-and-drop folders to back them up or to restore them. Your backups are encrypted before they leave your computer. Like Time Machine, Arq keeps multiple versions of your files so you have a backup history.

After the first big upload, the application just makes incremental backups. Backups can be scheduled every hour, daily, or manually. Given that online backups can sometimes take a while, it’s useful that Arq will let you pause a backup and resume after a given time has elapsed. There are no limits on file sizes or types, and Arq can backup external and network drives, too. 

To use Arq, you’ll need an Amazon S3 account. Pricing for storage is complicated, but the service is highly reliable. Amazon is offering free data uploads until November 1.

Arq requires Mac OS X 10.5 or higher. A single-machine license is $29. A family pack, which covers five computers, is $49.

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