Should I Seed My Data with My Online Backup Provider?

Let’s first establish what seeding your data to the cloud means. Is it planting vegetation in a hovering cloud? Scooping up grains and scattering them into the stratosphere? Sprinkling watermelon seeds skyward on a cloudy, rainy day? Well, not really.

Data SeedingSome background is necessary, before we answer the question above:

Many companies and private users are opting to back up their data to the cloud, which means offsite data storage accessible via the Internet. Backing up your data to the cloud, otherwise known as online backup, has many advantages over standard, onsite, backup methods. Available anywhere with internet access, no large upfront fee and keeping your data safe in the event that your home or office experiences a robbery or natural disaster, are just a few great benefits of online backup.

This brings us to the topic of the original backup which takes place once you choose an online backup provider.

Now, if you have only a gigabyte or two of data to backup, then the backup time necessary is a negligible. In no time at all, your data will be safely backed up to the online backup provider of your choice. From that moment onwards, the provider will keep your data up-to-date on an hourly, daily or whatever customized schedule you set up from the start.

The issue arises on how to proceed with online backup if you are dealing with huge amounts of data. Depending on the amount of gigabytes to terabytes you are trying to backup, it can take many days, weeks or months of non-stop internet access between your computer and your online backup provider’s offsite data center. There are many free online calculators that prompt you to enter the amount of data you have along with the speed of your Internet connection and they estimate how long the entire upload time will take. Examples of such calculators can be found at: or

Many clients don’t want to upload their original data for days, weeks or months. Therefore, many offsite data storage companies offer the option of sending the client (that’s you!) a hard drive of up to 1 TB. You then backup your data to the external hard drive that you received. Upon completion, you mail it back to your online backup provider. They then use this hard drive to backup your initial data.

This process is called seeding. Once seeding is completed, continuous backups to your online data backup provider should be swift, smooth and automatic, taking several minutes a day on average.

This brings us back to our original question: Should I seed my data with my online backup provider? It is a personal decision as there is an extra charge for seeding your data. If you have your own onsite backup in addition to offsite backup, it might not be deemed such an urgent, necessary expense.

However, if you don’t want to be bothered with the hassle of the original uploading to an offsite data storage provider, or you are concerned that your online backup be up-to-date and accessible as soon as possible, then seeding your data, even with taking the expense into consideration, may be the best way to go.