After I wrote about online backups from Data Deposit Box, I was surprised how many questions I had about it. The big issue that came up was backing up pictures and music. Even just one full 16gb iPod backed up online would cost $32/mo. Obviously too expensive.
Online Backup for Data and Documents
The online backup services are for the more important stuff, like business/work documents, personal data and address books, the plans for an upcoming wedding or party, and anything that would be a disaster if you lost it. Look in your /MyDocuments folder and see what you have. Word/Excel/Powerpoint files, some PDFs and maybe even a lot of your bank statements are digital now. That stuff will usually not use up much space at all, and with the $2/mo service from DDB, you might be covered well.
Some services will even give you the first 2Gb free, hoping you will go for their paid versions. These are good, but usually based on a per/computer price. Only have one computer in the house, good. Have 2 or 3, you'll be better off with Data Deposit Box. To try the free versions, you can look at Mozy and Elephant Drive.
Mozy and Elephant Drive claim to offer unlimited storage, but be cautious with that, since obviously they can't do that. Before you can finish uploading your 900gb collection of music (probably months to upload), you will likely get a notice from these services saying you are violating certain terms. And they are right, so don't complain. You cannot get real unlimited online storage for pennies. Your own computer can't even store that much, and you expect it to be saved online for you for free (or $5).
Did I mention time to upload? This is a big issue, since how long do you think it will take to upload all of that music? Remember, in case you don't know, that your upload speed is usually much slower than your download speed, so you will be surprised how long it takes to upload just 1 Gb. Try it, go ahead. I won't wait for you though.
Backup for Photos
Sure, you can store your photos at Flickr, Picasa, and other places for free. That's great, but there are limits. As you start snapping away, you will start seeing that your digital photos are taking up a lot of space, slowly going from 5gb to 10gb to 40gb. You won't be able to put all of that online, at least on the free sites. I'll write up something for online photo storage sometime in the future. (I prefer SmugMug)
But for true redundant back of your photos, you will want an external storage drive. You can always keep an extra backup online.
note: I just noticed I have an old article about that here, Sharing photos online which I should update.
Backup for Music and Video
What are you, crazy? You think you are going to find an affordable way to store all of your music and videos online? For some people, we are talking over 1TB (1000GB). Not gonna happen. There have been a few that tried to offer it, but they were out of business within months.
Your best option for storing and backing up your collection is to use external storage drives. I use a NAS (Network Attached Server) for my music, and then backup that to 2 external drives for extra redundancy. One drive is always a my brother's house in case my house is destroyed by a meteor.
But, you can certainly do something simple. Assuming you already have your media on a drive or two, you don't need the NAS storage part. You just need the backup part. So, you get a couple of external drives. Copy all to one drive. Then backup that drive to a second drive, and store that second drive off-site, whether it's family, or a safe deposit box.
To some, this sounds crazy having double backups of music. But those are likely people who don't have large collections. They might just listen to whatever is on the radio. So, you are already crazy to them, you with your 25,000 song playlists.
If you don't want to lose something, back it up. Period.