SpiderOak Review

By Paul Niemeyer
May 14, 2013

 

 

Attention: SpiderOak now Unlimited for a short time!

World Backup Day is nearly here and SpiderOak has come up with a special promotion: if you sign up now you’ll have the chance to upgrade your plan to unlimited storage until 3/31/14, 23:59 CDT! So you must act fast. Just sign up for an account and upgrade your plan applying the promo code:
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Quick summary and verdict

SpiderOak offers a decent cloud storage and file-sharing service, and can be a useful online backup utility for more advanced users that know their needs. Its greatest selling point lies in its ability to sync files and continuously log those changes online, although storage is limited at 100 GB, with extra fees for going over the limit, plus it offers top notch zero knowledge privacy, so that your data remains safe.

SpiderOak also offers unlimited computers to add to the online backup network, which can be useful for individuals with many computers or want to create a default backup across many systems. The specialized features and options for backups and the lack of a restore wizard means that novices may find SpiderOak less user friendly than many of its competitors. However, advanced users that can work with the 100 GB data cap will find the many sync and file-sharing options of SpiderOak worth it for their money.

  • unlimited computers for sharing and syncing
  • top-notch security
  • relatively expensive

Who is it for?

Users can try SpiderOak for free at a data limit of 2 GB, or sign up for a paid plan of either $10 per month or $100 per year (a little more than $8 per month), with $10 per month for each additional 100 GB. The numerous advanced features that SpiderOak offers along with its relative lack of user friendly options makes it a good online backup utility for advanced users who can make use of its potential.

SpiderOak offers a strong online file management and file sharing service on to of its online backup service, so users are paying for an additional service. The unlimited computers covered is another plus which means that individuals can create default copies of their system or essential files for even entire networks with SpiderOak. However, the 100 GB limit means that users that have large data needs will find SpiderOak less suitable for their needs, and there are competitors that offer more storage at similar price points. My favorite still remains JustCloud, but you should research on CloudStorageComparison.net if that’s what you need.


About SpiderOak

SpiderOak is based in the United States, and offers their backup, sync, and file share services from an off-site server. SpiderOak is most known for its focus on privacy, having a no-access privacy policy for clients’ data where not even SpiderOak employees can access any of the data stored by personal or business clients. However, these claims are difficult to verify because the SpiderOak client itself is not completely open-source. It also differentiates itself from its competitors in its system of syncing files and archiving the changes across multiple devices.


Backing files up

Basic features

SpiderOak offers two basic backup options for users, and the service works on both Windows as well as Mac OS, and even Linux. The first is the basic backup, which simply allows the user to select categories and folders, such as Desktop, Movies, Music, and Pictures.

The advanced option allows users to check boxes next to individual folders and files and customize exactly what they want backed up and synced on SpiderOak. However, there is no option to combine the two, and users may find the advanced option difficult to navigate and make use of if they have little experience or just basic backup needs.

Additional features

SpiderOak also allows users to include and exclude certain types of files or files of a certain size in their backups. This may be useful for clients that have very specific needs but don’t want to look through their entire system in advanced mode.

SpiderOak can exclude file types

In addition, users can customize the frequency of backups, from automatic to set intervals. Users can also limit or pause the speed of their uploads for backing up their system, which is useful for users that don’t want the upload speed to throttle their internet. There is also the option to keep local versions of the backup, which is useful for users with an external hard hard drive and restore far faster than downloading their files from the online source.

  • exclude files types
  • backup scheduling
  • bandwidth throttle
  • Local backup

Restoring files

Restoring files is one of the places where SpiderOak truly shines. Users can choose to retrieve their data from the SpiderOak program or through the web browser, which requires logging in with their username and password. Users can choose from historical saves of every file they have synced, which demonstrates the utility and power of archiving and syncing files that SpiderOak offers.

Restore files from the web where ever you are

These files are also never deleted, so users don’t have to worry about their older syncs being unavailable to them after a certain time. SpiderOak also allows a merge of data between systems, which allows files to have their contents merged instead of wiped and replaced.


Special features

ShareRooms

ShareRooms is an online location that SpiderOak devised for users. Users select the files they want shared in their ShareRoom, and create a ShareID and RoomKey. Any users that enter the corresponding ShareID and RoomKey will have access to the designated files, meaning users can share their files with individuals not signed in to their SpiderOak network.This can be a very useful feature for individuals that need to share files with friends or coworkers for group projects.

Share files in a super secure SharedRoom

Encryption

SpiderOak encrypts your files locally on your computer before sending them off. That ensures that nobody at SpiderOak or anyone else can see your files. If you lose your private key, you will not be able to access your data.

SpiderOak Zero Knowledge Privacy

Final verdict recommendation

SpiderOak is a strong online file sharing, syncing, archiving and backup utility that can offer many useful features to advanced users. It is also well known for its focus on user privacy, and the many advanced features can make it a compelling option for users with specialized needs. However, beginning users will find their interface difficult to understand and may be overwhelmed by the options available. Their 100 GB data cap is also a downside that may cause individuals that just want a simple online backup system to reconsider.