SpiderOak Review – Complete Feature Breakdown and Analysis

Quick Look

SpiderOak is a very refined and powerful cloud backup service. But it doesn’t just stop there. It has features like file syncing, sharing, archiving and strong encryption. With high upload and download speeds and 2 GB free storage, SpiderOak should not be missed.

About SpiderOak

SpiderOak was founded by Alan Fairless and Ethan Oberman in 2007. The company claims to be a zero knowledge online backup service. It is headquartered in Chicago with offices in San Fransisco and Kansas City. Currently, 42 employees are working in the company, most of which work remotely.

feel safe again

Who Should Use SpiderOak? 

Firstly, SpiderOak allows backup from unlimited machines which can be extremely helpful for users who work on multiple systems every day and want a single place to backup all their data. SpiderOak is known for its military-grade high-end security. With a zero knowledge policy and strong encryption, users can be assured that their data is safe. In fact, even the company doesn’t have access to user data. All the data is saved on company’s in-house servers and not on any third party servers. SpiderOak also makes sure that only limited employees have access to these servers.

download screen

That is why this service is great for business users who are skeptical about storing their data on cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive. SpiderOak can also be used for personal purposes, but we would recommend it to people who are technically sound. While the service has some powerful features, its lack of user friendliness can prove to be a challenge for many novice users.

Apart from backup, it also offers file management and sharing features. SpiderOak also provides archiving and syncing features.


Features: 

  • Highly customizable backups
  • File sharing
  • File archiving
  • Private encryption
  • Zero knowledge policy
  • Unlimited computers
  • Data always controlled
  • & more...

Backup and Restoration

SpiderOak provides a desktop app for Windows, Mac, and Linux. All the files are backed up through desktop apps only. Users can either utilize the free 2 GB storage space provided by the service or try one of the paid plans available.

backup

Once you log in, SpiderOak will ask you whether you want to initiate a basic backup or an advanced backup and this is where you need to be extra careful. Only go for advanced backup if you want more control on how your data is backed up. SpiderOak’s advanced options can seem a little confusing for everyday users.

In the basic backup option, users can directly select which folders and categories they want to back up. If you choose the Photos folder, then all the photos in that folder will get backed up and synced but the app will not backup all the image files from your system. There is also a status bar at the bottom which updates you about the storage space taken by each component; this is very much like the bar you find in the lower part of iTunes window.

manage screen

When you select the advanced option, you can select individual files and choose how you want to backup and sync them. You can also view and backup hidden files and folders through this option. But, you will discover that the advanced option is a little difficult to understand and navigate. With so many functionalities, users can feel intimidated and just want a single button like Backblaze that could backup everything.

There are also many backup scheduling options available. You can select particular date or time, or you can choose the increments of minutes, hours, and days the backup should take place. Scheduling can be done for both backup and file syncing. Users can either match their schedule or run them both independently.

Users can also select or deselect files based on their size, file names, extensions or age. This is an excellent option for users who have a lot of data, and they want to control every little bit of it. If there are no changes made from the users side, then SpiderOak will backup files every time they are updated. It doesn’t re-upload the entire file again, only those parts of the files that are changed are uploaded.

One of the best features of SpiderOak is de-duplication. It means that if you already have a copy of a specific file on your system, then SpiderOak will detect it automatically, and those files will not be locally synced again with the system to create a duplicate copy. It also has a Windows File Explorer integration which means you can directly backup files by right clicking on it and if the file is already backed up then you can access other options like viewing versions of the file and retrieving a shareable link to it.

sync screen

Coming to restoration, it can be done both through the web app and through the desktop app. From the web interface, you can select specific folders which can then be downloaded in the form of a zip file. Unfortunately, there is no search option on the web app.

The desktop app gives you more power when it comes to backing up. You can access different versions of the files and select accordingly. Files can only be backed up in batches or individually but not all together.


Privacy & Security

SpiderOak’s main selling point is its high privacy. Files are encrypted both at rest and when they are in transit. It has a 256-bit encryption both on the local side and the server side.

something to protect

Users can set their encryption key for local encryption. Once the files are encrypted on the local side, no one, not even the SpiderOak employees will have access to your data. In fact, the file and folder names would also not be readable. The files will only get encrypted when you enter the password.

But this also means that if you lose your password, you lose your data too, and there is no way to recover it back.


Web & Mobile App

Since SpiderOak has been mainly developed to be used on a desktop app, there is no web app at all. Yes, we know its strange. We have tested many cloud applications, but this is the first one with no website access. But, SpiderOak’s reason for this is privacy, no website access means no phishing attacks

SpiderOak’s mobile app is available for both iOS and Android. And these apps are limited as well. You can view and browse the already uploaded files, but there is no way to upload files from mobile. Being how safe and protected the service is, it doesn’t even let the user take a screenshot of the data.


Pricing and Plans

price choices

First, 2GB storage space is free for all users, and you don’t need to give any credit card information for that. Paid plans start at $7 per month which provide a storage space of 30 GB. If you need more space, you can opt for a $12 per month plan which will get you 1 TB of space. Though, there are no unlimited storage plans, the maximum plan offered by the company is 5 TB for a price of $25 per month.


What's It Missing? 

The first thing we seem to miss in SpiderOak is simplicity. For a tech novice, its advanced features can be difficult to navigate. While a tech geek would love to have that much control over his data. Sometimes, people just don’t have that much time to set the needed features and setting.

At the same time, SpiderOak’s prices are on the high end too. Yes, it does provide both backup and syncing, but its price is higher than any of its competitors.


SpiderOak Alternatives: 

BackBlaze

Crashplan

Backblaze is a completely automated online backup service. It provides unlimited storage space for an affordable price of $5 per month. It also provides private encryption. But, completely automated backup service means, everything is handled by Backblaze itself and the user cannot customize much.

Crashplan is another unlimited storage cloud backup service with private encryption. Unlike Backblaze, Crashplan lets users choose what they want to backup and how they want to back it up. Plans start at $5 per month.


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Tech Specs: 

Specifications

  • Free Storage: 2 GB
  • Free Trial: 30 days
  • System: Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Price: Starting at $7/month

Mobile

  • Mobile Apps: iOS and Android

Backup Features

  • Synchronization: Yes
  • Free External HD Backup: Yes
  • Continuous Backup: Yes
  • Incremental Backup: Yes
  • Backup Scheduling: Yes
  • Bare Metal Backup: No
  • Exclude File Extensions for Backup: Yes
  • Network Drives: No
  • Bandwidth Throttling: No
  • Web Access: Yes
  • HIPAA Compliant: No
  • File Size Limit: No limit
  • Included Machines: Unlimited

Security

  • File Sharing: Yes
  • Multiple Accounts: No
  • Share Photo Albums: Yes
  • Music Streaming: No
  • Folder Collaboration: Yes
  • Outlook Backup: No

Sharing/Collaboration

  • Local Encryption: 256-bit
  • Server Side Encryption: 256-bit
  • Keeps deleted files: Unlimited
  • File Versioning: Unlimited
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