SpiderOak is a US-based company that first launched an end-to-end encrypted cloud storage and file hosting tool in 2007. While the company now sells solutions for secure remote telework, secure group messaging, and private blockchain applications, it still offers a cloud backup product called SpiderOak One, which has a particular focus on security and privacy.
In our SpiderOak review, we look at what makes this service different from the rest and whether you should consider it for your backup and file-syncing requirements.
SpiderOak: Plans and pricing
SpiderOak One has four pricing plans. The cheapest is a $6/month plan that includes 150 GB of storage and support for an unlimited number of devices. For $11/month, you get 400 GB of storage. If you pay $14/month, the storage space increases dramatically to 2 TB. A final $29/month plan gets you 5 TB per month. There’s a small discount of around 5 percent if you pay annually.
For companies with over 500 employees, SpiderOak also offers an Enterprise Backup plan. You’ll need to contact the sales team for pricing on this plan.
While many cloud storage solutions require you to store files in a particular folder for them to be synced, SpiderOak allows you to back up any set of folders on multiple computers. Each computer can share distinct sets of files and folders.
Besides the desktop and web clients, SpiderOak has a command-line interface on Windows, Mac, and Linux that you can use to perform direct backup commands. For example, if you have a catastrophic data loss, you can use the command-line to restore a folder or a set of files to a specific date and time in the past.
SpiderOak’s settings and preferences are more powerful than most backup solutions. You can set limits on backup activities such as ignoring files that are over a certain size or age. You can exclude files and folders that match a certain wildcard (e.g., *.zip, *Windows,* etc.), and you have complete control over the frequency and timing of backups.
SpiderOak: Interface and in use
SpiderOak has desktop applications for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There’s also a minimal online web interface that you can use to access and share files stored in SpiderOak.
SpiderOak’s desktop application interface is a little dated, but its utilitarian style ultimately makes it easier to get things done quickly. At a glance, you can see all the computers that are syncing, the amount of cloud storage space being used, and the schedules you’ve set for backing up, syncing, and sharing files.
Sharing files with others is a little clunkier than with some other cloud sharing solutions, but it’s more versatile. You create a Room, which is essentially a virtual folder, and add an optional password. What’s nice about this system is that you can select multiple folders on your computer to be shared within one Room. An alternative for sharing files is to use the desktop application to create a temporary link to a single file. The link will automatically expire in three days.
SpiderOak has a comprehensive support center with useful, in-depth guides on how to use the software. The information is aimed at experienced computer users and IT technicians. We liked the straightforward organization of the FAQs and the explanations of more complex topics.
Unusually, though, SpiderOak doesn’t have phone or live chat support. It states on its website that this is because phone calls are easy to spoof. Instead, all support is done via ticket. In our testing, we received a reply to a ticket in under 24 hours. Support hours are Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM, Central US time.
We were impressed by SpiderOak’s security measures. SpiderOak uses AES 256-bit end-to-end encryption, so your files are always encrypted, both when they are in transit and when they’re on sitting on the SpiderOak servers.
SpiderOak’s setup is “No Knowledge,” as it uses client-side encryption keys. SpiderOak employees cannot read the files that you store on the servers, as files are entirely encrypted before they leave your computer. Only you can decrypt the files using your unique password.
If you’re looking for a cheaper solution for cloud storage, we recommend IDrive. The IDrive Personal plan costs just $4.34/month and includes 5 TB of storage and support for unlimited devices. Though it doesn’t have the versatility of SpiderOak’s backup solution, it’s about a fifth of the price.
Another simple alternative is pCloud, which offers 2 TB of storage that can be shared between five people for a one-off price of $500. It has a simpler desktop application and support for mobile devices.
SpiderOak isn’t designed to be a cheap cloud storage solution—it’s a backup and sync tool that takes pains to offer a high level of security. As such, it’s an expensive choice if you need to store large files, and it lacks features such as mobile app support and two-factor authentication. But if you need a highly secure backup solution that gives you control over how and when your desktop backups are made, it could be a good fit.