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SpiderOak One Backup review

SpiderOak One is where cloud storage gets SaaSsy

SpiderOak One
(Image: © SpiderOak)

Our Verdict

If you've got files on computers, networked drives, and external drives to back up, sync and share across multiple devices, then SpiderOak One is a dependable option for doing just that. However, it has its weaknesses, which you should make yourself aware of.

For

  • Sleek desktop client
  • Unlimited devices
  • Tight security protections

Against

  • No proper web interface
  • On the expensive side
  • Limited mobile support

SpiderOak and SpiderOak One have a strong reputation in the cloud storage market, and with good reason – the services come with excellent security protections and plenty of useful features. Here we're taking a particularly close look at the SpiderOak One backup plan aimed at consumers.

You can also sign up for an enterprise version of the software, which brings you everything on a greater scale, support for multiple users, centralized device management and more. It's for teams of 500 people or more, but for everyone else, SpiderOak One will do just fine.

SpiderOak One features

It would probably be quicker to talk about the features SpiderOak One doesn't have, but essentially it focuses on backing up any folders and files you've got to the cloud – whether that's data on your computer, on external drives, on USB drives, or on the local network. The number of devices you can use with SpiderOak One is unlimited, though the amount of cloud storage space isn't.

What SpiderOak One doesn't provide is a bare metal backup or restore, so you'll need to download and install your operating system and apps separately if something does go wrong. SpiderOak One is perfect for syncing multiple computers as data is modified, so it's like a more advanced version of Dropbox in some ways (you can have backups run on a timer or in real time, for example, an option which Dropbox doesn't give you).

Other sophisticated add-ons in the SpiderOak One suite include SpiderOak Hive (cloud storage for files you don't have saved locally), and a ShareRoom feature that lets your team collaborate on a folder of files via a specific web link, with its own room key and password to restrict access.

What we also liked about the way that SpiderOak functions is that all transfers are block-based, meaning that if you make changes to a large file, only those parts that have been altered get sent – that can dramatically reduce sync times. Versioning support is good too, letting you pull up older versions of a file (in fact SpiderOak One does well in every aspect of activity logging).

SpiderOak One

(Image credit: Future)

SpiderOak One interface

The desktop clients for SpiderOak are some of the cleanest and easiest to use that we've come across during our cloud storage testing: they're a breeze to use and make the process of picking files and folders to back up very simple. Backing up and syncing was configured in minutes and then you can just sit back and let SpiderOak get on with it.

The main interface is split up to cover backing up, syncing, your devices, and file and folder sharing. If you don't want to pick out specific files and folders, then you can just point the software towards specific types of files on your system – files like emails, documents, movies and music. In our tests, backing up was rapid enough, considering the limitations of our rather average upload speed.

It's possible to search through files from the desktop client as well, though it's not up to the standard you get with the likes of Google Drive and Dropbox at the moment. What we do like is the help documentation, which is concise and jargon-free, and you can get at this either through the desktop apps or through the SpiderOak One website.

The web portal is more basic and limited than the desktop clients, though it does let you get at your files, your devices and your shares if you need to download them again. The mobile apps are a bit on the disappointing side too, just letting you view the files you've got in SpiderOak One – there's no option to save photos, videos or any other types of data from your phones or tablets. The strengths of SpiderOak One lie elsewhere.

SpiderOak One

(Image credit: Future)

SpiderOak One security

End-to-end encryption comes as standard with SpiderOak One, which we're glad to see – not even SpiderOak staff will be able to get at your files, and not even if law enforcement agencies should come calling. The only exception to this are files connected to ShareRooms, which by their very nature must be left unencrypted for others to access.

While this approach provides SpiderOak customers with the best levels of security, the downside is that should you forget your password then you’ll never be able to get to these files ever again. However, there's no two-factor authentication offered to protect your account, which is quite an oversight given the other security measures used here.

SpiderOak One pricing

SpiderOak One pricing is based on how much cloud storage space you need: it's $6 (about £5) a month for 150GB, $11 (about £9) a month for 400GB, $14 (about £11) a month for 2TB, and $29 (about £23) a month for 5TB. All those tiers cover an unlimited number of devices, and in each case you can pay a bit less per month by paying annually.

There's no free tier here, but there is a 21-day free trial you can take advantage of before you pay anything – and you don't have to provide a debit or credit card if you do sign up for a trial, so you won't have any nasty billing surprises if you forget to cancel. You can find cloud storage cheaper, but you might not get all of the same features.

SpiderOak One

(Image credit: Future)

SpiderOak One verdict

If you sign up for SpiderOak One knowing what it is, and what it isn't, then you won't be disappointed with what the syncing and backup service has to offer. It ticks very specific boxes for decent security and solid functionality on desktop clients – a good mix of syncing, sharing and straightforward backup.

On the downside, the mobile apps aren't really worth bothering with, and there's not much in the way of an online interface, so this is primarily for Windows, macOS and Linux users – especially those who've got multiple computers to back up, and aren't going to use up masses of storage space in the cloud along the way.