They’re two of the best cloud services available today, each with great support for user privacy. However, and SpiderOak ONE aren’t exactly playing for the same team. ranks as perhaps the best cloud storage service today, while SpiderOak ONE is an esteemed member of the best online backup club.

Despite that difference, we could certainly see struggling with choosing between the two. SpiderOak ONE, after all, has some cloud storage tricks like file syncing and sharing., meanwhile, works great to secure your most valuable files, even if it can’t perform scheduled backups.

Being the friendly cloud advocates that we are, we decided to help you make the choice between the two. Coming up, we’ll break down the basic differences between and SpiderOak ONE so you have a better idea of what getting. Don’t forget to check out our cloud comparison tool for more help there.

We also have a full review, plus a SpiderOak ONE review, too. vs. SpiderOak: Cloud Storage vs. Online Backup

We’ve detailed the differences between storage and backup in some depth, so we won’t reprise the whole shebang here. The short version is that cloud storage is designed to free up hard drive space, sync devices and share content. Online backup, meanwhile, is meant to faithfully replicate your hard drive in case of crash, theft or some other disaster., as mentioned, falls firmly in the cloud storage category. SpiderOak ONE is an online backup service, but one of the few that try and blend the traditional lines between storage and backup. It does this by offering both sync and file sharing features.

Whether or not that makes SpiderOak ONE a more versatile solution than isn’t really up for debate. It does. However, that said, there’s a lot you need to know about SpiderOak ONE before choosing it over or any other cloud storage option.

The biggest, most important thing that you absolutely must get is that while SpiderOak lets you sync and share files, it won’t help you save hard drive space. will.

While critical, that difference between (or any cloud storage) and SpiderOak is a pretty easy one to grasp. Other differences aren’t. SpiderOak ONE, while terrific in many ways, is one of the harder services to wrap your head around, which is why we wrote an entire SpiderOak ONE guide.

Coming up, we’ll explore some of the more nuanced differences between our two featured services. We’ll take it step-by-step and side-by-side, so you can make the right decision between the best zero-knowledge cloud storage service and one of the most versatile online backup tools.

Space and Cost is one of the best deals in cloud storage. You can either sign up for 500GB of storage for a little under $50 a year, or quadruple that with 2TB for just twice the price.

PlanStarterPro Personal (Option One)Pro Personal (Option Two)Business SoloBusiness ProBusiness Pro Advanced
Price Plan
$ 4 08monthly
$ 48 96yearly
$ 8 00monthly
$ 96 00yearly
$ 8 00monthly
$ 96 00yearly
$ 5 00monthly
$ 60 00yearly
$ 15 00monthly
$ 144 00yearly
Storage 5 GB 500 GB 2000 GB 2000 GB 1000 GB 10000 GB

Individual business plan

2-user minimum.

2-user minimum

SpiderOak ONE, meanwhile, while reasonably priced for an online backup service, won’t make you high five your accountant. 1TB of backup costs around $120 per year. The cheapest plan, which is $60 a year, will get you just 100GB of backup.

PlanSpiderOak ONE TrialSpiderOak ONE 100GBSpiderOak ONE 250GBSpiderOak ONE 1TBSpiderOak ONE 5TB
Price Plan
$ 5 00monthly
$ 59 00yearly
$ 9 00monthly
$ 99 00yearly
$ 12 00monthly
$ 129 00yearly
$ 25 00monthly
$ 279 00yearly
Storage 150 GB 400 GB 2000 GB 5000 GB

21-day free trial.

If you’re looking for sheer volume of gigabytes, trumps SpiderOak ONE with relative ease. About the only advantage you get with SpiderOak ONE is that you can pay month-to-month, while requires an annual commitment.

In light of that annual commitment, you might want to try the service out first. grants you 5GB for free for life. The company has also rolled out a really good referral program that gets you 1GB of additional storage for each friend you refer, with no caps on how many you can convince.

File Hosting Approach

Once you’ve signed up, the method of getting files into the cloud is very different for versus SpiderOak ONE.

Install the client on your Windows or Mac computer, and a special sync folder will be created in your file system. All you need to do to send files to the cloud is drop them in that folder.

Alternatively, you can move files into Vault, which is a secure file archive. You can upload files to the Vault through the web GUI, or you can right-click on files in your file system and choose “copy to Vault.” Files can also be uploaded to your sync folder via the web GUI.

To get files into the SpiderOak cloud, you’ll also need to install a client. However, instead of adding them to a sync folder, you need to create a backup plan, at least at first.

As with most backups, the initial part of the process with SpiderOak can be a bit tedious. The basic idea is that you need to select all folders and files you want added to your backup plan.

SpiderOak ONE helps some by letting you select a category on the right for automatic backup, but you’re limited to specific locations like your desktop, documents or pictures folders.

Going forward, any file placed in a folder tagged for backup will be automatically sent to your SpiderOak ONE cloud space. That is, unless you go into the client and untag that file specifically.

File Sync uses a sync folder to send files to the cloud. That’s not something that most online backup services do, with a few exceptions like SpiderOak.

That means that there’s another way to send files to the cloud with SpiderOak other than putting them in a folder tagged for backup: you can place them in the sync folder SpiderOak creates on your hard drive.

Called Hive, this folder works like most other sync folders.

The difference is that files in it are actually saved to your backup space and are technically part of your backup plan. You can turn off sync for specific file types in your sync folder if you don’t want to sync them, but you can’t turn off backup for files that are being synced.

SpiderOak ONE also doesn’t have a selective sync feature. Most cloud storages, including, do. Selective sync lets you turn sync off for files so that they’re only stored in the cloud, and not also on your hard drive. It, like Vault, is a means of freeing up hard drive space.

Because of SpiderOak ONE’s limitations, it’s fair to say that file syncing with is more flexible and powerful than file syncing with SpiderOak ONE. If you want to be up and syncing fast and don’t care about file backup, that’s a good reason to choose over SpiderOak ONE.

The only added advantage that SpiderOak ONE has when it comes to syncing is that it has a Linux client, while does not. Neither do most cloud storage services, as you can read about in our best cloud storage for Linux guide.

File Sharing

While file sharing is more common with cloud storage, many online backups let you share files as well. SpiderOak ONE does, though it takes a somewhat unique approach.

The difference is what SpiderOak calls a “ShareRoom.” A ShareRoom works something like a shared folder in that any content placed in it is accessible to those who’ve been granted access.

You can assign each ShareRoom an unique password and a unique URL, which will let others access content over the web so they don’t have to install a SpiderOak ONE client.

If setting up a ShareRoom seems like too much work, you can also generate a link pointing to a file that can be shared with anyone. Link sharing with SpiderOak is pretty limited, however.

Generated links can’t be recalled later: it’s a one time thing, so you’ll need to write it down or make a new link if you need to share the file again. Links expire automatically after three days, but the fact that you can’t look them up later makes oversight of file shares a bit tricky with SpiderOak ONE.

The opposite is true of, which makes it easy to audit shared files thanks to two special views in its web GUI. The first, called “links,” shows all of the file links you’ve generated. The second, called “shares,” shows all of the folders you’ve shared.

Other sharing features we like include the ability to set link passwords, expiry dates and download limits. You can also create upload links to let others share files with you. None of these features are available with SpiderOak ONE.

In a nutshell, if you need a good file sharing tool, SpiderOak ONE is a bit clumsy., meanwhile, is probably the top cloud storage tool for file sharing, matched only by the much more expensive Tresorit (see vs Tresorit for a full head-to-head breakdown).


The last thing we’re going to talk about is security. We’ll keep this part brief, though, because it’s a pretty simple story: and SpiderOak ONE are two of the most secure cloud services you’ll find.

While we generally advocate that consumers take steps to protect their own privacy, they can make that much easier by using zero-knowledge cloud services. By zero-knowledge encryption, we mean private, end-to-end encryption. Nobody but you and those you grant access to can decrypt your files, and that “nobody” includes the cloud service itself. and SpiderOak OnE have both consistently ranked among our picks for best zero-knowledge cloud services. Of the two, we give a nudge to since it extends zero-knowledge to any shared files, while SpiderOak doesn’t. also has some other security benefits over SpiderOak ONE, including two-factor authentication. As of December 2017, SpiderOak claimed to be working on that feature for all users, but right now it’s only offered for legacy customers.

Final Thoughts

The goal here was to clear up some confusion about and SpiderOak ONE. Hopefully we did that, but we’ll lay out the short version in case you’re still struggling, or skipped to end.

If you’re looking to augment your hard drive capacity, the choice is clear: pick SpiderOak ONE can’t be used for that purpose. Besides, with, you can get 2TB of storage for cheap.

If you need a disaster recovery solution, you probably want SpiderOak ONE. While a great way to store photos, doesn’t have the backup features to make the process easy and inclusive. In short, if you use as a backup tool, eventually you will get burned.

For file sharing, is the better tool. We’d say the same about sync, too, in most cases (except for Linux).

Where SpiderOak ONE really has an advantage isn’t so much over as over other online backup tools. Otherwise great picks like Backblaze (read our Backblaze review) and CloudBerry Backup can’t be used to sync files. CloudBerry can’t even be used to share them (read our CloudBerry Backup review).

Final Winner: SpiderOak ONE

For alternatives to SpiderOak for backup with sync, the only really capable choices are Acronis True Image and IDrive. Read our True Image review and IDrive review for more information on either.

That’s our take on the or SpiderOak ONE discussion. You’re welcome to chime in by leaving a comment below. As always, thanks for reading.

4 thoughts on “ vs SpiderOak ONE: Which One Does What?”

  1. Regarding synchronization with Spideroak, I have been seeing recurring issues with folders silently being omitted, or older versions being restored on top of then unrecoverable newer versions of files. Reliable as it is as a backup service, I don’t have much confidence left in Spideroak as a sync service (though for now I don’t have the time to try alternatives).

  2. I agree that the spideroak sync is no longer reliable as I just canceled there service after being on of the first on board, somehow support always goes down the drain.

  3. I use Spideroak for long time and through many workstations. For me it works simply great. In two occasions I was able to restore completely by documents and files and it took a little time to do so. I am pretty happy with it. Also I had to deal with the customer care once in 2017 and they were pretty good with it. Sometimes when I keep a workstaiton offline or sleeping for long time spideroak needs a clear of the queue, but after than that it works like a charm.

  4. Have used SpiderOak for long time, only issues are it is very slow, gets itself locked up often and loses sync, requiring clear upload queue, then a very long syndication process.

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