2 GB free; $10 per month for 100 GB
May 2014
by ConsumerSearch

Best cloud storage for privacy and security

  • Strong privacy and security measures
  • Easy syncing
  • Works with Mac, PC, Linux
  • No editing features

Bottom line

SpiderOak offers superior privacy and security protection for cloud storage users. The company's entire business model is based on ensuring users have the peace of mind that their files and data are secure. SpiderOak also offers syncing between devices, file backup and 2 GB of free storage, but it's primarily a security-focused cloud storage service without many bells and whistles.

Ease of use

When privacy is the priority. Thanks to its strong encryption and privacy policies, SpiderOak garners positive reviews for security and privacy, particularly in the wake of the National Security Agency spying scandal. Early on, SpiderOak's sign-up process involved jumping through a lot of hoops in the name of privacy. Today, sign-up resembles that of other services -- you'll register with an email address and credit card if you plan to use more than the 2 GB of free storage; after downloading, you'll create a user name and password (SpiderOak employees won't ever have access to it or any other of your data). The program works with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux systems as well as iOS and Android devices, but its software can't be accessed via a browser. Some reviewers say uploads can be slower than other services'.


Jot down that password. SpiderOak is immensely proud of its "Zero Knowledge" policy for customers, but it means you'll need to do a little legwork. Instead of being stored in a cloud or on the host company's servers, your heavily encrypted files are kept on your computer or device so SpiderOak has no access. Thus, while you can retrieve a password via a password question hint, SpiderOak doesn't keep the password or the answer -- meaning you're out of luck if you forget it. SpiderOak's syncing program, Hive, lets you drag and drop files into a folder on your computer that will automatically sync them with all of your devices (similar to Dropbox). SpiderOak has backup services as well, but given that its focus is on safe storage, it isn't great for collaboration other than accessing files.


2 GB of free storage. SpiderOak offers 2 GB of free storage; if you need more, it costs $10 a month or $100 a year if you pay up front. SpiderOak also has enterprise and small business plans ranging from $5 per user per month to $10 per user per month. The company's plans and pricing are similar to our Best Cloud Storage service provider Dropbox (2 GB free; $10 per month for 100 GB) but can't compete with Google Drive, our Best Cheap Cloud Storage service provider, which recently slashed prices while boosting its free storage offering to 15 GB.

Our Sources

1. ZDNet.com

SpiderOak's security-minded service is recommended in this comparative test review that includes reviews of nine other cloud storage services. Although SpiderOak was a "bit slower than the others when downloading or uploading files," the service had excellent privacy and security policies.

Review: The Top 10 Personal Cloud-storage Services, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Feb. 25, 2013

2. PC Advisor

Although it receives 3.5 out of 5 stars overall, SpiderOak's security and privacy functions are rated the best among the contenders including Dropbox, which is the top-rated cloud storage service in this review. The reviewer notes that SpiderOak doesn't have collaborative tools or apps but is "clearly the best choice" for security and privacy.

Review: 7 Best Cloud Storage Services - 2014's Best Online Storage Sites Revealed, Martyn Casserly, March 14, 2014

3. Lifehacker.com

SpiderOak is listed as the first of four privacy-focused cloud storage services; its security and privacy procedures are explained in detail in this review that praises SpiderOak for creating a usable client that also takes privacy seriously.

Review: The Best Cloud Storage Services That Protect Your Privacy, Alan Henry, July 10, 2013

4. ZDNet.com

SpiderOak is included in this roundup of alternatives to Dropbox, the leader in the cloud storage industry. Wuala, which uses similar encryption methods, is praised alongside SpiderOak for its privacy and security features.

Review: Eight Business-class Alternatives to Dropbox, Ed Bott, April 17, 2014

5. PC World

Ian Paul's informative test review of SpiderOak's Hive syncing service finds the drag-and-drop client is easy to use, if not too different from those offered by competitors like Dropbox. SpiderOak is unique, however, in having much stronger privacy and security measures, Paul notes.

Review: Hands On with Dropbox Competitor SpiderOak Hive; First Look at New Android App, Ian Paul, May 7, 2013

6. TechCrunch.com

This article focuses on SpiderOak's Hive service, which is described as making "multi-device synchronization easier than ever." SpiderOak itself isn't reviewed here, but its syncing feature is described in some detail as are its development of strict privacy firewalls for corporations and cryptographically secure cloud applications.

Review: SpiderOak Unveils Hive, Streamlines Zero-Knowledge Privacy Storage, Scott Merrill, May 6, 2013

7. Small Business Computing.com

SpiderOak is praised for its privacy and security policies in this short review of the company's services. Moran explains that while most cloud storage service companies store passwords or encryption keys on their servers, SpiderOak is unique in storing your passwords on your computer.

Review: 10 Top Cloud Storage Services for SMBs, Joe Moran, April 25, 2013

Back to top