Linux users are already spoilt for choice when it comes to free online cloud storage. Ubuntu itself comes with 2GB of free space for all users via the UbuntuOne service. We’ve already looked at the Wuala service last week but now we turn our attention to SpiderOak – a lesser known rival which caught our attention for all the right reasons…

At first glance it’s easy to see SpiderOak as ‘yet another’ online backup and storage service tool. Whilst this is true to a point, SpiderOak brings enough unique features to the table to make it a worthy contender in the fight for your files.Selection_003
We all know that backup is important. It’s one of those mantras drummed into us along with ‘look both ways before you cross the road’ and ‘No, really, that super hot chilli you think you can handle – you can’t. ‘

We’re rather blessed in this age of fast internet. Truly. I remember having a messenger bag full of floppies in high-school on which my most important documents, cherished images and the odd really bad quality .wma sound effect had to squeeze into lest something catastrophic happen on my miniscule HDD of the day. 

Surprisingly 1.44MB often went a long way back then but because of the capacious amount of storage we enjoy today many of us negate the need to back-up.

Online back-up tools have really come to fore in the last few years largely because they take the hassle out of baking up. No manual copy and pasting files to a separate hard-drive – just open your online backup tool, select the folders and files you need protecting and it’s all done automatically.

So what does SpiderOak bring to the table?

SpiderOak: Features


“Privacy” is one of this century’s buzzwords and with good reason. No-one wants their files, folders and data accessible by anyone and as such both Privacy and Security are at the heart of SpiderOak. Encryption is applied on all your file uploads and only you own the decryption key. This is both a boon and a bad for if you lose the key you lose access to your data too!

So secure is this that SpiderOak claim not even their tech staff can read a user’s stored data thanks to the use of dual encryption layers.

Space Saving

SpiderOak uses compression and de-duping technology on your uploads that enables you to store more data in your account than you might first think!

The de-duping process is, as the name implies, a way to prevent same file duplication. If you upload two of the same file SpiderOak will only save the parts of the second file that are different to the first resulting in space saving. how much space could you save? According to the awesome SpiderOak representative I spoke to: “A lot of our users report space savings of 60%+ and in some cases (document intense backups etc) up to 90%.” . Nifty!

Long-term retention of previous files versions

If you want to revert to an older copy of a file you’ve been working on then SpiderOak supports this. Again using the space saving de-duplication feature only the parts of a file that have changed take up space.

What else does SpiderOak offer?

  • Share folders with others (includes RSS feed)
  • Access to your files via the Web
  • Backup multiple PCs with configurable multi-platform synchronization
  • Keeps folder structures (incl. sub folders) intact

The interface

The usability of an application is vitally important and whilst SpiderOak’s desktop application is obviously not a GTK application it’s thoughtfully put together with an emphasis on helping you backup.

SpiderOak’s file synchronization across platforms works quite similar to how both Dropbox and Ubuntu One work: edit an application on one system and it results in a change on the other. As with Ubuntu One you can select any number of folders to sync, including hidden ones using the ‘advanced’ selection button.

2GB of free space

In keeping with competing services SpiderOak gives users 2GB for free  – though this can be increased up to 6GB through friend-referrals.

SpiderOak is also much cheaper than the competition with 100GB costing just $10/m or $100 yearly. In comparison 100GB with Dropbox costs $20/m and $10/m on UbuntuOne only gets you half the space.


SpiderOak is available to download as a .deb file @

Win one of two 100GB premium accounts

We have two 1-year long 100GB premium accounts to give away, courtesy of SpiderOak. To win one you need to send us a photo, or image, showing us why you’re so very much in need of 100GB of online space. The two most deserving (or creative) cases will bag themselves 100GB of free online storage with SpiderOak and access to a bevy of ace premium features.

Send your entries  to or @omgubuntu on Twitter.

Closing date is 10th July – so get cracking!

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