SpiderOak – Why it is not working for me

Online cloud storage is a musthave for internet users these days. Personally I use google drive, skydrive and dropbox. Lately I have been experimenting with SpiderOak seeing how the service is being touted as the most secure cloud storage for any files stored online.

There are many online reviews making comparison between SpiderOak and Dropbox for instance. However, none of the reviews mentioned the kind of problems I am currently having with the service. So I can only assume it is my own user errors. That being said, I do not have similar issues with google drive, skydrive and dropbox. Here’s my quick personal review.

  1. Downloading and installing the SpiderOak application is easy enough. I like the ability to selectively sync and backup files onto the Cloud. The good thing is that it supports network drive which is something dropbox does not support.
  2. SpiderOak has a funny way for users to administer the files stored in the cloud. By funny I means there is no way I can even rename, move, delete files that are stored in the cloud by using a web browser. The only thing I can do is to download selected files from the cloud. I am not sure why this is a limitation but it is not working out for me.
  3. SpiderOak’s application is extremely buggy. There are many times some files are stuck at the Queue section. The files are said to be uploading to the cloud but it is deceiving because the files do not get uploaded at all. It seems that this is a known issue as SpiderOak do published a how-to article when something is stuck at the Queue. Read about this here.
  4. The only way files can be deleted is via the SpiderOak desktop app. Deleting files is a nightmare as the command never get executed. Surely it can’t be that difficult to delete a file 2MB in size on the cloud. At least that’s what I would expect.
  5. I have accidentally exceed the file storage on my SpiderOak cloud storage. I have a 3GB storage and my current storage is 3.082GB. Now every now and then, the SpiderOak app will pop up to remind me that I have exceeded my storage and I should either increase the storage by upgrading or to remove some files. Removing files from SpiderOak is an impossible task. I can’t do it via the web browser and the SpiderOak app kept saying the files are being purged at the status bar but not doing anything in the background.

So I have to say….SpiderOak is just too hard and is not working for me. I hope other users have better luck than me. To those satisfied users out there, good on you.

Posted on December 12, 2013, in Computer, Hardware, Software, How-to's and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Have you found another solution? My files are no longer syncing with SpiderOak. I have sent emails and sent them my log files and they haven’t gotten back to me. That was a month ago. I have read other websites of other solutions. I am trying to keep my home office computer drive synced with my Work office computer. I work remotely for a company and need the ability to keep both drives on the same page for when I travel back and forth.

  2. Hi Brandon. I have reverted to using dropbox in favour of its superior file syncing features. It is still better than skydrive and the rest and miles ahead of spideroak. To keep selected sensitive files safe, I have encrypted these files with Axcrypt which is very easy to use yet secured. Hope this give you some ideas. Cheers

  3. I have been using SpiderOak for (5) years now, and have several customers using it as well.
    SpiderOak’s zero-knowledge policy does make it difficult or impossible to offer rich online access.

    Agreed: SpiderOak makes it far easier to buy more space than to manage the space you have by deleting unneeded files form backup. That said, it is possible, and once you learn how, fairly simple. SpiderOak forums have a lot of good tips on this, so they can even say it’s documented.

    Over quota: an over quota condition is a little more difficult. Before you can begin cleaning out unneeded files, you must first cancel the queue of new files to be backed up.

    Search the faq and forums for ‘command line’.
    Command line switches of interest:
    –remove-shelved-x (cancel queued)
    –purge-deleted-items=n (this has a parameter, older than n days)
    –purge-historical-versions h24,d6,w8,m8,y (how many historical versions to keep)

    Other issues:
    I twice (several years ago) had a situation where backups were failing due to communication problem. My research (packet capture) seemed to indicate ISP was blocking the traffic. ISP was one that has a reputation for ‘managing traffic’ on their networks.

    There seems to be no way, other than watching the desktop app, to be notified for events such as over quota, or if a device has not contacted the server in over n days.

    I still use and recommend SpiderOak because I value their security, but I acknowledge there are a few things they could do much better.

  4. Thanks Shawn for writing such a detail feedback. I m sure people who wonder into this blog space will find your advice extremely valuable.

  5. I have to say that your experience with SpiderOak looks very close to mine
    the thing stopping to backup by itself being probably the most annoying one !!

  6. I have been using SpiderOak intermittently for a number of years and I fully agree with the author and all comments so far: the zero knowledge policy is a sweet spot but using SpiderOak is too difficult at times. I left once because I couldn’t purge my files (I wanted to start from scratch after experiencing issues with sync). A year down the line, I attempted to use the account and miraculously, I was able to purge all my file in a snap. Pleasantly surprised, I decided to give it another go. All was fine (very light usage though) until I tried to set up a share room and later change its password. I haven’t been able to use SpireOak since: the app will no longer sync. I can’t see anything useful in the logs. I took a drastic decision to reset the app install to no avail. Perhaps my ISP blocks traffic but this would be curious since I was using the service very lightly. I have also tried through a VPN service (which lets me by-pass the ISP limitations) but this has not helped either so I’m tempted to think that the issue lies with SpiderOak indeed.

    It is such a pity they cannot offer reliability (seemingly) as the concept is faultless in other respects.

  7. We had two SpiderOak accounts and after working for a few months my backup function was hanging and with all the advice I could still not manually clear the queue or get the files synced. I cancelled both of my accounts today. If they cant hack syncing I cant use them.

  8. Bumped into this post while looking around to see if anyone else is having issues with SpiderOak. I have been a paying customer ($500 per year for 0.5TB) and usability and slow support issues aside was very happy with the service.
    That is until they recently offered an unlimited promotion. Their support went from bad to miserable. I opened a case on Sept 11 2014 and now, on Dec 10 2014 it has yet to be resolved.
    The issue? I can no longer install SO on new systems and syndicate with my account. It hangs and just never completes the syndication process (getting synched with the mothership) even after days.

    To be fair, I might not be the average kind of user: I have 4 registered systems with 700GB of used storage.

    I have been given free months of service in attempts to appease me, and assurances that they are working on it. But every time they say that two weeks go by until I have to ask again what it going on.

    I am no longer recommending SO to friends and family … I should have gotten a commission off all the people I sent their way.

    The zero knowledge feature is what got me sold in the first place on them. It seems like a company by nerds for nerds and I liked that. But I need to know that my files are backing up and that is not working. I have to manually copy files from the new computer I cannot install SO on to a secondary system that is still working. That is not exactly a workable solution.

    I was afraid that the promotion they ran was either a last ditch effort to raise capital before they go out of business or service/support would be impacted by the increased demands on resources. The latter is definitely true, don’t know about the first one.

    Looking for alternatives.

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