A while back I had used Microsoft’s Live Mesh to sync data between my Windows netbook and our server. The problem with that was the only way I could get to my synced data using my Linux PC was to use the web interface. So a few days ago I tried out SpiderOak because it does support Linux. But then my dad started using Dropbox. When I found out about that I decided I would find out which of the two services where best for me, so I got a Dropbox account and installed the client on both my Linux PC and my Windows PC. After trying out these two online storage services I decided to write a comparison of the two on this blog, so here it is.
Supported Operating Systems:
Both SpiderOak and Dropbox support Linux, Windows, Macintosh, iPhone, and iPad.
Dropbox also supports Android and BlackBerry.
For all other OSes and cell phones you still can access your data via the SpiderOak and Dropbox websites (see web access).
Pricing & Space:
or a student accounTo start with, both SpiderOak and Dropbox give you 2GB of space for free. However you can buy more space.
When buying space, SpiderOak wins. Their service costs $10 per month or $100 per year for 100GB of space. And you can get up too 5,000GB for $5,000 a year, though I think If I could afford all that, I would instead buy my own TB hard drives for backup.
Dropbox has only three storage options: 2GB free, 50GB for $9.99 a month, and 100GB for $19.99 a month.
Both SpiderOak and Dropbox will give you even more free space if you refer a friend (or anyone else) to use their service, and will also give your friend extra free space too.
Dropbox will give you 250MB of free space each time you refer someone, and will give you a maximum of 8GB if you have a free account, or 16GB if you have a paid account.
SpiderOak will give you an entire 1GB of extra free space for each person you refer up to a maximum of 3 additional GBs if you have a free account, or up to 20 free GBs if you have a paid account.
Also, SpiderOak counts up space usage after it’s compressed and if a part of one file is the same as a part of another file, then only the differences are saved for the second file, saving even more space. (To lean more about this go to: https://spideroak.com/engineering_matters#storage_savings) So you can usually store more data than your actual account size.
To setup SpiderOak, I first had to download the client. (I downloaded the Fedora 32bit RPM) I noticed that the client was compiled for Fedora 10, but it seems to work pretty good on Fedora 14. Once I installed the client I started the software and created an account.
After you set up an account you have to tell SpiderOak which files to back up. To do so go under the “back up” tab and click “Advanced” Then choose the directories you wish to backup to their servers.
To sync with another PC you need to install the client on it (for me it was my Windows 7 netbook), and log in to your account using the client and then again select the directories to backup. Then under the sync tab click new and enter the information. You can sync as many folders as you need together. (So you can sync across multiple computers.)
Dropbox was a lot easier to set up, but has less choices. During setup, it asks you if you already have an account or need to create a new one. It then creates a single “Dropbox” folder to sync too and from. If you choose advanced setup (which is what I did) you can choose where to put this folder, but you can’t change the name. Also during setup It tells you all about how to use Dropbox.
So from my experiences Dropbox was definitely the easiest to set up, but SpiderOak wins when it comes to choice.
Using the client:
The single SpiderOak client window allows you to control and manage everything. It has a lot of features like it tells you your network health, and has a nice graphical storage bar that tells you how much space you are using on your account. But I did find that all the gray and orange hurts my eyes after a while.
The Dropbox client is pretty much all integrated into the file manager (Gnome Nautilus on Linux, and Explorer on Windows). It puts emblems on the icons of files in your Dropbox folders telling you the syncing status of the files, and adds a sub menu to the right click menu. It also puts an icon in the notification area telling you the overall syncing status. Another feature of the Dropbox client is that it pops up notifications when a file is changed, or a new file is added.
When it comes to syncing data, Dropbox is the fastest. When you add a file to your Dropbox, it syncs almost immediately, while SpiderOak only checks every once in a while for updates. (which can take a while depending on your settings).
Dropbox only uploads the changed parts of a file, making the transfer even faster.
SpiderOak does allow you to choose when to backup and sync your data and how often, while Dropbox allows you to limit bandwidth.
Dropbox also comes with a LAN sync feature, which from my understanding, is used to sync some of your data directly from computer to computer using your own network, to speed up file transfers.