Well, it’s been a while now since I switched from Wuala to SpiderOak. And I don’t regret it, so, in a way, thank you Oracle for releasing Java 7 which broke Wuala (and thank you Wuala for taking massive time to fix it – is it even fixed yet, actually?). Without further ado, now that I’ve used Wuala for 1 or 2 years and SpiderOak for more than half a year, maybe it’s time for, say, a comparison table 🙂 I also included Dropbox, which I’ve used intermittently for an even longer time, so that maybe their fans will see the error of their way ^^
|Starting free space||2 GiB||5 GiB||2 GiB|
|Referal bonus||1 GiB lifetime per referal, max 10 GiB||1 GiB for a year per referal, max 12 GiB||500 MiB lifetime per referral, max 16 GiB|
|Referal bonus applies to referee too||YES|
|Other free bonuses||YES, regular lifetime GiB giveways & contests||NO||YES, sometimes, e.g. the “space race” with prices valid for 2 years|
|My current free space||24 GiB lifetime||5.25 GiB (only 5 lifetime)||27.5 GiB (only 2.5 lifetime)|
|Application speed||Good||Sloooow Java||Good|
|Client-side encryption (Dead is dead™)||YES||YES||NO|
|Employees can technically read your files||NO||NO||YES|
|Automatic backup||YES – Pick files and folders||Yes – Pick folders||Only for one folder (the “drop box”)|
|Manual backup (drag ‘n backup)||NO||YES||NO|
|Synchronization||YES – Same as automatic backup|
|Installer||Clean||Messy||Not a single option!|
So, who wins then?
Space-wise, SpiderOak and Dropbox both provide nice ways to earn some free additional storage, but only at SpiderOak are the promo upgrades valid lifetime. I’d say get it while it last, because I’m not sure such good offers will still be sustainable when they have 10x more customers. You could argue that Dropbox lets you accumulate more storage upgrade via referring. Although this is true, this is still capped not too far from SpiderOak, is slower (500MiB instead of 1GiB per referral) and probably also much harder (do you know many people who haven’t already heard of Dropbox?). And the difference can be fairly quickly (over-)compensated via promo upgrades.
Feature-wise, I’d be tempted to say Wuala is the richest. Maybe the easiness to add more features was the reason behind their terrible choice of Java. SpiderOak, not in Java, comes very close though. Actually, the feature to pick a file to back up can be seen as the equivalent to drag’n back up, only I believe drag’n back up to be more usable. Still, I’m globally not too satisfied with the desktop clients of all those 3: SpiderOak and Wuala are somewhat complicated (which is probably due to their richness in features), Dropbox on the opposite is totally simplistic and lacking features.
Privacy-wise, obviously SpiderOak and Wuala are both winners, while Dropbox is simply rubbish. The formers have no access to your files, the latter does, period.
It is to be noted, however, that if you have at some point the need to use the web client, Wuala wins then, because they load some heavy Java client, allowing you to still perform the decryption on your side, while it’s unclear what SpiderOak does (but they probably perform the decryption on their side when you’re on their web client). Still, that doesn’t matter too much in my opinion, because when you’re on a computer where you can’t install the client, you shouldn’t be typing your password at all in the first place.
Last but not least, I just re-ran Dropbox’s installer: it doesn’t have a single option! (like, choosing where to install the program) As far as I remember, Wuala isn’t a lot better in that area, unavoidably dropping file in the system’s partition. That leaves us with SpiderOak having the only “normal” clean installer.
So, which one should you pick? If you value your privacy or have sensitive data (or both), Dropbox is definitely a no-go, unless you’re willing to first encrypt locally before sending to Dropbox (like, say, putting a TrueCrypt volume in your Dropbox folder? ^^). That leaves you with just Wuala and SpiderOak, and at this point I see no reason not to choose the latter, except if you want more space without either referring a couple of friends or participating in their next contest/game. Of course you could also run both 😉 If you want to get started with an extra GB (so, 3GiB), here is my referral link, but note that I’m not really getting any benefit from it since I’ve already reached the maximum of 10 referrals long before even starting writing this post… It would be more useful to me if you signed up for Dropbox, but after reading this I hope it’s not in your immediate plans ^^
As usual, don’t hesitate to drop a comment in case you spot any inaccuracy or missing stuff, etc. For you nerd users, there’s also this interesting post about weird advanced features (notably when using Linux) of Wuala, SpiderOak and Dropbox that may be of interest to you.