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Moving from Wuala to SpiderOak

Followup (2013-01-25): after half a year of use, I’ve now posted a comparison of SpiderOak vs Wuala and Dropbox.

I’ve been using Wuala for a while now. A year and a half ago, I even posted a guide to running it under Linux via command line.
My main reasons for choosing them at the time was the focus on privacy/encryption (Wuala has no way to read your files because they are encrypted client-side), the feature-rich client (auto-backup, sync and manual backup), the way to earn tons of free storage (by trading space on your own hard drive), and the fact that it was run by a decently solid company specialized in hard drives (Lacie).

But since then, their evolution has been somewhat disappointing. Ok, they increased the free storage a bit (from 2 to 5 GiB, as far as I remember), but they discontinued the (fairly unique) option to trade for storage. The client didn’t evolve much; notably it’s still in painfully slow Java. Finally, and this is what made me switch, the client doesn’t seem to work well with Java 7: huge CPU usage “spikes” (if you can call a 30-second period a spike), loss of connectivity when behind a firewall (I just tested PC Tools and ZoneAlarm, though), and freezes.

So, I didn’t really had much choice: I had to find an alternative. I quickly settled for SpiderOak, for two main reasons:
– privacy: like Wuala, client-side encryption: SpiderOak never get to see you files and never get your password (so, same risk as with Wuala: if you lose your password, it’s lost for good)
– (hopefully) performance: no more crappy Java. I’m not sure of what they use instead (at least some Python, probably some C/C++), but they don’t use Java.

They only offer 2 free GiB, but they often run special offers to increase this permanently by a few GiB (you might want to monitor their blog in order not to miss those), and they have a referral program much better than Wuala’s: one permanent extra GiB storage per referral and when you are referred (so if you sign up using this link you begin with 3 GiB instead of 2), up to a maximum of 10 extra GiB. For a comparison, Wuala offers only 256MiB (used to be 512), valid for only a year…

Apart from that, the only drawback compared to Wuala IMO is the lack of a manual backup feature: in Wuala, you can auto-backup and auto-sync folders, but you can also just drag and drop a file into Wuala to backup it. In SpiderOak, like in the huge majority of such software, you have the auto-backup and auto-sync but if you want to backup a file manually at a given time, you need to move or copy the file into an auto-backed up folder (otherwise you can turn the file or its current folder into an auto-backed up file or folder, but then it’s not a manual, one-time backup anymore).

Posted in privacy, security.

5 Responses

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  1. Faisal M. says

    Hi there.
    Thanks for the post.
    Just to clarify,
    You don’t need to move or copy the file into an auto-backed up folder unless you want to use our Sync feature. To backup you can select the folders to backup via our client.

    Faisal @ Spideroak

  2. patheticcockroach says


    Hm, I guess I wasn’t clear enough in my post. I meant, if you select a whole folder to backup, then it becomes a auto-backed up folder itself 😉 Even if you select a specific file to backup, then it becomes… an auto-backed up file. That’s a pretty neat feature (being able to select file-by-file) indeed, but that’s still not the feature I miss from Wuala: the ability to upload a file at a given time without turning it into an auto-backed up file. That’s why a work-around to this is to create a specific auto-backed up folder (like a “Dropbox” ^^), and then copy files into this when a manual backup is wanted.

    Maybe clearer as a list:
    – auto-backup any file/folder => check
    – auto-sync any file/folder => check (although not too intuitive IMO because of the need to create a backup first and then turn it into sync, but good enough)
    – manually backup any file/folder => missing

    • patheticcockroach says

      When reading that a while later, I think it’s clearer this way: the option that I miss is to be able to save a file on SpiderOak while removing it locally. Like the “briefcase” feature of LiveDrive.

  3. Mustafa says

    SpiderOak is not as secure as Wuala (when you use the web interface, it sends your credentials to SpiderOak servers to decrypt your files), so you lose the security, this is why Wuala use Java, to keep all encryption and decryption client-side.

  4. patheticcockroach says

    Indeed, but… you don’t really have to use the web interface. Actually I never do, no reason to: if I’m on a computer I own, I can install the client, and if I’m on a computer I don’t own, I don’t type my password, Java client or not 😉
    But still a good point: for people who are, for some strange reason, fans of the web interface, Wuala would be safer.

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