SugarSync and SpiderOak have a lot in common. Both provide a backup recovery option on any folder of your computer, and both allow file syncing across multiple computers so long as those computers are running their respective clients. They both offer remote access to files which are stored on the SugarSync or SpiderOak servers, and provide users a free storage option before having to sign up for a plan. But what are the features that distinguish these two from each other? The following backup company comparison should shed some light on the key differences.

Installation and Use

SugarSync’s installation is incredibly easy to use. Part of the installation creates a “Magic Briefcase” folder on your desktop that syncs automatically with other computers using the client, and allows other folders to be synchronized in the same way with relative ease.

SpiderOak is not nearly as intuitive. While the installation is easy, it takes time and energy to be able to use the sync feature. It does not create an automatic sync folder for you like SugarSync does, so novice users might be apprehensive about starting with it.


Security is one of the features that really divide these two services. While SugarSync can decrypt your files if their legal needs require it, because your decryption key is held server side, SpiderOak is the Fort Knox of free storage. This is because SpiderOak does not allow anyone except yourself to decrypt your files, as the decryption key is stored on your own computer.

Though this privacy difference won’t be a problem for most users, one of its implications might be. Lost passwords while using SpiderOak will mean you files will be lost forever, since a locally created password and encryption necessarily means that there is no password recovery. SpiderOak does offer you the ability to leave a password hint which can be recovered through their website, but the possibility of losing access to your files forever still exists.

File Sharing

Both services allow unlimited file sharing with other people, but SugarSync is unique in that when another user shares a file with you, a folder tiled with the sharer’s name will be created into your documents folder. SpiderOak’s sharing is a lot more elaborate because it requires you to share “RoomKeys” with other users, which is a process that can be difficult and time consuming.


While both services support Windows and Mac, SugarSync falls short in the support competition because it does not support Linux. However, it does support far more mobile devices than SpiderOak, and even many other comparable services. SugarSync supports the Android Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and all Apple devices. By contrast, SpiderOak only supports Android, N900 Maemo and the iPad/iPhone.

Pricing and Trials

Perhaps the most crucial element for any user is the pricing of these services. While both offer free storage space, SugarSync offers 5GB of free storage while SpiderOak only offers 2GB for free. This trend carries over into their paid subscription services as well, since SpiderOak’s paid service starts at $10 while SugarSync starts at a low $4.99.


In summary, SugarSync wins out over SpiderOak in nearly every way. While users who are exceptionally interested in privacy and don’t need much space might prefer to use SpiderOak, most conventional users will find SugarSync to be the best option between the two.