Dropbox vs Spideroak vs Box vs Sugarsync vs Skydrive vs Google Drive

Cloud storage, synchronization and backup.

Storing files in the cloud has become a habit since a few years for me. In the beginning I was very reluctant to storing files in the Cloud, but now this habit changed. I had the right rewards to change my off-line habit to an on-line one à availability of my files, on different platforms

In this blog post I will compare services and give my opinion about them. I must also tell you that I use affiliate links in this post. This means, that I might get extra space if you register with these links, but with no disadvantage or extra cost for you. And the nice thing is that you might also get extra space when you use these linls. There is a chapter dedicated to links and benefits in using my referral links.

While all these on-line sync/backup providers offer a free account they actually work from a freemium model and also offer paying accounts, sometimes with just extra space and sometimes with extra features.

As you can see in the comparison sheet hereunder, Skydrive is by far the cheapest on-line storage provider at this moment (June 2012). With $50 a year for an additional 100 GB (on top of your free 7 GB) there is no other doing better.

However price is not everything. It sure means a lot if you compare the pure file sharing/syncing services. Dropbox is by far the most known, but they don’t score too well on storage price and on security/privacy.
Dropbox is now 4 times more expensive for 100 GB compared to Microsoft Skydrive. The ease of use that you have in Dropbox is also applicable in Skydrive or Google Drive. You install client software and that software created a folder on your hard drive and syncs the folder between your account and devices. But you can only sync this folder.
Spideroak however, makes it possible to have more than 1 computer used in this setup. However, sharing files the way Dropbox, Skydrive and Google drive do, is not that straightforward with Spideroak.

Spideroak is then a lot better in performing back-ups compared to the others. You can choose folders, files and exclude file types and add backup schedules. It is also possible to backup USB or network drives with SpiderOak.
They are also the only service where you can’t reset your password, and if you are concerned about security and privacy, this is a good thing. Since Spideroak encrypts the files on your computer and sends them encrypted to the Spideroak servers, they can’t access or even see the files.

Comparison sheet

Here is how I use these cloud services

Dropbox:

I use dropbox to quickly share files. Most people I know have a dropbox account, and it is easy to set up and share files. Dropbox is also the place where I create my back-ups from my blog using WP Time machine.

Spideroak

Spideroak is my preferred tool to make backups. I can also back up my external disks (USB and also network drives), the data is encrypted on my computer before it is transferred to the Spideroak server. Configuring synchronizing is harder then with the other services in this post and the user interface is a little awkward.

Box.net

I have a box account of 50GB when I registered with my IOS device, but since the free version lacks a client application I don’t use box.net. Downloading files one by one in the web interface is not really “being productive”.

SugarSync

Well, I started using Sugarsync some time ago, before I discovered SpiderOak. It found it quit challenging to configure Sugarsync and stopped experimenting with it.

Skydrive

I use Skydrive to have some office files available, like presentations or reports I’m working on. Skydrive is also my favorite service to collaborate in Microsoft Office documents with the on-line version of Word, Excel OneNote and Powerpoint.

Google Drive

Since I mainly use Skydrive to collaborate on files (in my private life, professionally it is usually SharePoint) I installed the Google Drive app and registered my account just to see if it is any different from Skydrive. For me, the main functionality which is syncing files is about the same. I don’t use Google Drive actively.

Referral links

Service

Link

Advantage of this link

Dropbox http://bit.ly/drOpbOx We both get 500 MB extra
SpiderOak http://bit.ly/spiderpat We both get 1 GB extra
Box.net https://www.box.net None
SugarSync http://bit.ly/sugsyncpat We both get 500 MB extra
Skydrive https://skydrive.live.com/ None
Google Drive https://drive.google.com None

*Extra:
When you have a SpiderOak account you can upgrade your 2GB to 5 GB FREE FOR LIFE by using the WORLDBACKUPDAY promo code. To redeem this offer, click ‘buy more space’ and enter WORLDBACKUPDAY. If you want to register for a 100 GB account, like http://www.facebook.com/SpiderOak and you can find a coupon for 20% off all plans!

My preferred services are SpiderOak and Skydrive.

Which are yours?

About Patrick Sledz

Patrick works as a consultant. He assists organizations to deliver SharePoint business value and create the awareness in these organizations that only a strong technical team is not sufficient to deliver this added value.
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  • Mventurelli

    Hi Patrick.

    Maurina from SugarSync here :). Thanks for the great article! 

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  • David Lozzi

    Great post, I’ve been a huge fan of SugarSync but will check out Spideroak. One note, SugarSync allows uploading files via the browser.

    • PatrickSledz

      Hi David,

      Thanks for the feedback. I started testing Sugarsync a little more, and I must admit, I “understand” it better now :-) It seems to be easier in use then SpiderOak, especially if you use it on mobile device(s). I still use SpiderOak to do backups of my important data, but am certainly exploring Sugarsync more because of better the mobile integration.

      • Thomas

        I tried SpiderOak, but that interface is far from being user friendly.  I think it can exclude files/filetypes in a folder, which is a big complaint with Sugarsync on their forums.  Still looking around, but prefer Sugarsync to Dropbox and SpiderOak at this point.  My big knock on DropBox is you have to put everything you want to backup in the master DropBox folder.  Really didn’t want to rearrange the entire way I work to accomodate the cloud backup service.

  • http://twitter.com/dito Dito

    BOX only gives you 14 days trial and you have to pay 1 year in
    advance (no refunds) the price/mo. you have here doens’t make sense in
    this case. Also it doesn’t do selective folders for subfolders, if you
    have small drives, you have to upgrade to bigger drives (Dropbox can
    have selective subfolders unchecked and save on space). Also BOX can’t
    make you use external Hard drive, dropbox can. I used to like BOX
    because of their Apps, also with the pro account, you were able to
    upload via FTP, which it’s great if you have a bunch of files to migrate
    and of course, the many uses of FTP, but they have too many things that
    don’t work.
    DropBox business is NOW UNLIMITED, they don’t count your space anymore, they just charge you by user number.
     

    • PatrickSledz

      Hey Dito,

      Thanks for reading and commenting my post. The advance payment of BOX is not ‘visible’ on their website, so I couldn’t know. Thanks for mentioning it.

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  • http://twitter.com/aa7ya Stacey Hanrahan 

    I tried SugarSync and I found it clumsy to set up and use and it spreads folders all over the place including a “Magic Briefcase” folder on the desktop that I don’t know what it’s used for. I use Skydrive and Dropbox most of the time. The one negative about Skydrive is their lack of Windows XP support for those of us who refuse to upgrade the operating system. Frankly XP does what I want a computer to do and I don’t need a newer operating system.

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  • Eric Dan

    My experience with SpiderOak is very good. It allows me to sync/backup any folder in my computer. It backs up every version of my files, and deleted files can be found in its recycle bin. Last, I like its “Zero Knowledge” privacy environment. The most secure sync solution I could find so far.

    Sign up SpiderOak through this link and we both get 1GB extra storage for life!
    https://spideroak.com/download/referral/719c28bccd176d65795be05f0afb7163

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  • Brian Henoll

    Have to agree on SpiderOak. Only one I use these days (Privacy is amazing).

    Used to be a SugarSync fan, that is until some bug desided that disconnecting my harddrive and reconneting it must mean that I wanted to delete all files (in the cloud AND on my local HD).

    Took me 3 full weeks to recover most of my files (Lost a fair few old private photos). And guess what, another bug nuked all the files again. Just gave up at that point and uninstalled it. Found SpiderOak and have been really happy with it since.

  • TtKk

    Hi,

    after my external drive died, and I loose all of my photos, i was very angry. Then I tried Dropbox (fine, but not enough space for me), Sugarsync (for me it was very slow), and now I am using Copy.com.

    Normaly, on Copy.com you have 15GB for free, but if you use this link, and install Copy.com application to synchronize or backup your data, you will get 20GB for free: https://copy.com?r=zPku0e