Considerations for 1 big vault vs many smaller vaults?

Hi I’m planning to use Google Drive to back up a large backup of independent files and folders (~1TB).

What are some considerations to make whether to have this backup either in a single large vault or in several smaller vaults?

Some considerations I’ve thought of so far (Let me know if these are unfounded):
On-Demand files to Save Space

  • Some cloud services download on-demand to save space on my local machine.
  • However, for Cryptomator to decrypt the filenames to allow me to choose which file to open, Cryptomator would need all files to be downloaded. Thus to save local-machine HDD space, it is better to split a large backup into several vaults. (Is this correct?)

Reduce CPU Usage when Decrypting

  • Same reason as above - if I know which file I want, having files in separate smaller vaults would be better. If all files were in one big vault, Cryptomator would need to decrypt my entire backup -> higher cpu usage. (Is this correct?)

Encrypted file corruption

  • From what I know, each file is encrypted individually. So a corruption of one file (in its encrypted or decrypted state) should not affect other files in the vault. (Is this correct?)

Does Cryptomator cache filenames and the map to the encrypted file before downloading and decrypting the actual files?

If so, a user would be able to browse his/her files without downloading & decrypting all files.


I would go for multiple vaults if the content allows it logically…

Like you say, the on-demand sync such as in OneDrive locks up Explorer when it tries to checkup metadata of the file(s), if your having a fat connection and only small documents maybe this is beareable, but not when explorer waits for OneDrive to download 3 x 4 GB ISO-files… The download is triggered not by simply listing folders/files but many other activities, like the context-menu of Explorer, a tooltip or whatever… AFAIK Windows Defender seems more picky here since many files are downloaded and no signatures/hashes orknown fileformats exists for the content being downloaded.

Also, I have a huge vault (3,4TB) with large files. While Cryptomator itself doesnt have issues, fuse and dokan renders very slow… If there are additional middle layers such as storage spaces, or even network storage like CIFS-shares, I have to bump the timeout-value for Dokan (possible in >=1.4.13).
Before 1.4.13 I used Cyberduck for reliable access to the huge vault.
Keep that in mind should you access the vaults remotely.

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Nope, files are only decrypted during access.


Yes, Cryptomator caches certain cacheable stuff, including filename cleartext/ciphertext pairs as long as a vault is unlocked. But this is only an efficiency optimization and doesn’t allow you to browse files while the encrypted files are unavailable. That said, there are several users who use Cryptomator with Google File Stream. But I would consider this experimental.

To answer your primary question regarding one big vs. multiple small vaults: You might decide to share a set of data with some person. For example you might want to make some financial documents available to your tax accountant but not your private pictures. You don’t have this option if all your data is just one huge logical set.

Also, if you leak a password, the damage doesn’t affect all files at once.


@overheadhunter Thank you so much for the detailed reply!

In addition to filename, May you go into what else is cached? Is the cache encrypted as well?

How does Cryptomator work with an online-only file in Google File Stream? Does it need to download the file from Google File Stream before Cryptomator is able to show the filenames?


I have seen some similar posts but still having trouble figuring out what is the best option.
My Archive is constantly growing as I do video work… It’s curently at around 10TB.

I have a 14tb hard drive containing a vault that syncs with my Google Drive using ‘Insync’.
Is this the best way to do it? are there drawbacks of such a huge vault? Would there be any benifit in using smaller vaults for each folder on the drive.

As my encrypted data can’t be moved around within Google Drive easily I need to get this right straight off the bat as my upload speed is very slow.

Currently in about a month I have uploaded 2TB with mostly constant uploading.

If anyone has any experience with huge archives as a vault which is synced online please let me know what you have found is the most convenient solution.


I merged this topic. Oberheadhunter had some reasonable points for multiple vaults.
Besides that I also prefer smaller vault also because of vault merging processes that might come in the future (and thus can be done in several smaller steps).
Furthermore I want to have the option to use several providers for my documents. And last but not least: if some worst case is happening, there’s a good chance to not have to restore a huge vault, but only affected smaller ones.

Besides that it really depends on your personal needs and „feelings“

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Thanks for merging, and thanks for your response.

Maybe smaller vaults is a safer way to go for now, With slow internet If i had to re-upload a whole 10TB vault from a corruption somewhere, I would be fuming.

So I’ll end up with about 100 small vaults but I’m sure that’s okay.


Since your individual files are probably already rather big (in the order of ~GBs), I assume the number of files ist still pretty reasonable. The overall size is really not a problem at all.

It is rather a huge number of concurrent accesses to directories with thousands of small files, which causes strain. The vault size, on the other hand, doesn’t matter. Cryptomator simply ignores any data that isn’t needed. Nor does a bit failure within one file affect the remaining vault at all.

So if you just “archive” video material, don’t worry. If you “work” within a vault, you’ll create enormous amounts of I/O activity. In the latter case I’d split up the vault, as well.

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