A file hosting service allow user to download, upload, manage and backup many (and usually big, i.e videos) files, exploiting some specifically dedicated servers. Technically speaking they usually offer cloud technology services, for giving more speed and performance to every single user, sometimes with no costs at all (i.e. Google Drive), other times with a little one (Amazon AWS).
For watching directly the list click here. Usually with these service you need to register for free (your email address is needed), and then you can start uploading and managing your file. These services offer free plan usually for a specifical, marketing purpose: they aim to find new customers on their cloud, but they have an advanced infrastructure and can give (under certain conditions) overselling hosting service for adversiting themselves.
When you upload a file on Google Drive, for example, you will wait some minutes (or hours, maybe) needed for operation, and so you will have a copy of your file on their remote cloud servers. Please keep in mind that those services does not take any responsability if they get hacked (i.e someone find massive password, or you got some phishing), 2) that you are voluntarily giving your data to them trusting in them 3) that you always need a local, unconnected from the internet, copy of your data. So do not even upload private files to a free file hosting service too easily: i.e hot private photos from your girlfriend.
Basic file hosting services offer i.e 5 GB of free space, and the other space usually paid.
What will you need to know about free file hosting?
Basically you need to know stuff about:
- privacy and security level: can you reserve file access just to your friends and/or boss? Can you hide your file from search engine crawling (Google,Bing)? Is file encryption supported? (btw, usually answer is yes, but just under certain condition you need to study in deep)
- HTTPS support, for avoiding data sniffing and protection of the connection in upload/download;
- file protection, i.e: can a superadministrator read /spy any file? In a well-done system you have the right that your file can be read only by you, if you want that;
- file copyright you upload, for avoiding have problems for piracy (expecially if you set as “public” )
So please read TOS (Terms Of Service) before proceeding free registration.
In free file hosting services you can usually upload ZIP, AVI, DOC, DOCX files, and any other is supported by server: in some cases, you can download a client program for having more productive and practical approach to file uploads, sometimes you can use FTP programs or, in some cases, download/upload data via browser (HTTP).
Here some examples of file format you could upload:
- documents (doc, txt, pdf, rtf, xls)
- music/sound (mp3, ogg, wav, mid)
- video (avi, mpg, mpeg,m4a)
- images (jpg, gif, bmp, png)
- compressed (encrypted) file ZIP (zip, rar, arj)
File hosting websites: what should I choose?
For any service listed here, click on the name for watching it in a new window and read carefully conditions, what is allowed (upload a copy of your photos) and what is not (i.e adult videos are not usually allowed).
- Google Drive — Offers space from 15 GB (growing), is associated with your Gmail account by default and – for webmaster and geeks – gives you opportunity for static sites hosting written in JS/CSS/HTML. Keep attention that if you need a file hosting for your browser game in PhaserJS, for example, you better use a traditional web hosting better than that, because some specifical need i.e JSON file I/O seems to be not allowed on free cloud drive.
- Dropbox — Gives you just 2 GB and it is similar to Box – useful for documents and in a office environment, and you can exploit their own API for creating your customized applications.
- MediaFire — In the free version you can upload until 10 GB : fast and easy.
- ADrive if you need a lot of space for free, here you will find 50 GB.
- DivShare gives up to 20 GB, useful for ZIP, MP3, AVI formats and so on.
- 4Shared you need a social network account for using it, and gives you up to 2 GB per single file.
- RapidShare – Upload a file just for temporary reasons: after some time you do not click on it, they will delete. Not good for backup, useful i.e for sending big files to friends.
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