Monday, March 17, 2008
Free File Storage Services
File hosting services let you store files online so you or anyone else can access them from anywhere in the world.
There are many reasons to use a free online file hosting service, but some important ones are:
- They are oftentimes free with unlimited online storage capacity
- You can use them to share files that are too big to send over email with family, friends, or colleagues.
- They provide extra redundancy when you backup important files.
- By far the most important for many users, you are a file sharer looking for a place to upload and distribute movies, games, or software.
Limitations of Online Storage Solutions
Most file hosting services have some sort of upload and download limit, but you'll find several in the list below that are very generous with their bandwidth. Also keep in mind that files stored in free accounts may be automatically deleted if no downloads are detected for some period of time (such as 30 consecutive days).
Many sites also offer uploading tools to make it easier to bulk upload files.
In the list below, I mainly focus on ease of usability with regard to end-users a.k.a. downloaders. That means I'm mainly looking at whether or not there are download limits or CAPTCHAs put in place to conserve bandwidth or prevent automated downloads. However, I also point out upload limits in certain cases, but for the most part, restrictions on uploaders are less extreme so they are less important in evaluating file hosting services. In the worst case, it's generally more important to determine whether you can get your file off a remote server that you have no control over and with the least amount of hindrance.
The Complete Guide to Free File Hosting Services
2. SendSpace is another site that doesn't require CAPTCHAs, but may sometimes run out of bandwidth. Uploads are capped at 300 MB per file.
3. iFile, formerly known as Mihd, is a very nice hosting service that lets you download files with a download accelerator such as Free Download Manager or FlashGet. No CAPTCHAs necessary and no download limits.
4. RapidShare is at the moment the most popular file hosting service in the world. Downloads are generally fast, and you can find virtually any kind of file on RapidShare. However, the download limits are very strict.
5. Megaupload is number one in the US, but trails RapidShare at number two in the worldwide ranking. Download limits are more generous than RapidShare's, but Megaupload does limit the number of download slots per country.
6. zSHARE offers unlimited downloads, and you can upload files up to 100 MB. The service is completely ad-financed so there isn't any premium service.
7. Badongo lets you upload files up to 1 GB without space limitations. Non-registered users get to download 4.8 GB per day.
8. Driveway offers a clean interface for managing your files online. However, you can only get 2 GB of storage space free. No download limits though.
9. PicsHome lets you store both files and images online. The free account does support download accelerators, but caps bandwidth at 30 KB/s.
10. FileFactory lets you upload regular files along with slideshows and software. Annoyingly, you have to click through multiple pages to download files however.
11. Deposit Files requires both a CAPTCHA and 60 second waiting time before download starts.
12. Furk.net lets you upload files of any size with unlimited downloads. The catch is that big files are split into multiple RAR archives so you can't download large files as one file. A premium feature even lets you download BitTorrent files over HTTP.
13. DivShare debuted strongly with many nice features, but it has slowly restricted service (even banning users in China and Southeast Asia from using the service). You can upload files up to 200 MB. Download limits depend on account type.
14. FlyUpload lets you upload files up to 2 GB in size. No CAPTCHAs needed to download. No download limits.
15. GigaSize offers somewhat generous download limits for free users with upload sizes capped at 300 MB.
16. Uploaded.to doesn't require CAPTCHAs to download files, but you might have to wait a couple seconds for the download button to become active.
17. Files.to is fully ad-supported so everything is free. You can upload files up to 100 MB with unlimited downloads.
18. TurboUpload lets you upload files up to 100 MB, but limits downloads for free users.
19. SaveFile has upload limits of 60 MB per file, but has unlimited downloads.
20. WebFileHosting doesn't have daily download limits and allows unlimited uploads. They even include a searchable catalog of files that have been uploaded.
Power Tip: Use File Distributors/Mirrors
What if instead of choosing one service from the list above, you could store your file on several of them? At once?
That's the power of using file distribution or mirroring services, which automatically share your files across multiple file hosting sites. Here are two good ones:
1. TinyLoad is a file distributor. Instead of hosting files on its own servers, it distributes them to other file hosts like RapidShare, Amazon S3, and Megaupload.