The 21st century, as is often said, is the century of data, the internet, and computing. We are 2 decades into the twenty-first century so far and have observed the increasing dependence of humankind on the internet, computers, and technology.
With over 2 billion computers working globally and almost 500 million more being sold each year as per scmo.net, the entire world is consuming and producing gargantuan amounts of data simultaneously. In such a scenario, individuals and organizations find storing relevant data difficult.
Storage devices have also come a long way from floppy disks storing just 1.5 megabytes of data to hard disks and SSDs that can hold several terabytes of data. Still, the data problem is tough to manage. Even a 2 TB hard disk can store only around 800 movies. That is where cloud technology comes to our rescue.
Cloud technology refers to the storage and usage of data using the internet rather than a hard drive or some other storage device. The advantage of cloud technology is that it can be accessed through any device having an internet connection, like laptops, tablets, smartphones, or even PCs. Thus, cloud service providers store and process data at a location distant from the end-users.
One of the significant uses of cloud technology is for file hosting. Today, we will discuss the various aspects of file hosting, which can solve your data storage and access problems.
What is File Hosting? How does it Work?
In essence, file hosting is online file storage. It is an internet hosting service dedicated to host multiple user files using the cloud. It allows accessing, updating, and accommodating files over the internet from any device. This does not make your data unsafe because one can view, update or access the data only after inputting the correct username and password.
As is evident from the word “hosting,” file hosting stores user data. Even it is possible that the stored data belongs to and is updated by more than one user. Generally, the service allows HTTP and FTP access. The data remains secure through a chain of security techniques and, most importantly, your password.
Once you have set a password and username for your account, the data you store virtually through the cloud on that account remains visible and accessible only to the persons who either have your username and password or have been allowed by you to view it. There exists no barrier regarding what file type you can store.
Photos, audios, software, document files, images, data files, movies, and e-books are just some of the file types that can be stored using a file hosting service. File hosting service providers charge a monthly or annual or any periodic subscription fee for your usage of their service.
However, some free file hosting service providers are available to store data within a specific limit (for most cases, it is 15 GB). However, if you want to extend your data storage capacity beyond the free limit, you need to subscribe to a plan.
Why do You Need a File Hosting Service?
As said earlier, most people face difficulties in storing their important data and manage the same. For example, let’s say you have a PC with a 512 GB SSD. The operating system and different software that are installed on your PC can take up more than 70 to 80 GB of space. The remaining 450 GB of space gets quickly filled up by movies, images, documents, e-books, family photos, and other files.
Also, as many of us know, the more you fill up the hard disk or storage disk of your computer (both PC and laptop), the slower it gets. Also, it gets tougher for it to function correctly and smoothly. So, it is always suggested to keep at least 30% or around one-third of your PC storage space empty to ensure smooth functioning and speedy performance.
Thus, file hosting comes in handy if you are in dire need of some storage service or even if you are not! Alongside freeing you from storage troubles, the file hosting service allows adding new files to your account over an internet connection through any device. Thus, it does not limit your activities to one device. Instead, it opens you up to multiple devices and lets you use the service from any of them.
Being free of device and storage barriers, you can quickly transform and manage your devices. It is also easy to transfer your data using file hosting. A simple link can guide one to the file destination (if allowed by the account user) rather than handling flash drives, DVDs, or memory cards, which now seem old-fashioned!
What is the Function of File Hosting Systems and Services?
A file hosting service or system primarily aims to provide storage space to users for storing varieties of files through the internet. It allows the upload, update, access, and transfer of files easily over the internet. As the entire process is based upon using the web instead of a local network, the service allows file access to all concerned users irrespective of their different geographical locations.
This perk of file hosting service has made it one of the most used internet-based technologies in the past decade. Its increasing popularity and usage made sure that it gradually got incorporated in other systems like software and games.
Most modern games hold a pre-history (or past-image) of the user activity within the game and ensure to resume the game from the last endpoint rather than initiating a reboot when the game is uninstalled and installed again. This allows the user to continue their progress even while playing on a separate device from the one she played it earlier on. File hosting services are of 2 types:
- Software File Hosting: Various freeware generators incorporate this service to provide their service (like often in cases of different games and applications). Providers often use this technique as a marketing strategy by intentionally slowing up the download from the file hosting services.
A premium subscription is designed to remove the download speed barriers and allow faster downloads. People often get persuaded to enroll in such premium plans to recover their data faster and with increased smoothness.
- Personal File Storage: Like a traditional file storage system, the personal file storage or hosting system allows storing personal data and back up individual files.
Accessible through HTTP or FTP, these services make the respective data and files password protected. The data can only be shared or viewed by users who are authorized by the person who has uploaded the files.
Also, there exists another type of file hosting service, namely one-click hosting. Such a file hosting service is also a type of data storage service that works through a different approach. This service allows uploading and downloading data to or from their respective local hard drives using a single click.
These services are often free and are provided through web-based applications. Using just one URL to reach the homepage interface that provides the platform for such activities, this type of file hosting service makes the entire procedure faster, at the cost of reducing the security a bit.
Users and Different File Hosting Types – Individual and Corporate File Hosting
The service tendencies, specifications, and nature change rapidly depending upon the user’s transformation of the file hosting services. There exist primarily 2 types of users; individual users and corporate users. The main reason for the service change is because the two users have different demands.
Corporate users prefer using a broader file storage service with a more significant data transfer speed, huge storage capacity, and unlimited bandwidth. For them, the data under consideration is enormous with respect to an individual user. As a result, they also subscribe to a higher fee for using the service.
Corporates need higher speed, and accuracy as minor deviations from their sought-for point can easily culminate in a huge problem and result in a loss for them. On the other hand, individual users have much less specific requirements as, in most cases, the data stored is personal.
Individuals primarily focus on the host’s cost and reliability rather than the download speed, storage capacity, and bandwidth. Once gone through such factors, individuals decide on whether to store data online or not. From the file hosting service provider’s point of view, corporates make up the bulk of their revenues with lesser individual users’ contributions.
This, however, does not make the individual users irrelevant to the provider as they are one of the essential pillars of their business through trust and brand building. Corporate engagement requires higher technological superiority and speed than individual users.
What are the Advantages of Using File Hosting Services?
Now that we have understood what file hosting is, its different types, and where a user stands, it’s time to analyze the various pros and cons of the file hosting services and systems. As it seems in most cases there are advantages though there exist some disadvantages too. Some of the crucial benefits of file hosting services are:
Comfortable Storage Space
With no need to spend money on buying storage devices, file hosting persuades you to spend money on online storage space without the involvement of storage devices. Every storage device has an optimal life expectancy, beyond which it malfunctions, and your data even gets lost.
As in online data storage, this is not a problem as the data is stored through cloud technologies with minimal chances of malfunction. Even upon malfunction, your data can be recovered quickly using the data backup option.
Wider Accessibility from Any Device and Location
The added advantage of online file storage is the ease of accessibility. With the opportunity to access data from various devices with authenticated entry makes the files accessible to multiple devices at the same time irrespective of their locations and also controls the security of the system adeptly.
The files are observable or editable only to users who have been trusted with the username and password – or the access – of the account by the account holder. It is also possible to change the privacy settings to make it public so that anyone with the link to the file location can view or edit it without any pre-required authentication.
Using file hosting services, data transfer becomes much easier, as evident from previous discussions. However, it is necessary to note that only persons who are authorized to view a file can transfer the same.
Sending the file destination link to unauthorized users results in a void attempt as unauthorized users can’t access the file either for viewing, editing, or sharing. For authorized persons, an URL is the correspondent of the entire file.
Your data remains perfectly safe with an online file storage system. While creating an account to upload files or data to a file hosting site for the first time, one needs to enroll or set a particular username and a corresponding password.
Your data can only be accessed by people who have been provided with your username and password (or are authorized to view or edit the file). One can also change the privacy settings of a particular file so that anyone with the URL of the file can observe or change it.
What are the Disadvantages of Using File Hosting Services?
Now that we have discussed in detail the most critical advantages of file hosting services, we will discuss the disadvantages of file hosting services and systems. There hardly exists anything wrong with file hosting services other than some minor technical issues.
The most disadvantageous aspect of file hosting online is that it requires an active internet connection rather than a local area network. This is of utmost importance for users because an active internet connection is not always possible to achieve.
In such a case, the user cannot access the data or file. This is one of the most flawed and disadvantageous perspectives of online file hosting technology in that it has a pre-requisite of an active internet connection. Other than this solitary connectivity and networking issue, file hosting service or system is a majorly non-problematic to use.
Some Popular File Hosting Services
There are many file hosting services available. The following list mentions some of the most popular ones:
- Google Drive (free up to 15 GB)
- Microsoft One Drive (free up to 5 GB)
- Mediafire (free up to 50 GB)
- Mega (free up to 50 GB)
- Dropbox (free up to 2 GB)
- Livedrive (free trial for 14 days)
Most of the file hosting services are free up to a specific limit of data, above which a subscription is required to continue. Also, many of them provide around 100 to 200 GB of file storage in subscription mode. However, Dropbox is a powerful service that provides over 2 TB of file storage.
There also exists some file hosting services, like Livedrive, which provides even unlimited data storage opportunities. Thus, practically, there exists no barrier to storing lump-sum amounts of data. Though the subscription rate varies from service to service, they mostly come in an affordable range in order to attract both corporate and individual users.
File hosting is one of the most important services available currently, which solves many problems regarding the storage of data and files. We have discussed everything you need to know about file hosting before choosing one.
In a detailed analysis of various aspects of file storing, including its advantages, disadvantages, technicalities, and working procedures, we have revealed almost everything one needs to know about the modern answer to data storing problems.
We hope you have followed this article until the end to get a comprehensive outlook of file hosting services, which is at its very base a virtual storage system in which data is stored using an active internet connection.
Liberating us from the problems of managing multiple storage devices, file hosting services allow us to use everything from a single place from any device or location. Be ready and be adaptive as file hosting will surely be of help and one of the most significant technological achievements of the 21st century.