Something that’s becoming more and more popular is the use of ‘File Hosting’ accounts to share files. A file hosting service (webhosting) is an Internet service specifically designed to host static content - typically large files that are not web pages. It’s like having an ‘online’ hard drive that you can share with anyone you want, without having to incur the costs of hard drive space and Internet bandwidth.
But are these services appropriate for hosting illegal files? You bet! [DDL ‘warez’ websites](/2008/01/16/warez-hosting-websites/ “DDL Websites for illegal content”) are a great resource for accessing the links to the copyrighted contraband. Companies that make this service available don’t have the manpower or resources to check all incoming content. Illegal content would be deleted if they received a complaint, or if the infringing content appeared excruciatingly obvious. And if your files get deleted, just move on to the next company - there’s plenty of ‘em.
File webhosting is big business…
So why do they host free files? Is there a catch? The two main backbones of revenue for webhosting services are subscription accounts and advertising through the hotlinks (to get to the free content). Say you want to share “Ride The Lightning.mp3″ with your friend on IMVU, or even link it to your MySpace page: Users must give out a link (or ‘hotlink’) to this file, and the second person needs to download and open this link first, in order to gain access to this shared file. It’s through this link in which the ads are employed - usually incorporated with a short waiting period before downloading begins as well.
Here’s some of the reasons for the recent explosion in popularity:
- You don’t have to worry about the size of a file and it being rejected because the recipient’s e-mail server won’t allow such a large file. This is applicably true with online email accounts like Hotmail, Messenger and Yahoo! Also, files won’t be rejected or junked by a third party server.
- With most services, accounts can be logged into from any computer through the browser. (Instead of having to use someone else’s ‘Windows Messenger’ sign-in account etc.).
- Many sites support ‘hotlinking’ to the online files. Simply, this means anyone with a website can use a ‘file hosting service’ to host the file, and place a link to it on their site. This will allow visitors to download the file from their service, instead of your web hosting company. The catch? - All “free” hotlinks contain some sort of advertising.
- Download/upload speed rates are much quicker than those messenger services like MSN, Yahoo! etc. Ever sent an .MP3 file through MSN?
- Files can be shared publicly, or they can be password-protected.
And the biggest reason for the burst in popularity - illegal files being hosted through DDL websites. See our article about the ‘warez’ trade through DDL and file hosting.
All file hosting sites have varying storage limitations and bandwidth allowances for each account. Some services allow users to retrieve files through any web browser. Some sites offer free unlimited file storage but have a limit on the file size. There are dozens of websites that offer free file hosting accounts, check their main page to see what free services are offered.
A few of the popular file hosting sites:
Be cautious of some smaller companies that offer a ‘free’ service. What they claim to offer in terms of maximum file sizes and what they really offer can vary extensively. And never trust ANY of these services with important irreplaceable files or data, ever. If they delete the content (or it mysteriously disappears), it is you who loses out. Read here for a review of some of the major hosting services. Here’s another site that offers reviews of file hosting websites - check out the list!
NOTE that all of these hosting sites have a ‘user agreement’ enforced to thwart the transfers of illegal/copyrighted files. But if you ZIP or RAR your files first, and rename them to something a little less obvious, less suspicion will be aroused.
If the transfer size allowed (on a free account) is 500MB max. per file, this won’t cover an extracted DVDRip of 700MB (typical P2P movie download). But a movie still CAN be uploaded if it is split into 7-8 *.RAR parts and uploaded separately. And it is done so very often!
Our personal comments on file webhosting:
- Use file webhosting (free or even a ‘paid’ account) if you’re serious about sharing larger content that’s linked to your paid website, like software and music downloads. This will allow you to retain a ’smaller’ website hosting account, and prevent you from having to upgrade it. You’ll be able to host large files on your own personal site without having to pay for your users to download it.
- This is a great free service for adding links to files to any free personal website domain that otherwise wouldn’t host such large content - MySpace, Facebook etc. It’s also a good alternative to sending email that won’t allow large files as attachments.
- It is also an excellent viable alternative when used in real-time, like during a chat through Messenger or IMVU etc., when you want to allow access to an entire group of files.
- And lastly, use it to download free stuff from those DDL websites!!
Yes. There is a website http://www.ziddu.com which is paying also! Nice for upcoming websites to use their service:)
Andy Bush Says:
I would also add directransfer.net I think today’s file hosting sites evolved and now offer more functionality like this one.
Andy Bush Says:
Also yohost.org is an anonymous hosting site.
mtv ema 2010 Says:
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