The Best File Hosting Services of 2021

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Compare File Hosting

There are various types of file hosting, including subscription-based services like Google Drive and Dropbox, and self-hosted file sharing apps, like BlueHost and InMotion Hosting. The type of file hosting that will work best for you depends on how many files you're saving, their size, the type of security you need, and how much control you want over your files. This article takes an in-depth look at the different types of file hosting, what you should consider when choosing a file hosting service, and our recommendations for the best file hosting services.

The Best File Hosting Services

Best File Hosting Services Badge

How Did We Pick the Best Hosts for File Hosting?

We've reviewed hundreds of hosting companies, shortlisting the best file hosting services based on security, storage space and file size limits.

Then, we consulted our database of thousands of customer reviews, studying their feedback on the best services to store and share files.

4shared

4shared

At no cost, 4shared offers 15 GB of storage and a max upload file size of 2 GB. They also offer a variety of features for this free version of their platform, including multiple file upload, video streaming, anti-virus protection, and password protection for folders.

Upgrading to the premium version, which costs $9.95 per month, would provide you with 100 GB of storage and a maximum upload file size of 100 GB. Plus, you get bonus features such as ads-free sharing, SSL data encryption, direct download links, file recovery, and the ability to edit text files within the app.

4shared is compatible with the iOS, Android, and BlackBerry operating systems for mobile devices, as well as the Chrome, FireFox, Opera, and Safari web browsers.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
5 GB: Free

100 GB: $9.95/month
No>SSL data encryption
>Direct download links
>Live support available Mon - Fri, 10AM - 4PM GMT
>More features at 4shared

Pros & Cons of 4shared File Hosting

If you're looking for free file hosting services, the sheer quantity of features that are available at no cost with 4shared makes this one of your better options. But if you need more than 100 GB of storage, even the premium version of this service won't work for you.

ProsCons
>Many useful features offered for free>No unlimited storage option

What Customers Are Saying

Users feel that 4shared is a particularly feature-rich hosting service. "4shared does an excellent job of providing mobile file sharing capabilities, while its browser features are also useful and impressive," wrote one customer.

Apple iCloud Drive

icloud

iCloud is built into every Apple device, providing each user with 5 GB of free storage. More storage is available for an additional fee.

Of course, this file hosting option will be particularly appealing to Apple users. With iCloud Drive, you can access your files from the Files app on iOS and the Finder on your Mac. And whenever you make a change to a file on your drive, the update is automatically shared across all devices. Information in your Apple apps, such as phone numbers in Contacts and saved bookmarks in Safari, will be kept updated across all your devices as well.

This service is also compatible with Windows PCs and the web, although some features are only available on Apple devices.

Finally, with features such as automatic backups and two-factor authentication, you can protect yourself from unauthorized access and data loss.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
5 GB: Free

50 GB: $0.99/month

200 GB: $2.99/month

2 TB: $9.99/month
No>Automatic backups
>Two-factor authentication
>24/7 phone support
>More features at Apple

Pros & Cons of Apple iCloud Drive File Hosting

If you already use Apple devices, the convenience of this app makes it well worth investing in. Otherwise, you may be able to find a better fit for your file hosting needs elsewhere.

ProsCons
>Apple syncing features
>Free version available
>Some features only available on Apple devices
>No unlimited storage option

What Customers Are Saying

Considering how popular Apple products are, it's no surprise that iCloud Drive is apparently very user-friendly. "Works fantastic on my Apple device, it's very easy to use," wrote one customer. "All Apple products are user-friendly once you get the hang of it, I wouldn't consider any other software to store my photos, music, and documents," wrote another.

Box

box

Box offers four plans for file hosting: Starter, Business, Business Plus, and Enterprise.

The Starter plan provides 100 GB of storage, collaboration with up to 100 users, and built-in integrations for Office 365 and G Suite.

With the Business plan, you get unlimited storage, data loss protection, and custom branding. And the extra features that come with the plans above that include unlimited external collaborators, document watermarking, and password policy enforcement.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
Starter: $5/month

Business: $15/month

Business Plus: $25/month

Enterprise: $35/month
14 days>Data loss protection
>Custom branding
>24/7 phone support available
>More features at Box

Pros & Cons of Box File Hosting

While Box does offer unlimited hosting, you'll need to pay a good bit extra for it. The same is true with 24/7 support — all plans include live support during business hours, but you'll need to add Premier Services or Platinum Services to your plan for round-the-clock support.

ProsCons
>Unlimited storage available>No free plan

What Customers Are Saying

Box makes file hosting easy. "Box is super helpful for our organization," wrote one user. "It's compliant with all relevant privacy regulations and allows us to share files using links instead of attachments in email. This is important to us for version control and making sure everyone is on the same page. What I really like best about Box is the Windows integration, as long as I'm connected to the internet, I can use Box's directory just as if it was on my computer."

CertainSafe Digital

CertainSafe

For $12 per month, CertainSafe Digital offers 100 GB of storage and a file size limit of 2 GB.

They also offer a variety of features for collaboration, including team file cabinets, live chat, audit trails, and version control.

It must also be noted that CertainSafe Digital provides excellent security. Even their staff isn't able to view your content. That's because your files are exchanged for digital tokens, which are then encrypted and distributed offsite. If a hacker was able to somehow get a piece of this data, it would be completely unusable.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
100 GB: $12/month30 days>Live chat
>Audit trails
>24/7 support available
>More features at CertainSafe Digital

Pros & Cons of CertainSafe Digital File Hosting

CertainSafe may not offer a free version of their platform, but at least there's a 30-day money-back guarantee that allows you to try before you buy.

ProsCons
>Strong security practices>No free plan available

What Customers Are Saying

Customers often praise CertainSafe Digital's security practices. "The anti-phishing measures, the MicroEncryption technology, and the numerous other safeguards add a lot of peace of mind," wrote one user.

Dropbox

Dropbox

With Dropbox, there are three plans for teams: Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise.

The Standard plan includes 5 TB of storage and features such as two-factor authentication, watermarking, and 180 days of version history/recovery for each file. As for security, files hosted on Dropbox are encrypted with 256-bit AES at rest and SSL/TLS in transit.

The Advanced plan includes unlimited storage, as well as extra features such as device approvals, viewer history, and tiered admin roles. And if you upgrade to the Enterprise plan, the perks include advanced training and 24/7 phone support.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
Standard: $12.50/month

Advanced: $20/month

Enterprise: Custom quote
30 days>256-bit AES and SSL/TLS encryption
>Tiered admin roles
>24/7 phone support available
>More features at Dropbox

Pros & Cons of Dropbox File Hosting

Dropbox is one of the biggest names in file hosting, thanks in large part to their feature-rich and ultra-secure services. You won't be able to access those high-end services for free, though. And even if you're paying for a plan, you'll need to be paying for the most expensive one in order to get 24/7 phone support (the Standard and Advanced plans get 24/7 live chat support and phone support during business hours).

ProsCons
>Feature-rich file hosting plans
>Strong security practices
>Money-back guarantee
>No free plan available
>Need to pay extra for 24/7 phone support

What Customers Are Saying

Users love Dropbox's interface. "I like the minimalist design of the app and the user interface is very interactive and easy to use," wrote one customer. "This app syncs with my phone nicely and automatically saves all my data in their secure cloud."

ElephantDrive

ElephantDrive

ElephantDrive's prices start at $10 per month for the Home plan, which offers 1 TB of base storage and a charge of $10 per month for each additional TB of storage. The max storage limit is 15 TB, and the max file size is 2 GB. Features include end-to-end encryption, link sharing, and automatic backups. For support, you'll need to schedule a text chat.

The Business plan costs $20 for 1 TB of storage and another $20 for each additional TB. The max storage limit is 50 TB and max file size is 15 GB. Managed restores are included as an extra feature, and scheduled phone calls are available for support.

And the Enterprise plan is $30 per month for 1 TB of storage, with an extra $30 charge for each additional TB. There is no max storage limit, and the max file size is 200 GB. This plan also provides a dedicated account manager and priority support.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
Home: $10/month

Business: $20/month

Enterprise: $30/month
30 days>End-to-end encryption
>Managed restores
>Live chat and phone support
>More features at ElephantDrive

Pros & Cons of ElephantDrive File Hosting

ElephantDrive offers more storage than many other providers offer at similar price points. They would ideally also offer a free plan and 24/7 support, though.

ProsCons
>Unlimited storage available>No free plan

What Customers Are Saying

Customers choose ElephantDrive because it's very secure and user-friendly. "ElephantDrive is an excellent choice when it comes to file hosting in the cloud," wrote one user. "It allows you to create backup copies of your files with a high degree of security through encryption, and its web interface is very intuitive and easy to use."

Files.fm

Files.fm

Files.fm's three tiers for file hosting plans are Basic, Pro, and Business.

The Basic plan is free and includes up to 20 GB of storage, with a max file size of 5 GB. Its features include a public files page and messaging, but there are also ads.

Upgrading to the Pro or Business plan would remove the ads and provide you with many more features, including password-protected links, file restore, and two-factor authentication.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
Basic: Free

Pro: Starts at $4.08/month

Business: Starts at $8.33/month
No>Messaging
>Password-protected links
>Email support
>More features at Files.fm

Pros & Cons of Files.fm File Hosting

Files.fm offers a free plan as well as low prices for their premium plans, but the lack of live support may be off-putting to some users.

ProsCons
>Free plan available>No live support

What Customers Are Saying

The Android version of Files.fm has received particularly positive reviews. "Excellent app," wrote one user. "Easy to navigate, does exactly what it says."

Google Drive

Google-Drive

Google Drive allows you to access 15 GB of storage for no cost at all.

For more storage, you can upgrade to 100 GB for just $1.99 per month. This plan also includes the option to add your family and access to Google experts.

And then there are the 200 GB and 2 TB plans. In addition to more storage, the 200 GB plan includes a 3% Google Store discount, and the 2 TB plan includes a 10% Google Store discount.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
15 GB: Free

100 GB: $1.99/month

200 GB: $2.99/month

2 TB: $9.99/month
No>Google experts
>Google Store discount
>24/7 live chat and phone support
>More features at Google

Pros & Cons of Google Drive File Hosting

Unlimited storage isn't an option, but Google Drive offers great value if your file hosting needs are in the range of 200 GB and under.

ProsCons
>Free plan available
>24/7 phone support
>No unlimited storage option

What Customers Are Saying

This customer favors Google Drive over other file hosting services because of its compatibility and usability: "Google Drive is easy to understand, convenient to use anywhere, and totally efficient. I cannot imagine a modern business being successful today without it. Our employees use Macs, PCs, iPhones, and Android phones, and the software remains the same across all devices. The software is also built very intuitively; anyone with experience using a computer will be able to navigate the software very easily!"

Hightail

Hightail

Hightail's free plan offers 2 GB of storage and a max file size of 100 GB.

If that's not enough storage for you, the next level up has unlimited storage and a max file size of 25 GB, as well as extra features like delivery notifications, send tracking, and password protection.

Beyond that, the Teams and Business plans offer larger file size limits and even more features, such as archiving, version control, and real-time discussions.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
Lite: Free

Pro: $12/month

Teams: $24/month

Business: $36/month
14 days>Password protection
>Version control
>Live chat and phone support available every day from 2 a.m. - 8 p.m. PT
>More features at Hightail

Pros & Cons of Hightail File Hosting

Hightail offers a robust set of features for each of their price points, but if you're on a tight budget and need more than 2 GB you can find lower prices with a few other providers. Also, their support isn't always available.

ProsCons
>Free plan available>Support not available 24/7

What Customers Are Saying

Hightail has received high marks for its intuitive interface. "Without a doubt, the greatest advantage offered by Hightail is its functionality, which is so simple that even a child could handle this program without major problems," wrote one customer. "Its menu and control panel have all the functions that any company may require to transfer files."

IDrive

IDrive

With IDrive's free plan, you get access to 5 GB of storage.

Upgrading to IDrive Personal would provide you with at least 5 TB of storage (10 TB is an option for an extra fee), and features such as continuous data backup and real-time synchronization for one user.

IDrive Business works for unlimited users, and it offers 250 GB to 1.25 TB of storage, users/group permissions, and single sign-on.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
Basic: Free

IDrive Personal: Starts at $52.12/year

IDrive Business: Starts at $74.62/year
15 days>Continuous data backup
>Single sign-on
>Phone support available Mon - Fri, 6 a.m. - 11:30 p.m. PT
>More features at IDrive

Pros & Cons of IDrive File Hosting

One downside to IDrive is that you can only purchase plans by the year. While their price isn't much more than comparable plans when you break down the cost on a monthly basis, the fact that you need to commit so much money upfront may be a dealbreaker to more budget-conscious file hosting users.

ProsCons
>Free plan available>No unlimited storage option

What Customers Are Saying

IDrive is effective for a variety of file hosting use cases. "I work in the area of ​​education," wrote one customer. "I have approximately five student rooms where I manage curriculum, evaluations, note control, etc. IDrive serves as a complement to store all my information in one place and prevent the loss of information."

MediaFire

mediafire

MediaFire offers a free plan with 10 GB of storage, although you will have to deal with ads on your download pages.

Upgrading to the Pro plan would remove the ads, bump the storage up to 1 TB, and provide you with features such as direct links to files, password protected files, and one-time links (after a file is sent to someone, the recipient won't be able to share it with anyone else).

With the Business plan, you get 100 TB of storage, and the extra features include fully customizable branding and a detailed security log.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
Basic: Free

Pro: $3.75/month

Business: $40/month
No>Password protected files
>Security log
>Ticketed support
>More features at MediaFire

Pros & Cons of MediaFire File Hosting

There's a lot to like about MediaFire, as their free plan includes a generous amount of storage and their premium plans offer plenty of useful features. The downside is that they don't have live support.

ProsCons
>Free plan available>No live support

What Customers Are Saying

This long-time user has had a great experience with MediaFire: "I have been using Mediafire since high school! Uploading is fast and the dashboard is easy to navigate. Downloading is also good, so it is the tool that I use to share files with my friends, family, and co-workers."

MEGA

mega

Users can store up to 50 GB of content on MEGA's end-to-end encrypted file hosting service for free.

They also offer four tiers of premium plans: Pro Lite, Pro I, Pro II, and Pro III. The technical specs of these plans range from 400 GB of storage and a 1 TB data transfer limit to 16 TB of storage and a 16 TB data transfer limit.

And if you know anyone else with file storage needs, you can make some extra cash by referring them to MEGA. They'll send you 20% of the revenue that's generated through your referrals.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
Pro Lite: $5.85/month

Pro I: $11.71/month

Pro II: $23.43/month

Pro III: $35.15/month
No>End-to-end encryption
>Generous referral program
>Email support
>More features at MEGA

Pros & Cons of MEGA File Hosting

No one offers more storage for free than MEGA. If you're willing to pay for storage, though, there are other providers out there that offer more features and stronger support.

ProsCons
>Free plan available>No live support

What Customers Are Saying

MEGA can be quite effective for users who have demanding file hosting needs. "I am a translator as well as a digital artist and definitely need a lot of space to store all my files," wrote one customer. "MEGA is very generous and convenient, user-friendly too."

Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft-OneDrive

For personal use, there are two OneDrive plans available: Basic and Standalone. The Basic plan includes 5 GB and features such as advanced sync technology, version history, and real-time collaboration. The Standalone plan has the same features but comes with 100 GB of storage.

There are also two plans available for businesses: Business Plan 1 and Business Plan 2. Business Plan 1 has 1 TB of storage, while Business Plan 2 offers unlimited storage. And they have features that are especially useful for businesses, such as the ability to apply content sharing policies and revoke access for any user at any time.

Whether you use Microsoft OneDrive for personal use or for business, you should consider purchasing the entire Microsoft 365 suite instead. This is more expensive, of course, but it offers much more value with industry-leading apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, and Exchange in addition to OneDrive.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
Basic: Free

Standalone: $1.99/month

Business Plan 1: $5/month

Business Plan 2: $10/month
No>Version history
>Real-time collaboration
>24/7 phone support
>More features at Microsoft

Pros & Cons of Microsoft OneDrive File Hosting

Microsoft OneDrive offers the high-end quality you'd expect from one of the biggest brands in tech. The only downside is that if you prefer live chat over phone support, unfortunately that's not an option here.

ProsCons
>Free plan available
>Unlimited storage available
>Feature-rich file hosting plans
>No live chat support

What Customers Are Saying

The business versions of Microsoft OneDrive appear to work particularly well. "The overall user experience with OneDrive for business is unparalleled," wrote one user. "I make use of it every day at work, and it has never failed me. The mobile app that's paired with the account is a life saver for a person who commutes daily."

pCloud

pcloud

There are just two file hosting plans offered by pCloud: Premium and Premium Plus.

The Premium plan has 500 GB of storage and 500 GB of shared link traffic, while Premium Plus comes with 2 TB of storage and 2 TB of shared link traffic.

Both of these plans include TLS/SSL and 256-bit AES encryption, as well as collaboration tools, file versioning, data recovery, and even a built-in video player.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
Premium: $47.88/year

Premium Plus: $95.88/year
30 days>TLS/SSL and 256-bit AES encryption
>Built-in video player
>Email support
>More features at pCloud

Pros & Cons of pCloud File Hosting

This provider offers attractive features and strong security. But if you're on a tight budget, you should be aware that you can only buy an annual or lifetime subscription — there are no monthly plans available.

ProsCons
>Feature-rich file hosting plans
>Strong security
>No free plan available
>No monthly plans available

What Customers Are Saying

Users say that this service offers many helpful features. "pCloud offers a thousand tools to get started with cloud storage," wrote one customer. "I think the thing I like most is the multiple sharing options that come with this software, as it allows me to decide whether I want to share files with coworkers or not."

SugarSync

SugarSync

SugarSync offers 100 GB, 250 GB, and 500 GB file storage plans.

All of these plans include AES-256 encryption, automatic file syncing, remote device wipe, and online editing/collaboration tools. SugarSync also receives high marks for their very user-friendly interface.

PriceMoney-Back GuaranteeFeatures
100 GB: $7.49/month

250 GB: $9.99/month

500 GB: $18.95/month
30 days>AES-256 encryption
>Collaboration tools
>Phone support available Mon - Fri, 6AM - 5 PM PT
>More features at SugarSync

Pros & Cons of SugarSync File Hosting

The easy-to-use control panel makes this an excellent option for non-technical users. But if you have more demanding needs, you'll likely need a solution that offers more storage.

ProsCons
>Intuitive interface>No unlimited storage option

What Customers Are Saying

SugarSync's reliability has motivated customers to stick with them for years. "I have been using SugarSync for over five years," wrote one user. "SugarSync has had no problems syncing three different PCs, one Mac, four different mobile phones, and an Android tablet. All my files are there, no matter which unit I use to search for them."

What is File Hosting?

Do you need to host your files online? We're not talking about storage for the files for your website, but rather personal files, documents, image files, and the like. If so, you don't need 'web hosting'; you need file hosting.

File sharing sometimes involves illegal sharing of copyrighted material. Be sure that you have permission to share your file. But there are many other types of file sharing.

What You'll Learn

If you're heavily reliant on large amounts of storage for relevant files, considering this factor during a hosting plan selection is wise. Multiple business models are entirely dependant on the hundreds of gigabytes of brilliant content, often involving hefty storage spaces.

Don't be the unprepared one.

A Brief History of File Hosting

In the early days of the internet, we didn't have the ideas we have now about web pages or dynamically generated content. A 'site' was just a method for storing files; it consisted of a directory of files on someone's computer, which they made publicly available on the network. A homepage was just an indexed listing of those files.

Since then, the infrastructure of the web has changed along with the way we use it. Some artifacts remain — the way browsers handle requests, the notion of 'resources' — but we don't tend to think about a website as simply a collection of files. It's a destination, a resource, a dynamic application.

The thing is, for all the changes in the way we use the internet, people still need a simple way to share their files online. Fortunately, new file hosting and storage tools make this easier than ever.

file hosting vs file sharing

The Difference Between File Hosting and File Sharing

Some of the terms in the file hosting market can be confusing to consumers. Thus we should look at the distinction between file hosting and file sharing, and define some other terms you may run into while you're researching options and providers.

File Hosting

File hosting is basically any service that allows you to upload and maintain your own files on someone else's server. Whether they're hosted on a physical server or utilize cloud storage, the effect is the same. You upload your files to the server, and there they stay until you take them off (unless they're removed by the company for some reason).

File Sharing

A file sharing service can be thought of as a type of file hosting. Here, you get not only the right to upload and maintain your files on the company's servers but also the right to send other people a download link. With that download link, these other users can access and download your file for their own use.

A Note About File Deletion

File deletion usually only happens if your account is terminated or if your files are deemed to violate someone else's intellectual property rights.

So, for example, if you upload a file containing copyrighted music to which you do not own the rights or a license, and the copyright holder - the musician or a licensing agency, usually - registers a complaint with your hosting provider, the company can delete the file off its servers.

old fashioned hosting

Hosting Files the Old-Fashioned Way

If you have access to a server connected to the internet (which you do if you have a web hosting account of any kind), you can simply use a single public directory there to hold your files. Upload them via FTP and you can access them from any browser. Assuming you set the read permissions properly, anyone who knows the URL of the directory would have access to them.

If you need to keep those files private, you could make the directory not readable. Then you'd have to use FTP or a similar tool to access them, you wouldn't be able to get to them from a normal browser.

This sounds like a reasonable and inexpensive way to do things, but there are some drawbacks.

drawbacks of old fashioned hosting

Drawbacks of Old-Fashioned File Hosting

Permissioning in this context is a bit crude. It's not easy to decide who specifically gets to see which files if you have a mix of things which you want to be public or private.

There are no built-in sharing features to send file links to people. There's also no syncing capability; it's easy to get version mismatch if you're frequently accessing and editing files from different locations.

Some Plans Disallow File Sharing

Even more problematic, most shared hosting plans and some VPS plans specifically disallow file hosting within your account. The hosting companies set their pricing based on the expectation of someone using an amount of bandwidth and file storage space appropriate to a normal website.

They are not prepared for someone hosting a large number of personal files (especially media files — videos, music, images).

Implications of File Sharing with a Traditional Web Host

You can usually get away with this if it is a small enough number of files. If you are trying to use it as a backup of your own computer's files (or a backup of a website's files and database) you'll usually run afoul of the hosting companies Terms of Service.

self hosted file sharing

Self-Hosted File Sharing Apps

Even if you are on a VPS or Dedicated Server plan that has no restrictions on hosting non-website files, there are still better ways to host and share your documents and media than simply uploading them via FTP.

Features of Self-Hosted Sharing Apps

There are a number of self-hosted Open Source applications that will manage and sync files to multiple computers, provide an easy to use web or desktop interface, and give you access to sharing features such as link-sending, invitations, and fine-grained user permissions.




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Benefits of File Sharing Apps

The benefit of using these apps is that they are completely yours.

You control everything about them. This is good for privacy and ensures you'll always have access to your own things.

On the other hand, this also means more responsibility for setting up and managing your file system.

replacement for web hosting

File Sharing Apps Are NOT a Replacement for Web Hosting

You also still need web hosting, and as mentioned above, and you often cannot use shared hosting plans to run apps like this.

You would need your own VPS account with few restrictions, or your own server. Because of the economics of scale, if you have to pay for space and bandwidth it might be a lot less expensive to use a free or premium subscription service.

subscription file hosting services

Subscription File Hosting Services

If you don't want the hassle of setting up your own software and managing a remote server, you can use a subscription file hosting services like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Benefits of Subscription File Hosting Services

These services offer you many benefits, including the ability to:

  1. Upload files to a cloud-based storage system
  2. Take advantage of the storage system that you don't have to manage or think about; you simply move files into a folder, and things work.
  3. Set up apps on several systems which sync the files automatically with the central server.
  4. Access files from a synced folder on any of your devices, or from a web-based interface.
  5. Manage the sharing and permissions features

These services are often free up to a certain limit, and then require premium plans for high usage. They are often subsidized by ads.

What to Look for in File Sharing and File Hosting Services

Before you investigate potential file hosting or file sharing providers, take a moment to jot down the specific features that are important to you.

Are file hosting services free?

Technically, yes, there are a number of free file hosting and sharing services. The most commonly known ones are Google Drive and Dropbox. However, a free file hosting service will only give you a limited amount of storage space. If you exceed that limit, you will need to purchase more storage space in order to save new files to your host. If you are going to store a high volume of files, or large files, such as audio or video clips, you will likely need to invest in a paid plan to get sufficient storage space.

Top File Sharing Features

Some of the key features many users will want to investigate, in addition to those features mentioned above, include:

  • Whether users are given direct access
  • Traffic or bandwidth limits
  • File expiration policies
  • FTP access
  • Whether the provider offers a developer API
  • Support for file versioning
  • Total free GB allotted
  • Client-side encryption.

While prioritizing storage space isn't a feature to leave last, all of the above are noteworthy from a practicality point-of-view.

how to choose a file sharing service

How to Choose a File Hosting Service

It's important to compare companies and plans carefully. By the same token, it's also important to make sure you're comparing features on a similar or equivalent basis.

For example, many companies may offer file hosting and file sharing. However, these companies may provide vastly different configurations of basic features and tools.

Do an In-Depth Comparison

Simply comparing one company to another on the basis of price and total available storage won't tell a potential user very much. Instead, look closely at the targeted user for each provider, as well as the features and pricing.

Security and File Hosting Services

While file-sharing services are undoubtedly useful applications of digital technology, there's also little doubt that they can be used for improper or even illegal purposes.

The government has shut down more than one file sharing site for violating anti-privacy and intellectual property laws.

Risks of File Hosting

In addition, file sharing companies have one primary purpose: to host large quantities of files for secure maintenance and around-the-clock access. That kind of structure offers a lot of conveniences, but it can also create some risk.

The more people who have access to any server, the more you need to worry about security. In the next section, we will discuss the most important security features in a file host.

file sharing features

5 File Hosting Security Features to Look For

The file-sharing industry is expected to balloon in value to over $3 billion in the next few years with a projected rate of growth of over 25%.

With that kind of industry growth, it's still a good idea to look into the security measures your selected file hosting provider offers its users.

It's especially important to be aware of security features when you're dealing with a free file hosting service since those companies typically require less personal information from a user on sign-up.

The top five security features you should look at include:

  1. Password protection
  2. File encryption
  3. Private SSL Certificates
  4. Protection against malware
  5. Two-factor authentication

Strong Password Protection

The frontline of digital security for storage and hosting services is the password. Strong passwords are essential to protect your files. Most file hosts require a combination of a unique username and a password. However, some don't.

This usually involves temporary file sharing services. These companies allow a user to upload a file for immediate transmission and digital download. They're not meant for any sort of long-term storage and sharing needs.

So, for example, you can use a password-free site to upload a file of a size that's too large for email - up to 2 GB in some cases - and send it to others. But that site won't allow you to store that file for any length of time.

File Encryption

Your files should ideally be encrypted not only for sharing services but also for cloud storage. So encryption is definitely a feature to check for in any potential file hosting company. Encryption is a significant aspect of digital data security.

The most common encryption format is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). It supports block lengths of either 128, 192, or 256 bits. Utilizing 128-bit AES should make the transfer of your files much more secure. Not many services offer this level of encryption for storage, however.

Private SSL Certificates

It's crucial that your host company provide a secure connection between its server and your web browser while you're accessing your files and working with them. HTTPS is the secure, encrypted version of HTTP or HyperText Transfer Protocol.

Encryption and heightened security are accomplished through a private SSL or Secure Socket Layer certificate. The SSL certificate creates that secure, encrypted connection that keeps your data secure during transmission.

Protection Against Malware and Viruses

It's a fact of modern life on the web that some individuals and websites do not have your best interests in mind. In fact, some can and will attempt to hijack or steal your data, either in a targeted or an indiscriminate fashion.

Fortunately, most file sharing and hosting companies are more ethical. But a few may display deceptive banners or links. Some may simply take you to a spammy website; some, however, may attempt to inject viruses or malware into your system.

Two-Factor Verification

Two-factor authorization (TFA) or verification adds an additional layer of protection for your files and data. In addition to a strong password/username combination, TFA-enabled sites send a numeric code to your mobile phone via text message.

When you log in to your file hosting account, you're prompted to enter that code. If that code does not match the one generated by the site's TFA system, you won't be allowed to log in and access your files.



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