Don’t Forage – Terabytes of Free Storage Available Online
This post is about file storage, not to be confused with photo storage, or a backup service. File storage can be used for a lot of different things and I’ve done my best to describe each service below. Generally, I’m talking about any type of file, could be photo, video, audio, text, word… files that you want to share with people, files that you want to store just to be safe and have another copy somewhere, or files you use for a website or a blog. All the services below allow you to link to the file you have uploaded to their site. Today you can store files and grant online access to your friends or the world. The amount of free storage available to everyone in the world is unlimited now. The computing industry has changed so dramatically. See the last paragraph of this post for my thoughts on this subject. But immediately below are links and descriptions to plenty of free storage on the web. I have not identified a ‘best of breed’ in this category because, as you will see, they all have slightly different market niches, messages, limits…
eSnips – Create an account and you can upload 5Gb of music, pictures, video, whatever you want. This site is designed to share with your friends and/or everyone in the world, however, the site your friends go to has so many scripts on it that it some browsers can’t read the page. I don’t want to put a negative spin on eSnips at all because their back end, which you will deal with, is great and I’m sure they will address issues as they come up. They have a flash uploader that works well for uploading several files. You can select several files at once, the file structure is straight forward, and you can mark files as private and manage a nice little 5GB archive for yourself at their site. They also have an uploader that integrates into your web browser and I really like the features it provides. You can tag, describe, and name your files before you upload and you can select to resize photos… If you can, this native uploader that integrates with your browser is the way to go. So enjoy eSnips because they are truly a great site.
MediaFire – is the first free storage site that I found that offers unlimited space. I wasn’t that wild about their upload page, it is pretty basic but it works and you can set it to download several files at once (about 8 I think) but you have to select each file. I bet they come up with something better soon, because today they are a little behind the curve on uploaders but that could change any day. MediaFire gets points for it’s file structure and sharing ability and, of course, the unlimited space.
Microsoft’s SkyDrive – offers a puny 500mb free and I recommend that you use it! They are a very stable organization and who knows what is going to happen with the economy. This site is not designed for you to put a file up and share it with the world. It is designed to be thought of as a remote drive for you personally. I keep personal documents that I really need on this site. I also have a Window’s Live Space account which is like your Windows homepage and is integrated with SkyDrive. I think you’ve got to have a .net ID, which I recommend you take the time to get if you have not done so yet, and the site also integrates with your xbox 360 gamertag. The uploader is file by file so nothing special there but the file structure is the most familiar the most secure and dependable. So if you’ve already drank the coolaid go get yourself your 500MB and sing your praise to the great SkyDrive in the sky.
SendSpace Lite – This service was originally organized as a site to transfer large files and that is still their primary marketing spin. I think they used to have a limit on the amount of data that you stored on their site but they evidently have switched it to ‘unlimited’ recently. The individual file transfer size limit (not to be confused with total storage limit) for free users is 300MB but you can split and join files and they have a good FAQ on their page about it. SendSpace has an uploader (beta) that you download and it runs on your PC. This is not a site you should use for backup because they are very clear about the service being ‘as is’ and without warranty and basically, if the service is available, you can use it. However, with the unlimited restrictions on the amount of data that you can store and the effective locally running uploader, you could push a lot of data out to them very quickly and efficiently but their marketing message is pushing strongly away from providing the type of service you need to depend upon for backup or general availability. You can read about it on their FAQ.
This is a great site to use if you’ve got some large datasets that you may want to share with other people and/or you just want to keep ‘casual’ backups of that data around. It is a great spot to put the large files that you might normally delete from your system. Their ‘MAX’ service (fee based) offers a lot of options which I think would be really valuable to software developers or copyright owners who need to manage the distribution of media. You can set limits on the number of downloads or the amount of time a download is good for. But everything I link you to in this site is free. I only wanted to point out the marketing position of the site and their major direction. Regardless, SendSpace can be of great value to home users like us who take advantage of free services.
I’m giving you 2 different links to SendSpace, they have a program that gives me points if you sign up for a free account through the first link. The points go towards their fee based service which I don’t know if I would find value in or not. Regardless, I guess I would prefer that you sign in through the first link but if you have any reservations about doing that please go a head and use the second link (which is the same you would get if you Googled ‘SendSpace’).
Divshare – I can’t find a size limit to the amount of space a registered user has on this site. They don’t advertise ‘unlimited space’ like some of the others but they don’t talk about size restriction either. They talk about the limit of a single file transfer of 200MB (2GB if you are a paying customer) but they don’t mention a ‘total size’ for any single user. Divshare has a great flash uploader and you can upload entire folders with it. They also have a native loader that is fast, easy and works really well. DivShare is clear about your files being available “forever” and they give you a link so you can share your files with anyone you please. You can also password protect your files. There is no search engine at their site so files are only shared with the people that you refer to the site. You can create your own ‘player’ at this site and put your logo on it. This is a great tool for maintaining a blog or a website and I may utilize it for that purpose in the future, especially if I decide to add video. I just found out they have an uploader that is integrated with WordPress so I’ve downloaded that and will report back and update this post once I see how it works.
Whew, this was a more detailed post than I intended it to be. However, unlimited space free of charge is truly worth taking some time to explain and I do wonder how all this will effect our computing environments and our culture. It is an amazing change that the market will take a while to digest and figure out how to use. Once that happens and the value is recognized and taken advantage of, the implications of this free unlimited space will reach deep into our culture. 15 years ago a 40MG drive ran you a couple hundred dollars and now you can get an unlimited amount of space for free on the Internet. You can store and grant on-line access to files of nearly any size and content (varies by service – IE nudity). It is truly a revolution and it is changing the way we think about computing. Once data transfer rates quadruple (or more, next 5 years) and space isn’t a problem, then think of the amount of media that will be hitting us. It’s out of control today but in 5 years it is going to have a gigantic impact on our culture.