File hosting service
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File hosting services
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A file hosting service, online file storage provider, or cyberlocker is an Internet hosting service specifically designed to host user files. Typically they allow HTTP and FTP access. Related services are content-displaying hosting services (i.e. video, image, audio/music), virtual storage, and remote backup.
Software file hosting
Authors of Shareware, Freeware and Open Source/Free software often use file hosting services to serve their software. The inherent problem with free downloads is the huge bandwidth cost. To cover this cost, many sites intentionally delay the starts of downloads and slow down downloading speeds in order to persuade a user to buy a premium, paid account on the site for better service, a practice much criticized by those who do not use these sites often. These hosts also offer additional services to the authors such as statistics or other marketing features.
Personal file storage
Personal file storage services are aimed at private individuals, offering a sort of "network storage" for personal backup, file access, or file distribution. Users can upload their files and share them publicly or keep them password-protected.
Prior to the advent of personal file storage services, off-site backup services were not typically affordable for individual and small office computer users.
Sometimes people prefer hosting their files on a publicly accessible HTTP server. In this case, they generally choose paid hosting, and use their hosting for this purpose. Many free hosting providers do not allow the storage of files for non-website-related use.
Content providers who potentially encounter bandwidth congestion issues may use services specialized in distributing cached or static content. It is the case for companies with a major Internet presence.
Some online file storage services offer space on a per-gigabyte basis, and sometimes include a bandwidth cost component as well. Usually these will be charged monthly or yearly. Some companies offer the service for free, relying on advertising revenue. Some hosting services do not place any limit on how much space your account can consume. Some services require a software download which makes files only available on computers which have that software installed, others allow users to retrieve files through any web browser. With the increased inbox space offered by webmail services, many users have started using their webmail service as an online drive. Some sites offer free unlimited file storage but have a limit on the file size.
Some organizations recognize the benefits of co-locating their mission-critical equipment within a data centre. Colocation is becoming increasingly popular because of the time and cost savings a company can realize as a result of using shared data centre infrastructure. Significant benefits of scale (large power and mechanical systems) result in large colocation facilities, typically 5,000-10,000 m² (50,000 to 100,000 square feet). With IT and communications facilities in safe hands, telecommunications, Internet, ASP and content providers, as well as enterprises, enjoy less latency and the freedom to focus on their core business.
Additionally, customers reduce their traffic back-haul costs and free up their internal networks for other uses. Moreover, when network traffic is outsourced to a colocation service provider with greater bandwidth capacity, web site access speeds improve considerably.
Major types of colocation customers are:
- Web commerce companies, who use the facilities for a safe environment and cost-effective, redundant connections to the Internet
- Major enterprises, who use the facility for disaster avoidance, offsite data backup and business continuity
- Telecommunication companies, who use the facilities to interexchange traffic with other telecommunications companies and access to potential clients
Most network access point facilities provide colocation.
Most colocation centres offer different types of services to customers ranging from dedicated suites/rooms or cages to smaller racks or partial racks. Some colocation centres also offer some degree of service level agreements to support a wide range of computer and network related services, for example, server reboots, hardware replacements and software updates.
There are a few key differences between a dedicated server and colocation servers. Dedicated servers tend to be owned and rented out, while a colocation server is one that the client owns.
Some colocation centres feature a "meet-me-room" where the different carriers housed in the centre can efficiently exchange data. Most peering points sit in colocation centres. These sites are often used for web hosting. Most colocation centres have high levels of physical security and multiple redundant power and humidity/air-conditioning systems.
Confusingly, one company can operate a colocation centre, another can provide the bandwidth, whereas a third company would rent a cage inside the centre, renting out racks to hosting providers which would rent the servers themselves to actual clients. Any and all of those companies will claim ownership of the facility and will feature photos and descriptions of it on their web sites. At the actual physical location various ID cards with various logos will be present, including those of the company that built/rents/owns the actual building.
One-click hosting, sometimes referred to as cyberlocker, generally describes web services that allow internet users to easily upload one or more files from their hard drives (or from a remote location) onto the one-click host's server free of charge.
Most such services simply return a URL which can be given to other people, who can then fetch the file later on. In many cases these URLs are predictable allowing potential misuse of the service. As of 2005 these sites have drastically increased in popularity, and subsequently, many of the smaller, less efficient sites have failed. Although one-click hosting can be used for many purposes, this type of file sharing has, to a degree, come to compete with P2P filesharing services.
The sites make money through advertising or charging for premium services such as increased downloading capacity, removing any wait restrictions the site may have or prolonging how long uploaded files remain on the site. Many such sites implement a CAPTCHA to prevent automated downloading. Several programs aid in downloading files from these one-click hosters; examples are JDownloader, Tucan Manager and CryptLoad.
Use for copyright infringement
File hosting services may be used as a means to distribute or share files without consent of the copyright owner. In such cases one individual uploads a file to a file hosting service, which others can then download. Views on this can be very diverse. For example in the case of Swiss-German file hosting service RapidShare, the US government's congressional international anti-piracy caucus stated that the site was "overwhelmingly used for the global exchange of illegal movies, music and other copyrighted works". By contrast, in the 2009 - 2010 legal case Atari Europe S.A.S.U. v. Rapidshare AG in Germany, the Düsseldorf higher regional court reached the conclusion on appeal that "most people utilize RapidShare for legal use cases"  and that to assume otherwise was equivalent to inviting "a general suspicion against shared hosting services and their users which is not justified". The court also observed that the site removes copyrighted material when asked, does not provide search facilities for illegal material, noted previous cases siding with RapidShare, and after analysis concluded that the plaintiff's suggestions for preventing sharing of copyrighted material were "unreasonable or pointless".
- Cloud storage
- Comparison of file hosting services
- Comparison of online backup services
- Remote backup service
- Shared disk access
- ^ Macworld.com
- ^ "Cyberlockers Take Over File-Sharing Lead From BitTorrent Sites" (in English). http://torrentfreak.com/cyberlockers-take-over-file-sharing-lead-from-bittorrent-sites-110111/. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
- ^ Nikiforakis N., Balduzzi M. Van Acker S., Joosen W. and Balzarotti D. "Exposing the Lack of Privacy in File Hosting Services
- ^ Roettgers, Janko. "Piracy Beyond P2P: One-Click Hosters", Retrieved: 5 January 2008.
- ^ "RIAA joins congressional caucus in unveiling first-ever list of notorious illegal sites". RIAA. 2010-05-19. http://www.riaa.com/newsitem.php?id=58185AFD-5525-19D4-FFD2-4233518393AD. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
- ^ Roettgers, Janko (2010-05-03). "RapidShare Wins in Court". Gigaom.com. http://gigaom.com/video/rapidshare-wins-in-court/. Retrieved 2011-01-16. - cite from ruling: "Es ist davon auszugehen, dass die weit überwiegende Zahl von Nutzern die Speicherdienste zu legalen Zwecken einsetzen und die Zahl der missbräuchlichen Nutzer in der absoluten Minderheit ist." (It is to be expected that the vast majority of users use the storage services for lawful purposes and the number of abusive users are in the absolute minority.)
- ^ From the Atari v. RapidShare ruling: "entspricht einem Generalverdacht gegen Sharehoster-Dienste und ihre Nutzer, der so nicht zu rechtfertigen ist" (corresponds to a general suspicion against shared hosting services and their users, which is not to justify such)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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