File hosting services: guidelines and comparative merits
|July 11, 2011||Posted by Joe Towse under reviews, technology|
Although internet filehosts have got something of a bad image, through people using their services for illegal means (i.e. downloading), they are useful for many other purposes. That said, I will remind you all about the golden trinity of downloading: false information and email accounts; proxies; avoid downloading new releases of anything. However, some filehosts are certainly better than others. Here are my thoughts on the main ones (this is presuming a free user who is not using a DDL or a premium link generator):
This is my personal favourite host. Although this free service requires some waiting time before downloads will start, its free ‘Mega Manager’ program includes a download accelerator – one of the few free hosts which allows use of them - and downloads can be resumed. It also has a generous free file storage space and allows files of up to 1GB to be downloaded by free users. Advertising on the site is also minimal, with one banner and one pop-up per download, and even these can be blocked.
Although I don’t hold Mediafire with the same reverence that others do, its free service is again excellent. Advertising is in slightly higher amounts than Megaupload, but is once again easy to ignore or block. However, my gripe comes with the fact that downloads cannot be resumed by free users (I have never paid the exorbitant fees to become a ‘Premium User’ of any site), and that it is not possible to download the same file more than once, including if your download is interrupted. It is, however, to its benefit that there are no waiting times before starting downloads.
Rapidshare used to be known more commonly as “Rapidshit”, such was its appalling service a year or so ago. However, times have changed and it is now one of the better filehosts, if far from the best. Although advertising from third parties is minimal, its continually changing layout shoves its premium service right in your face and often makes it difficult to find an actual download link. Downloads cannot be resumed and the speed of download is highly variable. It is also very quick to delete files that violate its terms of service (mainly due to its market-leading responsiblity). Naturally, this could either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your outlook. Free users also have a very restrictive download limit.
For individual files, Hotfile is excellent – depending on the day, it may allow resumption of downloads, has next to no advertising, and its speed tends to be excellent, albeit requiring a CAPTCHA for some downloads. However, it rarely allows free users to download more than one file in a day, which can be annoying if you’re attempting to receive multiple files that are not in an archive.
To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend using anything aside from the above four (and possibly Sendspace, although that is far less likely to be used, and Zippyshare, but only for perfectly legitimate activity as it saves IP addresses). The drawback of Depositfiles is its limited download caps and appallingly slow speeds.
If you can get a download to work, then Fileserve is fine, but after the adverts, CAPTCHA and waiting time, you then have about 10 seconds before your download link expires. It also has a problem with telling you that you are attempting to run parallel downloads when you are doing nothing of the kind (with or without proxy).
Absolutely the worst filehost I have ever come across. The amount of advertising is unfathomable, much of which is pornographic, not to mention it all being written in Russian. From what I can tell, download speeds are very limited (I struggle to get above 5kb/s, whereas my normal is 150-200), and waiting times are excessive. I cannot understand why people still use it; even its premium service is 5-6 times the normal price.
Other filehosts that I do not recommend:
Oron; Filesonic; Badongo; 4shared; 2share; Uploading; Easy Sharing; Filehosting.cc; Yousendit; Zupload
- Always virus check anything that you download and never download anything which is of the filetypes .exe, .js or .sct, unless you know the person who sent you the link personally.
- Do not host anything with copyright protection (unless you own the copyright), even if you don’t plan to give the link to anyone else.
- Be sensible about filesizes. If you know that you are supposed to be downloading a Word document, and it comes in a 100MB .rar file, chances are it’s dangerous.
- Virus scan your computer at least every month, just in case. Naturally, also keep your protection software up to date.
- Torrents are a bad idea, especially on a poor internet connection. ISPs are logged, they are in general slower, and are more likely, I find, to contain malware.
- Never download something unless you already know what it is.
N.B. This article is not intended to promote the more efficient practice of illegal activity. This author does not advocate the use of file sharing services for anything other than legal means.