An alternative to file hosts

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 30, 2007
Updated • May 27, 2013

File hosts are extremely useful if you need webspace to make files available to a larger audience. On the other hand I never fully understood why someone would be using file hosts to share files with friends or business associates. The only two advantages that I can see are that no other programs are needed to download the files and that it is easy to use.

The disadvantages don't justify this procedure in my opinion. First of all it is always a security risk to upload files to a third party even though you might take extra precaution and encrypt the files. Second, it probably does not look that good if you send your business associate a download link to a free host. The alternative would be of course ordering web space or hosting and pay a monthly fee for it.

If you already have a website with enough hard drive space and included bandwidth you can use that. Single files can be simply uploaded to a new directory which should be protected with .htaccess to keep prying eyes away from it. The file can be downloaded as often as needed and deleted when all downloads have finished. You also have full control over the file at any point in time.

Setting up ftp accounts would be even better but probably requires more knowledge and could be out of proportions if you only upload new files every now and then. While ftp servers do not necessarily require special software, as you can access them in web browsers as well, it is certainly not as straightforward as hosting the files on a web space account.

The main disadvantage is of course that you have to pay a monthly fee to host your files and that you can't make the file available for a larger audience if you have a hosting account with restricted bandwidth. I still prefer this method because it feels secure to control the files on your own server.

dropbox share link

Update: The rise of file synchronization services such as Dropbox has made available a third solution. Most of these services enable you to share files with other users so that you can use the storage they make available to easily share files.


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  1. TheMancunian said on February 20, 2007 at 9:18 am

    ”On the other hand I never fully understood why someone would be using file hosts to share files with friends or business associates.”

    I can see another advantage to doing this.

    If i want to send my 710mb video ;) ;) to more than one friend at full speed rather than my appauling upload speed AND only upload it once, then this would be the best way to do so.



  2. Martin said on January 31, 2007 at 11:22 am

    Netking you are right, I completely forgot about tools like HTTP File Server.

  3. netking said on January 31, 2007 at 11:18 am

    You can also use your own PC with a simple file server (like for example).
    If you don’t have a static IP, you can use dyndns services to bypass that. The management of such services are included in the HFS software.

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