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 File hosting service


A file hosting service, online file storage service, or online media center is an Internet hosting service specifically designed to host static content, typically large files that are not web pages. Typically they allow web and FTP access. They can be optimized for serving many users (as is implied by the term "hosting") or be optimized for single-user storage (as is implied by the term "storage"). Related services are video sharing, virtual storage and remote backup.



Uses


Software file hosting


Shareware authors often use file hosting services to serve their software. The inherent problem with free downloads is the huge bandwidth cost. These hosts also offer additional services to the authors like 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 SOHO computer users.


See Comparison of one-click hosters.


Content caching


Content providers who potentially encounter bandwidth congestion issues may use services specialized in distributing cached or static content, such as Akamai Technologies, Amazon S3 or Redswoosh. It is the case for companies with a major Internet presence.


Storage


Most online file storage services offer space on a per-gigabyte basis — some offer the service for free, relying on advertising revenue. Some services require a software download which makes files only available on computers which have that software installed. Some services 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.



Increasingly organizations are recognizing the benefits of colocating their mission-critical equipment within a data centre. Colocation is becoming popular because of the time and cost savings a company can realize as result of using shared data centre infrastructure. Significant benefits of scale (large power and mechanical systems) result in large colocation facilities, typically 50,000 to 100,000 square feet. With IT and communications facilities in safe, secure 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, by outsourcing network traffic to a colocation service provider with greater bandwidth capacity, web site access speeds should improve considerably.


Major types of colocation customers are:


1. Web commerce companies, who use the facilities for a safe environment and cost-effective, redundant connections to the Internet.



2. Major enterprises, who use the facility for disaster avoidance, offsite data backup and business continuity.



3. Telecommunication companies, who use the facilities to interexchange traffic with other telecommunications companies and access to potential clients.


Services offered


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.



Trivia


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.


Texts are from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia