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Free Online File Storage

Updated on July 12, 2011

Free online storage is all over the Internet. Many web sites offer you space to store your documents, music, pictures, videos, and more. There are different types of file storage options and requirements depending on the site.

Some sites will allow you to store your files free of charge in exchange for serving online ads when you visit the site to upload and download files. This arrangement is analogous to broadcast television channels. You get to watch the shows for free but you have to sit through commercials before, during, and after the programs. These days the programs even have commercials embedded in them because the broadcasters can project logos and promos into the corners of the screen as the shows are running. There aren't any free online storage sites that embed ads into your files, but that may be coming as costs increase.

Is your data secure? Probably. In a perfect world your files will be encrypted and stored on secure servers running robust operating systens. Unfortunately the internet isn't a perfect world. Your files will always be at risk to a minimal extent. Actually your files are probably more at risk on your local hard drive. All reputable web hosting companies employ professional engineers to monitor and maintain their computer systems. These engineers and technicians are paid to ensure that all possible security precautions have been taken to protect the data on the hard drives. At your house you probably depend on the teenager down the street to install Windows patches and download anti-virus updates.

Different types of online free file storage sites are available. If you want to store data files such as your resume, your recipes, or your letters home to Mom, you should look for a service that will encrypt your files and make allow you to upload and retrieve them at your convenience. A file directory service and a file searching service are also very useful because many times we forget what we named a file and we are obligated to search for it based on a specific word or phrase that we know is in there somewhere.

If you want to store multimedia files such as photos, music, or videos, look for a site that will allow you to publish the files for sharing them with the rest of the Internet. A site such as YouTube is a great place to store your short videos and at the same time allow other people to view them. On the other hand, if you desire privacy, YouTube isn't a proper choice. offers free online storage for your photos. You can opt to publish them, keep them private, or just allow specific people to view them. Unfortunately Flickr imposes a limit on the number of photos you can store on a free account. You can create multiple free accounts, however.

Another slick trick to get more free online file storage is to email files to yourself. Create a free email account from one of the many online services. Next, use your email client on your home computer to compose email addressed to your new free email address. Attach your files to the email message and send it 'to yourself.' This works well for small numbers of files, but since you won't have a file directory to work with, you may have a tough time locating a specific file if the email message count grows too large. Gmail, the free Google email service offers what they call an infinite storage limit in your inbox. I don't know how to test that claim, but you might have fun trying. If you carefully organize your incoming messages (with your attachments) from yourself into a logical folder structure, you may get quite a bit of free online file storage from Gmail.

"ftp", or File Transfer Protocol, is a component of the Internet that dates back to the very early days, before web browsing even existed. ftp lends itself to online storage because it was designed for sending files between computers as the Internet was being developed. Back in those days, a typical computer had only a fraction of the storage that a base model iPod has these days. A centralized file server acted as an ftp server, providing a place for users to store and retrieve all types of files. All modern web browsers have ftp capability built-in. If you settle on an online storage solution that uses ftp, you can add special ftp software to your home computer of you can simply use your current web browser.

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