FTP Hosting Services Review
Why Use FTP Hosting Services?
The most common way people share files online is to attach a file to an email. This method is simple and free. All you need is an email address. However, you're also limited to file sizes of 10MB to 40MB, depending on your email provider. In the past, you had to save these large files to a thumb drive or an external hard drive and pay a courier service to deliver the files. With an FTP host or FTP alternative service, you can turn the cloud into a digital workspace for sharing large files and collaborating with colleagues or clients anywhere.
The best FTP services are much more than an easy way of sharing large files with clients and colleagues; these are services with easy FTP features designed to integrate with your workflow and maximize your cloud presence. Hightail, Box and Egnyte are examples of FTP hosts with comprehensive FTP file transfer features designed for efficient cloud collaborations across all of your devices. To learn more, read our articles about FTP hosting services.
FTP Hosts: What to Look For
FTP hosting services developed software and webpages that allow you to upload files to data centers. Some FTP hosts double as online backup services and online storage. Some only offer sharing. Some offer free FTP storage hosting with a few gigabytes of storage and very limited bandwidth. Some have subscription plans with unlimited storage and bandwidth. Below are some of the criteria you'll want to consider when choosing an FTP hosting service.
Share & Access Features
The most important feature with an FTP host is monthly bandwidth. Your bandwidth is the amount of data traveling to and from your account each month. For example, a 10MB file uploaded to a server and shared five times would account for 60MB of your monthly bandwidth quota – 10MB for the upload and 50MB for the five downloads. The best FTP websites either don't limit your bandwidth or provide several terabytes of bandwidth so that you'll never have to choose between whether you can share a file or not.
The next important feature to consider is file size limitations. You should consider services that allow for files up to 10GB or more, especially if you're sharing video or 3D renderings.
After bandwidth and file size, you should consider how the files are shared. The best FTP alternatives provide digital workspaces or share folders for online collaboration and public share links for that allow anyone to download files. You should also look for services with device syncing and mobile apps so that you can access and share your files wherever you go. The best services also provide a smorgasbord of third-party apps that integrate with your account to maximize your workflow.
With all the news in recent years of companies and servers being hacked, the security of your files is vital, especially if you're running a business. The best FTP hosting services use end-to-end 256-bit encryption so that your files are secure while in transit and while idle on the servers. This includes firewall and virus protection to ensure that the servers are safe from external and internal threats.
Other security features to consider are remote wipe and password-protected files. The remote wipe feature allows you to delete files on any computer connected to your account, which is important if your computer is stolen or an employee connected to your account leaves your employment. The password protection allows you to assign a password to a share link so that only the intended recipients can download the file.
File Tracking Controls
As with any business transaction, you'll want detailed records and the ability to control how the users connected to your account can access files. The most important file-tracking feature is file versioning – a vital function for share folders and digital workspaces with multiple people working on the same files. File versioning maintains multiple versions of a file, allowing you to restore past versions to remedy mistakes or to create reference points for analysis of a projects evolution. The best services offer unlimited versioning.
You'll also want a detailed audit log of your files activity – when files were uploaded, edited, shared and deleted. The more detailed the audit log, the better. You should also consider FTP hosts that allow you to set folder permissions, user bandwidth usage, file locking, recipient-identity verification and file-access expiration. These are all features designed to give you the most control over how your files are shared and tracked.
Help & Support
Most FTP hosting services are very intuitive and easy to learn, but should you find yourself lost among all the controls, your FTP host should have a comprehensive library of FAQs, user forums, tutorials and training to help you learn how to maximize your account.
The best FTP hosting services also provide 24/7 phone and chat support. The internet doesn't close at the end of the workday. If you encounter a problem sharing a file in the evening, you shouldn't have to wait until the next morning to get the necessary help.
Whether you're looking for a FTP hosting service so you can simply send large files to clients or you're looking for a service that will allow you to collaborate with anyone online, you'll find the best FTP host to meet your needs on this site.