Extreme File Sharing & Online Backup - comment to win!
Today I am going to try and tackle a complicated issue, and our somewhat complicated method of dealing with it. These methods might seem a bit complicated for a lot of you, but this is the internet after all and I figure I can try and help out a few "power users" at least.
I’m offering free giveaways of the three great Windows programs that I mention in this post: programs which you can use to share or backup your files; read about that below, and leave a comment if you’d like to be entered into a drawing for a free copy of one of them.
Take your file sharing to the next level
You might be wondering how we host and serve the thousands of downloads that are available here at Pixel Scrapper. For dabblers and casual designers free file hosting sites like MediaFire and Dropbox work well enough, even if each one has it’s own drawbacks. But once you move beyond the free space and bandwidth allocations provided by those services, where do you keep your stuff? What if the file you want to share is several hundred megabytes, and you want to share it with thousands of people? What if you’re just tired of the ads and broken links? If you’d like to upgrade to the next level of file sharing, read on.
One of the main features that allows this site to be possible is Amazon S3 (S3 stands for “Simple Storage Service”). When cloud computing became really trendy a little while back, I asked Jordan what it was exactly, and imagine my surprise when I learned we had actually been using it for a couple years to run Pixel Scrapper. When a company refers to “the cloud” they are simply referring to a large network of computers and servers. As a giant web company, Amazon has thousands of servers with more space and computing power than they could possibly use. Instead of letting this space go to waste, they chose to allow anyone to use it, and thus the cloud was born.
The basic ideas behind “The Cloud” are scalability and durability: the idea that you can upload a file to some online storage location, and have it instantly and painlessly replicated across multiple computers, hard drives, and regions. When you upload a file to Dropbox, or Amazon S3, or Google Drive, your file is cloned and copied to multiple hard drives on multiple computers all over the world. If one of those hard drives fails, or one of those computers crashes, or one of those warehouses burns down, it’s okay: your file will still be safe and accessible. The other advantage of all the replication is that the cloud can serve thousands of requests for your file per minute without a hiccup.
These days at Pixel Scrapper files are uploaded directly through the site to our Amazon S3 account, but you can use it manually as you would any other file sharing service. When I want to share a random freebie with people who might not have a Pixel Scrapper account, I just drag the file into a neat program called Cloudberry Explorer, which uploads it to Amazon S3. One of the reasons Cloudberry Explorer is great is that it can upload really large files easily even if you have a bad internet connection, using “multipart uploading.”
Amazon S3 isn’t a free service, but it is remarkably inexpensive for what you get. One of the reasons we like it compared to other offerings is that it’s a strictly “pay for what you use” service, which will almost always save you money compared to upgrading to a paid plan from Google Drive, Dropbox, or others: no paying for storage or transfers that you don’t actually need!
Another reason we like S3 is that Amazon treats data security very seriously: they handle data for the US Federal Government, and thousands of high profile companies and organizations.
Backup in the cloud
Beyond file sharing, the cloud has become a great way to backup your computer, as you don’t have to worry about theft/fire/flood/etc ruining your external hard drive. I currently mainly use an external hard drive, but lately I’ve been feeling a bit nervous about only having one backup of my working files, and I’m contemplating my online options. Since we are already set up with Amazon S3 it seems natural to use it for my backup needs. Obviously all my files that are on the site are already backed up online, but I do have a lot of files in process and waiting to be uploaded.
For these files I’m planning to have a temporary backup folder on Amazon Glacier. Amazon Glacier is similar to S3, but is cheaper, because it’s designed for files that do not need to be regularly downloaded. It won’t work for file sharing, but it seems like a perfect solution for backing up. To handle backing up, I have two program recommendations: CloudBerry Backup and FastGlacier.
Note: for people who have less than 5 GB of files to back up, I highly recommend giving Google Drive a try (which works with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS). Google Drive works in the background to effortlessly sync up to 5 GB of files to the Google cloud for free.
|CloudBerry Backup works with Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier, and allows for easy scheduled backups. If you’d like to try it out, there’s a trial version (30 days) available at CloudBerry’s website.|
|FastGlacier works only with Amazon Glacier, as the name implies, and doesn’t yet have the scheduling option, but it does allow you to painlessly sync folders between your local computer and your Glacier account. You can try out a freeware version of FastGlacier from their website (Windows only).|
|Then there’s Cloudberry Explorer, which I’ve already mentioned for file sharing via Amazon S3. If you want to try it out, there’s a freeware version available at CloudBerry’s website (Windows only)|
So that’s it! If you’d like to be entered into a drawing for the professional versions of any of these three programs, just leave a comment below . I’ll be giving away one copy of each. Drawing will be held after March 20, 2013. Thanks to FastGlacier and CloudBerry Labs for the giveaways!
I apologize that all of these programs are Windows only (though Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier work with any operating system). Mac Users: do you have any recommendations that you can offer? Please let us know in the comments!
Hi There! I’m Marisa Lerin and you’ll see me around at Pixel Scrapper a lot. I started this site in 2010 soon after I discovered a new love in digital scrapbooking. Pixel Scrapper has gone through some significant changes since that time and it’s grown into this lovely community site you are seeing now. I am daily surprised by the turn of life’s events that has led me down this path. If you're new to the site, welcome! Here are a few tidbits about me that I hope will help you get to know me better!
I’m originally from Minnesota, USA, but spent a good chunk of my childhood living abroad (in Bolivia and Hong Kong). I returned to Minnesota to attend university, got married and then moved overseas again (Korea, then Jordan and 1 year of traveling). My designs are heavily influenced by these many nomadic years. I am currently back in the USA, now living in the great state of Oregon!
I have no official training for what I’m doing, since I decided very wisely (haha) to study physics in university. I am always learning new things about digital scrapbooking, and this community has been immensely helpful for that!
If I manage to stop digital scrapbooking you will probably find me watching TV, reading or baking. I also enjoy writing for the blog here at Pixel Scrapper where I talk about whatever happens to be catching my fancy at the moment.
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