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.”

Why Amazon?

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 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 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).
CloudBerry Explorer 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 indicating which one. 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!

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Recent Comments

John Carlstrom
John Carlstrom Tue, 07/16/2013 - 18:31

I love Amazon S3! It's incredibly cheap. I also use JustCloud (I actually did a review on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPhLJjudiJ0), the downside is that it's NOT pay as you go like Amazon, so I have to pay the monthly fee no matter how much space I use. I like that JustCloud's software automatically does daily backups, and I'm pretty sure Amazon S3 can't do that on it's own, but now I know I could get CloudBerry's "Desktop" version for $29.99, and then connect it to my Amazon S3 account. I didn't know that, so thank you btw!

I just checked and Amazon S3 charges 9 cents per GB, and the Justcloud account I have (the cheapest one) comes with 75GB of space, so it's comparable in price. However, JustCloud doesn't automatically backup videos unless you pay for an upgrade.

Angela Davis
Angela Davis Tue, 03/19/2013 - 17:02

Oh yea I guess I forgot to share the one I wanted ... I'm trying CloudBerry Explorer, I have Glacier (the free version) as well. I'm still learning how they work and what the differences are between them, but so far so good! I use Glacier for back up and CloudBerry for file sharing.

Cat Armstrong
Cat Armstrong Mon, 03/18/2013 - 11:28

Wow! Any one of these would be great, especially since I've just started looking for bigger storage upon opening my shop. It would be great to get a little jump with these...

Bethany Holso
Bethany Holso Mon, 03/18/2013 - 09:58

I would be interested in any program that can do backup.

Su! Hall
Su! Hall Mon, 03/18/2013 - 09:39

There's something I am still uncertain of: Do you have to have S3 or Glacier to use these? Or, are they stand alone programs? They say they can be 'used with' S3 or Glacier.
If they are stand alone, I would probably like Cloudberry Back-Up. I wouldn't mind any of them, though. I just don't want to get something, free or otherwise, only to discover I can't use it without subscribing to another online service that costs me plenty.
Thank you for sharing the info and for the opportunity to win!

Su

Connie Porter
Connie Porter Mon, 03/18/2013 - 02:14

Cloudberry would be my first choice but I would love any of the three. I have lost my external backup drive and am going a bit crazy. Having cloud backup would have saved a lot of anxiety. Hopefully it will turn up!

maia rey
maia rey Sun, 03/17/2013 - 22:25

hmm, cloud berry backup would be it but because a lot of people want it (thus diminishing my chances of winning), maybe I'll go for fastglacier. =)

Diane Minton
Diane Minton Sat, 03/16/2013 - 06:40

Cloudberry Backup would be my first choice. What a nice idea to share this information with us. Thank you for that!

Scarlett Josephine
Scarlett Josephine Fri, 03/15/2013 - 20:21

I would like to have one of those three >.<

Cait Gervais
Cait Gervais Fri, 03/15/2013 - 18:59

Cloudberry Backup sounds great to me! :)

Angela Davis
Angela Davis Fri, 03/15/2013 - 18:56

I've been thinking about backing up on one of these, I heard Cloud was amazing! Thank you for the chance to win!!

Jessica Feagle
Jessica Feagle Fri, 03/15/2013 - 03:07

Very good information! I've been toying with the idea to start a second backup online. I'm always afraid my backup drive is going to crash.

ShirleyAnn Schult
ShirleyAnn Schult Fri, 03/15/2013 - 01:44

Thank you for all the information on the programs for file sharing and backup, it is appreciated, it is something I was just starting to look into so this is a big help. As far as programs go, either cloudberry program would be very helpful.

Tina
Tina Thu, 03/14/2013 - 20:11

oooh! i would LOVE to win one!!!

Beth Bayer
Beth Bayer Thu, 03/14/2013 - 19:35

Wow! What a technical subject, and what a great way you explain it. It makes me appreciate you and Jordan even more. CloudBerry Explorer sounds like it would be helpful. That one please. xoxox Beth

Lana Fischer
Lana Fischer Thu, 03/14/2013 - 13:06

Thanks so much for the giveaway!! I think I would like to try the Cloudberry Backup. Good luck everyone!!

Janet Hull
Janet Hull Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:31

Thanks for all of the information! I would love to win the copy of Cloudberry Explorer!

Jenny Urquijo
Jenny Urquijo Thu, 03/14/2013 - 10:14

This is really informative and thanks so much for the opportunity to win one of these programs! I think I'd be most interested in the Cloudberry Explorer as I have LOTS of files to backup and eventually would like to start sharing my own creations with others :) The CB Backup sounds great too b/c of the scheduled backups. I would be happy with any of the options.

Rebecca Pritchett
Rebecca Pritchett Thu, 03/14/2013 - 09:49

Thank you for this info, I would feel much better knowing my files are safe with one of these programs. I have lost so many files and photos in the past and thought I was safe with an external hard drive, not the case :0( . I think for my needs and for the future that CloudBerry Explorer would be perfect. You guys rock!

Jennifer Wagner
Jennifer Wagner Thu, 03/14/2013 - 09:13

Thanks for all the info. Digiscrapping (and all my files related to it) has made me aware of the need for backup. So I am really interested in the Fast Glacier.

Molly Harbridge
Molly Harbridge Thu, 03/14/2013 - 09:10

Wow... this might finally be able to put my mind at ease... I would love to give FastGlacier a try. :) You guys are awesome as usual...

Melissa Bechtloff
Melissa Bechtloff Thu, 03/14/2013 - 06:55

Thank you for the information. I wish I could enter, but alas I am a mac. Good luck to everyone though!

Engela Edwards
Engela Edwards Thu, 03/14/2013 - 03:37

Thank you for sharing what you do. I like the idea of Cloudberry Backup, since it can handle both S3 and Amazon Glacier and can schedule backups. I'd looked into s3 when Jorden mentioned it in a post, but didn't take the leap.

Janet Scott
Janet Scott Thu, 03/14/2013 - 00:51

Thanks so much for talking about this! It's something that I've gone back and forth on but never was willing to commit to without a bit of a nudge. Given the choice, I'd like to try CloudBerry Backup. I could easily see myself using this for both my photography business as well as my personal photos. Again, thank you for tackling this subject! :)

Sunny Faith Rush
Sunny Faith Rush Wed, 03/13/2013 - 23:47

Cloudberry backup would be lovely!

Cindy McWilliams
Cindy McWilliams Wed, 03/13/2013 - 22:49

I'd LOVE to be entered! Thank you for the very clear and concise tut on this...it's been an issue for me for a while. I think I'd like to try CloudBerry Backup if I should be a lucky winner!

Cynthia arnett
Cynthia arnett Wed, 03/13/2013 - 17:55

Thank you so much for the information. I have heard bit and pieces about the cloud, but this makes it crystal clear. This will be great for storing my many photographs to free up space on my computer.

Trine Secher
Trine Secher Wed, 03/13/2013 - 14:46

You have NO idea how well timed this post is.... I have spend months now finding and testing all the free storage hosts for sharing files on my blog and in my store. Amazon I totally missed! I will definitively look into that. Thank You!

XOXO

Nancy Vigil
Nancy Vigil Wed, 03/13/2013 - 12:55

That is so nice of you guys! I would love to win the Cloudberry backup. I think any of them would be pretty handy though. I really need to get my things backed up!

elaine nowak
elaine nowak Wed, 03/13/2013 - 10:27

That really helps a lot. I presently use 3 external hard drives to back up my stuff and it is a pain trying to find anything! LOL Always wondered how the "cloud" thing worked. Thanks for the explanation.

Carrie Barron
Carrie Barron Wed, 03/13/2013 - 08:16

Thanks for this info. This isn't a need I have right now. However, I have been contemplating developing my skills to begin designing digi scrap items in the future. I learned a lot from this post.

Brandi White
Brandi White Wed, 03/13/2013 - 06:34

I'd be interested in the Cloudberry Backup. I'm using Crashplan right now and I do have an S3 account, just can't figure out how to use it! I'd rather not pay for Crashplan when S3 is much cheaper, so a program to help me figure out how to use it would be very useful. ;)

Shelly Roy
Shelly Roy Wed, 03/13/2013 - 05:35

Ahhh Thank You very much for the info~! It def is a step up....
I would love to try Cloudberry Explorer... Thanks so much for the chance to win it~!
You guys have a wonderful day

shell