How does free, unlimited cloud storage sound?
Well former file-hosting service MediaFire are offering just that, as they seek to reposition themselves as a key player in the ‘cloud storage’ market.
When compared to the free 5GB offered by Google Drive and Ubuntu One it’s a compelling lure – but what are the ‘catches’?
I’ll be straight about it: what’s on offer from MediaFire is actually no different to what the company have always offered: free unlimited file storage with, depending on your plan, limits on file size (200MB per file on free accounts).
But with legal hawks casting their eyes on all file-sharing sites of late the company have made a conscious ‘branding’ switch from that of a general ‘upload a file & share’ service to one focusing on ‘cloud storage and online back-up’.
Three tiers of accounts are available. All come with “unlimited” storage.
- Free – 200MB file size limit, files removed on inactive accounts, lack of other features
- $9/m – 4GB file-size limit, custom folder links, ad free, statistics, more
- $49/m – 10GB per file size limit, custom domain, more
To help you get your files online the company offer a desktop uploader app called ‘MediaFire Express’ – which, neatly, is available for Ubuntu users as a .Deb installer.
Express aims to make uploading files to MediaFire easy, and for the most part it does this, although many of the features touted in their video tutorial (which has the most disturbing and shady voice over in the history of videos) are only available to users running the app running on Windows and OS X.
Media Express features:
- File uploading
- ‘Screenshot’ tool
Unlike Dropbox or Ubuntu One, your backed-up files are not stored locally on your computer. To access your uploaded files you need to use your web-browser. Which is pretty lame.
There’s also the ‘issue’ of inactive accounts/files being deleted. Now, call me a Luddite, but I don’t see the point of labelling a service as being useful for ‘backups’ – and their ‘free’ accounts do make a point of pimping ‘Unlimited Storage & Backup’ - if said backups are liable to deletion should you not log in for 128 days.
‘MediaFire will never remove an individual file from your account for inactivity,’ the company say in their Data Retention policy, ‘we only remove entire accounts.’
Someone of a more caustic attitude that myself might find this ‘repositioning’ from ‘file host’ to ‘cloud storage’ to be nothing more than a cosmetic change; even the help documents haven’t been updated to reflect the transition made five months ago. The ‘help’ article on ‘account inactivity’ still stating: -
“MediaFire is designed to be used as a File Sharing service. It is not meant to function as a long term backup service for files. Mediafire does not recommend that you upload files for long term storage as they may be subject to deletion if your account is not accessed, or there is not significant sharing activity on your account (i.e. downloads).”
Lastly, and perhaps the biggest bug-bear for me, is that ‘sharing links to files’ is just not as elegant as Ubuntu One or Dropbox.
When you send a link to someone for them to download, say an image, they don’t get the direct link to download that file – they get a link sending them to a MediaFire landing page where they need to hit another button inorder to get their file.
More details on the service and the tool can be found at mediafire.com. Basic accounts are free, with premium and business accounts also available.
Thanks to Peterson S.