Many people use emails to share files, but problems exist when you try to share a file over a specific size. With many more files now as big, if not bigger than the largest permitted file to be sent via email, a file sharing website is the best way for many different users to share data for pleasure or work-related purposed.
But setting up a file sharing site can sound somewhat daunting and a very complex, difficult undertaking, right? Well no, it isn’t – and if you have ever felt that you or your business could benefit from creating your own file-sharing site, then all you need to do is follow these five steps to success!
Step 1: Select Which Type of File Sharing Site You Want
When you consider designing your file-sharing website, the first key decision you need to make is how you want to share the files. You have two options; the first is to have all the files you need to share in one location, such as a host server. The other is to use a peer-to-peer network, such as BitTorrent.
Using a host server is the most reliable and centralised form of sharing, but can be costly when you add up the amount of space you are needing to host all the files you may require to be shared.
The peer-to-peer network option is certainly cheaper and does not have the same problems with requiring a large amount of data in a central location, as all the files in the network are shared between all the users on it.
Instead, your PC will host smaller files, called ‘trackers’, which simply tell the BitTorrent software which users on the network have the file it is looking for.
However, the problem with peer-to-peer systems are that if you require a file and there are not enough users online at the same time who have that file accessible, it may take a long time to download onto your, or you may not be able to download the file at that time.
Step 2: Source a Developer to Build You The Site
To successfully build a file sharing website requires a specific skill set and as such, you will need to employ the services of a programmer or web developer who has experience of designing these types of sites and who has worked extensively with databases.
There are several ways you can source a programmer relatively cheaply and quickly. You can advertise for one in a newspaper or trade magazine, but this may take a little too long. There are online options available that are much quicker and usually cheaper, such as advertising on Craigslist, or looking on freelance websites for a programmer with the required skill set. Elance.com and odesk.com are two excellent places to start.
With these options you can set a budget for the task and give the programmer all the details they require about your site, so they can build the site to your specifications.
Step 3: Find a Hosting Service Suited To Your Choice of File Sharing Site
Which is the best host service for you depends very much on whether you want a peer-to-peer network, or host server. If you prefer to use a BitTorrent file-sharing network, then bandwidth and server space will not be a major concern and should be relatively inexpensive to host.
That changes if you want to host the files on a server. For this, you have two choices, to buy and run your own server (which is very expensive) or to find a web host that will allow you to lease one of their servers at a reasonable price. This second option is a much cheaper alternative.
Step 4: Monetize Your Site
Running a file sharing site, particularly a server-based website, will generate costs but you can help offset these costs and perhaps even make a profit, by monetizing your site effectively. Many file sharing sites offer free services, but put a restriction on the number of total downloads that can be made. A good way around this is to offer paid users unlimited downloads and bandwidth, which incentivizes them to pay to use the site.
Another option is to monetize the storage space your users use when your server is hosting there files, by levying a charge per gigabyte of data used. Effectively monetizing your site means you not only reduce running costs but can turn a popular site into a profitable one.
Step 5: Get Your Site Noticed – Advertise
As a means of sharing information for work and pleasure, file-sharing sites have proven especially popular in recent times. A quick search using a reliable and trusted search engine will help you find these sites. You can register on them and spread the word about your site in the forums so others hear about your site.
Remember too, you can purchase advertising space from many popular search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, which will help drive users to your site. This works by users searching for keywords that relate to your site, upon which your site will appear near the top of the listings, or as an advertisement beside the main list.
Lastly, do not underestimate the ability of Social Media to get your site notices. Set up a Facebook and Twitter account for your site, advertise on them and get your site noticed by thousands of potential users.
In essence, that is all you need to know about how to set up a file-sharing site, and if you can set such a site up successfully, it can be a fun, fast and lucrative way to share files over the Internet.