Thursday, 19 July 2012

Free Downloads vs. Fast - You Get What You Pay For

Who doesn't like to download files?  That's more of a rhetorical question than anything as a lot of people do.  A large portion of that file-download group would probably prefer free downloads over any paid download options, too. However, downloading files for free is only a practical option when you're downloading a small number of files.  Here are a few reasons why free file downloads just won't cut it anymore for regular downloaders.

Unnecessarily slow file downloads

With most of the world's internet speed increasing, downloading files at 45Kb/s or less just isn't acceptable anymore  - free download or not.  That is, unless you have a slow internet connection to begin with or you only want to download a small file.    While there are a lot of  factors that determine how quickly a file downloads,  free downloads from filesharing and filehosting sites are usually throttled to slow speeds and given low priority, meaning that the busier the filehosting service is, the slower your files will download.  Sometimes even slower than dialup speeds.

Download delay timers and captcha forms

If you've ever downloaded a file for free, you know about those hard-to-read boxes that contain numbers, letters and usually other characters or symbols to throw you off: those are captcha forms.  These forms, while likely used to prevent automated downloads from websites, serve a secondary purpose when they're added to filesharing sites: to annoy users enough so that they purchase a premium account or a paid membership to enjoy better download options.

As with captcha forms, free download sites are well-known for another trait:  delay timers.   Many free file download websites use download delay timers, again, to encourage visitors to purchase a premium account.  These  delay timers can range from a few seconds to up to 10 minutes for first-time downloads, and may actually show delays of 30 minutes to several hours or more.

Restrictive file download limitations

Alongside offering slow or painfully slow download speeds, captcha forms and  timers, most free download options come with a few more restrictions:  download limits.

These download limits are generally multifaceted: you are restricted to x number of downloads per x minutes, per hour or per day; you cannot download files larger than xMB as a free member, usually somewhere above 400mb but you can only download one file at a time.

Now, some people try to get around these download limits by splitting large files into smaller chunks like .rar or .zip archives.  Imagine, however, how long it would take you to download a 2GB file in 200MB pieces when you're only allowed one download per hour or 500MB worth of downloads per day.  It's not uncommon to hear of people spending days to try and download a single file this way.

The best file download options today

While free downloads may be attractive due to their no out-of pocket cost, the free download option is just too limited for most people. The best option for fast, direct downloads is to use a premium multihoster.

Multihosters give you the freedom of downloading the files you want while allowing you to download those files fast and without the major annoyances and hurdles in place with free downloads.  The freedom to choose and the ability to download files with limited hassles, quickly no less, is well-worth the price of admission.