If you’re frustrated with the inability to send and receive large files via email, you’re not alone. Most businesses today are experiencing the same problem.
As software programs evolve, the files they create are forever increasing in size. Programs like AutoCAD, Adobe Photoshop, and a host of many more can create files in excess of 5MB to 300MB.
One of the best ways to send large files via the Internet is by utilizing what is called an “FTP Hosting” service. FTP stands for “File Transfer Protocol.”
How does it work? An FTP Hosting service is simple and effective. Unlike email, where you send files from one person to another, FTP hosting allows you to upload files of any size or type to a secure storage location on the Internet. Once you’ve uploaded your files, the recipient of the files can then download them at will.
So how do you go about selecting the best “FTP Hosting” service? We’ve come up with a list of “Seven Tips” that will help you in the selection process.
1. Good Track Record & References:
The provider of the “FTP Hosting” service should have a solid business track record. You’ll want to select a company that has been in business at least 4 to 6 years.
Remember, you’re entrusting the “FTP Hosting” company with proprietary corporate information. Make sure they are a legitimate company. These days it’s easy to develop a website and call yourself an “FTP Hosting” company. Avoid any company that looks like a “Fly-by-night” operation.
Ask for references! If the provider is good, they’ll ask you how many references you would like! Also, their web site should provide an indication of their length of time in business and references, if they have any.
2. Phone Number:
Make sure the “FTP Hosting” company provides you with a phone number to call, preferably a toll-free number. If you have any problems at all you’ll want to speak with someone.
You’ll also want to call the number they give you and verify that someone answers the phone and can talk intelligently about the service they provide.
Avoid any company that does not answer their phone during normal business hours, as they most likely won’t answer it when you have a question or problem.
3. Guarantee or Trial:
Look for a service provider that guarantee’s their service and will allow you to test it before you subscribe. Ask for a 30-day free evaluation period. If that’s not available then ask for a 30-day, unconditional satisfaction guarantee. It should allow you to cancel within 30-days and pay nothing if you’re not completely satisfied with the service.
In addition, look for a service that provides discounts if you pre-pay for six or twelve months. You’ll be surprised as to how much money you can save by paying in advance.
4. Adequate Bandwidth:
Ask your “FTP Hosting” company how much bandwidth is available for file uploads and downloads. Avoid any company that limits the amount of bandwidth available for transferring files.
If a company puts limits on available bandwidth, they are either an extremely small business and won’t be able to service you properly, or they may charge you for bandwidth in excess of a given amount per month. Either way, you won’t be happy at the end of the day.
Look for a company that can provide you with unlimited bandwidth and does not charge you for it.
5. Ease of Use:
The service must be easy-to-use and support file transfers from Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Ask the service provider what, if any, software is required on the client side in order to transfer files to and from the secure FTP site.
Make sure you’re not required to purchase a vendor specific, proprietary software program to transfer your files. You should be able to use any off-the-shelf, downloadable FTP client software program such as CuteFTP, WS FTP, SmartFTP, Fetch, or FTP Voyager.
6. Storage Space Limitation:
Most “FTP Hosting” services are available on a month-to-month subscription basis and their rate is set according to the amount of storage space you require. Make sure your monthly storage limitations have what’s called a “Soft Cap.”
A “Soft Cap” allows you to exceed your storage limitations without incurring an additional fee. More importantly, it allows you and/or your customers to continue uploading/downloading files to your FTP site after you have exceeded your storage space allotment.
In other words, you can continue doing business without worrying about your FTP service provider shutting down your FTP site.
7. Technical Support Via Email:
Avoid any provider that only responds to technical problems via email. There are a lot of providers out there that have great prices but they lack the support you may need. Remember, sooner or later you will have a question or problem and you will want to speak with a live person.
Choose a company that provides you with a technical support phone number, not an email address. Call the number and ask for help! Make sure they answer the phone and provide the type of you support you’re looking for.