In the last few days I’ve learned so many things how you must deal with bandwith limitation, especially when you have a huge file you would like to distribute over the internet. Downloading through HTTP/FTP protocol would certainly be the easiest way to get the file, but it can also be very expensive. Something you won’t like when the bills are coming to you. Alternative method like BitTorrent for example is perhaps the right solution. You share the file at the same time you download it, and when you’re done with downloading you still share it to others. Of course this kind of practice will reduce the use of bandwith on the main server where the master file is stored. The file distribution is now taken by a network of computers. However, not everyone is able to begin sharing a file through BitTorrent protocol. Unless you have permanent connection, large storage space and bandwith to start with and approriate tools on your server, BitTorrent might be discouraging. Don’t forget to mention, the server must always up all the time to act as master seeder.
How about people who have to host their files on shared web hosting like I do? It certainly becomes our nightmare. You have a lot of limitations, but on the other side you’d really like those files reach your users. What to do now? Should we stand still, do nothing and accept this situation? Of course not. Either looking for another mirror to serve the files or finding a new way. Fortunately there are some nice people among us who develop the following web applications which maybe could help us out from this limitation.
- Blog Torrent: It is the web version of BitTorrent in form of blog system, written in PHP. No MySQL database is needed, but it can optionally be activated. Just upload Blog Torrent to your server, call the scripts and you’re ready to go. In case you have problem installing it, read its documentation. It is designed to be easy for publishers to make a torrent and users to download the file.
- Advantages: easy installation, ease to use, provides users registration, enables server side seeding, has upload and download mechanism, rss feed for all published torrents, file can be tranfered directly from your computer or use server share feature.
- Disadvantages: could be frustrating if server has no support for python to enable server side seeding (shared web hosting), needs permanent connection, torrent upload must be open all the time so that people outside you can download the real file, you can not upload the file manually and then let Blog Torrent handle it, everything must be uploaded via provided upload mechanism, client support only for Windows and Mac, lack of developer’s support and documentation.
- Dijjer: I think this is the most advanced P2P system using web as its base. You don’t have to install anything beside adding this link, http://dijjer.org/get/, in front of your download link and Dijjer will take care of the rest. It is also designed to make file sharing easy for both user and publisher.
- Advantages: no software has to be installed on the server, easy to use, you can utilize files that already exist on the server without uploading them first and then making the torrents, download happens in web browser, you can play music or video file while it is downloading and sharing at the same time, suitable for podcasting, client support for Windows, Mac and Linux (free of adware/spyware, they said), has own firefox plugin, above all everything is handled automatically.
- Disadvantages: you need to download a software client before downloading, host dependent service, which means if Dijjer’s main server is down, file sharing is also stopping, although they said it won’t happen, lack of documentation and testimonials, i’m not sure it will save you bandwith but worth to try.
From above it can be concluded, despite limitation we have, there is always a way to share. 🙂
So guys, if you know other web applications that could save us bandwith but at the same time enable us to distribute huge files, please do share. You can use comment form to have your say.