Web Site Hosting vs Personal Backup Hosting

(Ping! Zine Issue 28) – One thing that really grinds the gears of any web host on the block is when customers use their hosting space for miscellaneous material that has no place being there.  Your web hosting space is no place for a personal backup.  Now why shouldn’t you use your web hosting disk space to backup your personal documents and files?  It is your space, right?  Well yes and no.

To make this an easier idea to wrap your head around, let us say Chuck is going to rent an apartment today.  He signs the lease, forks over his cash for the month and starts moving his personal belongings in.  Chuck would be your average hosting customer and the landlord would be the web host in question. 

The landlord watches on as Chuck takes boxes from his car to his new apartment.  Back and forth Chuck goes bringing in his clothes, his personal belongings, his car.

“Chuck, what are you doing?” says the landlord.  Chuck stops his car at the front door, steps out and says, “Well, this is my space I rented from you, I thought I had the right to put anything in here I wanted to?”.  The landlord slaps her forehead with her hand and slowly brings it down to her chin.  “No Chuck” says the landlord, “Cars do not belong in apartments.  Cars belong in the parking lot.” 

You see personal belongings like your high school wrestling trophies, your computer, and your collection of assorted meats all belong inside of an apartment.  A car, truck or motorcycle all have their own place they belong.  It is called a garage or parking lot.  Those are better places to put such things and the same could be said in the argument for personal backups in your web hosting account.

Unless otherwise noted most web hosts are in the game of hosting your web site files.  Uploading or downloading large chunks of data to and from your hosting account can often cause the server in question to go a little, how do you say, bonkers?  You have time out issues, connection problems, server resources and a whole truckload of things to worry about.  Not to mention there is no real security there (unless you put it there yourself, and do you trust yourself with being your own security expert?). If these documents are important put them in the hands of somebody who will guarantee you’ll get them backed up right and backed up securely.

So where are some Online places we can store our personal backups?  Personally I would go to a company that specializes in this type or service.  Three good examples would be:

Carbonite.com – You pay one set fee and you can have an unlimited amount of space to backup your files.

Mozy.com – Pay for a plan size, or use the free service that will give you up to 2GB of disk space.

Amazon.com’s Simple Storage Service – With prices as low as 15 cents for a GB a month, might be the best solution.

There are also many more companies out there that specialize in personal storage backup that you can look into and investigate.  The important fact to remember is that in web hosting, one size does not fit all so it is better to go with the best tool for the job.  Also always read your terms of service and acceptable use policy.  Web hosts often spell out what you can and can not do with that hosting account you bought from them in black and white.