Where to store a 500mb file for download by customer

Hi all
I have a webpage that allows users to download a video tutorial after they have purchased it. It is 500mb. A friend said it may be worth hosting this on amazon?
What is the best and cheapest way to do this please? (if it has security as well to stop people downloading it that would be a bonus)Thank you

Yes, having this hosted on a content delivery network (CDN) like Amazon isn’t a bad idea, as (I gather) it will download faster and cost you less in bandwidth. Another good one is Rackspace (which I found much more intelligible than Amazon … but then I’m a dolt).

You get private folders in which you can put your content, so I won’t be downloaded by passers by (so to speak). Normally a purchased item will be retrieved by an encoded URL, so the real location remains hidden.

Sweet thanks, let’s see how much it costs as I’m on a tight budget on this one- I’ll check out amazon and rackspace. I already have US5 a month hosting for the site, it would be great to use it for this but I imagine it would have some extra cost involved will have to speak to them. Thanks again

A3 storage on Amazon is pay as you go, I think it is around .10 a gb for storage and about the same for transfer.

You likely could store this on your current web host. You can setup a .htaccess file that has a username and password to access the file. There are scripts that automate this. If your only selling this to a small number of people and want something fast and easy, just use your Cpanel to setup a password on the folder it is in and give out that password.


I believe if you are using some premium account on the file sharing service would be as cheap as comfortable solution for everyone.

Thanks for the advice. I went ahead and got both as they are both free until I use them! I was thinking can I host my website images in amazon or rackspace? I was thinking that it may be beneficial to download times. Is this a good idea, would google not like it? Thanks

I don’t see any reason you couldn’t store your images there, although I don’t really see the advantage unless they are many and quite large. I doubt it’s an issue for Google.

It’s fine to do. It is done frequently for larger sites, often refereed to as a CDN - content distribution network.

Amazon has a specific product for content deliver that should make things even faster: (i’ve not used this specific amazon product)

Amazon CloudFront

If your not severing at least 100GB a month, I wouldn’t even remotely worry about using a CDN. You can easily serve much more than that off of one server, but once your growing at that size, it may be worth it to go ahead and setup the CDN.

A properly setup CDN makes no difference to google. If anything it could help, as google has stated they are taking load times into account (though I am sure it is a very small factor).

P.S. Rackspace has access to a CDN, I can’t remember who they are partnered with now for their CDN, you would have to look at their site to see.

Thanks for the reply, I have amazon S3 simpledb in the cloud can I just store the images there?

Most of the time a site map is going to point to a finished page, and not the underlying content that you would move to a CDN.


To show a video, you would typically have a video player on a page on your site, and your site map would point to this page:


Then that page when calling the media would do something like:


If you have 5 visitors each get a 200k files, your right, that’s 1bm, take that times 1,000 to get 1GB. So you pay for 1GB of transfer for every 5,000 people that load that file. Yes, it can add up much more quickly if your serving a lot of video.

A cheap alternative would to be to either get a shared hosting plan or use Drop Box. Shared hosting plan could let you have more control over features but Drop Box is free. Shared hosting plan only costs around $4 max per month anyway (thats what I paid).

Thanks for the replies sorry about the delay in getting back. After a steep learning curve amazons3 seems quite easy to use I have been using a free player called flowplayer to stream videos from amazon. Works great. I also use wordpress and there are some plugins that automatically put the files in amazon. The only problem I am having is protecting my content- how can I protect my videos on amazons3 from being used without my consent? The only solutions I see cost money! :slight_smile:

The best way to protect content is not to give anyone access to it. :x Once you let someone view the content, you’ve let them download it … and the rest is history (or the future). Digital rights management is a messy area, it seems to me, and only makes life harder for legitimate users and costs a lot. Probably a better strategy these days is to use copyright violations to your advantage, by using it to advertise your services. E.g. if your video is passed around to a lot of people, it could bring you a lot of new business if it has plenty of references / links to your site and/or other products.

Interesting idea Ralph, so just slap a huge watermark on the video and get some free publicity, I like it!

I’ve noticed in recent years that some pretty prominent people are starting to think like this. There’s an author called Corey Doctorow who advocates not trying to lock down digital content. He gives his books away free in digital format, and has found that his printed book sales have skyrocketed since doing so. It’s an interesting argument.