I am in the business of finding, then switching web hosts. Reading thru the terms of service on hostexcellence.com, I came across this:
This is similar to the wording on ixwebhosting.com, where I talked to a person by phone.
My problem is that I sometimes transfer print files of 10-60MB to magazines, commercial printers, etc. and the easiest way I have found to do this is to create a temporary folder on my domain, FTP the file to that location, then email the URL to the recipient. He can then download thru a standard browser, and I erase the file in a few days or weeks. Since no one else should be accessing this file, there is no link to it in any HTML page.
(Why not email the files? Because the email box or size limits are typically too small and after sending large files to the wrong inter-company mailbox a few times, I decided I wanted to upload them only once. Sending a URL again is faster than sending a large file. And FTP access has been too tricky for some of my contacts; it involves permissions, etc., while everyone can easily use a browser.)
But the hosts seem to have a problem with un-linked files. The spokesperson for ixwebhosting.com said that they would prohibit such storage and they had a crawler that would seek out such files and delete them or take disciplinary action up to disabling the account. His reason? “We are in the business of web hosting, not data storage.” Even after explaining this seemingly trivial matter to him, he wouldn’t budge from the standard policy, except to suggest that for every file I wanted to transfer like that, I create a fake HTML file with a link to the other file.
WTF? What difference does it make? If they guarantee X GB of storage, Y GB of bandwidth, why would they care if someone downloads a linked file or a non-linked file as long as the maximums are not exceeded?
I also worry about “orphaned” files. I readily admit when I change HTML pages, I don’t reliably delete old files no longer referenced, especially if they are very small and sometimes, since they may be used seasonally, I don’t want to delete them when I will use them again next season. While I wouldn’t mind a crawler that deletes orphaned files, I certainly don’t want to get in trouble for forgetting about some.
Aren’t there some services that specifically advertise they can be used for backup data storage thru Internet access? Why would web hosts be any different? And what if a file on my domain isn’t linked from my domain, but some other domain?