Should I host a download mirror?

eviloldman-300pxWhat is a download mirror? A download mirror is a copy or exact duplicate of files hosted by a central or main server. Acting as a “download mirror” your server would be helping provide another place for people to download whatever files you are hosting.

Should you host a download mirror? If you are getting paid by someone to host a download mirror then yes. If you are considering do this as a good will act or for free then you may not want to. A download mirror can burn a massive hole in your pocket depending on how much bandwidth is available to your dedicated server.

Crazy bandwidth awaits

The dedicated server may use up all it’s bandwidth in a matter of days or weeks and you may end up paying a lot of money for overage of bandwidth! Depending on whatever you are mirroring for someone else. The files may be downloaded by a few hundred people to thousands in a matter of hours.

Spikes and sudden popularity

Let’s imagine a scenario where you are hosting a 1 GB ISO image of a Ubuntu distribution. If you server has 1000 GB of bandwidth. With less than 1,000 downloads of that ISO image and you would be in the overage zone. Now you can say that you would take the server offline if it got close to it? Well what if while you were asleep some other mirrors went offline and your mirror became the go to place to download that file? You would wake up with a major bandwidth bill as a surprise!

Unmetered or die

If the server you are using is not unmetered then you shouldn’t think about putting up a download mirror of any sort. A download mirror can cause headaches for you if your mirror is flooded with a lot of downloads. The only way to prevent this is by using a unmetered server. Where your server can use all the bandwidth it wants with whatever connection your server has.