What Does Uploading Mean?

By Melissa Goslin

Uploading refers to the transfer of files from one computer or device to another. When you upload files, you typically place a copy of them onto another computer or server for storage. Likewise, when you copy a file from another computer, device or server to your local system, you are downloading it.

Sharing File Services

Uploading makes it possible to instantly share images and videos with other people. Sites like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube allow users to create accounts and upload their videos and/or photos to a server. Once the files are uploaded, users can invite specific people to view their files or make them publicly searchable for anyone to find. These services enable you to get large files to friends and family without the size restrictions imposed by email clients. They also allow others to view your files without having to download them to their local machines.

Printing Photos and Documents

Many of the services offering online photo albums and photo sharing also provide printing services. Sites such as Shutterfly and Snapfish print and ship photos, photo cards and a variety of photo gifts directly to your house. In addition to printing photos, most large office stores as well as sites such as Vistaprint now offer online printing services for documents. Simply upload your files to their site, select how many copies you would like printed, then schedule a time to pick up your printed documents in the store. These sites also allow you to upload design files for business cards, flyers and brochures to be printed.

Storing Documents

You can upload important digital documents to an online storage site to protect against hard-drive crashes and computer viruses as well as physical loss caused by natural disaster or theft. Sites such as IDrive and CrashPlan allow you to upload files manually or schedule automatic backups. Other sites, such as Dropbox, allow you to create and share individual files or folders. Cost, storage space and sharing options are important features to consider when choosing an online storage site.

Determining Speed

Internet Service Provider and cable companies predetermine the maximum speed for uploading and downloading files. These speeds are often asymmetrical, meaning the maximum speed for downloading and uploading is not equal. Because users tend to download far more content than they upload, the uploading speed is typically set lower than the downloading speed. This configuration allows users to quickly pull and view content from the Internet, but it also means that it can sometimes require more patience to upload files. To increase the upload speed, try saving the file to a smaller size. The larger the file, the longer it takes to upload.