When you try to download a file from the popular file hosting site Rapidshare lately, you may have noticed that the speed of transfer has dropped significantly in comparison to previous downloads you made. This change apparently affects free users, that is users who are not logged into the service or users with free accounts, while they download files from it. Users with premium accounts are not affected at all.
JDownloader, the file hosting downloader, is displaying a warning to users who download files from Rapidshare using the software. It reads:
Rapidshare disabled the ability to resume downloads that were stopped for free users and also limited the average download speed to 30 kb/s.
Because of the way they are doing this, it may look like the download is frozen.
Don’t worry – it’s not. It’s just waiting for the next piece of the file to be transferred.
The pauses in between are added by Rapidshare in order to make the overall average speed slower for free-users.
Rapidshare, besides dropping download speeds, seems to have disabled resume capabilities for free users of the service. Resume allows users to continue downloading a file from the position they stopped the transfer. This can be useful during large file transfers, say a 1 Gigabyte file that stops after 500 Megabytes have been downloaded. Instead of having to download the whole Gigabyte again, users would only have to download the remaining 500 Megabytes.
The third change, next to the drop in average transfer speeds and the removal of the resume option, are pauses that the hoster has added to file downloads. These pauses can make downloads look as if they are frozen or stopped, when in fact they are not.
It is not clear why Rapidshare has made the changes. Some users suspected that the company wants to drive more users into signing up for premium accounts, others that users from Megaupload and other file hosting sites that went out of business have caused to much strain on the Rapidshare servers. The effect however is that the site is barely if at all usable anymore if you are a free user.