File Uploading Necessities: Speed, Reliability, and Security

Nov 22, 2022

In the event you’re considering implementing a file upload tool in your application, you have to consider three major aspects: speed, reliability, and security.

These aspects directly contribute to your file uploader’s usability and quality, resulting in user satisfaction and retention. Without them, file uploads can be frustrating, off-putting, or destructive.

Constructing the best file upload solution may be confusing, difficult, and time-consuming normally. In this text, I’ll show you only how essential these aspects are and what you may do to achieve them.

Image by on Freepik

We created this text in partnership with Filestack. Thanks for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.

The Basics of Modern File Uploads

Before we get to how you may polish your file uploads, let’s first review the fundamentals. The only file upload tool consists of an interface that permits users to send files to a server. But to have one that may accommodate the fashionable user’s needs, you’ll also have to add some features that users expect uploaders to have nowadays. These include:

  • the choice to tug and drop or copy and paste files into the uploader
  • uploading from other sources akin to social media apps or cloud storage
  • the power to preview, edit and process uploaded files
  • a clean, intuitive, and responsive interface

These features are sometimes not enough on their very own. They have to even be delivered in one of the best ways. Uploads have to be seamless. Developers must prioritize the next file upload necessities.


The primary factor that we now have to contemplate is speed. Most users expect their files to be uploaded considerably quickly, no matter file size or the variety of files. A serious reason is how tech giants — especially social media firms — have optimized their file uploaders to be as fast as possible.

Speed is critical to file uploads, since it affects user experience. Nobody desires to wait minutes for a file upload. A lightning-fast file uploader delights users by allowing them to have beyond regular time for the things that matter most. For workspaces, time is of the essence.

There are several things you may do to enhance your application’s upload speed:

  • Multipart uploads. Involves dividing a file into smaller chunks, uploading them, then piecing them back together after the upload.
  • Compress images. Deals with minimizing image file size by sacrificing a little bit of quality. Most, if not all, social media sites compress images, from profile pictures to shared photos. It is because the upper the standard of images, the longer it takes to upload them.
  • Limit upload size. Larger files take longer to upload. Thus, it is advisable to set a limit to be certain that only files with considerable file size are uploaded.
  • Use a CDN. The most effective ways to hurry up file uploads is to make use of a CDN (content delivery network). As its name suggests, it’s a network of servers or data centers, called PoPs (points of presence), distributed across the globe. This permits users to speak with the PoP that’s geographically nearest to them, reducing round trip time, which hastens the file upload/access for users.

By implementing some or all of those practices, you may significantly increase the upload speed inside your application, keeping users comfortable and your application seamless.

Nevertheless, irrespective of how briskly your file uploads are, users could still lose interest in the event that they may be interrupted and left unable to get well. And if that happens, the speed improvements would have been in vain. Luckily, there are methods to guard file uploads against such interruptions.


The power to upload files without interruptions or issues is one other must-have feature for each file upload solution. Having a reliable file uploader helps construct customer confidence in your product, allowing them to make use of it easily.

Reliability is significant for private and skilled use cases. Your application should recognize that your users are precious and shouldn’t be spent repetitively attempting to upload files. You should ensure your app can handle uploads within the harshest network conditions. One other thing to contemplate is that it’s essential handle failed uploads.

Making your app’s file uploads more reliable can either be easy or complex, depending on the extent of reliability you would like. For example, informing your users about failed uploads or displaying upload progress may be easy to do. However, allowing users to resume failed uploads will take more time and coding. And stopping uploads from failing or reducing their occurrence is even tougher to realize.

Listed below are some features you may implement to assist boost the reliability of your application’s file upload tool:

  • Upload error handling. In case of file upload errors/interruptions, you have to inform users and present them with the subsequent plan of action (akin to re-uploading or resuming). With proper error handling and message prompts, you will help ease users’ worries and make clear their upload status.

  • Progress bars. These give users a touch about whether their file upload is continuous or not, in addition to how long they’ll should wait for it to complete.

  • Resumable uploads. This directly contributes to the reliability of a file upload tool, unlike the previous two features. It involves allowing users to proceed uploading in case of upload failure. Implementing this is not any easy task, nonetheless, as you’d have to split the file (very like the multipart uploads we discussed earlier) into smaller chunks. If a chunked upload fails, the whole file is re-uploaded until successful. But this still doesn’t solve the issue of uploading inside a poor network environment.

  • Intelligent ingestion. That is probably the most effective way of accelerating your file upload reliability, as this deals with stopping upload failures. Intelligent ingestion includes checking the network condition and optimizing the partitioning of file chunks. This ensures that users can upload even in places with spotty web connectivity. This feature is very complicated to construct, but there are third-party file upload solutions that already implement intelligent ingestion.

When you’ve made your file uploads faster and more reliable, there’s still another crucial enhancement: protecting files and your application.


File uploading is one of the widespread features in latest applications, nevertheless it’s also one of the vulnerable. Nowadays, loads of possible attacks come from vulnerable file upload tools. These include:

  • uploading a file that may run commands, tamper with files, and make other vital changes to the server
  • cross-site scripting (XSS)
  • altering existing pages or uploading harmful web pages on an online server
  • collecting and distributing sensitive information without authorization
  • DoS (denial of service) attacks that overload servers’ resources and render them (and the software they’re hosting) unusable
  • and lots of other vulnerabilities

These attacks can harm your product and business if left unchecked. Due to this fact, it’s crucial to place up security measures to cut back file upload risks. To guard your application higher, you may follow the next best practices in file security:

  • Authenticate requests for file or account modification.
  • Implement policies to ascertain which actions are authorized, then confirm the policy using a signature.
  • Set a maximum and minimum limit for the variety of files to be uploaded .
  • Set a maximum and minimum limit for file size.
  • Restrict allowed file types to those you wish.
  • Remove all Unicode or special characters from filenames and file extensions. It’s also possible to generate a latest filename consisting only of alphanumeric characters and just one dot. Higher yet, use a hashing algorithm and mix it with alphanumeric characters.
  • Set a limit to filename length.
  • Use the POST method.
  • Be sure that the essential server files can’t be accessed, replaced, or tampered with.
  • For an entire list, you’d highly profit from this guide by OWASP (the Open Web Application Security Project).

In the event you implement a great combination of those security measures, you’ll have a greater likelihood of stopping attacks by malicious users. Your server and app will function as intended, and your users will proceed to thrill in using your product.

Ways to Enhance the Speed, Reliability, and Security of File Uploads

There are tons of features and practices that you’ve to implement before you may make your file upload tool a super one. Nevertheless, this implies more development time, maintenance, and, to place bluntly, more stress.

But don’t fret just yet. In the event you’re wanting time, people, and budget, you may select a ready-made third-party file upload solution. These are expertly crafted by developers specializing in file uploads and are available with the most recent and most advanced file upload features.

And in the event that they have the luxurious of adding these features, it also implies that they’ve near-optimal speed, high upload success rate, and robust security measures. Some are even open source, and more powerful ones have a free plan and a free trial.

Filestack is one among these advanced file upload solutions that have already got speed, reliability, and security. It comes with intelligent ingestion, CDN support, and various authentication measures to allow you to concentrate on the things that matter most, your core features. With file uploaders like this, you may significantly reduce development time while delivering a product with higher quality.

Nevertheless you select to implement your file upload solution is as much as you. What matters is which you could provide your users with a file upload experience that’s fast, reliable, and secure.