When you upload files on the Sia Storage Platform, you become a renter. You upload files to other users who have made their space available, called hosts. We use the term renter because Sia creates contracts with other hosts:
- to store a certain amount of data
- for a certain period of time
- for a certain amount of money
Storage contracts are one of the most important features of the Sia network. They are what allow the entire Sia ecosystem to work in a trustless way – they form blockchain-enforced contracts between you and the people who store your data that are automatically fulfilled.
Uploading files is done using the Sia software:
Sia-UI, built for casual users.
Sia Daemon, built for technical users who prefer to use a CLI (Command Line Interface).
The price of storage is listed in Siacoins, the cryptocurrency used to buy and sell storage on the network. You'll need to get Siacoins in order to upload files.
Hosts set their own prices, which creates a marketplace where the best and most reliable hosts are competing for the storage contracts of those who want to upload data. When the Sia network is fully optimized, pricing will fall somewhere around $2/TB/month. Using Sia becomes more cost-efficient as you upload more data and store it for longer periods of time.
As a renter, you pay for the cost of renting storage space. There are also some other fees that you're responsible for.
- Contract Formation Fees – Creating storage contracts on the blockchain requires a transaction, and there are very small fees associated with this. Contract formation fees are one-time per contract, and usually cost only a handful of Siacoins, or a few cents.
- Bandwidth Fees – You pay for the bandwidth you use when you upload or download files.
Because contract formation fees only happen once, and your initial upload will consume a lot of bandwidth, using Sia for longer periods of time results in lower average costs.
The first thing you'll do when you want to upload files to Sia is set an allowance. The allowance tells Sia how much money you're willing to spend on storage space, and makes sure more than this amount is not deducted from your wallet. Learn more about this in the next section.