Cost Of Hosting
Currently the supporters of this site collectively host 3,158 GB in 254,822 files.
Traditional Content Distribution Networks (CDN's) such as Amazon S3 or Rackspace Files that have the ability to host this amount of data while making it available to an unlimited number of users are prohibitively expensive.
For example, using S3 has the following costs:
Hosting the data on the Amazon S3 Servers: $0.093/GB/month * 3,158 GB = $294/month (this is the base price, no download costs)
If we assume one person downloads all 3,158 GB per month, the cost would be $0.150/GB * 3,158 GB = $474/month
If 10 people download all 3,158 GB per month, the cost would be (roughly) $0.110/GB * 3,158 GB * 10 = $3,474/month
If 100 people download all 3,158 GB per month, the cost would be (roughly) $0.080/GB * 3,158 GB * 100 = $25,264/month
The numbers above are estimates... more accurate numbers can be obtained with the S3 Cost Calculator, in the final example, the monthly bandwidth cost (for transferring 215,200 GB) is $20,183.27 as of Jan 30 2010.
The BitTorrent protocol is the only way to overcome this huge and variable cost obstacle.