Updated: June 7th 2013
These two services offer something quite similar in terms of cloud storage in that neither actually syncs the data on your computer; instead you upload data to a remote space and download it again or share the links with others. This is quite different from Dropbox which syncs all or selected folders across devices. The following comparison looks at a paid MediaFire account vs a free Mega one. Not entirely fair but one way to do it.
Value for Money
No contest really Mega offers 50GB of free storage while Mediafire offers 10GB rising to 50GB if you sign people or use certain apps. If you want to upgrade then again Mega is cheaper per GB of space. Mediafire however offers to carry over unused bandwidth to the next month; the basic paid plan comes with 1TB per month. For free accounts neither list what the monthly bandwidth limits on their plan summary pages. So it is difficult to know what is on offer.
Here in Luxembourg Mediafire is by far the slowest cloud storage space I have used, upload speeds seem to be capped at 1.5mbps even on paid accounts, on the other hand Mega free is much faster even on free accounts. Download speed are also much better on Mega. Mediafire speed issues seem to apply regardless of which network I use (update: since the start of June 2013 the download speeds seem to have improved and are now about 10mbps).
Free Mediafire accounts severely limit file size, Mega does not. Paid accounts on MedaFire limit files to 10GB. FIle uploading via websites in both cases worked well, although the MediaFire express App often appears unstable and buggy but it is in Beta. Right now Mega offers no official client apps although some unofficial ones are available on Android.
Right now Mega offers little more than space and bandwidth if you pay, although you can set up photo albums. If you decide to pay for Mediafire you get some nice features which are not available on Mega (or only under limited conditions). Namely, one time file downloads, password protected files and the ability to download entire directories. The latter is only available to other registered users of Mega or if you share a folder specific public key (which may confuse some people). You can also set up a filedrop on Mediafire which lets people upload files to your account.
As noted MediaFire offers a desktop app, this has some nice features such as being able directly upload via the context menus on your computer or dragging and dropping files directly onto the pop-up uploader.
On the face of it Mega wins throughout on this feature, however if you forget your password say goodbye to your data as you cannot get a new one! Mega claims that you and only the people you share your key with can decrypt your files.They also claim that as they do not store your key that your also have some degree of enhanced privacy. Assuming this all works as described then the service is far more secure than most other cloud providers, however there is some debate on how secure Mega really is. Paid account holders on Mediafire can upload encrypted files.
Mega wins here on almost every level, while Medafire is hardly difficult to use it has some confusing ways of doing things. Also Mediafire makes uploading files in nested directory structures a very cumbersome task. Mega on the other hand makes this a doddle.
Mediafire offers an office environment called Zoho, however this is being phased out. Frankly that is a good thing but it will be interesting to see what will replace it. Due to the speed of Mega I also found it a good service for streaming movies on my Android tablet. Mediafire struggled a bit even on a small 10mb file – the Jewish Memorial one on this website.
Usage on Space Limited Devices
Tablets are great but they do have rather limited space and Google Drive for example seems to refuse to even let me see file names when the directory has more data than the device can handle. Here both Mediafire and Mega are great as they don’t actually download the files to your device (unless you tell them to). This means you can view files and stream media directly without having to download entire directories and thus taking up space. It also means both services are great for archiving infrequently used data which you may need access to but which you don’t need to keep synced on your device. In this case it’s a tie, especially on mobile devices.
Who would you trust with your data? Mega sadly has a far lower feeling of trust about it, mainly due to who is behind it (Kim Dotcom). MediaFire has a longer track record, has been used by reputable companies but like all sharing sites has perhaps unfairly been criticised for hosting pirated content uploaded by it’s users in the past.
If you need features then Mediafire is probably the platform for you. For speed and security Mega wins. I’d pick Mega if you want something simple for non-essential data, if you need to trust your cloud provider a bit more then pick Mediafire.