What Does Upload Mean?

Uploading (U/L) refers to the process of copying files from a smaller peripheral device to a large central system. This process may involved transferring data from a local computer to a remote computer (and usually large) system, or transferring data from a computer to a bulletin board system (BBS). The word originated among computer users in 1970s with increasing popularity of BBS.


Uploading is one of the two most popular file-sharing techniques. The other technique is downloading.

Techopedia Explains Upload

Uploading is generally done over the Internet using File Transfer Protocol. Uploading simply means to send a file from a local computer to a remote system so that it stores a copy of the file being sent. Files such as pictures, videos, movies, music, sounds, freeware, shareware and text files can be uploaded.

There is another type of uploading called remote uploading. This involves data transfer from one remote server to another remote server and is generally used by file hosting services. Remote uploading is also used when the systems from which the data needs to be shared are situated on a high-speed local area network. This network is remotely controlled by a modem located on a distant (and slow) dial-up connection. The file that is sent to a remote computer is saved and the user at the other end can locate the file and download it.

The terms upload and download are often confused with the terms” attach” and “save,” respectively. When a user sends an email with an attached file, the act of attaching the file is not uploading because it simply involves attaching a file from a folder that already exists in the computer. When an email is sent with an attachment, the user saves the attachment to his computer in order to view it. This action of saving the file is not downloading.

Uploading has become a common trend in social media Web applications like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Myspace and LinkedIn.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…