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Renting on the Sia Network

What you need to know in order to purchase storage on Sia.

Storage Pricing

The pricing of storage on Sia is competitive amongst hosts.

Last Updated March 4, 2021

Storage prices on the Sia network are measured in Siacoins (SC), the cryptocurrency used to buy and sell storage on the network. The price of one Siacoin is valued in both USD and Bitcoin (BTC), and is subject to change a little bit each day like other cryptocurrencies. Occasionally, the price of a Siacoin may change significantly, especially over a long period of time. Like many "altcoins", the price of Siacoin also tracks with Bitcoin to an extent. The coin price shown here is the average price of Siacoins right now across several different cryptocurrency exchanges.

Hosts that sell their storage on the Sia network set their own pricing individually. When you rent storage on Sia, you'll be interacting with several hosts, so Sia will automatically pick the hosts that it finds most competitive based on a number of factors, including price. For this reason, all pricing information is only a rough estimate based on network averages.

Storage on the Sia network is usually priced around the equivalent of $2 USD per Terabyte per Month. With a current Siacoin price of $0.002 USD, you could normally expect to spend about 1000 SC a month for each terabyte you wanted to rent ($2.00 / $0.002 = 1000 SC). Current Prices However, the launch of Skynet has pushed storage prices up a bit, because Skynet Portals aren't highly selective in the hosts they use or their pricing - so hosts can charge more for storage and see it rented out thanks to Skynet. Host benchmarking tools and rankings like the SiaStats Host Monitor have also resulted in better performing hosts being able to charge more for storage, so as of March 2021 storage prices may be a bit higher than the target of $2/TB/month.

Renting Fees

In addition to the basic cost of renting storage, there are a few other fees that you'll be subject to paying as a renter. These vary from host to host, as hosts set their own prices individually, but on average:

You can get a more exact idea of the cost of renting on Sia based on your specific renting requirements using our Renter Tools.

Storage Contracts

When you rent storage on Sia, the contract length is set to about 3 months by default. Therefore, when you upload files, you will be charged for 3 months worth of storage at that time. Budget accordingly! For example, if storage is about 1000 SC/TB/Month and you plan on utilizing a full terabyte, plan to allocate at least 3000 SC for the cost of storage over 3 months. Current Prices

Once you set an allowance (explained below), Sia will start to find hosts and form contracts with them. Sia currently picks hosts automatically based on a number of Host Scoring metrics, which take things like storage prices and host uptime into account. Sia will form contracts with 50 hosts by default, distribute your data to 30 of them, and find new hosts automatically if any of your existing hosts go offline or lose your data. Sia will also sometimes create more than 50 contracts if it finds new hosts that are more competitive (in terms of the Host Scoring metrics) than your current hosts.

Siacoin Allowance

When you rent storage on Sia, you control how much storage space you use by setting a Siacoin allowance. Your allowance is basically a budget that caps your spending at or below that amount. You can set your allowance to whatever you'd like, and you can change your allowance at any time. However:

In any event, you'll only be charged for the storage and bandwidth that you actually use, because you're charged for the storage of each file at the time you first upload it. Trying to set your allowance close to what you actually expect to spend is the best policy, and you can adjust it later if needed.

When you set an allowance, contracts start to form immediately. Sia locks up your allowance amount for the duration of the storage contract, so you'll see it start to be taken out of your wallet immediately. This will appear as several small transactions in your wallet, as Sia creates contracts with hosts and locks up Siacoins in an allocation to each host. If you don't upload enough data to completely use your allowance, the amount that you didn't spend will be returned to you at the end of the contract. In other words, whatever you set your allowance to, that amount will mostly be inaccessible to you until the contract is over, even if you don't spend all of it.

You can get a recommendation on a starting allowance based on your specific renting requirements using our Renter Tools.

Uploading, Downloading, and Maintaining Data

Important things to know about putting your data on the Sia network.

Notice: Sia is still in development. While fairly rare at this point, various renting issues have been reported that sometimes result in excessive spending of Siacoins, inability to recover data, or both. It is not currently recommended to store critical data on Sia without having another backup elsewhere.

Uploading Data

Uploading data via the Sia-UI is very easy - you simply select files or folders to upload, and they'll be on their way. Upload speeds will vary based on your Internet connection speed, and your hosts' Internet connections. As mentioned above, you're only charged for the storage that you use, and you're only charged as you use it. For that reason, you can upload as much data as you'd like, up until your allowance runs out. You can increase your allowance to continue uploading if this happens.

40 MB Atomic Filesize

Sia currently has a limitation of a 40 MB atomic filesize, which means that this is the smallest file that Sia can support. You can upload smaller files, but they'll be treated as if they're 40 MB and padded to that size. If you upload 20 music files at about 5 MB each, they won't take up 100 MB on Sia, they'll take up 800 MB! For this reason, it's suggested that you zip smaller files together. You'll save a lot of Siacoin, especially if almost all of your files are small. There are plans to eventually reduce the atomic filesize to closer to 100 KB, but this has not yet been implemented.

Practical Limitations on Maximum Storage

During testing, Sia has been shown to handle several terabytes of data (most recently, about 35 TB) from a single renter before it starts to slow down and essentially become unusable. This amount of data may be lower if files are smaller than the 40 MB atomic filesize described above. While this amount continues to be improved over time, it is currently a practical limitation on the amount of data that can be stored via one single Sia renter instance. More details on this benchmarking can be found on the SiaStats Benchmarking page.

Boosting Health/Redundancy

As you've probably read by now, Sia splits your files across 30 hosts for 3x redundancy, and only 10 pieces of a file are needed to reconstruct it. For that reason, you should ensure that Sia shows your files at 100% health before closing Sia. When you upload files, they'll slowly increase to 100% health, which indicates that they are properly distributed across hosts to maintain 3x redundancy. If your files drop below 100% health, they'll be boosted again the next time you open Sia. Wait until any files below 100% health get back to 100%, and then you're good to go.

Downloading Data

Retrieving files is about as easy as uploading them - simply click on your file(s) in the File Manager in the Rent section, and click the Download icon. You can download multiple files at once, though sometimes this will cause errors - try one file at a time if so. You'll need some of your Siacoin allowance available to download your files, because hosts also charge for download bandwidth. If your allowance is completely spent, you won't be able to recover your files, so keep that in mind.

Maintaining Data

There are three important housekeeping items that Sia needs to perform when you're renting storage on the Sia network:

Sia needs to be running with your wallet unlocked for these things to occur, so as a renter, it's a good idea to open Sia at least once a month and let it run overnight to take care of miscellaneous housekeeping tasks such as these. If you simply upload files and then never open Sia again, your allowance and your contracts will eventually expire and your files will be immediately deleted once your contracts are no longer valid!

Importance of Local Metadata Important

In the background on your local machine, Sia maintains information on your uploaded files and contracts, and this information is required in order to access your data on Sia. This metadata should be backed up - if you don't back up your metadata, and you lose access to your original Sia installation (i.e. computer crash, reinstalling operating system, etc), you won't be able to access your files on Sia! You need to perform a backup every time after you upload or change your data on Sia if you want to ensure that you'll be able to access your data in the future, so this continues to be one of the more frustrating limitations of the Sia platform.

For more information on backing up and restoring metadata, see our Renting FAQs or Guide to Renting on Sia.

Ready to get started as a renter on Sia? Check out our step-by-step Guide to Renting on Sia! We also have several Renting FAQs.