Every single man and woman who has come to love Rapidshare has definitely asked himself or herself this question at one time or another: which Rapidshare server should I choose so that I’ll get the fastest download speed? And largely, the question remains unanswered, and most of us got by simply because we use Rapidshare often enough that every single server has been tried and tested, and thus by experience, we chose the one that gave us the fastest speed. How we hope that there’s a way to definitively know which server should we choose.

And yes, those Google searches don’t help either. Since the first time I have used Rapidshare until now, everytime I did a search on Google searching for anyone out there who have ever discussed this issue for a quick, useful tip on how to choose Rapidshare server, it has never worked out well. The closest help one can ever get is in the flavour such as this: “try them all and decide which one is fastest”. Yes, hardly any help.

With the hope that all we Rapidsharers may finally rejoice at last, in this post I will try to answer this very question and put an end to this mistery (and hence, misery), once and for all.

Just which server do we choose?

Now, unlike other file sharing services like Megashares or NetLoad, Rapidshare is generous enough to not only let us choose the server, but also reveals the service name of those servers. These are our most important clues to finding the answer.

Each of these server names – TeliaSonera, GlobalCrossing, Cogent, Level(3), Deutsche Telekom, and Teleglobe – is the name of the big multinational company that operates the global internet backbone with which, presumably, the Rapidshare servers are connected to. Simply said, these are the companies that Rapidshare hire to wire their servers from one continent to another, connecting you, me, and everybody else to their enormous storage facilities. These companies, however big, do not lay down cables to and from each and every country in the world. It doesn’t make business sense for them to do so. Which is why, presumably again, Rapidshare hires not one but many of these companies – to take advantage of their extensive but individually incomplete global network, when grouped together reach as many countries as possible.

Think of these backbones like highways in your country. To get from one state to the other, the fastest way you can get there by land is through these highways. But it is only logical that one single highway will never connect all states and all cities in those states all at once. Some highways may cross your country, all the way from one end to the other, while some others may be laid down primarily in the high-congestion area. Of course, all of these cities can still be reached through the state roads, but these roads are narrower, have fewer lanes, have way more stops and turns, and are more prone to congestion. You simply know that it is much much faster to get there using the highway. The next question is then, Is there a highway connecting your place to that city? And if there is, which highway is that?

(I think I should make it obvious at this point that those ‘highways’ are the global internet backbones, ‘your place’ is your country or state, and ‘that city’ is the Rapidshare storage facilities.)

So how do you know which (if any) among those backbones Rapidshare storage facilities are connected are connected to your country or state? Simple. You ask those companies operating them.

And I’ve done precisely that. The following are the global network map of internet backbones the companies whose services Rapidshare use. Click on the company’s name for the link to the network map.

TeliaSonera

TeliaSonera global cable network

GlobalCrossing

GlobalCrossing global cable network

Cogent

Cogent global cable network

Level (3)

Level(3) global cable network

Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom global cable network

Tata Communications
(Teleglobe and 2 other companies have merged to form Tata Communications)

Tata Communications global cable network

Now that we have known all these companies operating the internet backbones that Rapidshare uses and their associated global cable network map, the next step of determining which server to choose when downloading (or uploading) from Rapidshare becomes easy. Quite simply, choose the servers whose cable network includes your country. For example, if you’re in Malaysia, you would be wise to choose GlobalCrossing or Deutsche Telekom, but not Level(3) or Cogent. If you’re in New Zealand, choose GlobalCrossing and certainly not Deutsche Telekom or Telia Sonera. If you’re in the US, you obviously have a lot of choices, most of which (if not all) will be as fast as your connection can handle.

So that’s it. Good luck!

Note: It would really be helpful to other visitors if any of you could report whether this server-choosing tip works for you in your country or not. Also, it would really be helpful to indicate which server serves you fastest and which country you are currently residing in. Report by simply posting a comment to this post.

(If you find this article useful, it would be very nice of you to consider buying me a cup of coffee.)