How much will data storage cost a user?

I was doing some reading online about Solid and data storage and a question came to mind. Should an app user have to pay to store the data they create with the apps they use? Or, should the app have to pay for the users data storage and security of it?

I would really like to know what others think of this, and would like some feedback on the subject of the future costs of a digital footprint.

The cost of data storage at the moment is pretty cheap but, as all things go, the more demand there is for data storage, the more expensive it will become.

In the future, from your Solid Pod dashboard, you should be able to grant Facebook authorization to read and write data to your solid pod. You grant permission for Facebook to store all the data you create in that session, including but not limited to, your posts, chats, photos, and everything else, to be stored in your solid pod (at the users expense).

If your social media data is important to your livelihood, then you just can’t dispose of that data at the end of your app session, so your forced to either pay to have it stored, or its deleted at the end of your app session. The costs of your digital footprint can add up after awhile.

Every month your data gets larger and larger, and so does the costs involved in storing that data. Some people may end up paying just as much to store their data in a solid pod, or other data store, as a cell phone bill. If you’re a business professional, and you create allot of data to make a living, then you may end up with data storage fees that cost as much as a car payment each month, or a mortgage payment.

If users decouple data from the apps they use, then the individual user bears the responsibility for the security of that data and the costs involved in storing and protecting that data.

So another question is; Will some people just simply be priced out of the world wide web due to a limited income?

Your thoughts, comments and suggestions are welcome!


Thanks for your thoughts on that, I think that’s an important question. I’m pretty sure it has been discussed somewhere else, but I didn’t find a thread solely related to this issue, so I’ll add my two cents here anyway.

First of all, I think the user will be responsible for having one (or more) pods available, note the app. On the one hand, this will give the user more control over the data storage, on the other hand, it is easier for apps as they have to care less about running servers.

Now the question how the user can afford a pod is essential. I will describe some possibilities I see to achieve that which may or may not become reality. (I’ve highlighted the main points in case someone wants a TL;DR)

(1) As you have mentioned, one way is that the user pays some company to host the pod. I think the costs would highly vary depending on the usage. For instance, a film maker who is uploading all video clips to the pod will need much more storage, than someone who uses it only for text based apps (calendar, text messaging, etc.). I don’t know much about storage prices, but I personally wouldn’t expect them to rise for the same amount of storage. So something like a phone bill, I’d personally guess less for the average user.

(2) Another option I see is, that pod providers will probably provide a free plan with limited usage (regarding storage and requests per day). Nowadays there are many cloud storage providers with a free plan for limited usage, so I expect the same to come for solid pods. This would make some basic usage accessible to everyone with internet access, but comes with some restraints.

(3) Something I’ve heard several times lately is that “data is the oil of the 21st century”. Many companies rely on having data about their users to make money. So if the users want to have free pods, this could be used as a data source for these companies. They could provide free pod storage in exchange for (anonymized?) data. As solid data tries to be machine-understandable this data seems valuable enough to me for companies doing this.

(4) This one is probably just a daydream, but maybe it will come true. I could imagine some governments and companies providing free pods, just for giving the users a way to use solid apps. As many people see internet as a human right, access to a solid pod could also be seen as something governments should take care of. But this highly likely won’t happen in the early days of Solid, so I wouldn’t count on that one.

I hope these thoughts are helpful to you. Remember that they are just my point of view and others here may think differently about it :))


What about local serving of pods?

Cost can be vary to different persons. everybody is using different storage devices but recommend to use data room.