A common question by people new to Umbraco is, where are my media and images stored?  THe quick and simple answer to this question, is within the /media folder of your webroot, like so:

As media is stored directly on the server, depending on the importance of your website and the size of your company, you will likely need to consider, how are you going to back-up media located in this folder (as it will be out-side source control) AND if you have a really popular website, how will you manage your media in a load balanced enviroment, read on to learn more. 

Out of all the CMS systems I've used, Umbraco probably has the most diverse usage range.  I work with individuals who want to start their own website/blog, to large corporate companies that use Umbraco as the face of their online presence.  If you run your own hobby site and your website only contans a handful of pages, you may not care if you loose a few images.  If your website is busines critical, or, like mine has over 1000 pages, then ensuring your website is backed up correctly is a high-prioity consideration.

How To Deal With Umbraco Media Files In A Load Balanced Set-up?

If you have a really popular website, then your web server might not be able to cope with the traffic. One way of dealing with this load is to buy additional web server to share the load (I won't go over the details of load balancing here, but you can find more infomration in How To Configure Umbraco To Work In A Load Balanced Environment).

In a load balanced enviroment, if a content editor uploads a media item, out of the box that item would only be located onto one of the servers.  Anytime someone tried to view that images on any of the other servers they would see a missing image.

One way to get around this issue is to use a NAS (Network Attached Storage). A NAS can be thought of as a shared hard-drive that all your web server communicates with.   When someone uploads a image, it gets copied to the NAS instead of the individual server and every server in the web farm will render it correctly.

How To Change The Media Folder Location

If you look in the 'Config' directory within your webroot, you should see a file called 'FileSystemProviders.config'.

In here you will see a setting:

There are a few ways to configure this.  If you want to simply point your media folder with a virtual path (maybe using a virtual directory to point to your NAS0, then change the virtualRoot value to your NAS, simples!

If you want to use a file path, then you might need to look into adding the rootPath and rootUrl.  THe path is the file location to your NAS and the 'rootUrl' is the Url umbraco wil mask in order to link to it.

Media Tips I SUggest You Follow

If you have a site with a lot of content, after a few years the media can grow epically.  I strongly recommend clearing the recycle bin every month.  In some extreme cases, I've seen older versions of Umbraco hit a capacity limit and as a consequence, the website would constantly crash, as the CPU would throttle to around 95% usage.

Remember, do not plonk everything within a single folder.  Organize your Media section into folders