Sharing big files
Although emailing small files such as Word documents is probably the quickest and easiest way to share those kinds of files, if you want to share big files you’ll more than likely be out of luck.
This is because many email accounts have a limit on the file sizes that you can send to other people, as if everyone began firing off gigabytes of files via email, the amount of pressure the servers would be under would be immense.
Many email accounts also have a limit on how much data they can hold, so your friends and family won’t thank you if you force them to go over their quota with a huge file attached.
So, we’ve gathered together the 10 best ways to share big files on the internet. These services allow you to easily upload your large files, and the people who you want to share the files with can safely and easily download them.
Each method is free, though some offer premium services for a (usually reasonable) subscription price, which include more data and faster download speeds.
Dropbox is so popular that we’re wondering if people might soon refer to file sharing and online storage as ‘Dropboxing’ in the same way that image editing is now commonly referred to as ‘Photoshopping’.
When you sign up to Dropbox you get 2GB of storage free and you can share folders or links to specific files with other people. You can even upgrade and purchase additional space, with prices starting from around $9.99 (about £6) per month for a tasty 100GB of storage.
Dropbox’s widespread support (at least in terms of first-party and third-party apps) also adds to its widespread appeal. So sign up and get sharing those files!
2. The Box
The Box service is similar to Dropbox in terms of sharing functionality, but its free option provides a whopping 10GB of storage for those looking to sign up.
The caveat is that you can’t upload files larger than 250MB unless you pay for one of the premium accounts. Paid plans also provide collaboration options (including email notification regarding downloads and commenting on files), but the free option is still great for secure ad-hoc sharing.
You might find the SugarSync service is a little similar to Dropbox in some areas, but it has a few unique features that make it well worth a try. A big plus is the ability to back up any folder to the cloud, rather than just being limited to individual files.
From a sharing standpoint there are no size limitations beyond the size of your account (60GB for the cheapest $7.49 per month option), and there are tools available for group collaboration and businesses as well.
One of the more mature entries in terms of collaboration, MediaFire gives you 10GB of space for free, and lets you transfer up to 200MB.
Paying $2.49 (about £1.50) per month adds long-term storage, makes sharing ad-free, and gives you a FileDrop uploader for sharing content with others. A document-editing feature is also available.
We like WeTransfer a great deal. The free version is, as you might expect, ad-supported, but it does give you registration-free 2GB transfers as often as you like.
Each individual upload stays live on WeTransfer a total of seven days. If you opt to purchase the fancy Plus version (which has an annual fee of €120, which is around £87, US$131, AU$180), you’ll get 5GB worth of optionally password-protected transfers, and a chunky 50GB of long-term storage.
The company’s breezy copywriting features don’t hurt either.
Originally known as YouSendIt, Hightail was one of the first companies that latched onto the ‘fire huge files across the internet’ thing, and it’s grown rapidly since its inception in 2004.
The free ‘Lite’ plan – 50MB transfers, 2GB storage – looks a touch limited these days, but its enterprise options will certainly appeal to most businesses.
7. Adobe SendNow
If you’re in the design industry, large files are a big part of life. Massive high-resolution images, audio, video, magazine PDFs – the works.
Adobe offers SendNow for £14.65/$19.95 (around AU$27) annually, and on top of straightforward sending, you also get file-tracking and a handy ‘convert to PDF’ option for your money.
Most services for sending large documents are aimed at the widest possible market, but Egnyte has concentrated on the enterprise.
Security, back-up, granular permissions and speed are central to the service, which starts at $8 (about £5) per employee per month for between five and 24 employees. This plan includes 1TB of storage and comes with a 2.5GB maximum file size.
If we’re honest, it was the name that first attracted us to this British-based company. That said, the usability of MailBigFile is also great, with some bold but useful drop-well and handy time/upload indicators.
Up to five files totalling 2GB can be sent for free, while the premium Pro accounts (available for £2.99, around $4.54/$6.21 per month) up the total limit to 4GB.
This paid-for version speeds up transfers, as well as adding extra storage, too.
Founded by Kim Dotcom of Megaupload fame, Mega reportedly amassed 100,000 users within its first hour live.
Despite initial issues with reliability and speed, the service remained popular, partly due to its encryption of uploaded files. 50GB of storage is yours for free – premium accounts start at €9.99 per month.
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