Need to share a ginormous file? Sending it by email is almost guaranteed to fail. Although technology has come a long way, most email providers still have attachment size limits, making what should be a relatively easy task incredibly frustrating. Whether you're sharing lengthy documents; graphics-heavy brochures and catalogs; high-definition videos and photos; or other supersize files with clients and colleagues, it's time to step away from the outbox. Instead, here are three of the best and less vexing ways to share large files online.
1. File-sharing services — Upload and send
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to share big files, check out file-sharing platforms, which let you securely send gigabytes' worth of files just as you would in an email. Simply enter the recipients' email addresses, attach or upload the file, and click send. While some file-sharing services require registration, others are readily accessible and don't require you to create an account. Free and paid services — which typically include file storage, tracking and delivery confirmation — are also available. [REVIEWED: Online Data Storage Solutions]
Here are some examples of file-sharing services:
Send, receive, track and share large files via SendSpace's Web-based drag-and-drop tool, desktop software or iPhone and Android apps. This free service is limited to single-file uploads of up to 300MB and includes ads. Paid accounts start at $8.99 a month for files up to 4GB, unlimited lifetime storage, and ad-free uploads and downloads.
Transfer large files up to 4GB using MailBigFile's HTML5 drag-and-drop Web-based uploader, desktop uploader or your own branded transfer page. Try the service for free and send up to five files with a maximum file size of 2GB. MailBigFile offers paid daily, monthly and yearly accounts starting at $10, $3.99 and $29, respectively.
Share files directly from WeTransfer's home page. Send multiple files up to 2GB to a maximum of 20 email addresses, or generate a download link to share with anyone. A paid WeTransfer Plus upgrade is available for 10GB transfers and includes a personalized URL, long-term storage, password-protected transfers and more.
Send files straight from your desktop using Hightail Desktop or Hightail Express; from Outlook using the Hightail for Outlook plugin; or on the go via the Hightail app for iOS and Android. Send files of up to 250MB with 2GB storage for free, or subscribe to a paid account to send larger files. Paid accounts start at $15.99 a month for files up to 2GB.
Share files in three easy steps: upload, send and receive delivery confirmation. Although a free account is not currently offered, at $19.99 per year, Adobe SendNow is one of the most affordable file-sharing services available. Users get a maximum file size of 2GB, detailed tracking, email return receipt, personal branding, secure delivery and one-on-one support.
2. Cloud storage — Anytime, anywhere, any device
Cloud storage provides anytime, anywhere access to files from any device, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Files and folders are uploaded to and stored in the cloud, and then shared using a direct link or invitation with cloud access information. Unlike file-sharing services that send download links directly to recipients' inboxes, users have more control, allowing them to share links by email, social media, instant messaging and other methods. Cloud services also typically offer more storage space and higher upload size limits, making sharing especially large files virtually limitless.
Popular cloud-storage services include the following:
Download the Dropbox desktop or mobile apps and get 2GB of free storage. Free accounts include file sharing and syncing, encryption, two-step verification and mobile passcodes. Paid accounts start at $9.99 a month for 100GB of storage space. Full-featured business accounts start at $15 a month for unlimited space and include enhanced security, team management tools, and priority email and phone support.
Get scalable online file sharing using a cloud-based hard drive that fits your business needs. Share large files by uploading them over the Web, then sending a link to single files or whole folders. You can also embed files into your website for no-download-required access. Free accounts start with 10GB of secure storage with a limit of 250MB file upload size. Paid accounts start at $5 a month for 100GB of storage and up to 2GB file upload size.
SkyDrive (soon to be OneDrive)
Windows' cloud-based platform offers both cloud storage and Microsoft Office functionality — and it's all done over the Web. Transfer large files using your browser, drag and drop them into the SkyDrive desktop folder, save them directly from Office programs, or upload them from your smartphone via the SkyDrive app for Windows Phone, iPhone and Android. Share files with anyone via email, set permissions and easily collaborate online. SkyDrive offers 7GB of free storage. Add 50GB, 100GB or 200GB of storage for $25, $50 or $100 a year, respectively.
Get enterprise-grade file sharing with a combination of on-premise and cloud storage. Store and share public files from the cloud, sensitive files from local storage, and large files between the two. Basic online file sharing and storage plans start at $8 a month per employee and include 1TB of storage and 2.5GB maximum file upload size. Flexible and scalable plans are available for an additional cost. Try a 15-day free trial of the service.
3. Productivity apps — Real-time sharing and collaboration
If you need to share big files that recipients can also edit or add to, a productivity or collaboration app is the way to go. Cloud-based productivity and collaboration apps let users upload documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other files into the platform that colleagues, clients and other intended recipients can then view or work on straight from their browsers. Changes are made in real time, allowing for instant sharing with the benefit of easy collaboration.
These apps are often found in productivity suites like these:
Store and share up to 15GB of documents, photos, videos and other files for free. Included in Google Drive are Docs, Sheets and Slides — Google's versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, respectively — and Quickoffice for sharing, opening and editing Microsoft Office files.
iWork for iCloud
Have an Apple iCloud account? Share the iWork suite — which includes Pages for word processing, Numbers for spreadsheets and Keynote for presentations — and Microsoft Office files with multiple users, even if they are on non-Apple devices. Users can share files via share links, as well as collaborate in real time. iWork for iCloud is available to all users with an iCloud account and comes with 5GB of free storage. Additional storage can be purchased for an annual fee: get an extra 10GB for $20 a year, 20GB for $40 a year, or 50GB for $100 a year.
This intranet platform includes cloud file sharing that supports bulk uploads, tracks version histories and lets users send files to external users, such as clients and nonteam members. It also features group chat and video conferencing that let users share files, collaborate and make changes in real time. A basic network with 1GB of storage per user is available for free. Business accounts start at $5 a month or $50 a year, and include 10GB of storage per user as well as Microsoft Office integration.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.