How to Send Large Files for Free

Comparison of free file-sharing solutions

When you want to share a large file or several files with someone, but those files are over the attachment size limit imposed by your email provider, use a cloud storage service or a file-sharing web app. Here are several services you can use to share or send large files.

As of May 2019, Gmail restricts attachments to 25 MB. For larger attachments, Gmail automatically sends a link to the file in Google Drive.

Fastest Solution: Online File Syncing and Storage Services

Using a cloud storage and syncing service such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive, can save time because you don't manually upload the files you want to share. With these syncing tools installed, any file that you save to the sync folder on your computer is stored to the cloud automatically.

To share a file that's stored in the cloud, log in to the website, select the file, and choose to share it with selected email addresses. The recipients receive an email with a link to the file. Recipients view and download the file from your cloud storage account, not from the message.

Dropbox for Mac showing Dropbox folder and Dropbox menu item
Coyote Moon, Inc.

As an alternative, these services have public folders where anything put in them is readily available to anyone with a link to the folder or to anyone searching the web. Save or drag files to these public folders, copy the link to the file, and paste the link in an email.

Don't store any files that contain sensitive, personal, or confidential information in these public folders.

Even with these services, however, it's possible to exceed the file storage limit. For example, Dropbox provides 20 GB of free storage and the free SugarSync account provides 5 GB. If you don't have enough space to store the file you want to send or don't want to use your online storage space, there are other solutions.

Easy One-Time Transfers: Dedicated File-Sharing Web Apps

For simple, one-time sharing of large files, look to a service designed specifically for this purpose. Among these is Hightail (formerly Upload your file to Hightail and generate a link. Hightail works with document, picture, video, and music files. Hightail Lite is free and allows files of up to 100 MB each. Paid options offer more capacity.

Hightail file-sharing screen

Services like this vary in speed, simplicity, feature set, and storage capacity. Some, such as, don't require you to create an account or log in to share your files with a link. A free, anonymous account comes with 250 MB of storage. To use, press a button to add the file you want to share, then copy the link the site provides. file-sharing service

Others, such as MediaFire, are designed as online storage spaces where you can host files up to 10 GB for free. Some restrictions on free accounts apply, such as the number of times a file can be downloaded.

Before using one of these one-time services, make sure the features meet your needs. For example, encryption and password protection are essential for many uses. You may also want to know when the file was picked up.

Most file-sharing services offer business-friendly features such as password protection and return receipts for extra fees.

Other Options

There are other ways to send large files. For example, save files to a USB thumb drive and deliver it to a friend or colleague. If you have a website and web server, put large files on your FTP server for the recipient to pick up.

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