If you have just recorded a home video or created the best mixing tape – of course the digital version of this old chestnut – you will undoubtedly be happy to share it with friends and family.
Depending on the size and number of files to send, this can be a problem. For example, Gmail only lets you attach files to a maximum of 25 MB in email. Not to mention that large files will quickly eat your disk space limit when lurking in the Sent folder!
If you want to send large files online, there are many good ways to do it without hassle – and we’ve highlighted the top 12 here, most of which are free (although they usually have premium levels if you want to pay for an improved service).
Use a VPN
“What?” I hear you say What does VPN have to do with sharing large files? Well, without the knowledge of many, some Internet service providers (like Virgin Media) use broadband traffic management to moderate upload bandwidth (instead of downloading).
Using a VPN, such as our number one ExpressVPN, means that your ISP cannot determine the type of file being uploaded, and therefore cannot – in theory – apply traffic shaping to your account.
P2P (peer-to-peer), one of the most popular and reliable methods for transferring large amounts of data, is one type of content that will most likely be flagged and pushed down the priority lines. We’ve compiled a list of the best VPN services available. Remember that your mileage will vary and using a VPN can also slow down your connection.
Use a specialized service
There is a new type of file transfer service that is browser-based and has built-in proprietary technology that speeds up large file transfers. Masv is one of them (the other main players are Aspera and Signiant) and specializes in sending huge files (over 20 GB) through the cloud.
It offers a pricing model according to real use at a cost of USD 25 per GB downloaded. There are no subscription fees, no contracts, no user restrictions or size / bandwidth limits.
Although more expensive than traditional file transfer services, Masv and similar services are much, much faster than Dropbox or Google Drive and are more resistant than later.
You can try Masv for seven days for free, with a 100 GB test
Use file compression
One of the simplest solutions to the problem of sending large files is to use file compression software, such as the multi-platform 7-Zip program. This is especially useful if you have many files because you can put them in one folder and compress them all at once. As a rule, a large file will be sent faster than a folder containing smaller files of the same size.
7-Zip is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and can compress files into the usual ZIP format as well as their own slightly more powerful 7ZIP. Most major operating systems can extract ZIP files without additional software. 7-Zip also allows you to set a password to protect your files so you can share them securely. Remember, however, that uploading very large files may exceed timeout.
You can download 7-Zip here
Courier 20 TB external hard drive
The fastest way to transfer a large number of large files is not the internet, but a hard drive and courier. All large cloud service providers (Microsoft, Google and Amazon) have the ability to transfer large amounts of data via hard drives.
Microsoft Azure charges a nominal flat fee of approximately $ 75 for a supported storage device, but you must be prepared to provide your own drive. This is similar to the Amazon Web Services import / export disk, while Google uses third-party services.
For $ 780 and a capacity of 20 TB, the WD My Book Duo external hard drive is the largest and most cost-effective device in its category
Moving the contents of an external 20 TB hard disk on a dedicated 100Mb line would take over 500 hours (or about 20 days), on consumer-grade broadband lines, it is expected to take longer than a month, and this is only for transmission. Just remember to keep a copy of your files and encrypt the hard drive you send.
Although Gmail messages can only contain attachments up to 25 MB in size when the files are too large, Google lets you put them in Google Drive and send a link to share. Gmail users can share files and folders up to 10 GB. Given that Google’s free level provides 15 GB of disk space, you can repeatedly share large files completely free (assuming you delete, rinse and repeat).
Although FTP (File Transfer Protocol) can be quite old school compared to cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive, it is still one of the most reliable ways to upload and download files.
All operating systems support FTP, and there are many websites and add-ons that support browser uploads and downloads, such as FireFTP. Windows and Mac users can also use the free desktop Cyberduck FTP client.
The only downside is that you must have access to a remote server (such as a hosting service). Many companies, such as DriveHQ, offer some free disk space (5 GB), and prices can be very favorably compared with cloud storage providers.