You already have a file to share online with a giant document, a video slide show, or a set of pictures. You cannot email it because you are racing against your recipient’s email size limit. Here are some ways you can share large files over the internet.
Method 1: Use Email to upload files
Most email services, especially corporate services, limit the size of attachments. And that can certainly be annoying.
Even mainstream email providers like Gmail, Outlook.com, and Yahoo don’t support sending massive files. Both Gmail and Yahoo have a limit of 25 MB, while Outlook has a limit of 20 MB. Despite the limitations, these email providers often offer a workaround for sharing large files using cloud sharing services.
If you try to send a too large file in Gmail or Outlook.com, you automatically have a chance to upload it to their respective cloud services (Google Drive and OneDrive), then include a link to the file in your email.
For example, let’s take a closer look at Gmail. After you compose a message in Gmail, you have a chance to attach the file. If Gmail determines that the file is too large, you’ll get a message like this:
If you click the “ OK, got it ” button, Gmail will automatically upload the file to Google Drive and prepare a link to include in your message. When you send a message, you will have the opportunity to edit the file permissions before the message is sent. This can be helpful if your document contains sensitive data. Google supports uploading files up to 5 TB in size, as long as they are not converted to Google documents, slideshows, or tables. The upload limit is 50 MB for documents and slideshows and 100 MB for spreadsheets in those cases. And, of course, you’re limited by the amount of space you have in your Google Drive account. Usually, though, it is sufficient for most files.
Like Gmail, Outlook.com offers its workaround for sharing large files using their OneDrive cloud storage service. In this case, it doesn’t happen automatically. You need to upload the file to OneDrive first, and then you can include a link to the file in your email. OneDrive limits file sizes to be uploaded to 10 GB.
Yahoo does not have a dedicated file sharing service. You can link your DropBox account to Yahoo in your DropBox settings or use a similar cloud service. Remember that, like Yahoo, most email providers support plugins for your favorite cloud services.
Method 2: Compress large files
If you have a file (or set of files) that is too large, you can always try compressing the file and then email it. What does Zip data mean? Let’s see.
The tool compresses your data into a new file that takes up less disk space. How much data you can compress depends on the type of data you have. You can often squeeze things like Office documents and PDFs a bit well. The file has a built-in compression program like many image formats; this file will not compress much. You can compress an entire folder filled with files into one more portable archive.
Both Windows and macOS have built-in compression tools, but third-party tools like WinZip and 7-Zip(our favorites) offer additional advantages. You can encrypt and password-protect your archive, for example.
You can also use those tools to split a zip file into sections. If you have an extensive set of files, you can break the compressed files into areas you can email. The recipient can then use the same tool to quickly restore the parts to a single file at the other end. Though, breaking a compressed file like this can be troublesome enough that it’s often worth considering better options, like cloud storage.
Method 3: Use cloud storage to share large files
There are dozens of cloud storage services out there. Most offer a free level of service where you get some storage, and for a fee, you can get more. You can use any of them to share large files. All you have to do is upload your file and then give the recipient a download link. If you’re sharing files regularly with someone, you can even create a shared folder so they can grab whatever you drop in there without you having to provide a link all the time.
There are apparent cloud storage providers out there, of course, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Drive, and DropBox. Like Mega, others offer plenty of free space and are meant to help you share large files.
Method 4: Use FTP if you have a server and need to transfer files frequently
FTP is another way to share files large and small over the internet. Chances are you used it when downloading a digital product or torrent online.
You can set up an FTP server on your computer, but you’ll need to open that computer to the internet so everyone can access it to download files. It would help if you also were away from the computer at all times. You may want to check if your ISP is imposing any restrictions on the server running. If you already have an internet-connected server (such as you can rent a web host to host a website), you can almost always set up an FTP server that way and is not deal with some of those problems.
Many free FTP products allow you to set up and manage a server or take advantage of their established server. An FTP server is similar to a cloud service in that you can store data there. You can give someone credentials and download the file, or you can even send them a link to access it—a few of the more popular FTP products include FileZilla, Core FTP, and CyberDuck. If you already have the resource, try setting one up.
Method 5: Use an external drive to store big data and share it.
If you need to receive an extensive data set for someone, you’d better copy the data to an external drive, then send it to them by mail. You can always ask them to return them on completion.
While the mindset of people waiting for a drive to arrive in the mail may falter you, you must weigh that delay against the problems of transferring large datasets over the internet. Even with a fast connection, uploading and then downloading one terabyte of data can take quite a bit of time.