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How to send large files (for free!)


Need to transfer a large file to somebody over the Internet, but don’t know how to do it? We’ve got your back. Large file transfers can be done in a myriad of different ways, so we’ve put together this guide to cover the simplest, most effective, and most secure methods. No matter what you’re trying to send, the techniques listed below will help you get the job done without paying a dime.

Compress files before sending

Compress large filesGot a file that’s too big to send as an email attachment? Make it smaller! File compression will not only shrink whatever you’re trying to send, but it’ll make the transfer go faster regardless of which method you’re using – be it email, FTP, or uploading to a Cloud storage vault. Most computers come with file compression utilities built in, so making a .zip file only takes a few clicks. Here’s how it’s done:

Windows Mac
  1. Find the file you want to compress
  2. Right click on it and select “Send To”
  3. Choose “Compressed (zipped) Folder”       
  1. Find the file you want to compress
  2. Two-finger click/command+click on the file
  3. Select “Compress …”


If you’re transferring music or video, we suggest using RAR compression instead of ZIP because it uses a better compression algorithm that generally cuts down on data loss and file corruption. We recommend using 7-zip for this.


Use the File Transfer Protocol (FTP)


If you don’t want to compress your files before you send them, your best bet is to use FTP, the FIle Transfer Protocol. This protocol is designed for large file transfers, and all you need to start using it is a proper FTP client. We won’t go into great detail about how to use each of them, but to help you get started, we’ve listed our recommended FTP programs for every operating system. 

Windows   Mac   Linux

WinSCP, short for Windws Secure Copy is a free and open source FTP client that’s lightweight and full featured. In addition to standard FTP transfers, it also supports SFTP and SCP (secure transfers).


Cyberduck is a free and open source FTP client for OS X with a great interface and plenty of advanced features. Supported protocols include FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, and more.


FileZilla is our top pick for programs that work with Linux, but it can also run on Mac and Windows. As with most Linux-compatible softwares, FileZilla is completely free, open source, and supports a wide range of transfer protocols 

ideaDon’t feel like downloading a full desktop program just to transfer a couple of files? Check out FireFTP to transfer files right from your Firefox browser!


Upload to a Cloud storage service

How to send large files with the CloudThe third option for transferring large files is to upload them to an online storage service where your desired recipient can download them. Thanks to the rise of cloud computing, there are a zillion of these types of services, so we’ve taken the time to pick out the best ones for you. Below you’ll find a quick list of our favorite services that offer plenty of storage space, security, and sharing features. Again, we won’t get into specifics on how to use each program but will instead provide quick descriptions to help you find a service that suits your needs.

Google Drive offers up to 5GB of free storage and allows you to share large files like pictures and videos in just a few clicks. If you’ve already got a Gmail account, you can’t beat the simplicity of Drive.

Dropbox is another great cloud storage option that offers 5GB of storage space and a variety of sharing options.

Mega is the reincarnation of Kim Dotcom’s darling Megaupload. It offers 50GB of free storage, no file size limits, and comes with a robust set of security features. 

Mediafire offers 50GB 10GB of free storage and boasts incredibly simple sharing tools, but it limits file uploads to 200MB so it’s not well suited for videos.


That sums up our guide! Feel free to share your favorite file transfer methods in the comments!

[Top image via dencg/Shutterstock]