How to send large files for free

Have a file too big for email? Here's how to send large files for free

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Need to transfer a something hefty to somebody over the internet, but don’t know how to send large files online? We’ve got your back. Large file transfers can be done in a few 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. Here’s how to send large files for free.

Compress files before sending

Regardless of how you choose to send your file, making it smaller will only help in terms of storage. 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 cloud storage. The same goes for smartphone users too.

Most computers come with file compression utilities built in, too, so making a ZIP file only takes a few clicks. Here’s how it’s done.

Windows Mac
Find the file you want to compress Find the file you want to compress
Right click on it and select “Send to” Two-finger click/control+click on the file
Choose “Compressed (zipped) folder” Select “Compress … [file name]”

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, as the open-source file archivist is one of the best currently available.

Upload to a Cloud storage service

The best, and most popular, 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 some of the best ones for you.

Below you’ll find a quick list of our current favorites, all of which offer plenty of storage space, security, and sharing features. 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

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Google Drive offers up to 15GB of free storage and allows you to share large files, such as pictures and video, in just a few clicks. It even has backup and syncing options which are useful features to have.

If you’ve already got a Gmail account, you can’t beat the simplicity of Drive, as it’s effectively built right into the email service. You can ‘attach’ files to emails that are stored on your drive account in order to share them, just by clicking the Google Drive logo in the email composition window.

Upgrading to the paid version of Drive also nets you 100GB of storage for $2 per month, or a full terabyte of storage — that’s 1,000GB — for $10. There’s also a 10TB option for $100 a month and larger packages beyond that if you plan to share a lot of big files.


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Most often compared to Google Drive, Dropbox is another great cloud storage option that offers 2GB of free storage space and a variety of sharing options. The basic suite of features is more or less the same as Google Drive, but Dropbox also offers a mobile app for non-Android and iOS devices, such as the the Kindle Fire and Blackberry.

You can expand your own storage options in a few interesting ways, but premium accounts are also available. $10 a month gets you a Plus account with a terabyte of space, while $20 a month gives you a few advanced features along with advanced sharing controls, including the ability to set passwords and create expiring links.


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Microsoft’s OneDrive service has seen significant upgrade and renovation over the years, making it one of the more competitive solutions for storing files and folders online. With its shared folder system, you can share anything you want at any time and stop doing so at the click of a button when you’re done. A free package nets you five gigabytes of free storage, while $2 a month bumps that to 50GB. The $7  a month package increases that to a terabyte and gives you the cheapest avenue to increase your daily file sharing limit.


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Box has a little more of a business-slant than some of the other offerings in this section. While that doesn’t mean it lacks features applicable to individuals and has a free storage offering and affordable packages, to access its file and folder sharing features you will need to buy into a Business account, which requires a minimum of three users. Each will cost $15 a month.

Files and folders shared over those accounts can be password protected though, so that’s a useful security feature that makes Box a great choice for those concerned about the privacy and security of their data.


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MediaFire offers 20GB of free storage and boasts incredibly simple sharing tools. In 2014, the 200MB cap on individual file uploads was upgraded to a whopping 10GB, so even large files can be uploaded with no issues. You can also land a 1TB for $3.75 a month.


We Transer Icon

At this point, we’re basically just giving you a laundry list of different options that perform the same service. WeTransfer is free and it allows users to send files up to 2GB without even registering their name or email address, with a host of added features.

For those who don’t mind spending a little to get a little more, WeTransfer also offers a $12 a month “Plus” package which lets you send up to 20GB at a time and store up to 100GB on its servers. It also enables password protection on shared folders.

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