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10 Of The Best Ways To Transfer Large Files

written by

Jack Foster

last updated

June 16, 2021

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Sending a small file is a breeze; you can simply pop it into a message on IM or send the recipient an email. However, if you’ve had the “this file is too big” message pop up on the screen, it can be incredibly frustrating. How are you supposed to send the file?

Well, the good news is that there are actually plenty of different options at your disposal! I am going to talk you through them so you never have to worry about sending a large file again…

1. Use a VPN

Of course, one of my preferred ways to send a large file is by using a VPN, such as NordVPN. As you should be using a VPN to protect your privacy while online in any case, it makes sense to consider this option when transferring a large file. 

NordVPN

Using a VPN also makes sense because you can avoid any traffic management restrictions that your Internet service provider (ISP) has placed on you. A lot of ISPs control upload bandwidth and they will restrict the size of the files you’re able to upload, so a VPN gives you a way around this.

If you’ve read any of my other pieces of content, you will know that a VPN plays the vital role of encrypting your traffic and hiding your IP address so you can keep your online activities confidential. When you use a VPN, the ISP will not be able to determine your web traffic contents. When sending a file, this means that the ISP will not recognise the file size, and so no limits will be imposed on you.

Nevertheless, for this option to work, you do need to choose a VPN with care. Quality is a big concern, as is connection speed, so you can’t afford to cut corners with your choice. As mentioned, I personally recommended NordVPN, and you can read my NordVPN review in full for more information. ExpressVPN is another I would put forward, and my ExpressVPN review provides further insight.

2. Upload your email provider’s cloud storage system

If you don’t want to send a file via VPN, you could use a cloud storage space instead. OneDrive and Google Drive are the most popular options here. 

Your choice will depend on the email provider you use. For example, if you use Gmail, it makes sense to use Google Drive. After all, if you’re already using your email to send an attachment, the Google Drive button will be ready and waiting for you. All you need to do is click on it, choose your file, and then send it as you would a regular attachment.

3. Send via WeTransfer

Another option that you could try is WeTransfer. I am a big fan of this service, as it is a free online sharing solution and you don’t even need to register to share a file with someone.

wetransfer

You simply head to the WeTransfer website and upload your file. Add in the email address you’d like to send the file to, you’re own email address, and a message. It is as simple as that!

With the free version, you are able to send 2GB worth of files. If you want to send more than this, you’re going to need to upgrade. 

WeTransfer Pro is the premium version, which gives you as much as 100GB of storage and the ability to send 20GB of files at once. This either costs 12 EUR per month or 120 EUR per year, which means you will save 17% if you decide to pay yearly. 

This is definitely one of my favourite options for file transfers because it is so easy and convenient, and it’s great that you’re not forced to register to take advantage of the service – very rare!

4. Use a USB Flash Drive

If you want to work on a video or a project that has a big storage size, you may want to think about uploading the file to a USB flash drive. 

There are many different USB flash drives on the market today, ranging in size from 2GB to 1TB, so you should have no trouble finding the right one for you. Naturally, the bigger the size, the more expensive the USB will be. 

This option can be helpful if you’re passing work between co-workers or you want the added protection of backing your files up. 

A good thing about going for this option is that it helps to lessen the load on your computer, preserving its data storage capacity.

5. FTP

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and this is an old-school transfer method. In fact, the sheer reason that this was created in the first place was to transfer big files. 

filezilla

For those who are unaware, this is a TCP/IP protocol that will transfer your files between FTP servers and clients. 

The file management capabilities of FTP are impressive. You do not have any restrictions in terms of the size of a single transfer. You can also send numerous files at once, schedule transfers for the future, and queue transfers. This is definitely one of the most efficient options to go down!

On the flip side, though, this is not the most secure option. Don’t send anything private or confidential using this option, as passwords and usernames are transferred in plain text.

There are plenty of free FTP clients that you can use online, such as Xlight and FileZilla.

6. FTPS

Next, we have FTPS, which stands for File Transfer Protocol Secure. This is basically a secure version of the former suggestion.

FTPS is secured over SSL, otherwise known as Secure Sockets Layers, which will encrypt the connection. By using this option, file transfers can be authenticated through server certificates, client certificates, and passwords. 

The main benefit of going for this option is that your data will be encrypted, so confidential data can be sent, which is not the case for FTP. You can also have peace of mind that using FTPS will ensure compliance with the majority of the main regulatory frameworks. FTPS transfers are HITECH, HIPAA, SOX, and PCI DSS compliant. 

However, this does not mean that FTPS cannot be breached. Nothing is foolproof, and FTPS does have vulnerabilities that you need to know about. For example, a port will be opened whenever a file transfer is made, and this could be an entry point for an attacker. Because of this, a lot of firewalls have made it complicated to use an FTPS connection. FTPS is not supported by all FTP servers either, but there are still plenty of products that do, with examples including FileZilla, SolarWinds FTP Voyager, and Syncplify.me.

7. SFTP

This is another secure type of FTP, and it stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol. This gives users the ability to use a Secure Shell (SSH) to transfer the files. 

The SSH is important because it stops unauthorised users from being able to view any data, including passwords, while the files are in transit. It does this through the use of encryption.

To be able to transfer a file, the client user needs to be authenticated by the server and the channel must be verified as being secure. The built-in security features of SFTP make it a wise choice if you need to send data that is sensitive.

SFTP transfers are included in the majority of FTP servers by default. Syncplify.me Server, FileZilla, and SolarWinds SFTP/ SCP Server are reliable free SFTP servers you can use.

When compared with FTPS, SFTP has the benefit of not requiring ports to open to function, giving you a further layer of security. 

On the flip side, SFTP is not as convenient as some of the other suggestions made so far. This is because an SFTP server will need to be installed and then you will need to configure it. So, if simplicity is what you’re after, consider another option.

8. Compress the file

If you have still not found the right option for you, compressing the file is a good idea. You can use free compression software like 7-Zip if you need to send a number of files. This will compress the entire folder containing the files into one. 

7zip

Lossless data compression is typically supported by zip files, making them ideal for saving both space and time while ensuring your files are not impacted. 

The vast majority of operating systems can extract Zip files with ease and no added software will be needed.

9. Use Filemail

Filemail is a straightforward, fast, and efficient solution that you can use to send large files. The process is really easy; simply fill in the email form with the destination for the file and your own address, write a message, add your file, and then send it. It is as simple as that!

filemail

The recipient will then get an email with a link to the file so that they can either view it online or download it. 

There is a free Filemail plan available, which allows files as big as 5GB. You then have the option of Filemail Pro, which supports 25GB files, and the Business Plan, which is for unlimited file sizes, so you don’t have to worry about any sort of restrictions.

10. Use Dropbox

Finally, another service that comes recommended is Dropbox. This is a cloud-based storage solution.

dropbox

With Dropbox, you will be able to upload a file that is large in size. You can then send the web link for the file to the recipient, either via text or email.

You get 2GB of storage space if you use the free version of Dropbox. You can increase this to 1 TB of storage if you opt for the paid version, which costs $9.99 per month.

FAQ about transferring large files

I receive a lot of questions about transferring large files, so I have answered some of the most common below:

What is the typical file size limit when sending over email?

The file size limit in place will depend on the email provider you use. The typical limit for most email clients is 25MB, yet some have a limit as low as 10MB. 

How can I compress a large video file?

There are a number of different ways to compress a large video file. I would recommend following the zip file suggestion that was discussed above. However, there are plenty of other options as well, for example, you should share a link to the video without uploading it or download the video in reduced quality. 

How do I compress a file?

This depends on the operating system you are using. For example, if you want to create a zip file in Windows, you need to select the files you want to add to the zip file, and then right-click. You will be presented with a menu, and one of the options will say ‘Send to’. You should click on this, and choose Compressed or Zipped Folder, and this will create the zip file. You can then rename the file should you wish.

What is the largest file size I can send in Yahoo Mail?

The largest file you can send is 25MB. This is the sum of any attached files within a single message. 

What is the largest file size I can send in Google Mail?

Again, 25 MB is the limit here. This accounts for all of your attachments; they cannot amount to more than 25 MB. Should your file exceed this limit, Gmail will add a Google Drive link to the email automatically instead, rather than including it as an attachment.

What is the largest file size I can send in Outlook?

The default attachment size limit for Outlook is between 20MB and 25MB.

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