Sending large files without email attachments

Sending large files as email attachments is a big pain in the neck. Most email services — and most corporate filters — place a limit on the size of attachments, or your total storage, and if you have a bunch of photos or a video or a large PowerPoint presentation, you will quickly find out what this limit is and get a message saying the file can’t be sent that way. So what are your choices?

If you own your own domain, you can transfer the file to your Web site using file transfer protocols such as FTP or SCP and then have your correspondent transfer it down to their computer. If you both have Instant Messenger accounts on the same system, you can send the file that way too. Both of these are better methods than email attachments, but your correspondent may not want to use either of them, and they are a bit cumbersome to get going. If you are using IM at work, your corporate IT department may block attachments too. And some IM “collector” programs like Trillian or Adium don’t handle the file transfers well.

Luckily, there is another method that makes use of a file transfer service. You upload the file via a Web site and a simple fill-in form. Once the file has been uploaded, the service sends an email message to your recipient, with a link on how to get the file.

There are a number of free services that you can use for this purpose that go by names such as and They vary in how much storage you have, the maximum file size, how many files you can send per month, whether they encrypt the file or password protect the link so no one else can read it, and how much they charge beyond the basic free service.

My current favorite is They offer free storage of up to one gigabyte, and have some nifty features too. Unlike some of their competitors, your storage is permanent – the others place a limit on how long they will store your files. It takes just a minute to setup an account and upload a file.

One of the more interesting things about is that they have begun working with other online vendors to complement their file storage services, what they call Open Box Services. Basically, they publish their interfaces and help develop links to other Web services applications. You can fax a file directly from their repository using their eFax link. You can send your file directly to your blog. You can edit your photos. This is all pretty cool, and is a great way to showcase Web services and do some lightweight collaboration. I like the fact that I can put a bunch of my files there for other applications to access. isn’t the only one doing this applications sharing, of course. Notable is Google Docs, where you can edit, save and share spreadsheets, documents, and presentations, and directly post them to your blog as well. They are also free for up to 5 GB (with some caveats) and if you need more you can purchase up to 50 GB for $50 a year, which is probably the best bargain per gig around.

The downside for is that their maximum file size is 10 MB for the free service.  If you need more it costs $10 a month. Depending on your circumstances, you might want to try out one of the other free services that can handle larger files. Still, whatever you do, you now have lots of choices and don’t have to send any more email attachments.

9 thoughts on “Sending large files without email attachments

  1. You can also try
    They allow you to upload complete folders and files and it also zips your files during uploading so the download process is really easy and fast. Seems to work really well.

  2. Pingback: Sending Big Files Doesn’t Have to Be a Pain | Small Business Technology

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