Sending email attachments has certainly evolved from the days when anything over a few megabytes clogged up the phone line and was rejected by AOL and Earthlink. But even with the advent of high-speed internet, sending large files can still bog down your email service. Add to that the concerns over security and you may be in the market for a safe file transfer solution.
In the past, the solution was to use an FTP (file transfer protocol) site, or burn the files to a CD or DVD and transfer them manually. FTP sites could be expensive and cumbersome, and transferring manually was not very efficient. Now, you have plenty of possibilities for sharing files safely and easily.
When selecting a file transfer service, there are some criteria to consider first:
- Do I want a free service, or do I mind paying? Free services may be more limited in size of files, storage, or number of users.
- How secure a service do I need?
- How large are the files I’m sharing?
- Am I sharing with the same people over and over, or am I constantly sending files to new people?
- How easy is it to download and upload the files?
- How dependable is the service?
- Will the site store my files? If so, how much storage space will I have, and how long will they store them?
Once you’ve answered the questions above, take a look at the following file sharing options:
Free service, with upgrades available for inviting new members, usage, or for a fee. You can install software on your computer, which allows you to access files from any Internet browser. The files are stored safely off site, and it also synchs your files across computers. This is my personal favorite that I use daily, and require my real estate clients to use as well. Instead of receiving photos and files via email, my clients use dropbox so that the files aren’t stored on my hard drive.
Send large files as quickly and easily as sending an email. No software to install. Free service offers sending of files up to 100MB. Keep in mind this is with no online storage. Monthly plans start at $9.95 for an individual, with a 2GB maximum file size. I use this from time to time when I have very large files that won’t fit in dropbox or are too heavy for my gmail account.
For $18 per month, transfer up to 300MB per month, and store up to 10GB of data. Your recipient doesn’t need to have any special software, though you do need to download and install the software on your computer. Plans available for up to 2.5GB of transferred data per month.
Upload, access, and share files via a web browser, desktop application, or mobile device for $6 per month for 3GB, and $15 per month for 10GB. Team plans available.
If security isn’t a primary concern, check this out. With no software or attachments, and no file size limits or number of files, this system is a great solution if you’re sending many files to a lot of different recipients. The free plan offers unlimited file sends and sizes, with a three-day window for downloads. Plans are available for up to 90GB of storage, with a 14-day download period for $69.95/month.
Upload to Google Docs any file up to 250 MB, for free, with 1GB of free storage of files saved as non-Google Docs. You’ll have 1 GB of free storage for files you don’t convert into one of the Google Docs formats (i.e. Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentations). You also may have additional storage available for $0.25 per GB per year. Find out more at Docs.Google.com
You simply don’t have to email documents back and forth any longer. Start using one of these remote access systems and easily bounce the written word around to your clients and partners in a flash.