Updated: Aug 11, 2021
If you have to share a large file with someone over the Internet, there are generally two options – you can either put the file in an email message as an attachment or, if the file is too big to fit inside email, you can upload it to an file hosting service and then share the download links with the recipient.
Web email services like Gmail and Outlook allow you to send files up to 25 MB in size. For sending even bigger files, you can use a file-splitting utility like HJ-Split that will break the large file into smaller chunks of 25 MB each and you can send these in separate email messages. The recipient can download and join these parts to restore the original file.
You can use online storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive for sending really big files. Microsoft OneDrive lets you upload single files up to 2 GB in size while the individual size limit is 1 TB (yes 1000 GB) in the case of Google Drive. For even bigger files, you can use Dropbox – here the files have no size limit if you upload them to Dropbox through the desktop application.
There’s also WeTransfer — a freemium web app that lets you send files up to 2 GB in size from the browser. You don’t have to register for the service and all it asks for is the recipient’s email address. The uploaded file stays on the server for 7 days.
Also see: How to password-protect files
All the options discussed above have one thing in common – you have to upload your files to the Internet before someone can download them.
If you would like to send a file directly to someone without having to upload it anywhere, JustBeamIt is a good option. This is peer-to-peer app meaning the file transfers happen between your computer and the recipient’s computer directly. You can drag and drop a file on to the JustBeamIt website and it will instantly create a shareable link. When someone clicks this link, the file will begin to download on their machine directly from your computer.
Infinit is another impressive desktop application that also uses peer to peer file transfer and it allows you to send files of virtually any size to anyone. All you have to do is drag the file on to the Infinit app, choose any recipient from your contacts and the transfer will begin once they accept the incoming file request.
Infinit is available for both Mac and Windows and is probably the easiest way to send files big and small. It supports resumable downloads meaning if the Internet connection breaks during the file transfer, the app will pick up from where it left off after the connection is re-established. If you are sending files to another computers on the same network, Infinit uses your local area network and thus the transfers happen extremely fast.
That said, the sender and the recipient would need to install the Infinit app to use peer-to-peer transfer. Also, it is currently not possible to send files from the desktop to mobile devices.
The popular Skype app can also be used for sending documents, photos, videos and other large files of any format to your Skype contacts. Just initiate a chat session or a audio / video call with a contact and choose the Send File option to initiate a transfer. The service imposes no limit to the size or number of the files you can send or receive using Skype and since it is peer-to-peer, no centralized server is needed for the file transfer.