We all know the frustrating feeling -- maybe you've finally finished the script for your next marketing video, or you've collected all the images you need for your next campaign. But when you go to press "Send" you're told, "Sorry. File too large."
Unfortunately, our email accounts can't carry as much storage as you might think. Gmail, for instance, can only hold files up to 25 MB.
Additionally, large files can eat at your storage space, even if it's just sitting in your Sent folder.
If you've got a file you can't send the traditional way, don't worry -- we've got five easy and cheap alternatives, to ensure the largest of files can be sent to whoever, within minutes.
Best ways to share big files
Upload your files to a cloud storage service, like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive, and share them or email them to others
Use file compression software, like 7-Zip
Purchase a USB flash drive
Use a free online service, like Jumpshare or Securely Send
Use a VPN
1. Upload your files to a cloud storage space.
Using a cloud storage space like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive is one of the easiest and most popular methods for sending large files. Depending on your email provider, you'll likely be able to use a corresponding cloud storage -- like Google Drive for Gmail, or OneDrive for Outlook.com. If you're sending an attachment within a provider like Gmail, you'll see the Google Drive button already integrated. Simply press it, choose your file, and then send it like a regular attachment.
Alternatively, Dropbox allows you to upload large files and then send a web link via email or text to your recipient. With Dropbox's free tier, you'll receive 2 GB of storage space. For $9.99 per month, you can increase your storage to 1 TB.
2. Use file compression software, like 7-Zip.
If you have multiple files, you might consider using a free compression software like 7-Zip, which can compress an entire folder of files at once. Zip files in general support lossless data compression, and are good for saving time and space while ensuring your files remain intact. Most operating systems can extract Zip files easily, without additional software.
7-Zip is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. You can also provide a password for your files with 7-Zip, to ensure they're safe to send online.
3. Purchase a USB flash drive.
If you want to collaborate on a project or video with a large storage size, you might consider uploading it to a USB flash drive, which can range in size from 2 GB to 1 TB. This might allow you to pass your files more easily between coworkers, or back your files up for additional protection. Best of all, if you use a USB you can take some strain off your computer, extending its data storage.
4. Use a free online service, like Jumpshare or Securely Send.
There are plenty of free online services that make uploading and sending large files both easy and incredibly quick. Jumpshare, for instance, lets you send up to 250 MB worth of files with a free account -- simply upload a file or folder, and Jumpshare provides you with a link to share the files. Plus, you can download the Jumpshare icon to your desktop. When you drag and drop files onto it, a link will be copied to your clipboard, which you can send to anyone, even if they don't have their own Jumpshare account.
Securely Send is another fantastic option. You can send your files to an email recipient within Securely Send's platform -- simply input an email, upload your file, and click "Send It". Securely Send lets you send 2 GB worth of files for free, and even lets you track deliverability, so you know when your files have been received and reviewed.
5. Use a VPN
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a service that protects your data and provides you with more privacy when you're online by routing your internet connection through a server. A VPN can protect you from hackers, or even online ads, and is a secure option, particularly if you're often using public wi-fi.
Some internet service providers (ISP) use broadband traffic management to moderate upload bandwidth -- if this is the case for your ISP, you can use a VPN, which will prevent your ISP from recognizing how large your files are, enabling you to send them.
However, this isn't the best option in our list for two reasons -- one, the large file could slow down your VPN connection, and two, your files aren't guaranteed to be intact upon delivery. To ensure a high-quality delivery, you might want to try an alternative option, like a Zip compression.
How to send large files via email
Store your files in a cloud storage service, like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive.
When you want to send the file, simply share the file with someone, and then notify them via email that you have done so.
If you use Gmail or Outlook.com, you'll find a Google Drive or OneDrive integration. When attaching your file to an email, you can click the Google Drive or OneDrive button to share the file.
When the recipient receives your email, they can download your file to their computer, or open it online through the cloud storage service you used to send it.
Originally published Dec 21, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated May 13 2020