The Dilemma of Sharing Large Files
You’ve probably felt the need to share files with other people for school or work related assignments. Most people send files through emails for sharing, but this isn’t really the most efficient method for it. There are space restrictions on what you can send through email, for example, and it’s very hard to keep track of the files you’ve sent or to collaborate with your colleagues on them.
If you are using a Windows computer, you can share files directly with people you add into your homegroup (this is not a well-known feature of Windows). While we don’t think this is the best method to share files, but you might find it useful occasionally.
Another popular option is sharing files directly through online cloud storage services. This lets you keep track of your sending history, access your files from anywhere, and send large files. One drawback of this method is that you need to be logged in to your account when you want to share files. Also, cloud storage has lately become notorious because of security concerns associated with it.
While all these methods have their advantages, the most efficient way of sharing files, in our experience, is through software, accessed right from your desktop! Not only does this save you a lot of time, it’s also a secure way to share your important files. Today, most desktop file sharing apps are actually cloud-based, so you get the benefits of having cloud storage (access from anywhere) as well as ease of access.
Here are 5 quick file sharing options you can install and access with a couple of clicks from your desktop.
MediaFire may not be a poster-boy of cloud storage services, but it’s been around for a while and has stood up to the competition from the more popular options out there. Mediafire will let you share files, photos, videos and more with just a few clicks. When you share certain media files via its links, it automatically plays those in a browser player. That makes this service particularly appealing to those who often share music or video files.
You can download the Mediafire app to your desktop or you can use their online service. The Mediafire app (available for both Windows and Mac) lets you sync your share folder, so you can access it from any computer. The service gives you access to 10GB of space for free.
However, it has a cap of 200MB file size on free accounts, making it unattractive to those looking to share HD videos or larger files. Much like the rest of the names on this list, they have app support across platforms which works reasonably well. If you want more storage or long-term storage options, you have to sign up for their premium plans.
You can download Mediafire here.
Like Mediafire, Rapidshare will give you 10GB of storage for free. However, you won’t be able to transfer more than 100MB of data every day. While this is enough if you’re looking to just share documents or a few pictures, you’re in trouble if you want to share videos or other large files.
The premium version of Rapidshare, with 700GB of storage, will cost you $27 per month. If you ignore the space restrictions, Rapidshare is actually an efficient and secure file sharing service.
You can download the Rapidshare desktop app here.
Dropbox is a well-known online cloud storage service. They also have a desktop app to help you to organize, share and sync files present on your computer. The free version of Dropbox will limit the amount of files you can share.
You can get the pro version of Dropbox (with 1TB storage) at $9.99 per month, or $99 per year. Dropbox will let you generate links to the files you want to share. You can email these links to the people you want to share your files with.
You can download Dropbox here.
Google Drive, like DropBox, is a popular cloud storage service. Google Drive will give you much more storage space (15GB) than most of the other services on the list here for free. However, that space is shared across your other Google accounts like Gmail, Photos and Drive.
The paid plans are competitive though starting at $1.99 per month for 100 GB of storage.The best feature of this service, however, is that it will integrate with the Google Docs service – so you can easily store and share all your Google Docs files.
Another, feature worth a mention here is its cross-platform support with its app for both iOS and Google’s own Android. There is no app however, for MAC OS X, Blackberry or Windows Phone.
Download Google Drive here.
Microsoft, in addition to the built-in file storage feature in Windows, also offers a good file storage app called OneDrive (previously SkyDrive). This cloud storage service from Microsoft has come a long way in the last few years. Once you download the desktop client, it works similar to Dropbox. It is, perhaps, the cheapest file sharing app in the market.
For the free account you get seven gigabytes of space while you only need to pay $1.99 per month for 100 GB of storage. In addition to file sharing, it will integrate MS Office. OneDrive is the way to go if you use Windows across various platforms like the desktop and Windows mobile.
You can get OneDrive Desktop here.
All the options listed here are used by a lot of people and organizations around the world and have proven themselves to be reliable and efficient in the past. However, they are not always secure – there is always a risk (the DropBox fiasco for example) when you share files through the internet. If you have any critical files you want to share, we recommend that you do so manually through a flash drive or through a private network.
Which tools and apps do you use for sharing and collaborating on large files? Let us know in the comments below.