How to send large files: The best ways to share files online

Discover the cheapest and easiest platforms you can use to share gigabytes of data with our simple guide

We’ve all had that problem – trying to send video or music files to someone via email only to run into the dreaded “attachment exceeds the file size limit” message. Most email services limit attachment sizes to less than that of a standard music album, never mind a full-length movie.

That’s certainly the case with Gmail, for example, which limits attachments to just 25MB. Outlook similarly limits you to sending files at a maximum individual size of 10MB. So what’s to be done? How do we share our home videos, mixes and other large files with our friends?

Luckily, there’s a plethora of services – both websites and apps – available that enable us to share files ranging up to multiple gigabytes at a time. Rather than enduring the miserly limits set by email providers, the only limit with these services is your upload speed.

From file limits to storage spaces and pricing options, we’ve run through all the features of the top services and rounded up the best of the lot so you can share your large files with ease.

The best transfer sites for sending large files

Dropbox: The most popular file-sharing service

First up is the most popular of the lot: with more than 500 million users, Dropbox can claim more than double the userbase of its nearest competitors, Microsoft and Google. After a brief signup process (your recipient doesn’t need to sign up), you’ll have 2GB of space at your fingertips for free, with the potential for more if you refer friends and complete the “Getting started” guide.

Maximum file size is limited to a hefty 20GB, although that’s obviously dependant on available space. The paid version – Dropbox Plus – costs £7.99 per month (or £79 for the year), and comes with 1TB of storage, a 30-day recovery period on deleted files, and offline accessibility. An app is available for both Android and iOS.

Join Dropbox now

WeTransfer: The easiest file-sharing platform to use

With no signup required, WeTransfer is the quickest and easiest file-sharing platform to start using. The free version is simply a sharing resource – with a 2GB limit – rather than a file store, as the file expires after a week. Files received come with an email notification, and an Android/iOS app is available.

WeTransfer Plus comes in at £10.58 per month or £106 for the year, and with that you’ll get an enhanced 20GB transfer limit, as well as storage up to 100GB and indefinite file availability.

Join WeTransfer now

Volafile: The anonymous way to share files

This is an anonymous file-sharing platform, insofar as Volafile doesn’t require your email, phone number or any other contact details in order to use it. As a result, there’s obviously no registration, no mobile app, and no paid version.

It works a little differently from the other services listed here – you open a private chatroom, which comes with a shareable link. Then upload whatever you want to share. The upload limit is 20GB per file, and all files expire after two days.

Join Volafile now

MediaFire: The cheapest way to get 1TB of storage

If you want bang for your buck, then Mediafire is the way to go. While a free version offers up to 4GB uploads and 10GB storage (that you can boost by connect social media accounts and referring friends), it’s the paid version that is of most interest here.

For just £3.78 per month or £34 for the year, you can upgrade to 1TB storage and a 20GB upload limit per file with long-term storage – the best value we’ve found. A more expensive business option with more features and 100TB of storage is also available.

Join MediaFire now

Microsoft OneDrive: The file-sharing service that integrates with Outlook

Microsoft’s option integrates with their Outlook email client, giving you the option to share links via email and upload email attachments straight to OneDrive. The free plan is meaner than most, giving 5GB of storage, while £1.99 a month buys you 50GB. An upload limit of 10-15GB, depending on your browser, applies across the board.

Premium options include 1TB of space (at £5.99 per month or £60 annually) or 5TB (£7.99 or £80) as well as extras such as offline access and file restore.

Join Microsoft OneDrive now

Google Drive: The file-sharing service that integrates with Gmail

Another option for those who want to stick with their email clients, Google Drive lets you share links to what you’ve uploaded, as well as send attachments from your emails to Drive and vice versa.

The free version limits uploads at 10GB, with 15GB of total storage. Premium plans start at £1.59 per month for 100GB of storage and run through 1TB all the way up to 30TB for £240 per year.

Join Google Drive now