Sending a file as an attachment to an email is a common practice, but when that file is too large, the recipient could get annoyed with you clogging up their inbox. And that's if you can even send it via email - really large files will fall foul of many email services' size restrictions.

How can I send large files for free?

Fortunately, there are other avenues for sending large files, whether from your phone or your computer, and you don't need pay a penny to use them. Here are some of our favourites:

1. WeTransfer

WeTransfer offers one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to share your files. It’s free, you don’t need to register, and you can send up to 2GB at a time. You can upload and send files as often as you like, and with to up to 20 people at a time.

The download link is sent via email, and valid for seven days. Uploading files can be a bit slow during busy times, so the company recommends sending files in the morning or after work to avoid the rush hour of internet congestion.

2. Send Anywhere

This is one of the newest services in Europe and works in your web browser and as well as having iOS and Android apps, it's compatible with virtually all operating systems including Windows Mobile, Linux, macOS and there's even a WordPress plugin.

To send a file (up to 4GB) in a web browser, it's as simple as putting in your email address and the recipients, a subject and optional message, and hitting Send.

If you use the Chrome extension or Outlook plugin that limit is increased to 10GB, while it's 20GB on Android / iOS and unlimited if you use the Windows app. 

Neither party has to sign up to use the web version, so it couldn't be easier to use.

3. MailBigFile

MailBigFile is another quick and easy option. You can send files up to 2GB in size and upload multiple files at a time. The recipient has up to 10 days to download them.

The user experience isn't as clean and aesthetically pleasing as WeTransfer, but it’s another good, free service that gets the job done.

4. Hightail

Hightail (formerly YouSendIt) requires you to sign up for a free account, making it more complicated than WeTransfer and MailBigFile for one-off transfers. However, it's another decent service that lets you share files up to 250 MB. You can also store up to 2GB and have five e-signatures.

Hightail offers secure data encryption, receipt verification, and mobile and desktop app access.

5. Dropbox

Dropbox is probably the best-known cloud service of the lot. It's an online storage service through which you can share files whether or not the recipient is a member.

You can store 2GB for free, and get up to 16GB free with referrals. Paid plans are also available for businesses.

It works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. An offline mode so you can access your files at anytime.

6. Google Drive

Similar to Dropbox and OneDrive, Google Drive gives you space to store files on the web to access from anywhere. You'll get 15GB free space, linked to your Google account.

It's not designed to be a way of sending large files first and foremost, but it offers an easy sharing feature that does the trick, in addition to the Dropbox-like features that come with it.

7. OneDrive

Much of the functionality in OneDrive (previously SkyDrive) is similar to Dropbox and Google Drive. You can store 15GB of files using Microsoft's cloud service, and if you want more you can get it through referrals and for linking the app to your phone's Gallery app.

But more importantly in this case, though, you can use it to share files for free. Any file that is stored in OneDrive can be sent to a friend quickly and easily just by pressing the Share button.

8. Mail Drop

If you're using a Mac, you might not have realised that there's actually a free way of sending large files for free built into the Mail app.

It's called Mail Drop, and works by making use of iCloud to upload the file to the web and generating a link that the recipient can use to download and access the file. Even if the recipient doesn't use Mail or even if they don't use a Mac at all, they'll still be able to access the file.

If the recipient does use Mail, though, the file will automatically be downloaded as an attachment on the email and they won't even notice anything different from a normal attachment. Find out more about Mail Drop here.