It's quick and easy to send attachments via email, but what about when those files become too large? Many email clients place restrictions on the sizes of files that can be sent, and even those that are delivered can clog up the recipients inbox.
How can I send large files for free?
With that in mind, you'll want to find alternatives which you can turn to. Fortunately, we have seven free options, all of which still use email as a verification method.
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
Send Anywhere is a relatively similar service, but it does have a few tricks up its sleeve. One is its compatibility with a wide range of platforms - there's dedicated iOS and Android apps, a WordPress plugin and all the popular desktop operating systems are supported.
It also allows files up to 4GB to be sent, and is 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.
Receiving files is even easier, as you just need the 6-digit key to receive the file as soon as it's ready.
MailBigFile is another quick and easy option. You can send files up to 2GB in size and upload up to five files at a time. The recipient then 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.
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. If you're worried about particularly sensitive files, this might be the one to go for.
Dropbox is probably best-known as a cloud storage provider, but its file-sharing functionality is just as in-depth. The good news is that the recipient doesn't need to sign up to be able to receive files, although you will need an account to send them.
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. There's also 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, which is more than enough for most people, while paid plans start at just £1.59 per month.
It's also directly linked to your Google account, so it's perfect if you already use Gmail as your email client.
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.
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. Paid plans often come as part of an Office 365 subscription, although you can get a standalone 100GB for just £1.99 a month.
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 have 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. Check out our sister site Macworld to find out more about Mail Drop.