How to use file sharing services ?

  1. Generally speaking, if you want to send or upload files without dealing with upload limits, you’ll need to use a cloud storage service for large files.

Uploading large files (such as videos, image files, etc.) to services like Dropbox or Google Drive is a good idea. It’s also a good idea to copy them to your phone in case you need access to them again. For the most part, this isn’t something you think about when you’re sending files from one place to another, but it can be a big pain having to hyperlink each file once it’s been uploaded — that won’t happen with Dropbox.

file sharing

And while it isn’t strictly necessary (and in some cases not even practical), we usually prefer using Google Drive over Dropbox for photos and video because of its vast storage space. Sometimes I wish we could do the exact opposite: let people download pictures or videos directly from our site through their own services. But the reality is that we don’t have access to that much storage space on our own servers (with some notable exceptions).

  1. Most transfer services have caps on file size, even on paid plans.

If you have large files to upload (say, a 1TB file or more), you can use a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or Microsoft SkyDrive. You can also choose to upload your files to FTP sites such as and

Two common reasons for lack of transfer:

  • The file is too large (e.g., the size exceeds the upload limit)
  • The server you are transferring over is not supported by the service provider

You can also try a few other services like BitTorrent or P2P but none are guaranteed to work with every file type and transfer protocol.

The main drawback of all of these options is that they use your data connection and typically cost extra in terms of data usage/connection speed: Dropbox may be one-tenth of what an alternative might be but it will cost you $0.25 per GB per month; Google Drive will cost $0.15 per GB per month (and if you have 200GB in the cloud instead of 100GB on your PC/Mac, it won’t even cover that). If your internet connection is slow or unreliable, you may run into trouble uploading large files or share videos via FTP sites because bandwidth costs may limit transfer speeds significantly and make transfers take longer than expected (or impossible altogether). Of course, this doesn’t apply to most cloud storage services where bandwidth isn’t an issue anyway but there is no reason why cloud storage should be different from any other service — just because it’s free doesn’t mean it can’t be used at a premium rate!

  1. The exceptions are Google Drive, iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive, which all offer unlimited storage for files up to 10GB in size.

  • Downloading large files is not a good idea. Uploading large files is a good idea.
  • You can send an unlimited number of files to OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
  • Some people want to store large files on their home computers, and they need to do share that with others.

More often than not, you’ll want to upload your file through one of these services or a custom FTP program (like Rsync) so that the file size doesn’t matter. We note the exceptions as we go along our list and explain them in their own section at the bottom of this post.

  1. If you need to send or upload a file larger than 10GB,

If you need to send or upload a file larger than 10GB, we recommend using a file hosting service like Dropbox. You can set it up as an automatic uploader that sends “large” files to the cloud automatically, after which you can check them on your local computer.

The setup is simple:

  • You create a sharing account.
  • You enable the automatic uploading.
  • You give your sharing account access to the files so they will be uploaded automatically.
  • Choose a file size limit (for example, 10MB).
  • Save the file in your Dropbox folder (usually c:\dropbox\youraccount\share) and this will be synced automatically with all your other folders. If you have more than one Dropbox folder, make sure they are copied over before syncing (or start all over again). If you want to give access to others in your organization, you may want to consider giving them permission for these large uploads and changes instead of having everyone use Dropbox for everything.

Some other services may have their own variations on this setup: for example: Bitbucket may allow you to set upload limits; or Google Drive may allow files larger than 2GB via its Files On Demand feature; or just about any other cloud storage service that can support files larger than 10MB (for example, Box and Evernote). In some cases, these services are very similar in terms of features and functionality; in others, there are differences between them as well as extra features offered by each. For our purposes here, we’ll focus on the ones which offer automatic uploading of large files; but it remains common practice with most cloud storage providers to also offer some way of choosing upload sizes as well as limits beyond 10MB.


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