Brief-on sending large files

Brief-on sending large files

Using services to transfer large files – ‘when a zip will not do’

When working with digital tools a large volume of data is generated and must be shared with our collaborators. The quickest and most accessible way to send something is attaching it to an email. However, files can be very big, or there might be too many of them. A compressed archive (a .zip) can economise to some extent but when larger (much larger) files must be transferred then other approaches should be employed.

Transferring large files

It is quite common for individuals and groups to need to exchange extremely large files or folders. When the data is above 20MB then an email is not appropriate. In these cases we can:

  • Write the data on CD(s) or USB stick and send them to the recipients. Feasible but impractical since it has an extra cost and incurs a delay.
  • Upload the file in some cloud resource (e.g. Google Drive), share the file and notify the recipients to go and download it. This is common and convenient but as space is limited you have to remember and delete the file after a while.
  • Upload the file in some online service and the service provider will email the recipients to download the file(s). Explained in more detail below.

Transfer as a service

Websites like:,,,,,,,, and more offer a service of temporarily storing some files in order for recipients to download them. Depending on the site:

  • the service can be free or paid
  • you might need to set up an account or not
  • there (most often) is a limit to the size of files that you can send

The idea is simple enough and involves the following steps:

  • select files to send,
  • enter your email,
  • enter the recipients’ email(s),
  • enter (optionally) a message to the recipients and,
  • click the ‘send’ button.

The files are uploaded on the service provider servers, and the service provider will email the recipients that you have sent them some files. They will then have a limited amount of time (most often a few days) to visit their site and download the file(s).

Download the brief-on sending large files file which includes the text above