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thornysarus's picture
930 pencils

Heavy-weight file emailing solutions reviewed

heavyfileI'm sure we've all been in a situation where someone's waiting on a file, but for any number of reasons including large file size, email just isn't a viable solution. In this case, I usually just toss it on the server and email the expecting party a link where they can download the massive file. Simple enough, but if you're server is like mine, at any given time it's always at near-capacity. So, what to do (aside from actually cleaning out the server, of-course)?

Well, the good news is that there are several free, web-based services who offer to upload and deliver these large files in short order. And a few actually do so with out much hassle.

We've selected six of these services and compared them based on similar criteria. For each, we registered (if necessary), timed the upload of the same 50 MB, CMYK tiff file, and then timed each download. Other considerations were limits to file size, relative ease of use and whether it was possible to notify multiple recipients of the file's availability from their site. I also included the results from my personal server, via FTP just out of curiosity (see Speed Report graphic).

I also should note that these test were performed on a Macintosh G4, v10.4.8, with a 1.8 Ghz processor, 1.12 GB RAM, with an Ethernet-to-DSL internet connection. We also used Safari for these tests, so your mileage may vary depending on your configuration. Also, no other internet activity was going on while these tests were being performed, so the results should be fairly indicative of optimum performance for each service.

In order of personal preference:

transferbigfilesAlthough the upload system failed three times with Safari, I switched over to Firefox and it worked beautifully. has an intuitive interface with handy help links as well as many more upload options than the rest. You can send multiple files to multiple recipients, include a message with your file, password protect the file, send using your own name and a feature that I especially liked, the option to receive confirmation of successful download. The transfer was flawless and they never asked me for my personal information to just upload and download the file. Their presentation left a bit to be desired, but for functionality, the extra options and allowing me to keep my email to myself, gets my top vote.

yousenditRunning a close second, is They've been around awhile and I should admit that I've used them many times in the past. Before you can use their services, you must register with your name and email. They instantaneously email you a link which verifies that you're human and logs you in. Transferring a file is a 3-step process of entering the recipient email(s), choosing the file, and clicking "send." The site is also well done and intuitive. Confirmation of successful upload is sent to you and a file availability email is sent to the recipient(s). Even though they made me register, the presentation and execution was flawless.

myfabrikThis one's the artsy one of the bunch, and maybe that's what landed them in third place. They have a graphical interface that's fairly intuitive, but it took me a second or two to realize I was following protocol. At the very least, some textual info on the buttons would help out in this respect. Basically, you click the file upload button, locate the file on your drive and click "upload." After the file uploads, you get a "confirm you're human" page with a graphical image of random, and case-sensitive numbers and letters. Once you type this code into the field, you get a successful upload confirmation and are asked to copy and paste the provided download link into an email to the recipient. Again, I had trouble here because the graphical image of the code looks like an extruded wireframe, and the characters are difficult to read. On my second attempt, I finally got the download link and it was smooth sailing after that.

droploadDropload is fairly straightforward. They do require registration but after that, I was uploading in mere moments. The interface also leaves much to be desired, but I do dig their logo of a descending package tied to a parachute. I didn't see a way to upload to multiple recipients and there was no obvious mention of file size limitations. This lack of info caused a bit of hesitation, but the site worked as advertised and with one of the shortest download times of the bunch. Did I mention that the logo was cute? :)

sendthisfileThey allow upload of files up to 2GB! Sound appealing? Well, keep reading. does require registration, verification and log-in which again, is fairly painless. However it took slightly over an hour to upload our 50 MB file! Imagine 2 GB... you do the math. Under the upload status bar, there's a notice in red letters: "Your FREE account is throttled based on the total usage each month. Your upload speed is reset monthly." Let's just hope that they throttle it "upwards." Because, with the previously-mentioned contenders vying for your file transfer business, and with upload speeds like this, may want to reconsider this policy. Just a suggestion.

eocfuI should mention right off that this one's still in beta. I know this to be true for a couple of reasons. First, because It says so in a big starburst on their logo. And secondly because I managed to "stumble" into their directory of all the files that had been uploaded through their service. Wait... let me explain. When you visit the site, you have three options: Choose File, Upload and Reset. So, I chose my file and clicked "upload." The transfer began, complete with a detailed status list and status bar. Upon successful upload, a listing of uploaded files (just the one) was presented as a link. Not knowing what to do next, I clicked it and the tif image began loading in the browser window. I then clicked "back," selected the link and copied it. I opened a new browser window and pasted the link, which was the relative link to the file. Out of curiosity, I deleted the filename from the URL and there I was. Looking at every file anyone had uploaded. Oops! No... Nothing of interest really, so I went back to the link and did the "Download linked file." thing.




Of the services reviewed, and are the two that I'd recommend. They each have more options than the rest, both are free and they work equally well. The only question as to which one you use may depend on if you want to create a user account or not. If not, is your best bet. I'll continue to use as well because I already have an account there. I also will mention that a couple of days after I signed up with, they offered an account upgrade to one of their paid membership plans for free, which I was more than happy to accept.

Each service did what they said they'd do. Transfer a large file for free. Some just did it a bit better than others and some with a bit more elegance and security in-mind. In today's digital world, it's easy to see the value of these services. Not to mention another reason to put-off cleaning out the server. :)

Terry Thornhill
e-zign design group

Terrell Thornhill

e-zign Design Group

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Ivan's picture

Great article Terry. I always wondered which one is the best. It is amazing to see that the speeds are par with FTP. I always use Yousendit and it seems I should keep doing so. Cheers!

thornysarus's picture
930 pencils

I would also thank you (Ivan) and Martin (aka: Tigerstorm) for your invaluable, graphical contributions to the article.

We should do more of these collaborative pieces in the future.

Thanks again guys. :)

Terrell Thornhill

e-zign Design Group

sidesey's picture
280 pencils

Terry, thanks for that. Yousendit gets my vote too, although looks interesting, especially if you want to see someone elses work, perhaps we could crit it here for them!!!!! ;-)

akseez's picture
3 pencils

I just found out about Pando ( ). They're free, allow up to 1 GB, and have a cool net-app for both OS X and Windows. Like I said I just found out about them, so I can't say much more about them than that, but I'll let you know after I've had more experience.

William's picture
187 pencils

Have a look at

They have a special Mac & Windows app that uploads the file for you and then lets you send multiple emails. It will let you send new email links at a later date too.

Basic service is free too.


JimD's picture
2626 pencils

Here's a quick list of 50 file sharing sites (all Free) - some specs have changed since I made that list, but most all are still the same.

Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

thornysarus's picture
930 pencils

I don't know if this is coincidence or what, but the email account that I used to sign up for these accounts (the file transfer sites which required registration) is getting gobs of spam.

I think I can safely rule out as the culprit though, because I've had an account with them for quite some time now. This sudden surge started a couple of days after I signed up for the others and has only gotten worse since.

Just a word of caution.

Terrell Thornhill

e-zign Design Group

Flub-Dub's picture

a, the bastards
you should review the terms and conditions for all the sites
and see who has a hole for advertising in it.

always outnumbered, never outgunned

miniman's picture
1 pencil

As one of the creators of i created it for super simple sharing, Currently we are hosted in the US, and shortly we will be moving to sweeden for DMCA copy write issues, thanks for putting us in the review, and we had the directory access open so people could checkout all the other files. That got changed when we got a Message from our Current web host.
If you have any other questions about send an email to

gosselin07's picture
29 pencils free, fast, unlimited upload. Thanks mediafire !

philipb78's picture
1 pencil

Great review , you may want to include Free Upload Host

aruna's picture
1 pencil

Sending files is what we do and we have access from widgets, gadgets, several personalized pages, firefox and facebook. Check us out, it is free, no registration required and if you do provide your email address, we will NEVER sell it to anyone or spam you.

Thanks for your consideration!

jeff2006's picture
1 pencil

Been trialing these guys for a month or two on their free service - good for us as we need to send and receive large graphics files from our clients - we use their Dropbox to receive files and they allow you to customise the logos and colors that are shown to your customers.

Never had a failed upload and uploads as quick as our connection allows:) - they've also just released to beta a mobile client so you can download files sent through the service from your phone.. - recommended

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

I use sendspace and it rocks!

Powerpoint is not a design application
My latest web design work

ddlboard's picture
1 pencil

- 1GB size limit
- 100% free
- files and folders
- Fast, No limits, No adds!

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