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It wasn't so long ago that most email providers enforced strict size limits on the size of email attachments and the total amount of email you could store. While those limits have greatly increased — Gmail, for instance, lets you attach files up to 25MB in size — there are good reasons not to use email to send files that large. If your recipient does still have a size limit, you'll cause all sorts of problems. And if you're using a less than optimal connection, the whole operation can easily time out before you get the attachment sent anyway.
For the geekier amongst us, there are plenty of ways to solve this problem (uploading via FTP to your own web server chief amongst them). But what if you're trying to explain the process to your barely-PC-literate cousin?
Lifehacker recently recommended Opera Unite as a way to share large files. While that's a pretty neat solution, it does require the sender to install extra software, a step that it's sometimes easier to skip.
Following that post, regular Lifehacker commenter Nikhil sent us this list of options for sharing files via email, all of which are potentially useful alternatives for sharing files. Most work on a similar model, either allowing you to upload a file from your browser and then providing a simple download link which you can email to anyone who wants to access it, or letting you email a file directly to a specified address. Thanks Nikhil!
www.yousendit.com - web-based email 100MB, free
www.sendspace.com - web-based email 300MB, free
www.cutesendit.com - web-based email 100MB, free
acrobat.com – free 5GB online storage and each file gets a link which you can include in an email.
drop.io - free simple 100MB file upload each file gets a link which you can include in an email
None of these options will eliminate the sometimes painful wait for files to send (upload speeds on most connections are a fraction of download speeds), but they do make the process easier.
What other solutions do you find useful for sharing large files, especially with non-technically-inclined friends and relatives? Tell us in the comments.
Lifehacker 101 is a weekly feature covering fundamental techniques that Lifehacker constantly refers to, explaining them step-by-step. Hey, we were all newbies once, right?