Ask LH: Is There A Way To Speed Up Google Drive Uploads?

Ask LH: Is There A Way To Speed Up Google Drive Uploads?

Hey Lifehacker, I was helping a friend, who has horribly slow internet, sync files to her Google drive folder. She had large media files that take forever and completely stall the process. Is there a better way to upload large media to Google apart from moving to an NBN-friendly location? Thanks, Driven To Distraction

Photos by psdgraphics, Kamenetskiy Konstantin, and Flame of Life

Dear DTD,

Google Drive is a convenient storage option, but unfortunately the only method it offers for adding files is uploading. You’ll always be constrained by the available internet speed. It would be nice if Google offered a “send in a hard drive and we’ll upload it” option, but that hasn’t happened (and we don’t expect it ever will).

As we noted when asked a similar question earlier this year, you can explore various options for accessing a faster connection, including checking at a local computer shop or seeing if 4G works better. Also make sure that nothing else is going on using the connection as you upload the files: if there’s also a P2P client active or other people are hooked into the same router, performance will be slower. Beyond that, though, you’re stuck with waiting. (If readers have other tips, please share them in the comments.)

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • I’d be wary about using 3G/4G to upload files, most carriers count both upload and download as part of their data limit 🙁

  • Maybe DTD can use a file splitter to make the large file into smaller more manageable size? Or use the WinZip/WinRar/7Zip and use no compression with file split function. The files won’t upload any faster, but it will be much smaller chunks, so if the upload stalls, you only lose the time for that one small file that stalled. I’ve also heard that there are 3rd party applications that use FTP to access GoogleDrive, may be they could be better?

  • Thankfully we’ll soon all have the NBN and those problems will be over.
    What? They did what?

  • I think Angus may have missed the whole point here. Greenlego was heading in the right direction.

    Google Drive has a problem handling large files on relatively slow connections. With large files it easily suffers corrupted uploads, takes a long time trying to resume, provides very little information about what is happening with the upload and has little/poor bandwidth management (QoS).

    DropBox is better at handling these things, but I have still not found it to be a good solution.

    Greenlego’s suggestion of breaking up the large file into many smaller files would help, but then you may hit the other problem Google Drive seems to suffer from on Windows in Australia; under utilization of the bandwidth, caused in part I suspect from Google Drive being optimized for users closer to the Google Drive servers. I believe now that the Android version (or at least on tablets) now supports concurrent file uploading, because the Windows version doesn’t appear to.

    I have not used any FTP applications to access Google Drive and I would be some what concerned about using one as ftp is not a secure protocol which frequently isn’t an issue for large media files, but it may be for the other contents of the Google Drive.

    I have tried many different methods of uploading large files on slow connections and still find for files not needing to be securely transmitted, that FTP is still the best way to go. Unfortunately it isn’t particularly user friendly, but applications like Filezilla (Open Source) do allow you to control the amount of bandwidth being used.

    • Google Drive has many reliability problems, especially with large files. It also fails to recognize files that are already synced and wants to re-sync them all again. I’ve been using a third party Google Drive client called Syncdocs which makes Google Drive work just like Dropbox. Syncdocs isn’t free, though, they want $20, but combining it with Google Drive’s cheap storage, it is still better value than Dropbox.

  • Google drive is just really, really bad at transferring sizeable files, for 2-3 months my flat mate and I could not figure out where 20-30GB of our monthly allowance was disappearing to, and I finally traced it to an 300mb file that google drive was repeatedly trying to upload and failing.

    On top of that, recently I replace my HD (on a mac). Even though it was clone of the original, google drive simply refused to recognise my existing sync folder and the only option if provided was to disconnect and start again, downloading all the files I already had in order to “reconnect the folder”

    Dropbox, otoh, complained, but after about 15 minutes of chewing on the directory was able to satisfy itself that all was well.

    OneDrive wouldn’t run until I updated it to the new version, but then immediately recognised it’s original folder without skipping a beat at all.

    After all these problems, I’ve stopped using Goolge drive. It may be a cheap option, but it’s a hassle and is unreliable.

  • You’re not going to believe this, but even with my Google Fiber Gigabit upload/download, confirmed by speed tests to be over 940 Mbps upload, I’m still getting less than 1 Mbps when I try to upload to Google Drive. They’ve given me a Terabyte of free storage, but why is it so slow to use? I’m only using a few gigs, and most of my uploads are only a few Mb, but they still take several minutes for no good reason.

    • well maybe is a little bit late, but i have a new isp on Mexico City. The connection works at 200Mbps/200Mbps upload/download, speedtest confirmed…. before activating chrome awesome drive we can’t upload at a good speed, before that we can upload aroun 256MB in just about 10 seconds!!! try it people.

  • I am uploading a 485Mb video to my Google Drive, and after an hour it is only just halfway. I previously uploaded this same video unlisted to my YouTube account about 18months ago so that a friend could watch it, but she didn’t want it left there, so I deleted it after she had seen it. As I recall, it took only about 20 minutes to upload. AS YT and Drive are both Google services, why should there be this huge difference in upload speeds? BTW, I still have the same upload and download speeds with the same ISP.

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