Tech

How To Send Large Files Online Securely

How To Send Large Files Online

Published on August 9th, 2022

How do you send large files securely over the Internet without breaking the bank? This article covers all you need to know.

File sharing is now an important staple of the Internet and cuts across every aspect of life. Businesses and professionals need to share files to collaborate with each other, especially in a world where almost everything is going remote.

Friends and families also have to share high-quality videos, pictures, and all sorts of files from time to time as well.
While broadband Internet has made it easier to send files to remote locations, there are bottlenecks when it comes to large files.

For example, a video editor might work with high-definition raw videos and finished edits that they’ll have to send to clients without compromising quality. Companies that work with such videos or large files like 3D CAD models also have to share them among departments.’

These files can’t simply be transferred through emails or instant messaging apps due to transfer caps.

Next is the issue with cyber security. With cybercrime on the rise, everyone needs secure transfer channels where their shared files are completely safe.

On top of all that, available transfer channels for large files can be expensive, leaving people wondering the right route to take.

Thankfully, we’ll help you solve the trilemma of large file transfer. This article shows you the best secure file transfer options that won’t leave a hole in your budget.

Use Cloud-Sharing Options

Cloud storage services now make it easy to store and share large files online. They make collaboration between colleagues and even friends and family easy. You can now edit documents in real-time from anywhere.

But what is cloud storage?

Cloud storage is an online service model where files are stored, maintained, and managed on remote servers and data centers.

Cloud storage services primarily allow you to send files to anyone in any location. You upload or sync your files and provide a link to the recipient to download or access the files.

The downside about cloud-sharing services is that they require you to pay for subscriptions and some have unfavorable transfer limits. There are also concerns about security and privacy policies that lead people to ask, “How secure is the cloud?”

Let’s talk about the different cloud storage services and what they offer.

Google Drive

Google Drive is, by far, the most popular cloud storage service there is. With the proliferation of the Android operating system, a huge chunk of smartphone users own Google accounts, which comes with a free Google Drive account.

The free Google Drive account offers free 15 GB of cloud storage to users. That means you can upload and share files of up to 15 GB.

The free 15 GB storage counts toward your email attachments, documents, sheets, slides, and photos you’ve uploaded to your Google account. Other things you upload from your phone to your Google account, such as

Whatsapp message backups, also count toward your free 15 GB.

Once the 15 GB is exhausted, you’re expected to go for a subscription package.

The paid plans are branded as Google One accounts and come with extra collaborative and support features.

While the cloud storage service allows you to transfer large files, it comes with certain limits apart from pricing. For example, individual users are not allowed to upload files larger than 750 GB in one day. And the maximum single file size you can upload is 5 TB.

What’s more, concerns have been raised over Google’s security. While the service is considered secure and private, its encryptions can be undone. That means that it’s possible government officials and even hackers can go through the contents of your files.

Dropbox

Dropbox is another major player and one of the earliest in the cloud storage field. The service has built a reputation for reliable file-syncing and transfers.

Dropbox offers unique features like the digital signature that sets it apart from others. However, it falls short in terms of core file sharing offerings compared to other services.

For example, it only offers a paltry 2 GB of free storage for every Dropbox account. That’s saying something when you compare it to Google’s 15 GB.

After exhausting the free 2 GB, you’ll have to use a paid option to scale your transfer and storage capabilities. And the fees are not as pocket friendly as other services either.

Apart from Dropbox’s meager free storage and high pricing, you may still face transfer caps.

If you’re uploading files through Dropbox’s website, they must not be larger than 50 GB. However, using the mobile or desktop app allows you to upload files up to 2 TB in size. Still, you’re only allowed to share files within your subscribed amount.

There’s also a limit on a transfer by transfer basis. If you’re using the free plan, you’re only allowed 100 MB per transfer. The paid Plus plan allows you to send 2 GB per transfer, with others allowing up to 100 GB per transfer, depending on your package.

OneDrive

Microsoft has been making the push for Windows and Microsoft Office users to join the OneDrive family.

It’s a direct competitor to Google Drive and Apple iCloud even though it preceded them by at least 5 years.

If you have a Microsoft account, you’re automatically signed up to OneDrive with free 5 GB of storage. That free storage counts toward your Outlook attachments, shared Excel spreadsheet, slides, and Word documents, and other backup files.

By default, Windows comes with a OneDrive application and folder that allows you to automatically sync files and create backups.

You can also use OneDrive to share files by sending your recipients links.

Once the free 5 GB is exhausted, you’re expected to go for a paid plan.

The single file upload limit for OneDrive was reviewed to 250 GB from 100 GB during the coronavirus lockdown.

That means you can’t upload single files larger than 250 GB.

When it comes to security, OneDrive isn’t the worst option. With its Personal Vault option, users have the choice to use multifactor authentication and stronger authentications like fingerprints and PINs. However, the service doesn’t offer zero-knowledge encryption, which can be considered a security concern.

Apple iCloud

iCloud was built to work with the Apple ecosystem and everyone with an Apple ID is registered on iCloud. While the service has powerful file-sharing features, it pales in comparison to other big players.

For example, you cannot upload single files larger than 50 GB and you only get 5 GB of free storage. The 5 GB free storage goes to Apple device owners only. You’ll get a meager 1 GB if you don’t own a device from Apple.

Once you use up your 5 GB – or 1 GB – of free storage, you’re expected to go for one of iCloud’s pricey subscription packages.

You still have to deal with the fact that iCloud is tightly attached to the Apple ecosystem even though it has a Windows app. You’ll be better off with services like Google Drive if you don’t own Apple devices.

Using Email

Email attachments are restricted to files not larger than 25 MB. However, Gmail and Yahoo mail allow you to send Google Drive and Dropbox files via emails.

With Gmail, you’re able to send Google Drive documents through the email clients.

You can also send links from storage services like Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive regardless of which client you use.

Another way to transfer files via email is compressing them to reduce their file sizes to the accepted file attachment limit. However, that won’t be entirely helpful especially when you’re dealing with files larger than 10 GB.

There’s also the security problems that come with using emails. From spam and phishing attacks to malware delivery, hackers can use any method to hijack your files.

Using FileWhopper

FileWhopper is a dedicated file transfer service built to transfer large files securely. It works by charging you a fee based on the size of the file you want to transfer. The service does not require you to continue paying a subscription fee to maintain an account or retain access to stored files.

The first 5 GB you transfer will be free of charge, and the free transfer doesn’t limit your experience with the service like other platforms.

The fee-based transfers make things easier in cases where you just want to send over large files.

You’re able to transfer huge files and folders at once even if the file or files are as large as 10 TB.

There are other perks of using FileWhopper:

  • The services uses a zero-knowledge security policy that means even FileWhopper’s team can’t check the contents of your files.
  • A tiny app is used to facilitate the transfer, encrypt your files, and provide the decryption password. Once the transfer is complete, the file deletes itself. It doesn’t weigh on your system’s resources like other demanding cloud storage desktop clients.
  • You can always continue your transfer after any interruption, keeping your progress intact.
  • Super-fast transfers since the service uses multi-threaded technology to facilitate transfers. Multiple servers are used to send fragments of your files simultaneously.
  • Your recipient can start downloading the file once you begin the upload. This way, they don’t have to wait until you complete the download. However, they won’t have access to the files until the download is complete.

While FileWhopper also supports mobile transfer through mobile browsers, the service is not yet available on iOS devices.

FTPS

File Transfer Protocol Secure is the upgraded version to the less secure File Transfer Protocol. While the traditional FTP used Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) connections to transmit files, FTPS adds the Transport Layer Security (TLS) for encryption and authentication to boost security.

With FTPS, you can authenticate file transfers with client certificates, passwords, and server certificates.

As with FTP, FTPS uses a client on your system to communicate with servers and transfer files. You don’t have to deal with file size limits, can schedule transfers, and send more than one file at once.

The downside with FTPS is that it has to open ports to establish a connection, making it clash with most firewalls. It may not be as fast as dedicated services like FileWhopper, plus, it lacks support on some FTP servers, making options limited.

To use FTPS, you need a client like FileZilla and Syncplify.me.

Concluding

With today’s Internet expansion and the increased speeds of 4G and 5G, file transfer problems should be long gone. Thankfully, services like Filewhopper are making those issues and bottlenecks go away.

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