How To Send Large Files Over The Internet.
How do you send or share a large file over the Internet? How can you transfer a large file or maybe a folder from your computer to another computer across the 'net and specifically, how can you do it for free?
Maybe not something you'll need to do every day, but every now and then it'll crop up.
Sending Large Files Over The Internet.
You can't send large files and folders directly to another computer over the Internet (well you can but it isn't easy).
What we're looking for is something that is easy to do, anyone can do it, and is reliable. It just works.
One of the best ways of transferring files over the Internet is to use a file-sharing website.
How it works is the files or folders that you want to send are uploaded into the cloud.
That's to say you send your files to a storage computer on the Internet.
It's much easier using these websites because they are specifically set up to receive files.
To send your files to cloud storage, you sometimes install a small program/app on your PC that does all the work for you. Or at other times it's simply a matter of either navigating to the files you want to send or using Copy & Paste.
Once the files/folders have been uploaded to the cloud, an email or some other form of notification can be sent to the intended recipient, notifying them that the files are ready for download.
When your recipient receives the email, they'll click the link inside it and can then download the files you've sent them.
How To Send Or Share Large Files Over The Internet.
Sharing files and folders over the Internet like this is something that we're doing more and more. And there are many services out there on the Internet that you could use. Some can be used for free, while others require payment.
When you're trying to send files for free there are limits to how large a file/folder you can send. Obviously, if you're paying for a service, then the limits go up.
In this guide, we're going to look at the free options and we'll look at them in order of size, starting the smallest.
How To Share Files Using Onedrive.
You've probably already got a Microsoft account and if so, you can use OneDrive to send or share large files or folders.
With OneDrive, you get up to 5GB of free storage. So assuming that you've got enough space available, OneDrive is fairly easy to use and since you've already got an account, there's not much messing about.
As an example, let's say you wanted to send a folder from your Desktop to someone else over the Internet.
The folder is around 4.8 GB, which is just under OneDrive's limit of 5 GB.
Open File Explorer.
In the left-hand panel, you should be able to see your OneDrive.
Left-click on OneDrive to open it.
To open File Explorer, click the yellow folder on your Taskbar, or press the Windows key and letter E on your keyboard.
When you open your OneDrive folder, if you're not already signed in to your Microsoft account (your using a local account on your PC), you'll be prompted to sign in.
Enter your MS account Email address and password.
If this is the first time you've logged in to OneDrive, you might see the Personal Vault pop up.
We don't want that, not at the moment, it has its uses, but not right now.
Click the X in the corner to skip setting it up. You can set it up later if you want it.
Inside your OneDrive folder, right-click in the main window and then left-click PASTE from the menu.
The files or folder you just copied will appear.
If you're trying to send large files or folders, it may take quite some time to be uploaded to Onedrive.
For most of us, our upload speeds are much less than our download speeds. All you can do is to be patient.
Notifying The Recipient That The Files Are Ready.
At this point, your files and/or folders are now stored on the Internet in your OneDrive account.
The next thing to do is to send an email with a link to the files/folders to whoever you want to share them with.
Right-click on the file or folder that you want to share/send.
The Options menu opens.
When you're clicking the SHARE option, be careful to click the right one. There are two of them.
The SHARE option you want is the one with a blue cloud symbol beside it.
If you clicked the correct Share option, then the SEND LINK window opens.
Type in the Email address of your intended recipient.
When you've typed in the Email address, you need to click in the box that appears.
Be sure to click on the box.
With the Email address properly entered, you can click where it says "Add a message (optional)"
Then type in a short message to say Hi and what files/folders you're sending.
When you're done, click the SEND button.
At the other end, your recipient will receive an Email from you, with a clickable link to the file or folder, that they can use to download it onto their computer.
How To Send Large Files Using Google Drive.
If you've already got a Google account (If you've got a Gmail email address, you've got one), Then you could use Google Drive to send large files. It'll work similarly to how Onedrive works.
One big advantage of using Google Drive to share your files is that you get 15GB of storage space for free. Now that would be a large file.
If you don't have a Google account and would like one How to Create a Google Account
Open your Google Drive.
The easiest way is to open your browser (go onto the Internet) and then from the Google home page, click the Google Apps icon (9 dots arranged in a square pattern) in the top right of the screen.
On the menu that opens, click DRIVE.
Or log in to your Gmail email account, then click the Google Apps icon and then click DRIVE on the menu.
As you can see, I don't have anything in my Google Drive at the moment.
You may have several files and folders, depending on how you've been using it.
In the bottom left corner, you'll be able to see how much space you're currently using, and therefore how much space you've got available for uploads.
Remember that with Google Drive you get 15 GB free.
Right-click somewhere in the main window of Google drive.
On the menu that opens, left-click either UPLOAD FILES or UPLOAD FOLDER, depending on what you're trying to send.
It's important that you make the right choice here so that Google knows what it's looking for.
If you're trying to share individual files, then click Upload Files.
If the files are inside a folder and you want to send the whole folder, then click Upload Folder.
Navigate to the file/folder that you're going to send.
- In the left-hand pane, click the folder where it's located
- Then in the main window, left-click once on the file/folder
- And finally, click the OPEN button.
A progress window will open.
Not much you can do until it's finished uploading and it might take a while if it's a large file.
Sharing A File In Google Drive.
Now you've got the file or folder safely stored in your Google Drive, it's time to notify you're recipient that it's ready.
File/Folder Sharing Options In Google Drive.
When you click the SHARE button, you'll have a couple of options.
Firstly, by default, the file or folder will be shared in "Restricted Mode". That simply means that only people who have been added to your group can access the file/folder.
The second mode is "Anyone with the link".
We'll look at both below.
If you want to keep the file restricted to people that you've added to your group, then type in their Email address in the "Add people and groups box" (box 1).
Then click the COPY LINK button (2).
When you've done that, click the DONE button.
If you just want anyone with the link to be able to access the file or folder, click "Change to anyone with the link".
If the information in the files or folders your sending is private, confidential or personal, then use the restricted mode.
If the files aren't of any real importance, then change to "Anyone can open this link".
Generally, I use the latter option, it's quite rare for me to send anything confidential, and it's less messing about.
Email The Link.
Now that you've got the link copied to your computer's clipboard, you'll need to send an Email to your recipient.
From within Google Drive, left-click the Google Apps icon in the top right of the window.
On the menu that opens, left-click Gmail.
In Gmail, start a new email, fill in the address and subject lines, add a quick message, then click the ADD LINK icon.
You can do much more with Gmail than simply adding links to your emails. But we'll get to that later in the At Home Computer Course.
On the Edit Link window, click inside the "Web Address" box and then press CTRL and the letter C on your keyboard.
The link you just copied from Google Drive will appear in the box.
When you're done, click the OK button and the link will be inserted into your Email.
Now all you need to do is send it.
You can use Google Drive for far more than simply sending the odd large file whizzing around the 'net.
One of the best uses is as a cloud backup solution. You can store copies of your most important files (documents, photos, etc) in your Google Drive for safekeeping.
We'll get to that later in the course.
How To Send Large Files Using MyAirBridge.
When you're sending large files or folders across the Internet, using Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive are good options, but they both have issues.
Firstly in order to use either one, you'll need to have an account. Not really a big issue and many of us will already have accounts with one or both companies anyway.
Secondly, you have to consider the amount of free storage that you've got available for your files.
Both OneDrive and Google Drive are actually online file storage facilities that you can use for file sharing. As such they could both have files and folders already stored inside them which will eat away at your free allocation.
Which is where services such as MyAirBridge come into their own. These types of websites are dedicated file sharing sites rather than storage sites.
There are many companies offering file-sharing services and I'm only using MyAirBridge as an example of how they work.
I don't know what the terms & conditions are for MyAirBridge, so I'd recommend that you click on the links provided on the page if you've any concerns.
Once you've agreed to the T's & C's you'll be allowed onto the site.
To send your large files, click "Send files via Email".
Navigate to the file or folder that you want to send.
When you find it, select it and click the OPEN button.
On the left-hand side of the window, fill in the details.
- Your Email address
- Recipients Email address
When you're done with that, click the SEND button.
Be doubly sure to type in the correct Email addresses. Triple-check your spelling, it's way too easy to make a typo.
When you click the SEND button, your files or folders will be uploaded to the MyAirBridge website.
Again, if it's a very large file, it'll take some time.
But once the files/folders have been successfully uploaded, Emails will be sent automatically to the two Email addresses you gave earlier.
One email will be to yourself, notifying you that the link has been sent, and one will go to your recipient's email address and will contain the link they'll need to click to download the files.
Please note that the emails sent to both you and the recipient will be from MyAirBridge. So it would be worth telling your recipient to look out for such an email.
An Important Note About Using MyAirBridge.
Microsoft's OneDrive & Google Drive are primarily file storage services. Any files and folders that you upload to them will stay there, in the cloud, until you decide to delete them.
That means that whoever is receiving the files you're trying to send can take as much time as they want to download them.
MyAirBridge, on the other hand, isn't. It's primarily a file transfer service. With the free plan that we've used here, files and folders will only be stored for 48hrs. After that, they're deleted.
You can, of course, pay for the service which will get you more flexibility.
How To Send Large Files - Summary.
If you need to send or share files over the Internet, then first consider attaching those files to an email. It's easier and quicker.
But sending files as attachments to emails has one big drawback, and that is the file size limit. With emails, you're limited to around 20 to 25MB depending on which email service you use.
We'll look at attaching files to email later in the At Home Computer Course.
For anything larger than 25MB, then emails simply won't work.
That's when you'll need some form of file-sharing website. OneDrive and Google Drive are good choices assuming that you've got the necessary storage space available to you.
Other than that, then services such as MyAirBridge, Dropbox, WeTransfer and many others work pretty well and are generally easy to use. Just be sure to check out the Ts & Cs and file size limits.