How to send large files online without wasting time

In a nutshell

  • Sending large files online is easier than before, but issues like slow speeds and failed transfers still pose challenges.
  • Popular cloud services are convenient but may not be optimized for large files, while specialized services offer more features but may come at a cost.
  • High-end solutions provide efficiency but are expensive, making it crucial to consider your specific needs and budget when choosing a file-sharing option.

Sending large video files over the web for collaboration or client review is easier than ever before. There are commercial and consumer options for sharing large files through cloud or network servers, as well as subscription-based software and pay-per-gigabyte services. The reasons for needing to send large files online can vary. They might include clients wanting to review native footage, collaborating editors working together on a project, or delivering a film festival screener for an upcoming premiere.

Let’s take a look at how you can send large files without holding up your production timeline.

Common challenges

Uploading a large file can sometimes work seamlessly, but connections can also fail and halt halfway through the transfer. It all hinges on your network connection and internet transfer speeds. Transferring large video files can strain your CPU’s processing power, limiting other background activities. For the most optimal experience in transferring large files, it’s best to start the project upload to the file-sharing service and then walk away until the upload is complete.

Let’s explore some common file-sharing services you might have heard of and consider the pros and cons of each. Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive are cloud-based sharing services typically have a file size limit of around 1 to 2 GB for free use. They are popular among users, but these products aren’t optimized for sharing large files easily. In fact, these services can be up to 10 times slower than UDP-based or other accelerated cloud options. Price-wise, however, they may be your best option.

A detailed look at various services


Dropbox is designed to sync all the files using a shared folder between the content creator and the end user via a cloud-based storage system. Your internet speed and bandwidth will play a major part in how fast your files transfer with this service. Dropbox requires a monthly subscription, with various plans available depending on your delivery and storage needs. If you’re happy with the standard 2 GB that Dropbox offers for free, no subscription is needed.

Google Drive

Google Drive is convenient since having a Google account gives you 15 GB of free cloud storage that stays up until you delete the files. You’ll need to manage the files to create new space for more uploads, or you can purchase more storage.

Google Drive
Google Drive. Image courtesy: Google


WeTransfer, a popular large file-sharing application, offers up to 2 GB for free. It’s a great option because you can add your own branding and your own domain. You can send files individually or multiple files for free under 2 GB. The WeTransfer files are only available for 10 days.


Veed is another large file-sharing option. It’s similar to WeTransfer, but you will need a subscription to use this service.

Video sharing via YouTube

If you only want to send videos to people, YouTube is also an option. You upload your file, set it to Unlisted and share the URL link with the client or collaborator. The major downside to this option is you’ll lose a lot of quality because of YouTube’s compression algorithm.

Wondershare Uniconverter

Wondershare Uniconverter is a video editor and compressor that offers large file-sharing options with a built-in compressor for easier and more efficient sharing. In the compression settings, you can manually adjust the quality to whatever suits the client or collaborator’s needs or whatever size the file needs to be for delivery. Compressing videos to smaller sizes makes for easier distribution. Wondershare Uniconverter is another great option if you don’t have access to a video compressor via video editing software like Adobe Premiere or Apple Final Cut Pro.

AniSmall for video compression

Another video compressing software is called AniSmall, and it works well for shrinking file sizes to share.

File transfer protocols: Filezilla and Filemail

File Transfer Protocols (FTPs), like Filezilla, have been around for decades and act as an intermediary for uploading and downloading files. It requires all files to be uploaded to a central server that only people with credentials can access, so it’s secure, but the interface can often be challenging for the average user to use. Filemail is also a great and simple service to use, with up to 100 GB of file transfers for free.

Physical transfer options: Hard drives and USB sticks

Transferring large files can also be done by shipping a hard drive or a USB stick. This option can be effective if you’re only sending to one recipient and you want them to have the large file on an external piece of hardware.

Video compression for emailing

Compressing your videos and emailing is another way to send them, but it will result in data loss. This option is effective if you don’t need to send high-quality video. You can compress your videos in any transcoder like Final Cut compressor or even VLC, which can be downloaded via the internet for free.

Cloud-Based option: MASV

MASV is a cloud-based option for sending large files. So, the only thing you need is the internet. You won’t need any plugins, software, or logins to get started. Upon first signing up, you’ll receive 100 GB for free. MASV supports up to 5TB per upload. There are no subscriptions or annual fees; it only costs twenty-five cents per gigabyte downloaded.

Expensive solutions for large businesses: Aspera and Signiant

If you’re looking for a more robust option and cost is not a problem, consider the industry-standard large file transfer sharing programs filmmakers and companies use, like Aspera and Signiant. These companies offer heavy-duty file sharing using UDP. Most web-based file transfer services run on TCP, which stands for Transmission Control Protocol, but UDP runs on User Datagram Protocol. UDP file transfer is incredibly fast and is made for transferring large video files. The downside to products like Aspera and Signiant is the high prices because they are meant for big businesses. Aspera’s annual plan is $10,000 for just six terabytes of data. You will also need an IT team to set it up for users to operate and maintain. Options like Aspera and Signiant are best for users who are already in a large, established company.

Still a cumbersome process

Regardless of the file-sharing service you choose, the reality today is that large file-sharing is still a cumbersome process that will take time, money and patience, especially since many content creators are shooting in 4K resolutions or higher. The good news is there are many services available to transfer large files within days for a price you feel comfortable with.

In a world where video quality is continuously rising and collaboration between creators becomes more critical, finding the right solution for transferring these massive files is paramount. From free options like WeTransfer to high-end services like Aspera and Signiant, there’s something to suit every budget and need. Consider your file size, speed requirements and budget to find the best fit. The key to success in this area is research, trial and error. No matter your situation, the options are available and evolving to make the process of sending and receiving large video files as smooth as possible. Explore your options and experiment with different solutions to find what works best for your specific needs.

Landon Dyksterhouse
Landon Dyksterhouse
Landon Dyksterhouse is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and is the founder of D-House Entertainment.

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