Sending big big files from your Mac

In my everyday work, I often have to send large files to colleagues and collaborators. And sometimes in my personal life as well. Of course, each of us has a different definition of "large file", but what I mean by this is anywhere between 2 MB and 100 MB, sometimes more.

While 2 MB still would fit in one email, I would hate filling up my gmail account with these (those 3 GB will eventually get all used, the later the better) and I don't feel like filling other people's mailboxes. And what to do with files in the 10 MB, 50 MB or 100 MB size range? If you have space on a web server, it is relatively easy to upload the file to it, and send a link to your correspondent. I have used this trick in the past, and it works. But it does require quite a bit of work, and then you have to remember to clean up things once in a while. More recently, I have used a free web-based service for this task, called YouSendIt. ...Read more below for a review of this service....

I know there are several other alternatives out there that seem to offer even more for free (e.g. TransferBigFiles), but I have only tested YouSendIt, so here are my impressions.

You can open a free account, which has some limitations, but already allows quite a lot of bandwidth. You can send files up to 100 MB, one file at a time, and each to as many recipients as you want. There is also a 1 GB limit per month that can be downloaded by your recipients, and each file can be downloaded up to 100 times. The file expires after 7 days.

The service is very easy to use: go to the web page www.yousendit.com, type the recipient's email addresses, select the file to upload on your disk, and then press "Send". It may take a little while to get the file uploaded, but this is mostly dependent on your connection. When I am on a fast network, it takes only a few seconds for 50 MB. Your recipient(s) then receive an email with a link, and can download the files (and enjoy the advertisements, shown only when you are using their free service).

I have used this service quite a bit now, and I am very happy with it. The recipients of my files have not complained too much, and for me it was really painless. In fact, if I ever have the need for larger files at work, I would probably upgrade to a paid service. The lowest plan at $10 a month offers a lot more: send several files, up to 2 GB, with 40 GB bandwidth limit, some basic tracking service. In addition, they offer a Dropbox, where your correspondents can drop big files to you (this is something a business would use for instance if they were printing pictures for clients).

In conclusion, this is certainly a service that can speed up your work, works fine on Safari on the Mac, and provides quite a lot for free. What do you think? YouSendIt offers a number of plug-ins, but only one is compatible with Mac OS X, the Aperture plugin. Do you know of similar services that may integrate even better for the Mac? For instance with a plugin for Mail.app?

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Recommendation

http://www.strongspace.com/ - Strongspace is a safe place to gather, store, back-up and share any type of file. You can upload and download files via SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), HTTPS (web browser access over Secure Socket Layers) and even RSYNC over SSH (a rapid, low bandwidth way to "sync").

Joyent designed Strongspace so that everything happens over a secure, encrypted connection. Your password and other sensitive information is encrypted with Blowfish, and files are moved to-and-from our servers to your computer over encrypted channels at all times.

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It's not actually encrypted on the StrongSpace file system, so if you need real confidentiality you should encrypt the file using PGP or something better before you upload it.

It's easy to manage read only user accounts and to organize your large files into folders where only certain users can access them. The Mac OS X connectivity comes into play with SSH functionality. You can use any of the Mac GUI SFTP programs such as Transmit, etc.

The receiving read only users just login to a web page. You can have multiple accounts with read/write ability and SSH connectivity.

This service provider works well for me. I would recommend it to anyone needing a secure way to transfer large files over the Internet.

FileChute

My colleagues and I have been using FileChute (www.yellowmug.com/filechute) for some time now and have been quite happy with it. Basically, it encompasses all the steps described above to send a large file into one easy step. You drag your big file (or collection of files) onto FileChute and it

-- optionally compresses the file
-- uploads it to your FTP/Web server (including .Mac)
-- generates a URL for the file and puts in on the clipboard, ready to past to Mail, iChat, etc

Its pretty handy and even has a little facility to make the occasional cleanup easy. Its a fast easy way to take advantage of server space you may already be paying for like .Mac.

Simple and straightforward

The nice thing about yousendit and equivalent is the high usability: it is just like email, and it really takes no extra effort, no extra applications, just a browser.

I am sure the Joyent service is nice too, but it does also much more than just sending files to people. Is there a simple equivalent way to type an email address and click a button to choose a file on your disk?

QuickShareIt

Probably being similar to "FileChute" (which I haven't tried yet), I can highly recommend "QuickShareIt" (www.quickshareit.com). This is a application made for OS X for the one-purpose of sending large files. It is pretty easy to use. You just drag-n-drop the files (it supports multiple files, and even does the zip-ing for you) onto the dock-icon, it uploads to the servers and give you the url when it is done, so you can IM or email it to your friends/colleagues. It is still in Beta but I have never had any problems with it. The best part is that it has not any bandwith restrictions, and will remain free to use.

Edit: Now I see that FileChute is in fact just a FTP-client, and it requires you to have access to a ftp-server of some sort. Basically the only feature that parts it from a free FTP-client like Cyberduck, is that it feedbacks the files URL to you.

Another option...

A good option is File Apartment (http://www.fileapartment.com)
- Easy to use
- No software to download
- Fast, safe and secure
- Supports up to 1 GB

There's a free option.