Get Around Attachment Size Limits — Update and Expansion


Back in August, I wrote a post that rounded up some of the easiest methods for getting around email attachment size limits. Lots of people run into these limits when trying to send large files over email — especially from corporate, school, or ISP provided email accounts — and it can be hard to know you’ve run up against it until the person you were sending the file to reports the email didn’t go through. Keep reading for an update and expansion on that original post — many of the services I originally wrote about have changed, and some new ones have come along.

What’s Changed: When I wrote the original post 8 months ago, TransferBigFiles was my favorite method for getting around attachment size limits. All you had to do was upload a file and enter the email address of your recipient and they would receive an email with a link to the file. Well, the site still works that way, but instead of having a 1GB per file limit, it’s now 100MB. If you sign up for a free account, it’s 250MB, but that still constrains you to dramatically smaller files than you were able to send before (though 250MB should be more than large enough for most any photo or audio files you wish to send, and most video files should work as well). You will now also need to sign up for an account to use most of the features of the service, such as password protecting the file or including a message to the recipient. Paid accounts start at $5 a month, let you transfer files up to 2GB. Overall, TransferBigFiles is still a useful service, but now you may need to sign up for an account, and you’ll have to look somewhere else if you want to transfer really big files. FileDropper hasn’t changed dramatically, but it has gotten less convenient for those wishing to use it to email files. The service still lets you upload files up to 5GB for free (and with paid accounts up to 250GB). However, when you upload the file, instead of giving you a link to that file (which was easy to copy and paste into an email), it now gives you a link to a page from which you can download the file (after entering a captcha). This adds a step to the process, and could prove confusing to the person you’re sending the file to, especially if they’re not computer-savvy.

What Hasn’t:

Gmail. Gmail still has an attachment limit of 25MB, which at the time was the largest of the email providers out there (and plenty big for most pictures, audio files, or Office documents). However, they have been surpassed by…

What’s New:

Hotmail. The new Hotmail, which launched earlier this month, now reigns supreme as the free email provider with the largest attachment limits. Using Hotmail, you can send up to 200 files, each of which can be up to 50MB (which allows you to theoretically send 10GB worth of files in a single email). Hotmail does this by uploading the file(s) to Windows Skydrive, a service which gives you 25GB of free online storage, and then including links to the files (or a gallery of thumbnails in the case of images) in the email. This method has both pros and cons. The biggest upsides are that you won’t be hampered by your recipient’s attachment size limit, and that your files won’t be taking up space in you or your recipient’s email accounts. However, because Skydrive has a capacity limit you may find that you run into it, which would mean having to clear things off of it before you could use it to send more large files. You can set your attachments to have an expiration date (90 days by default), which will be important to keep Skydrive from getting filled up if you are using Hotmail to send files frequently.

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