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Online storage is magnificent, but it doesn’t solve every single requirement yet. Even with our awesome Google Drive guide, you can’t do peer-to-peer sharing for faster transfers. And you might love Dropbox, but that still requires a data connection instead of just sending photos from your laptop to a friend’s phone.
Plus, whoever you are sending that file to needs to be using the same service. File sharing is more than just a shared folder on Dropbox or OneDrive, but you need the right apps to make it happen.
That’s why we’re here. To move beyond just cloud storage and look at services like some online instant file-sharing options you may not have heard of before, or transferring tools that you didn’t even know existed.
PlusTransfer (Web): Files Up To 5GB, and Self-Destructing Expiry Date
Most web-based file transfer services make you upload the file and then share a link. Usually, the total size of the files is restricted to 100-200MB. PlusTransfer pushes that up to 5GB of total file size. So you can upload one file of 5GB or several files that add up to 5GB.
The sweetener is the expiration date. You don’t want so much of your data in the cloud indefinitely. So PlusTransfer will store it for a maximum of two weeks and a minimum of whatever you choose — helpfully shown by the actual date instead of saying “14 days” and letting you do the math. Once you’ve added your files, throw in your email address, the recipient’s email, and a short message. It’s another one of those excellent no-signup tools on the web.
File.io (Web): Snapchat for Files
Snapchat’s claim to fame is its idea of sharing photos that are instantly deleted — “see once, gone forever.” File.io applies the same philosophy to sharing files of any sort. Download the file once and then it’s gone forever!
Much like PlusTransfer, File.io also supports files of up to 5GB. If you’re uploading multiple files, each file will have a different link. Share the link with a friend, and once it’s downloaded, the file is deleted off File.io’s servers. Copy-paste the link again and you’ll get an error page. It’s the ultimate in security if you want to be assured that what you’re sending is going to one person only.
FilePizza (Web): P2P, Faster File Sharing Without Software
It’s understandable that you don’t trust companies that store your data online. Cloud storage is fraught with risks, after all. FilePizza instead offers peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing, transferring data from you to your friend directly, without storing anything on its servers.
All you need to do is visit the site, add your file to it, and keep the web page open. You’ll get a unique link to share, which you can copy-paste to whoever you want. When that person opens the link, they’ll get a prompt to download the file. Once their download starts, your upload begins — all in real time. For large files, this is also a faster way of sharing since the upload and download is simultaneous, instead of one after the other.
DocDroid (Web): Document Sharing with Previews and Conversions
Google Drive is an incredibly efficient tool to create and share documents, but it does mean giving your data to Google, and well, Google already knows a lot about you. If you want to avoid giving the Internet giant more information about you, DocDroid is the best way to share documents and PDFs.
You don’t need to sign up to use it. Just upload the file and you’ll get a link. DocDroid will automatically preview that file to anyone who opens it, which saves the trouble of downloading it to read it. And in case anyone wants to download it, DocDroid also automatically converts the file into other formats like PDF, DOC, TXT or ODT. It’s a super-efficient tool.
Xender (Android, iOS, Web): Transfer Files Over Phone’s Hotspot or Over Wi-Fi
Sometimes, you don’t have an Internet connection or are on a limited data plan. Yet, you still need to send the photos you just took to all the friends around you. Just fire up Xander and you’ll be done in minutes. The handy “offline mode” lets you set up a Wi-Fi hotspot with your smartphone, which other phones can connect to. And just like that, you’re sharing files without incurring data costs.
You can connect up to four devices in offline mode, so it’s a pretty efficient way to share stuff. Xender also works through a Web app, but you’ll incur some minimal data transfer at that time, since you need to head to web.xander.com to hook up the phone and laptop wirelessly. That said, if all devices are connected on the same Wi-Fi network, you won’t incur any mobile data charges and can transfer files much faster. In fact, if that’s what you need, check out some other apps to share large files instantly.
Which File Transfer Tool Do You Love?
The Internet is full of fantastic file sharing tools and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Away from the glare, many smaller apps and tools are doing the job well.
Which app have you found that you love? Any better alternatives than the ones mentioned here?