Services that can help you send large files are everywhere, it seems, but for some reason I find that I always blank out on which one is most appropriate to use when I actually need one. This post aims to provide an at-a-glance reference for ten of FREE file hosting services, most of which you’d heard about but some which you hopefully have not.
Specifically, we look at ad-hoc ‘file locker’ type services designed solely for the quick sharing of large files, and will exclude cloud storage services such as Dropbox and others like it, and exclude P2P services that send files from one computer straight to another. The services compared here are: Mega, File Dropper, Bayfiles, Pastelink, Gett, Putlocker, FileCarton, Anonfiles, Sendspace, Drop.mx, Zippyshare, Mediafire, Kicksend, WeTransfer, Jumpshare, and Minus. This article last updated: March 5th, 2012.
Note on the latest update of this article:
- Free plans only: the information below refers to the FREE Plans that are on offer. Paid plan details will differ.
- Validity of information: is current as of the last update (see date above). The services may change or tweak their offerings. Please report any changes you encounter
- Services listed: we’ve removed some of the services you may have seen in a previous incarnation of this article, and added others that we thought were more worthy.
- Completely re-written, with a different approach: we’ve opted for a simpler approach in this update, listing the information about these services as is without too much editorializing.
The comparison criteria:
- Anonymous uploads: i.e. whether registration is a requirement
- Max file Sizes allowed: “I want a service that lets me send the largest files possible”
- File Availability: “how long can I (or others) access my files?”
- Waiting period before onset of download: as well as for successive file downloads.
- Ads: many are ad free, while others bombard the use
- Apps: whether you can upload via a desktop app, access via mobile apps, etc.
- File previews: “I want to be able to view images, videos, audio files, PDFs, Office docs, etc… on the web page itself without downloading”.
- Sends per month: “I want to be able to send files frequently”
- Special features: some of these services has quirky features that are worth mentioning
- Links: to each of the services
We did not consider the amount of online storage on offer for in the comparison, as Cloud services like Dropbox are more appropriate for that. Also we did not consider peer-to-peer file sharing services.
The table below shows which services require registration, which services provide optional registration and which services do away with registration altogether. Note that (a) by registration we mean FREE registration, and (b) the file upload sizes and other criteria may differ if you use the service anonymously vs. via registration (see tables below).
|Anonymous Upload Only||Anonymous OR Registered both||Requires Registration|
We ranked the services by size upload limits with or without registration. Anon = anonymous use; Reg = using a free account.
|1. Mega||Reg (*)|
|2. File Dropper||Anon|
|3. Bayfiles||Anon / Reg|
|5. Gett||Reg (**)||Anon|
|6. Putlocker||Anon / Reg|
|9. SendSpace||Anon / Reg|
|10. Drop.mx||Anon / Reg|
|11. Zippyshare||Anon / Reg (***)|
|15. Jumpshare||Anon / Reg|
|16. Minus||Anon / Reg|
(*) Mega did not have file size restrictions, but your browser might.
(**) Gett is limited by available online storage space, which is a mere 2 Gigs in the free version
(***) If your filesize exceeds the max filesize for Zippyshare, it purports to automatically split it into suitably sized chunks.
The period may differ for files uploaded with or without registration. Anon = anonymous use; Reg = using a free account.
|We could not find theinfo||1 Week||2 Weeks||1 Month||2 Months||Forever if active at least once||Forever|
|2. File Dropper||Anon (once per month)|
|3. Bayfiles||Anon / Reg (once per month)|
|4. Pastelink||Anon / Reg|
|5. Gett||Anon||Reg (once per month)|
|6. Putlocker||Anon / Reg (once every 2 WEEKs)|
|9. SendSpace||Anon / Reg (once per month)|
|10. Drop.mx||Anon / Reg|
|11. Zippyshare||Anon / Reg (once per month)|
|12. Mediafire||Reg (*)|
|16. Minus||Anon / Reg|
(*) As long as you maintain an active Mediafire account. Which means to log in every once in a while (sorry they don’t specify the period). They will send several emails before de-activating an account, though.
Strangely, none of the services mentioned has a waiting period after first use (and only one service makes you wait at all).
- Period before download link appears: no wait time, except for Bayfiles (60 second wait).
- Waiting period between one download and the next: no wait time for any. Zero.
Want downloads without ads (or with minimal ads?). You’re in luck, as many of these services offer ad-free downloads.
|No ads||Reasonable Ads||Aggressive Ads||Insane Ads|
|1. Mega||No ads|
|2. File Dropper||Reasonable Ads|
|3. Bayfiles||Insane Ads|
|4. Pastelink||No ads|
|5. Gett||No ads|
|6. Putlocker||Aggressive Ads|
|7. FileCarton||Aggressive Ads|
|8. Anonfiles||Reasonable Ads|
|9. SendSpace||Aggressive Ads|
|10. Drop.mx||No ads|
|11. Zippyshare||Aggressive Ads|
|12. Mediafire||Aggressive Ads|
|13. Kicksend||No ads|
|14. WeTransfer||No ads|
|15. Jumpshare||No ads|
|16. Minus||No ads|
Desktop apps will typically allow you to pause and resume uploads, while mobile apps allow you to access your files on the go. API access means that a developer can build their own app to access the service.
|1. Mega||No desktop app; but offers browser support for resuming downloads and uploads.||–||–||API access|
|2. File Dropper||–||–||–||–|
|3. Bayfiles||–||–||–||API access|
|4. Pastelink||Windows; Mac||iOS||–||–|
|5. Gett||–||–||Chrome ; Gmail extensions||–|
|9. SendSpace||Windows; Mac; Linux||Anrdoid; iOS||–||API access|
|12. Mediafire||Windows; Mac; Linux||Anrdoid; iOS||–||API access|
|13. Kicksend||–||Anrdoid; iOS||Extensions for all browsers||–|
|16. Minus||Windows; Mac||Anrdoid; iOS||Chrome; Firefox extensions; and a Bookmarklet for all browsers||API access|
Especially useful for online image galleries, but also for other document and media files.
|Images||Video||Audio||Office Files||Other filetypes|
|2. File Dropper||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|11. Zippyshare||Yes||Player didn't work when we tested it.||Player didn't work when we tested it.||–||–||–|
|12. Mediafire||Yes||–||–||Yes||Word; PowerPoint; Exel||–|
|15. Jumpshare||Yes||–||Yes||Yes||Word; PowerPoint; Exel||ebooks; as well as many others|
|16. Minus||Yes||–||Yes||Yes||Promised 'soon'|
All of the services allow for unlimited sends per month. We eliminated services that restrict sends per month from the list as of the latest update of this article.
|1. Mega||Promises extreme privacy; file encryption. Free online storage: 50 Gigs from the get-go|
|2. File Dropper||They promise high speed downloads.|
|5. Gett||2 Gig free online storage (makes the service less attractive)|
|8. Anonfiles||Allows hotlinking and unlimited bandwidth.|
|11. Zippyshare||Automatic file splitting – in case of file size exceeding 200MB.|
|12. Mediafire||50 Gig free online storage from the get-go.|
|13. Kicksend||Geared towards photo sharing primarily.|
|16. Minus||50 Gig free online storage from the get-go Excels as a photo sharing platform.|
|1. Mega||9. Sendspace|
|2. File Dropper||10. Drop.mx|
|3. Bayfiles||11. Zippyshare|
|4. Pastelink||12. Mediafire|
|5. Gett||13. Kicksend|
|6. Putlocker||14. WeTransfer|
|7. FileCarton||15. Jumpshare|
|8. Anonfiles||16. Minus|
Any thoughts or comments? Is there a really special service that we missed? Please share in the comments section below.