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Email and large file transfers

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Tuesday February 27, 2007 )

If you really want to annoy someone, send them a 10 megabyte file via email unannounced :). It’s certainly not a great tactic for impressing potential partners and clients. There are some very simple and free ways to get large files to others without bogging down their email connection.

The problem we face today is that current email protocols were never really meant for video, audio and abuse of PowerPoint Presentations; they were developed way back when the world of email was just plain text. It’s quite amazing that the protocols have stood up to such abuse!

Email transfers are much slower than other options such as FTP or HTTP. By sending a large file to a person, you are effectively wasting their time. If you are trying to impress someone who is waiting on another important email by tying up their email receiving; you probably will have the opposite effect, *especially* if it’s unannounced.

Here’s some guidelines for sending large files via email:

1. Don’t do it – it’s very poor email etiquette
2. Definitely don’t do it to me :)
3. If you must do it, get the recipient’s permission first
4. A better option is to zip up the file, upload it to your server and simply send the person a download link via email.
5. Use a service such as

YouSendIt is a service specializing in the transfer of large files over the Internet between users. Basically it acts as a temporary secure storage space/post office.

YouSendIt’s free service allows you to transfer files of up to 100 megabytes – very generous. For premium accounts, the size limit is a massive 2 gigabytes, plus a few other bells and whistles are thrown in.

The service is very quick and easy to use – enter the recipients email address, your email address, a message to the recipient; choose a few options, browse to the file, click a button – upload; done! The recipient then receives your message with the download link.

I was very impressed by YouSendIt’s upload and download speeds – blisteringly fast; but of course your own connection speed will play a part in performance.

So, if you’re wanting to shift large files to your clients or partners, a service such as YouSendIt is a great way to go. Just a word of warning – there’s a variety of YouSendIt type services popping up all over the web. Exercise discretion on which provider you utilize, especially if you will be transferring sensitive documents.


Pick up some more email etiquette tips.


1 comment for Email and large file transfers
  1. You can also try palshare
    They allow you to upload complete folders and files and it also zips your files during uploading so the download process is really easy and fast. Seems to work really well.

    Comment by Brandon — December 1, 2007 @ 3:12 am

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