The best FREE ‘send large files’ services: 16 file hosting options compared

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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.

Send large files article

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:

  1. Anonymous uploads: i.e. whether registration is a requirement
  2. Max file Sizes allowed: “I want a service that lets me send the largest files possible”
  3. File Availability: “how long can I (or others) access my files?”
  4. Waiting period before onset of download: as well as for successive file downloads.
  5. Ads: many are ad free, while others bombard the use
  6. Apps: whether you can upload via a desktop app, access via mobile apps, etc.
  7. File previews: “I want to be able to view images, videos, audio files, PDFs, Office docs, etc… on the web page itself without downloading”.
  8. Sends per month: “I want to be able to send files frequently”
  9. Special features: some of these services has quirky features that are worth mentioning
  10. 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.

1. Anonymous uploads

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).

[tabla caption=”” width=”645″ colwidth=”107|107|107|107|107|107″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left|left”]
[attr colspan=”2″]Anonymous Upload Only,[attr colspan=”2″]Anonymous OR Registered both,[attr colspan=”2″]Requires Registration
File Dropper,Dropsend logo,Bayfiles,Bayfiles,Mega,Mega
FileCarton,FileCarton,Pastelink,pastelink,Mediafire,Mediafire
Anonfiles,anonfiles,Gett,gt.tt,Kicksend,kicksend2
WeTransfer,wetransfer,Putlocker,Putlocker,,
,,SendSpace,Sendspace,,
,,Drop.mx,Dropmx,,
,,Zippyshare,ZippyShare,,
,,Jumpshare,Jumpshare logo,,
,,Minus,Minus,, [/tabla]
 

2. Max file size allowed

We ranked the services by size upload limits with or without registration. Anon = anonymous use; Reg = using a free account.

[tabla caption=”” width=”645″ colwidth=”100|60|44|44|44|44|44|44|44|44|44|44|44″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left|left|left|left|left|left|left|left|left”]
,,Unli-mited,5-GIGS,2-GIGS,1-GIG,500-MEG,300-MEG,250-MEG,200-MEG,150-MEG,100-MEG,15-MEG
1. Mega,Mega,Reg (*),,,,,,,,,,
2. File Dropper,Dropsend logo,,Anon,,,,,,,,,
3. Bayfiles,Bayfiles,,Anon / Reg,,,,,,,,,
4. Pastelink,pastelink,,,Reg,,,,Anon,,,,
5. Gett,gt.tt,,,Reg (**),,,,Anon,,,,
6. Putlocker,Putlocker,,,,Anon / Reg,,,,,,,
7. FileCarton,FileCarton,,,,Anon,,,,,,,
8. Anonfiles,anonfiles,,,,,Anon,,,,,,
9. SendSpace,Sendspace,,,,,,Anon / Reg,,,,,
10. Drop.mx,Dropmx,,,,,,,,Anon / Reg,,,
11. Zippyshare,ZippyShare,,,,,,,,Anon / Reg (***),,,
12. Mediafire,Mediafire,,,,,,,,Reg,,,
13. Kicksend,kicksend2,,,,,,,,,Reg,,
14. WeTransfer,wetransfer,,,Anon,,,,,,,,
15. Jumpshare,Jumpshare logo,,,,,,,,,,Anon / Reg,
16. Minus,Minus,,,,,,,,,,,Anon / Reg [/tabla]
 
(*) 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.

3. File Availability: how long can I (or others) access my files

The period may differ for files uploaded with or without registration. Anon = anonymous use; Reg = using a free account.

[tabla caption=”” width=”645″ colwidth=”100|68|68|68|68|68|68|68|68″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left|left|left|left|left”]
,,We could not find theinfo,1 Week,2 Weeks,1 Month,2 Months,Forever if active at least once,Forever
1. Mega,Mega,,,,,,,Reg
2. File Dropper,Dropsend logo,,,,,,Anon (once per month),
3. Bayfiles,Bayfiles,,,,,,Anon / Reg (once per month),
4. Pastelink,pastelink,,Anon / Reg,,,,,
5. Gett,gt.tt,,,,Anon,,Reg (once per month),
6. Putlocker,Putlocker,,,,,,Anon / Reg (once every 2 WEEKs),
7. FileCarton,FileCarton,,,,,Anon,,
8. Anonfiles,anonfiles,Anon,,,,,,
9. SendSpace,Sendspace,,,,,,Anon / Reg (once per month),
10. Drop.mx,Dropmx,Anon / Reg,,,,,,
11. Zippyshare,ZippyShare,,,,,,Anon / Reg (once per month),
12. Mediafire,Mediafire,,,,,,,Reg (*)
13. Kicksend,kicksend2,,,,,,,Reg
14. WeTransfer,wetransfer,,,Anon,,,,
15. Jumpshare,Jumpshare logo,,Anon,,,,,Reg
16. Minus,Minus,,,,,,,Anon / Reg [/tabla]
 
(*) 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.

4. Waiting period before onset of download

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.

5. Ads

Want downloads without ads (or with minimal ads?). You’re in luck, as many of these services offer ad-free downloads.

[tabla caption=”” width=”645″ colwidth=”107|107|107|107|107|107″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left|left”]
,,No ads,Reasonable Ads,Aggressive Ads,Insane Ads
1. Mega,Mega,No ads,,,
2. File Dropper,Dropsend logo,,Reasonable Ads,,
3. Bayfiles,Bayfiles,,,,Insane Ads
4. Pastelink,pastelink,No ads,,,
5. Gett,gt.tt,No ads,,,
6. Putlocker,Putlocker,,,Aggressive Ads,
7. FileCarton,FileCarton,,,Aggressive Ads,
8. Anonfiles,anonfiles,,Reasonable Ads,,
9. SendSpace,Sendspace,,,Aggressive Ads,
10. Drop.mx,Dropmx,No ads,,,
11. Zippyshare,ZippyShare,,,Aggressive Ads,
12. Mediafire,Mediafire,,,Aggressive Ads,
13. Kicksend,kicksend2,No ads,,,
14. WeTransfer,wetransfer,No ads,,,
15. Jumpshare,Jumpshare logo,No ads,,,
16. Minus,Minus,No ads,,, [/tabla]
 

6. Apps: desktop clients, mobile apps, browser extensions, and API access

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.

[tabla caption=”” width=”645″ colwidth=”107|107|107|107|107|107″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left|left”]
,,Desktop,Mobile,Browser Extensions,API
1. Mega,Mega,No desktop app; but offers browser support for resuming downloads and uploads.,–,–,API access
2. File Dropper,Dropsend logo,–,–,–,–
3. Bayfiles,Bayfiles,–,–,–,API access
4. Pastelink,pastelink,Windows; Mac,iOS,–,–
5. Gett,gt.tt,–,–,Chrome ; Gmail extensions,–
6. Putlocker,Putlocker,–,Android,–,–
7. FileCarton,FileCarton,–,–,–,–
8. Anonfiles,anonfiles,–,–,–,–
9. SendSpace,Sendspace,Windows; Mac; Linux,Anrdoid; iOS,–,API access
10. Drop.mx,Dropmx,–,–,–,–
11. Zippyshare,ZippyShare,–,–,–,–
12. Mediafire,Mediafire,Windows; Mac; Linux,Anrdoid; iOS,–,API access
13. Kicksend,kicksend2,–,Anrdoid; iOS,Extensions for all browsers,–
14. WeTransfer,wetransfer,–,–,–,–
15. Jumpshare,Jumpshare logo,–,–,–,–
16. Minus,Minus,Windows; Mac,Anrdoid; iOS,Chrome; Firefox extensions; and a Bookmarklet for all browsers,API access [/tabla]
 

7. Ability to view files on the page without downloading

Especially useful for online image galleries, but also for other document and media files.

[tabla caption=”” width=”645″ colwidth=”80|80|80|80|80|80|80|80″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left|left|left|left”]
,,Images,Video,Audio,PDF,Office Files,Other filetypes
1. Mega,Mega,–,–,–,–,–,–
2. File Dropper,Dropsend logo,–,–,–,–,–,–
3. Bayfiles,Bayfiles,–,–,–,–,–,–
4. Pastelink,pastelink,–,–,–,–,–,–
5. Gett,gt.tt,Yes,–,Yes,Yes,–,–
6. Putlocker,Putlocker,Yes,Yes,Yes,–,–,–
7. FileCarton,FileCarton,–,–,–,–,–,–
8. Anonfiles,anonfiles,–,–,–,–,–,–
9. SendSpace,Sendspace,–,–,–,–,–,–
10. Drop.mx,Dropmx,Yes,–,Yes,–,–,–
11. Zippyshare,ZippyShare,Yes,Player didn’t work when we tested it.,Player didn’t work when we tested it.,–,–,–
12. Mediafire,Mediafire,Yes,–,–,Yes,Word; PowerPoint; Exel,–
13. Kicksend,kicksend2,Yes,–,–,–,–,–
14. WeTransfer,wetransfer,–,–,–,–,–,–
15. Jumpshare,Jumpshare logo,Yes,–,Yes,Yes,Word; PowerPoint; Exel,ebooks; as well as many others
16. Minus,Minus,Yes,–,Yes,Yes,Promised ‘soon’, [/tabla]
 

8. Sends per month

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.

9. Special Features

[tabla caption=”” width=”645″ colwidth=”120|60|465″ colalign=”left|left|left”]
,,Noteworthy Info
1. Mega,Mega, Promises extreme privacy; file encryption. Free online storage: 50 Gigs from the get-go
2. File Dropper,Dropsend logo,They promise high speed downloads.
3. Bayfiles,Bayfiles,
4. Pastelink,pastelink,
5. Gett,gt.tt,2 Gig free online storage (makes the service less attractive)
6. Putlocker,Putlocker,
7. FileCarton,FileCarton,
8. Anonfiles,anonfiles,Allows hotlinking and unlimited bandwidth.
9. SendSpace,Sendspace,
10. Drop.mx,Dropmx,
11. Zippyshare,ZippyShare,Automatic file splitting – in case of file size exceeding 200MB.
12. Mediafire,Mediafire,50 Gig free online storage from the get-go.
13. Kicksend,kicksend2,Geared towards photo sharing primarily.
14. WeTransfer,wetransfer,
15. Jumpshare,Jumpshare logo,
16. Minus,Minus,50 Gig free online storage from the get-go Excels as a photo sharing platform. [/tabla]
 

10. Links:

1. Mega Dropsend logo 9. Sendspace Sendspace
2. File Dropper Dropsend logo 10. Drop.mx Dropmx
3. Bayfiles Bayfiles 11. Zippyshare ZippyShare
4. Pastelink pastelink 12. Mediafire Mediafire
5. Gett gt.tt 13. Kicksend kicksend2
6. Putlocker Putlocker 14. WeTransfer wetransfer
7. FileCarton FileCarton 15. Jumpshare Jumpshare logo
8. Anonfiles anonfiles 16. Minus Minus

Any thoughts or comments? Is there a really special service that we missed? Please share in the comments section below.