How to send large files: it’s free with these providers

With free email services, file attachments can usually be sent up to a limit of between 20 and 25 MB. If you want to send larger files for free, alternatives such as cloud providers and file hosts provide cloud storage and download links for this purpose.

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Making large file transfers: with free cloud providers and file hosts

For security reasons, file sizes for attachments are limited in free email services. For example, the maximum Gmail attachment size is 25 MB, while Outlook’s maximum file size caps at 20 MB. The limitation is intended to prevent spam and bots from overloading email servers with masses of file attachments. If you still want to send large attachments for free, you can reduce the file size, for example, by creating a zip file.

In the case of very large or many files, it’s advisable to use alternatives such as cloud providers and file hosts. The most common providers are free of charge. Nevertheless, a comparison of cloud storage services is worth checking out before you decide on a provider. Your files are stored with file hosts on the provider’s cloud server and a download link is sent to selected recipients.

Below, we present the most popular and free providers with and without sign up.

With sign up


Dropbox lets you store large files up to 2 GB on Dropbox servers. You can directly copy a link for files or folders and send it via email to the desired recipient or send an email invitation via your Dropbox account. You also specify whether the recipient of the link should have editing rights or read-only rights. At least one free Dropbox account is required for both sender and recipient.


With Microsoft’s cloud storage OneDrive, you use up to 5 GB for free to store files on secure Microsoft servers. To share files with others, set read or edit permissions, you just copy the OneDrive link into your email, and send it to desired recipients.


Apple’s cloud storage iCloud lets you store up to 5GB of files of all kinds. You can send links to others to let them access your stored files via email. Alternatively, you can share folders with other users by sharing them via the sharing options to edit the folder.

Google Drive

With a Google account, you can use Google’s cloud storage Google Drive with 15 GB of storage space for free. There, you can store your files and determine who you share them with, with read and/or edit access. Simply copy the link for the desired recipient into an email to give access. You can also easily include files as Google Drive links or attachments when composing a Gmail email.


IONOS’ HiDrive Cloud Storage stores your files centrally, safely, and flexibly – and includes automatic synchronisation.

Without sign up

HiDrive Share

HiDrive Share is IONOS’ very own free solution for sending large files. Without even signing up, you have the possibility to upload files up to 2 GB in size on the service’s website. Afterwards, you will receive a download link that you can share with any number of friends, acquaintances, or colleagues via email or chat for 7 days. After the 7 days expire, the uploaded files are automatically and irrevocably deleted.


With the free file hosting provider SwissTransfer, you can use up to 50 GB of password-protected storage space without an account or sign up. Data is stored on associated, certified servers in Switzerland, secured via end-to-end encryption, and made available for retrieval for 30 days. You can share files of up to 2 GB in size with selected people via a dedicated download link.


With file hosting service WeTransfer, the free storage space of 2 GB is somewhat smaller. Uploaded files remain available for seven days and can be shared with others via an access link. You enter the recipient’s address and your own email address and send the recipient a corresponding download link.


With 10 GB of free storage space available per day, TransferXL offers an epic amount of webspace, not to mention end-to-end encryption, and a maximum of 5 GB for sending download links to other users. Uploaded files are stored for up to one week.

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