Best and simplest service or method for sending large files to lots of people

Posted on 2013-11-05
Last Modified: 2014-11-12

In my work I frequently have large files (or more accurately, multiple files & folders combined into one large folder) which I need to make available over the internet for multiple people, primarily customers, to download. One of the folders — which can range from 100 MB to 300 MB in size — typically consists of a number of PDF & MP3 files combined into 3-6 subfolders.

For the past few years, I have used a service called YouSendIt. For about $12 per month, YouSendIt allowed you to upload files too large to send as email attachments, and then provided you with a link which you could share via email with anyone you want. Once in possession of the link, the recipients could use it to download the files.

Many of the recipients are not particularly tech savvy and my primary reason for using YouSendIt was that upon clicking the link, the recipient was presented with a relatively simple screen containing one or more large green download buttons as shown here (Fig. 1):Fig. 1The screen had no ambiguity and I virtually never had questions or complaints regarding its use.

One thing I should note is that whenever the download link was emailed to a recipient, the email included a sentence urging them to download and save the files to their HD as soon as possible. This was because the link generally had a limited duration (typically two weeks) of activity.

The reason for my post in EE today is that YouSendIt was recently renamed & rebranded and the link-destination page redesigned. The new format has much more content now and, I suppose in an attempt to capture new business, displays several additional places to click (Fig. 2):Fig. 2
Most bothersome is that the "Download" button is much smaller and has been moved to the upper-right corner where it is much less prominent than before. Furthermore, it is located directly adjacent to another button with the word "Save" which is just as large as the download button and perhaps, due to its solid orange color, even more prominent (Fig. 3):Fig. 3The new format has confused a number of people — particularly in light of the statement mentioned above urging them to "save the files…as soon as possible." They errantly click the "Save" button which, instead of initiating the download process as they expect, prompts them to login or register for an account with the download service.

I'm hopeful that someone can point me to a site similar to the original YouSendIt which allows uploads of large files and then presents a simple, unambiguous, and easy-to-use Download screen.


PS If a zone or topic other than the three I have chosen, is more appropriate for this question, please feel free to make or suggest that change.
Question by:Steve_Brady

Accepted Solution

alicain earned 500 total points
ID: 39626067


Author Comment

ID: 39626327
Really? I've actually got a Dropbox account already but I did not know it could be used in the manner described above. However, after reading some resources this evening, I discovered that it will work quite well for what I'm after so thank you very much for the tip!
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39626369
Hi Steve,

I suspect that many of today's cloud services will work for this, such as Amazon Cloud Drive, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, etc., but I can't say for sure, as I haven't used all of them. But my favorite one at this point in time is Cubby (from the LogMeIn folks):

It is free for up to 5GB and meets your criteria:

o  Individual files can be large, up to to 2GB each.

o  It provides you with a link that you may email to anyone, from which recipients may download the files. The links may be to individual files or to a folder.

o  The download screen is neat, clean, and unambiguous. It doesn't have a large DOWNLOAD button, but there's no way to miss or confuse the download feature (similar to Dropbox, among others).

I like the way it allows you to designate which of your folders are Cubbies – you simply right-click on a folder and select the menu pick that says "Make this folder a cubby" (which, by default, will include all of its subfolders). The links it provides are private in the sense that only the people who have the URL (which is a long, random series of numbers and letters) may access the Cubby. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

ID: 39626371
Actually, bittorrent is the fastest, as every person that downloads and seeds it increases the available bandwidth for distribution.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39626381
I've never used BitTorrent. I don't like the peer-to-peer file sharing concept. But it's obviously very popular, as its Wikipedia page says, "As of February 2013, BitTorrent was responsible for 3.35% of all worldwide bandwidth, more than half of the 6% of total bandwidth dedicated to file sharing." Very impressive figures! Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

ID: 39627125
Many linux distros use it to lighten their own bandwidth requirements. e.g.

The 64 bit CentOS 6.4 two DVD set had over 1000 seeders when I just checked
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39627637
I didn't know that about Linux distros...thanks for the info...very interesting!

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