A while back I wrote a guide on using Dropbox to share files. There are other ways to store and share files over the net. Torrent files are rarely used but are a great way to share files, especially very large ones. WeTransfer is another great way to share files. There are other online services that I use to share and store files. Today I’d like to review two of them, WeTransfer vs Dropbox and offer suggestions on when you should use them. These sites offer free and paid services, for now I’ll restrict my review to the free services they provide.
Update: WeTransfer now have a pro account at $10/month and you can store the files in the cloud forever. It’s very similar to dropbox, without the dropbox sync (which by the way is a great tool to have). I’d recommend the Dropbox pro account over WeTransfer – you can do more with dropbox.
Dropbox is a “cloud” service that allows you to store and share files. The files are stored in the “cloud” which means you can access them through an internet connection from anywhere. A good metaphor for Dropbox is a USB storage drive that’s online. Dropbox and USB storage device are very similar: you have limited storage (2GB); you can create, delete, and undelete folders and files.
However, you do need an account with Dropbox to use the service. If you don’t have one you can register here. You can also share files and folders in your Dropbox account. The best way to share files is by using a folder, especially if you are sharing multiple files. Each file in Dropbox has a unique url. You can share this url link with someone and they’ll have access to the file. Dropbox also have a Desktop app that sync’s a local Dropbox folder with your online account.
The major drawback of Dropbox is the storage limit which is set at 2GB. They also have an upload limit of 300MB when using their website. If you use the desktop app, there are no limits.
When to Use Dropbox
- If you’re looking for online storage for small files (less than 1GB).
- If you’re looking to share and store multiple files.
- If you want greater control of your files.
WeTransfer is primarily a file sharing site. You can store files using WeTransfer but they limit the storage period to two weeks. WeTransfer does not require that you have an account with them. All you need is an email address and the file you want to share. You also need email addresses of all the people you want to share the file with.
What is so cool about WeTransfer, in addition to its great design, is that you can share a file of up to 2GB in size. And you can share as many files as you want. But you will need to upload each file individually.
The greatest limitation of WeTransfer is that all files are inaccessible two weeks after they are uploaded. You also have no control of the file after you’ve uploaded it. For instance you cannot delete the file or move it. You also have a maximum of 20 emails address that you can share the file with.
When to Use WeTransfer
- If you’re looking to share multiple large files (more than 1GB).
- When you’re not looking for online file storage.
- Want an easy to use, hassle free service.
Both Dropbox and WeTranfer are free file sharing and storage services that are perfect for different occasions. They are not interchangeable. You probably need both and they complement each other perfectly. I use WeTransfer to share large video and audio files that would otherwise clog up my Dropbox account and use Dropbox to share and store smaller files. Both are indispensable to our transcription business. However, we never use WeTransfer while working with confidential documents, especially when providing academic transcription services.
What other file sharing sites would you recommend?