Picture a pilot attempting to land a 747 jumbo jet on an aircraft carrier. That’s a pretty good analogy when it comes to trying to send really large files online. But let’s face it. With the advent of ever evolving technologies the internet has become less about communicating and more about sharing vast amounts of information—personally, socially and professionally. Although tons of information can be easily shared with email links to business websites and other sites like Facebook and YouTube, there are situations where it’s preferable to share very large files such as photos, videos, music, and documents in a more direct manner. Being that most email providers have size limitations prohibiting emails in excess of 20-25MB, those who wish to send large files must resort to other methods. Although flash drives and snail mail will eventually get the job done, here are 5 FREE and far more practical ways to share really big files online.

1. Skype: Although most people probably think of Skype as a cool software application that turns the internet into a platform for making free voice and video calls, Skype also allows you to send a file of any size over the internet to another Skype user at no cost to either party. The only catch is that both parties must have Skype accounts AND both have to be logged in simultaneously and remain online in order to initiate and complete the file transfer. If any user logs off before the file transfer is complete this will prevent the transfer from going through successfully.

2. Google Docs: Google Docs is a cloud-based application that allows you to upload and share document, photo and video files and folders up to 10GB in size, with the 1st GB being free. Since Google Docs files are stored in the cloud, you can access them anywhere from any computer with an internet connection. Your intended viewers can also readily access the files through Google Docs Viewer. One big advantage for businesses is that word files converted to Google Docs, such as manuscripts or contracts, can be viewed and collaboratively edited online, saving hours of time by eliminating the need for extra phone calls and emails. In order to send files you must have a Google account, but this is not really a downside as having an account makes all your files password protected.

3. SkyDrive: Another cloud based file sharing service that is free from MSN for Windows Live and MSN users is SkyDrive. Those with Windows Live ID’s, which  already grant them access to Hotmail, Messenger, and XBox Live, can utilize up to 25 GB of free data space to upload and share large files such as photos, videos and Microsoft Office documents. Along with the cloud feature of being accessible from any computer, SkyDrive documents can be organized and then prioritized to be viewed selectively, collectively, or in public folders open to anyone on the internet. Also, unlike other services which limit your ability to upload multiple files, SkyDrive allows you to upload up to 200 files at a time.

4. Adobe SendNow:  SendNow is a cloud-based service designed by Adobe to support the transfer of large document, audio, and video files. Starting with a basic free subscription which allows you to store up to 500MB of data and upload and share a 100MB file for 7 days, SendNow subscriptions can be upgraded to a maximum of 20GB storage and 2GB per shared file. Other upgrade options include the ability to set “permissions” granting exclusive and secure access to sensitive files by designated recipients, as well as the ability to delete previously sent files from storage and to set time frames for how long files may be available for downloading.

5. Dropbox: Whether you’re an individual sending video of your kids latest soccer game to friends and family or a small business with a need to share large files with anyone from anywhere at any time, Dropbox is a very user-friendly file sharing service that is equal to the task. Beginning with a free service that gives you 2GB of cloud-based storage, Dropbox allows you to store, manage and share large files at your convenience and always in a secure environment.

There are many other cloud-based file storing and sharing options that start with FREE plans that offer anywhere from 1GB-5GB of storage space and allow you to share large files with others through custom links. These services also offer premium account options for larger projects and files. If you opt for a paid subscription to a file sharing service, be sure to compare plans to get the best value and make sure you’re not paying for services you don’t really need. And once you’ve found the right plan, be sure to share that information with others.

Learn more about cloud based storage and other storage devices including DVD & Blu-Ray at BurnWorld.com