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10 file-sharing options: Dropbox, Google Drive and more

Serdar Yegulalp | July 16, 2012
Even with all the online storage now available, sharing files -- especially large ones -- can still be a problem. We look at 10 online services that aim to make it simpler.

The MediaFire Express desktop application is currently in beta but shows a fair amount of thought. It provides a drag-and-drop target for quick uploading of files and folders; after uploading, a pop-up appears with a quick link to the uploaded files.

No limit Free account max file size: 200MB Paid account storage space: No limit Paid account max file size: 4GB ($9/month); 10GB ($49/month) File storage expiration: None as long as account is not inactive for more than 128 days Other paid options: Uploads do not expire for lack of activity; direct links to files without interstitial pages; removal of ads; custom domains and branding Time to upload 100MB file: 6 min. 30 sec. (includes BitDefender scan)

RapidShare

What RapidShare lacks in paid features it makes up for with few restrictions on its core product. The biggest limitations are on download bandwidth and file retention, not storage, so it's a handy way to quickly throw big files somewhere and distribute them to a broad audience on short notice.

Its desktop manager app, though, leaves something to be desired. It runs on Java and requires that you manually launch the installer as an administrator (most app installers do this automatically). Once set up, though, it makes uploading easy via an Explorer right-click context menu.

The "RapidSave" tool allows you to repackage your already-uploaded files for download as a single item. There's no apparent limit to how many files can be repackaged this way. However, while you can use RapidShare to send file links to multiple parties via email, there's no apparent way to import lists of contacts. (You can quickly access the names of previously emailed people, but that's not as useful.)

No limit Free account max file size: No limit Paid account storage space: No limit. With paid account, files remain, even after 30 days of no downloads; pricing starts at 9.90 Euros for 30 days (the payment system accepts PayPal and credit cards, but all payments are in Euros). Paid account max file size: No limit File storage expiration: Files deleted after 30 days of inactivity for free accounts Other paid options: Advanced admin tools; unlimited download speeds Time to upload 100MB file: 16 min. 10 sec.

ShareFile

ShareFile is clearly aimed at corporate customers rather than consumers. There's no free plan, although there is a 30-day free trial for all account tiers; the 10GB-and-up tiers include access to desktop widgets and Outlook plugins. Files can be assigned an automatic expiration period, from one day to two years after uploading.

The Windows desktop-sync application is written in Adobe Air, so it doesn't have amenities like a right-click context menu to Windows Explorer, but at least the app gives you the ability to generate a download link for each file or folder. In addition, distribution lists for mass mailings can be created from an Excel spreadsheet.

 

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