Sharing files over the internet is nothing new, but the process has evolved since the halcyon days of finicky FTP servers and dodgy P2P programs. Now, it’s easy to send large files with a simple web app or cloud service, like Dropbox, and the latter is planning to make this even easier with a new, free file transfer service called Dropbox Transfer.
What is Dropbox Transfer?
Dropbox’s normal service is based on sharing and syncing the same files between multiple users via a single cloud drive. While you can technically share files hosted on a Dropbox, any edits or changes affect the file for all users—if someone uploads a file, and another person deletes it, it’s deleted for everyone.
With Dropbox Transfer, users instead send a copy of a file that another user (or users) can download. The original file remains on the sender’s Dropbox for them to do with as they please. If they delete it, anyone who was sent a copy via Dropbox Transfer can still download that version.
The big difference between Dropbox Transfer and other file-sharing services is the data limit: Dropbox Transfer lets users send files up to 100GB in size for free, which is a pretty big deal. Most other file transfer services cap their size limits between 2-10GBs if you’re lucky. Anything above that will cost you money.
In fairness, the public version of Dropbox Transfer will probably have file-size limitations for free users (a free Dropbox account can store a max of 2GB of cloud storage, after all). We won’t know for certain until the final version of Dropbox Transfer debuts. It’s currently in beta, which means you’ll have to sign up for a waitlist if you want to check the service out early.
How to sign up for Dropbox Transfer
- Go to the Dropbox Transfer webpage.
- Click “Sign up”
- Sign in to your dropbox account or create a new one
- Click “Join Waitlist”
- A notification will pop up saying you’ve been added to the list.
- Keep an eye on your email inbox (the one tied to your Dropbox account) for an invite. If and when you get one, follow the instructions to complete the beta registration.
How Dropbox Transfer compares to the competition
If you don’t want to wait for a Dropbox Transfer beta invite (or the public launch, if you don’t get into the beta), there are plenty of other services you can use to send files for free. Some of them might not be as awesome as Dropbox’s 100GB limit, but they’ll do in a pinch:
- 2GB file size limit
- Unlimited file storage and a 10GB limit on individual files
- No size limit, but files removed after 20 days (and download speeds throttled)
- 25MB limit for Gmail attachments or up to 5TB for Google Drive (which you can use to store 15GB for free)
- 100MB file size limit, but unlimited access to uploaded files
- 7 day free trial (with 100GB cap on storage; no limit on individual file sizes)
- Free: 10GB storage; can boost up to 40GB through special deals (connecting social media accounts, refer-a-friend, etc.). Various file size limits depending on your browser
- Free: 15GB for free accounts (plus limited-time 35GB bonus for first month after registration); various offers can get free users up to 50GB of file storage. No file size limit
- Free: 2GB file size limit, and files expire after 7 days