Since I discovered Dropbox a few years ago, it’s offered an easy way to share:
However, Dropbox usually leaves me disappointed when I want to send large files faster and hassle-free.
Which makes me wonder if there are better alternatives than Dropbox out there for file sharing.
If, just like me, you’ve been looking for cost-effective ways of sharing files online without too much trouble, then welcome to Cloudwards.net’s guide on how to share files online better than Dropbox, which lacks sufficient security mechanisms for keeping users’ data safe, and more importantly, private.
So, I’ve found better and simpler ways of sending files online. Here are the three “better than Dropbox” file-sharing services I’m going to talk about in this article:
Share Files Online Using Sync.com
A basic account comes with 5GB of free storage for life, and you can earn more space through referrals; this amount of storage is more generous than Dropbox’s 2.5GB storage space for free accounts.
You can access Sync.com via its:
- Web app
- Windows app
- Mac OS X app
- iOS app
- Android app
The web application has extensive features for sharing and syncing files online. To start with, under the “Files” tab, you can view, upload, download, or delete files and other documents.
You can also see other details, such as the date a file got uploaded and its size. Next to every file, a sharing option is available, and this is where things start getting yummy.
Sharing files online using Sync.com is a fast and easy process.
You just need to click on the “Share” button and a dialog box will appear with the file’s link, which you can start distributing to the world, including non-Sync.com users.
Creating a shared link gives birth to a file download page.
Interestingly, if you send photos, an online-based photo viewer will be included as well. Unlike Dropbox, Sync.com allows you to supercharge links using passwords and its zero-knowledge encryption policy.
Sync’s zero-knowledge policy means that files get securely encrypted, while at rest and in transit, from unauthorized access, including the company itself. However, this high-grade encryption technology sometimes limits Sync’s usability.
After sharing a file, it has to get decrypted before becoming viewable, a process which typically takes a little time. Nonetheless, this is the nature of all secure encryption services.
So, if security is not too important and you like fast downloads, feel free to use Dropbox, as it doesn’t give much emphasis to protecting users’ data.
In the link overview dialog box, checking the “Enhanced Privacy” box will enable zero-knowledge encryption on shared links.
Clicking on “change link settings such as …” will direct you to the section for setting a secure password.
What’s more, you can upgrade to Sync Pro at $49 per year, and benefit from additional features, including:
Furthermore, since Sync.com is a Canadian company, it is not subject to U.S. laws, and a fact that makes it difficult for the NSA and other government agencies to spy on users’ data.
Next, under the “Vault” tab, files that should not get synced to your other devices can be stored.
By moving data from the files tab to the cloud-only storage space, called Vault, you can backup any necessary files to be shared online.
Sync’s web application also has a “Links” tab, which provides a list of secure shared links and other details, such as expiry dates.
If you shared a file online and misplaced its link, you can go to the Link tab to retrieve it, and also manage a shared link, by clicking the settings icon.
Another feature that makes Sync.com stand out is the “Shares” tab. With this robust feature, you can conveniently create private folders and invite other people to collaborate with them.
This way, you’ll make sharing files online straightforward and secure.
Importantly, any change made to a shared folder, either by the recipient or yourself, will be automatically backed up and synced across everyone’s computers and devices.
To create a shared folder, click the “+Create share” button in the top right corner.
A dialog box will appear that prompts you to add several details such as folder name, users to invite, and invitee’s permissions. After that, click “Create Share,” and the magic will begin.
How to Share Files Online Using pCloud
The Swiss cloud provider pCloud is another excellent Dropbox alternative if you want to share files online.
It offers a generous 10GB of free storage space; an amount that can easily get doubled by following simple steps that do not require money, like inviting friends to use the service.
Signing up for a new account is fast and straightforward. You just need to provide personal details and click “Get Started,” to start experiencing pCloud.
pCloud is available via a:
- Web app
- Windows app
- Windows Phone app
- Mac OS X app
- iOS app
- Linux app
- Android app
The web application is well-designed with easy-to-use features intended to make sharing and syncing files online fast and convenient.
You will get welcomed by prominently located command buttons, situated on the pCloud interface, designed to simplify the process of uploading, downloading, and sharing files or folders.
Unlike Dropbox, who crowds data types together, pCloud has a higher level of organization.
Audio and shared links get detached from everything else. While videos, documents, and images get lumped in their separate section, with an easy way to sort them according to name, size, and modified date.
I found the interface easy to navigate when trying to locate a misplaced file.
pCloud takes sharing files and folders online to a new level.
Clicking the “Share” button on the right of a folder will reveal the following three simple and easy ways of sharing content online.
- Invite to Folder
- Share Upload Link
- Share Download Link
The “Invite to Folder” option enhances collaboration by allowing you to invite others to view and make changes to stored files.
Furthermore, you can easily manage existing shares through modifying permissions or revoking access.
To use this feature, start by clicking “Invite to Folder,” and a dialog box will appear, prompting you to enter the recipient’s email address, and also set permissions as desired.
Then, click “Send Invitation,” and you’re done!
The “Share Upload Link” option allows other people to upload their files to your pCloud account.
In Dropbox, you need to create a shared folder and then allow others the privilege of uploading files to your account; however, with pCloud’s innovative feature, special access is not necessary.
If you click on “Share Upload Link”, a dialog box will appear with the created upload link, which you can send to others. What’s more, you can set upload limits and expiration dates on the link.
If you intend for recipients to only download files shared with them, then go for the third option, “Share Download Link.” Even if your recipients do not have a pCloud account, they can view and download files without any hassles.
If you click “Share Download Link”, a download link will be automatically generated.
Consequently, you can send the link using a preferred method — from social media channels to email.
Annoyingly, I noticed that pCloud includes ads on its free plan. When sending download links, a recipient may get served with additional, unwanted, and distracting ads.
You better stick to Dropbox if this is something you can’t accept.
Besides the above three main options, sharing single files online with pCloud is uncomplicated. You just need to click the “Share” button, and a window will appear with a generated link, plus various sending options.
When managing shared links, you will have the ability to complete various actions, such as retrieving links previously shared and stopping current shares.
Furthermore, you can register for pCloud Crypto, at $3.99 per month, and benefit from client-side encryption to safeguard sensitive data from unauthorized access.
Another unique feature that makes pCloud competitive is the ability to backup data from various locations, including:
This way, you can quickly backup important files from other places, and share them without any difficulties.
How to Share Files Online Using WeTransfer
WeTransfer is an Amsterdam-based cloud provider; that can share files online quickly and without complications. It mainly focuses on transferring small and big files online, just as its name suggests.
Amazingly, and in a big shift from the norm for most providers, WeTransfer allows you to send files without going through a pesky registration process.
You only need an email address, the recipient’s email address, and the data to be transferred. You will only be able to send up to 2GB of data in total.
Furthermore, after the transfer gets finished, you will get a download link, which can be shared with other people.
WeTransfer will store your files for seven days.
Using WeTransfer to share files online is quick and easy:
Start by clicking the “+Add files” button, and add the files you intend to transfer
Next, enter the recipient’s email address, and your own email address
Optionally, you can enter a short comment in the empty message section
Lastly, hit the “Transfer” button, and, hurray, work done!
Once the transfer is complete, WeTransfer will send a notification email to the recipients, containing a download link to the posted file.
You will also receive a confirmation message.
When recipients click on the download link, a download page will appear in their browser, from where they will be prompted to complete the transfer process by following simple steps.
I tried to send a file of 949MB, using WeTransfer, to a friend and the process worked marvelously for me.
What I don’t like about WeTransfer, is the website’s large section of rotating ads, while the file sending area occupies only a small portion of the site.
Although the beautiful ads kept me entertained while my file was getting uploaded, it seems the free plan is designed mainly to generate revenues for the company, without focusing on the user’s needs.
To get more out of the service, sign up for WeTransfer Plus at $12 per month, and benefit from a wide range of features, like:
20GB file sending limit
100GB of cloud storage
If you are looking for an easier and hassle-free way of sharing files online, better than Dropbox, then WeTransfer could be suited to your needs.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more robust way of sending files, that also emphasizes on the security of users, then you may not find WeTransfer to be an ideal option.
Well, it’s clear that better Dropbox-like alternatives exist for conveniently and efficiently sharing files online.
And, three among them are:
Something cloud providers should include in their services (including Dropbox), is a URL shortening tool; since most file sharing URLs are too long.
If Dropbox implements this suggestion first, it might win my love, once more.
In the meantime, when I want to share files online quickly and securely, I prefer using Sync.com.
However, it might not be suitable to your specific needs, so give my other two recommendations a try, before settling on anything.
Do you have any experience using a cloud provider for sharing files online? Feel free to express them in the comments section below.
And, thanks for reading!