Small files can be sent via email or Skype, but you’ll need a better method for larger ones. If you are collaborating on a project that requires you to keep many files in one place, you will need a dedicated file sharing tool. Working these tools isn’t always easy, which is why we’ll show you how to share files online.
Online file sharing software has plenty of benefits for its users. It keeps files synchronized, so that you don’t have to worry about doing so manually. It can also automate much of the legwork of file sharing, letting you concentrate on getting things done.
Many services are also effective backup solutions, allowing you to get your files back if your computer has a problem. Most have file versioning, so you can look through older versions of your files and restore them if needed. Backing up to the cloud makes it less likely that you will need to call data recovery services when digital disaster strikes.
If you’re new to file sharing, you might be overwhelmed by the choices available. Take a look at our best cloud storage article for a roundup of the services we’ve reviewed. We’re going to use a few of our favorites to show you how to share files.
We’ll look at Dropbox, Sync.com and pCloud. Sync.com is our overall favorite, but pCloud is also excellent and Dropbox has a lot to offer, too.
Dropbox is one of the most well known file storage services. It is easy to use and fast, making it a fine choice, especially if you are new to file sharing. You don’t have to pay to start using it, either, but if you need lots of storage space, you’ll need one of its paid plans.
Signing up for Dropbox is simple. Its web-based interface is straightforward and there’s a desktop application that lets you upload files directly from your hard drive.
When Dropbox is running, everything in your shared folders is synced automatically. All you have to do is move files into the shared folder to upload them. If you make changes, they will also be uploaded automatically. If other users make changes to the file, they will be reflected on your computer, as well. For more on this, check out our guide on how to share files on Dropbox.
To share a folder, click the share button, which appears when you move your mouse over the folder in the web interface.
You can also click the “new shared folder” text on the right side of the web interface to create a new folder or pick an existing folder to share.
If you are creating a new folder, you have to give it a name, add the email address of whomever you want to share it with and choose whether they can edit the contents or just view them.
There are plenty of reasons to recommend Dropbox besides ease of use. It uses AES 256-bit and SSL/TLS encryption to make sure your files are stored securely. In addition to storing the current version of your files, Dropbox keeps your file history for 30 days on the free Basic plan and 120 days on its paid plans.
The free package is useful and a great way to share files as long as you stay under the account limit of 2GB. Beyond that, its prices start at $9.99 per month, which includes 1TB of storage. Business plans have several more features, such as administrative tools and audit logs with file event tracking (check out our Dropbox for Business review for more on this).
Sync.com is our overall favorite online storage provider, with its ease of use and strong security being big advantages. You can read more about it in our dedicated Sync.com review.
Using it is a piece of cake. The first step is to navigate to its website and sign up.
After that, it is easy to download and set up. Its application asks you to create a folder on your local drive. Once that is done, you can just move files into it to upload them to the cloud.
To create a shared folder, just click on the “shares” tab in the web interface, then click the “create share” button. You can name the new folder and add users’ email addresses from there.
The users you invite will be able to view the folder locally and files added will be visible to everyone in the group. The person who created the folder is the admin. They can add new users and withdraw sharing permissions at any time.
As for security, Sync.com uses AES 256-bit encryption, as well as TLS tunnels and 2048-bit RSA encryption, making it one of the most secure services around. It also allows you to set download limits and view statistics on downloads. That lets you keep a close eye on how much your files are being used.
It has responsive customer service, too, replying to our questions within two hours. It’s also competitively priced at $96 per year for 2TB.
We highly recommend Sync.com as it does almost everything you would want from a file sharing service without any glaring weaknesses.
We at Cloudwards.net like pCloud a lot. We even use it ourselves for video management as it’s the best cloud storage for photo and video.
After signing up, it creates default folders for storing music, pictures and videos. You can add your own by clicking a button. Its application, pCloud Drive, allows you to sync your online files with a local folder.
You can easily invite people to share through the web interface. To get started, go to the “browse” screen and select the folder you want.
Once you’ve set up your folders and added files, you can invite others to share them by clicking the “invite to folder” button. You just add the email addresses of those you want to invite, then choose whether to restrict them to viewing the files or allow them to make edits.
When you sign up, you get 10GB of storage space for free. You can increase that to 500GB for $4.99 per month or 2TB for $9.99 per month. That makes pCloud one of the best deals in cloud storage.
We were impressed by pCloud’s features, ease of use and strong security, too. You can read more about those in our pCloud review.
There are plenty of choices for those who want to share files online. It is a competitive market, which is great for users. Most platforms have decent free offerings and reasonably priced paid services that offer more space. Check out our best online backup services for even more data safety and sharing options.
Sign up for our newsletter
to get the latest on new releases and more.