With Gmail’s 25MB file attachment limit, transferring big files via email is a pain in the neck, to say the least. The most obvious solution to this problem is to share files through a file sharing service — like Google Drive or Dropbox.
But sharing a one-off file via such services comes with a long-term, financial commitment.
Since you’re technically sharing the file online, the recipient might not immediately download it. Also, what if the beneficiary doesn’t use the same file sharing service you do? A bit of a pickle, isn’t it? Luckily, we have file sharing services, like WeTransfer, which provide simple, fuss-free transfers of large data.
In this WeTransfer review, the service turned out to be easy-to-use and reliable, but with just basic features and a 2GB free file transfer limit, it leaves you wanting more.
Things to Consider Before Getting a File Transfer Service
At its core, file transfer technology is about moving data from one system to another, over a network, which in this case is the Internet. But, you can’t just choose any random file transfer service, whether you’re looking at one for personal or business use.
Here are some of the factors that you should consider before getting a file transfer service:
Apart from password protection, you should also check if the services provide encryption options. If not, the last resort would be to encrypt files on a local machine and then send them through a file transfer service.
An Amsterdam-based startup, WeTransfer was launched in 2009, and since then the company has become one of the premiere services for easy file transfers. As of 2015, WeTransfer had 25 million users, with 70 million files getting transferred every month.
Pros And Cons:
- Files get transferred without a sign up
- Free transfer up to 2GB per file
- Files can be sent via email or file links
- Sender gets a notification email
- A public file download link is generated
- No encryption option for free users
- Password protection for paid users only
- Free users can’t create a WeTransfer account
Who is WeTransfer For
WeTransfer is for anyone who wants to transfer large files, quickly, without having to sign up for a new service. For personal users, WeTransfer provides a 2GB limit, and the recipient can download a sent file within seven days of it getting shared.
Business users, on the other hand, can get a premium subscription to the service, and send up to 20GB files in one go, decide a custom time limit for a file’s deletion, and set a password for each file transferred.
How WeTransfer Makes Money
There are two revenue streams WeTransfer uses – the main one comes from WeTransfer’s premium service, which cost $12 per month, and the other revenue stream comes from advertisements the company runs on the freemium plan.
When opening WeTransfer’s main web page, you will see beautiful pictures in the background. Those pics are actually advertisements from companies that pay WeTransfer.
You can expect to see advertisements from:
- Qatar Airlines
- Google Chrome
WeTransfer also has the “This Works” initiative, where they support budding illustrators, photographers, and artists; by placing their work as the background image on the website.
Plans and Pricing
As mentioned above, WeTransfer is a “freemium” service, which means it provides basic features for free, but for its premium service, called “WeTransfer Plus,” you have to cough up $12 per month.
Transferring Files on WeTransfer
Thanks to the great interface, transferring files is incredibly easy.
Since you don’t need to sign up, you can just go to the home page and start the transfer process. On the right-hand side of the homepage, there is an option to add files, enter a recipient’s email address, your email address, and an optional message.
As soon as the file gets uploaded, you can send it to the addressee.
You receive two emails after sending data through WeTransfer, via the email option. The first email includes a confirmation that your file has been sent, and the second one comes when the recipient downloads the submitted file.
The second email is a great notification tip, which is still missing from many other file sharing services.
While testing the service, I found out the second confirmation email is sent as soon as the recipient clicks on the “download file” option and not when the file is completely downloaded.
Apart from emailing someone, you also have an option to send files via a download link. Though WeTransfer does give the option to choose between the two, if you choose to use email, you’ll also get a file link as well.
With the file link option, there are no visibility features available, if someone has the link, then they can download and access your file — and you’ll be none the wiser.
The only way out is to password-protect the file (which you can only do with WeTransfer Plus). Also, you don’t receive any email notifications when the file gets downloaded.
Downloading Files on WeTransfer
You can either receive a file from WeTransfer via email or a download link. In both cases, you get taken to WeTransfer’s recipient page that sports a big “Download” button. All you have to do is click that button, and you’ll have the file, there is nothing else to do.
The file download link is active for seven days by default, but the user in question has a premium WeTransfer account, then they can choose to decrease or increase that time limit.
In any case, you’ll see the file’s deletion date on the download page. WeTransfer claims that data gets deleted from the company’s servers on the file’s deletion date, and there is absolutely no way you can retrieve such files.
If you think WeTranfer’s web interface is sleek and beautiful, then wait till you see its mobile apps, which are just as great, sporting a minimalistic look and stunning background images. Keep in mind, however, that WeTransfer can only transfer pictures or videos from the mobile apps, whether you are using iOS or Android.
But as amazing as the iOS app looks, it failed to work for me. With my phone connected to a Wi-Fi network, the app kept telling me that it wasn’t (even though the Wi-Fi was working correctly).
I then changed my Wi-Fi connection and still got the same error. Finally, I had to try doing the transfer with my precious data pack, and that is when the transfer was finally done.
The Android app, on the other hand, worked smoothly and the file got transferred in a single attempt.
WeTransfer has a ticket based support system handled through Zendesk. I raised a ticket with their support team to check their response time, and my ticket was answered in 1.5 hours. The only drawback here is the lack of chat or phone support, even if you are a WeTransfer Plus user.
Since WeTransfer is based out of Amsterdam, the company complies with EU Privacy Directive (95/46/EC) and the Dutch Personal Data Protection Act. When files are getting transferred, they remain protected by the TLS encryption protocol. When they’re stored on WeTransfer’s servers, they’re under AES 256-bit encryption.
Overall, WeTransfer is a conventional file transfer service, which does what it says – nothing more and nothing less. While the interface leaves little to be desired, their feature set could be more advanced. For instance, there is no way for free users to sign up or only send a file through email, without generating a file download link.
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At the same time, with a free 2GB file transfer limit, personal users can easily use WeTransfer for file sharing. But if you’re a business user, you might want to encrypt data locally or look at alternatives.
Have you used WeTransfer? How was your experience? Share your opinions in the comments section below.