In our increasingly digital world, sharing files is a must for everyone at some point. Sharing simple images or small documents that can be easily emailed is not problem, but what do you do when you have multiple files to share, or one large one that goes beyond what email limits will allow for? Let's talk about how you can make file sharing work, even when file sizes explode.
People may have different definitions of file sharing depending on their most commonly used form of it. To some, it may just mean uploading photos to their favorite social media site. To others, it may mean sharing the file through a cloud-based provider. Still others may think of the various peer-to-peer services when they define file sharing. Ultimately, they are all right. File sharing is any method used to get a digital file from one person to another.
If you need to send large files to someone and your email provider is telling you that the file is too large, what options do you have? There are three main ways that people share files, along with a way to make each of them easier.
Compress the file — It's much easier to share large files if they aren't so large. Thankfully, tools like WinZip allow you to compress most files so that they take up a fraction of the space they previously did. Once the file has been sent, it is easy for the receiving party to decompress the file to return it to its original state. This is especially useful if you will be using the internet to share your file.
Share with a USB drive — Despite the fact that internet bandwidth is now readily available for most people, USB drives remain a popular way to share files. It isn't practical if the person lives on the other side of the world, but for sharing with people you share space with, or for transferring from one computer to another, USB drives are a very practical way to move files around.
Share using cloud-based solutions — Tools like DropBox, OneDrive, and Box were all designed to help you backup your own files and keep the backups in sync with your local copy. All of them, however, also have tools that make it easy for you to share those files with others. For multiple people sharing within an organization, there are also tools like SharePoint by Microsoft that make mass file sharing more accessible.
Share using peer-to-peer — Another common way to share large files is using peer-to-peer file sharing programs, like a BitTorrent client. If the file will be used by many people, then their storage and bandwidth capacities can all be combined so that downloads are fast for everyone and no one server can go down and affect the availability of the file.
Sharing multiple files can present a larger problem. While you can share entire folders using a USB drive, or DropBox and its competitors, doing so may make it harder to keep things as organized as you'd like. To ensure that all the files stay together and none of them get accidentally deleted or moved someplace else, it's common to use an archival tool like WinZip to compress all the files into one large file. This is essentially a requirement if you'll be asking users to download the files from a website. No one is going to want to manually download dozens of little files and then have to move them all where they belong.
Compressing your file or files with WinZip instead of transferring the raw file or directory makes the process faster and more convenient. Whether you need to send zip files over the internet or just hand them off to the guy next to you, there's a technology waiting to make it easier for you.