How to send large files via email – don’t!
Email was never designed as a way of sharing very large files – as time has gone by, our hard disk drives have got larger, and it seems that developers have got lazier – the norm is for large files to need to be shared.
In days gone by, a large file was considered anything more than 10Mb – these days we consider a large file to be anything larger than 20-25Mb.
So – why can’t you send a 24.9Mb file via email?
Email isn’t simply a file attached and sent through the internet – in the background your email program encodes the file in a special format called MIME encoding, this generally adds up to 33% to the file size, so a file that is 16Mb can reach 25Mb when it is encoded. This is done to ensure files are not “broken” when they are transferred from different types of mailservers – the standard encoding method means that mailservers on windows, linux, macs etc, all “talk the same language” – the mailserver on the other end decodes the file – and this process makes the file larger. One thing to bear in mind, is that your email might pass through more than 2 mailservers on it’s way from your computer, to the recipient – any one of these might have a smaller maximum message size – and as such, sending large files via email has a potential to fail.
For this reason, we recommend either compressing the file you are sending – or using a cloud storage provider to save the email – then sending a link to that file in your email to your recipient. This will be much faster – and less prone to failure!
Generally, sending email attachments is safe – but you can’t guarantee that the safety of the file. Sending PDFs or read-only files is not a guarantee that the file cannot be copied, sent to others etc. Instead – we recommend using a file-sharing tool like:
With shared drives you can add access to share the file, make the file read-only and revoke access to the file at any time. Each of these tools also has a program you can install on your Mac or PC which allows you to setup a local “drive” – files you save are shared to the cloud drive for sharing when you need them – which means if you change the file, then it saves automatically to the cloud – this is cool stuff!!