The Hostway Blog

Ways to Email Large Files

You’ve created an incredible new video demo or PowerPoint presentation, but the files are big enough to sink the Titanic. If you try to email them as they are, your email client will choke. We’ve all sat there waiting as a large file (incoming or outgoing) bogged down our email and, in some, cases, did strange and horrible things. Happily, there are a few solutions out there to help you send those enormous files.


Compression software does just what it sounds like it’s going to do. Basically, it uses complex mathematical equations to look for redundant information (like the word “compression” in this article) and replaces it with a smaller code reducing the file size. When the file is decompressed, it takes that code and translates it back into the original format.

Two of the most popular compression software programs are WinZip (PC) and StuffIt (PC & Mac). Both have limited free trials. They’re simple to use if you’re familiar with computers, but can be intimidating for the technically-challenged. They can also bundle different files into one compressed file. But, the fact that your file recipient will have to have the software too is a significant downside.

Multipart Volumes

For even bigger files, software that can carve up large files into smaller files and then reassemble them is a good option. Two of the more popular multipart, or multivolume, programs are WinRar and 7-Zip. These programs will compress files, but they’ll also divide them into smaller volumes. These programs have the same downside as the basic compression software. The file’s recipient will have to have the software in order to reassemble the file. It’s more work for both sender and recipient than the third solution, file transfer services.

File Transfer Services

The best way to handle large files is by using a 3rd party online tool. Services like Hostway’s GigaMail give you an intermediary for large files. You upload your file to the 3rd party server. An email notification is sent to your recipients and they’re sent the address to retrieve the file. The recipients can then download the file without having to worry about bogging down their email client.

There are fees for the services, but they’re not just easier to use, they’re more convenient for your recipients. Unlike the other solutions, with a tool like GigaMail, they don’t have to download any special software or learn how to use it.

How often you send big files and to whom will help dictate which solution is best for you. A basic compression software will probably suffice if you aren’t going to send large files often and your email recipients are willing (and able) to unzip them. For everyone else, looking into a subscription for a file sharing service is probably the better solution.