Email attachments are perhaps the easiest way to share files. Files can be dragged and dropped into Outlook, sent, and then they are automatically downloaded by the receiver. This works great most of the time, but when the file sizes get large or when there are too many files being sent, it causes problems. This is especially true with the proliferation of digital pictures that take up so much file size as the megapixels on camera phones increase.
When sending multiple small files together, it’s best to compress them into a single zip file. This lowers the email file size, and keeps the attachments tidy and easy to manage. When sending a package of website files, a zip file is also the best approach, as the necessary folder structure will be preserved.
When I am at work or at home, where I am connected by broadband, receiving large emails is not a problem. However, I do travel a lot, and I often find myself checking email from my laptop in various situations. Whether on vacation, at the mechanic, or waiting during jury duty, I am constantly connecting to my office and going through my emails. Some of these circumstances provide slow Internet connectivity or require me to use my cell phone as a hotspot. Aside from clogging the mailbox and delaying the download of other important emails download, these large attachments can be costly when paying for mobile data.
Many email providers now allow a greater maximum file size when attaching files to an email. Both Gmail and Office365 currently allow up to 25 MB. However, some email providers set a maximum of 10 MB. On my own server where I can control this, I intentionally have this set to a maximum of 10 MB. If someone sends me an email greater than 10 MB, it will bounce. I would even prefer to set a 5 MB maximum, but I would get too many bounceback complaints. I feel up to 10 MB is still fair game, but beyond that is excessive.
So, what do you do if you need to send more than 10 MB of files? In the “olden” days, we would upload the files to a server via FTP, and provide a link to download them. These days, there are a host of cloud based services that have built-in file sharing tools that make sharing large files much simpler than ever. Large files can easily be shared with DropBox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. If you don’t have an account with one of these services and like to share and send files, it’s time to get one and start using it.
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