Top cloud services for sending large files

Email attachment limits can be frustrating. We looked at RapidShare, Sendspace, and YouSendIt to determine which service is best.

Bounced email messages, bloated inboxes, and security concerns are some of the reasons why you might not want to send blimp-size attachments. These three file-delivery services offer an alternative means of sending large files over the Internet.

RapidShare

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Its tough to overlook the elephant in the roomRapidShare is often lumped in with MegaUpload, a rival file-hosting service that U.S. government agents snuffed out earlier this year for a number of alleged criminal misdeeds. RapidShare insists that its business is on the level, and we have no knowledge to the contrary.

RapidShares greatest appeal is that the service places no limit on file sizes (at least until some clown ruins the fun by trying to send a petabyte of data). The caveat for freebie account holders: RapidShare will delete your files after 30 days. Free accounts have other restrictions, too. Your files arent en­­crypted during transfer, the transfer speeds are slow, and the administrative tools are limited. You wont have to worry about any of those issues if you pay for an account; fees range from approximately $5 to about $12 per month (after converting from euros), depending on how many months youre willing to pay for up front.

Sendspace

Dont need a full-featured file-sending service? Consider Sendspace. Registration is optional, as is installing the desktop software. Doing both unlocks advanced features for monitoring and editing your files. If you dont want to register for an account or install the software, just direct your browser to Sendspaces home page and start dragging and dropping files right inside your browser, or click the Browse button to navigate your hard drive and select the files that way. Sendspaces free service accepts up to 20 files at a time, each of which can be as large as 300MB, and it retains each item for 30 days, provided that someone downloads them at least once during that period of time. Your attachments wont be encryptedand the download page is littered with advertisementsbut if youre just looking to send large files from point A to point B, Sendspace is a serviceable option.

YouSendIt

Among the file-sending services we checked out, this is the only one that comes with both a desktop app and an Outlook plug-in. Most of its best features are reserved for paying customers, though. Penny-pinchers are limited to 50MB file transfers, 2GB of overall storage, and few extras; per-use fees apply to other features that are bundled with the paid accounts, including password protection ($4 per use), a 2GB file-size cap ($10 per use), and delivery receipts ($4 per use).

YouSendIts Pro plan ($10 per month) raises the maximum file size to 2GB, bumps the storage cap up to 5GB, and permits you to set file-expiration dates. The services Pro Plus plan ($15 per month) adds download tracking, return receipts, and phone support, and it eliminates the storage cap entirely. Under all three plans, your files will be encrypted during transit and while they reside on YouSendIts servers.

The Winner

YouSendIt offers the best security and the most features, provided that you open up your wallet. This service also has the best iOS interface.

This story, "Top cloud services for sending large files" was originally published by PCWorld.

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