All popular email clients have file size limits that you can send to recipients via email. However, despite these limitations, there are ways to send large files as email attachments.
File size limits vary by postal service. For example, Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL have a 25MB limit per email. Outlook.com is limited to 10 MB. Even desktop email clients have limitations. Microsoft Outlook only allows you to send files that are 20MB in size, and while Mozilla Thunderbird is not limited, you may still run into file size limits depending on which email accounts you connect to.
The trick is to either reduce the file sizes using various utilities, or bypass email as the primary method of sending files.
If the file you are trying to send is slightly larger than the limit (for example, a 30MB file in Gmail), you can compress the file to just below the limit.
Right-click the file, select Send To, and then select Compressed (Zipped) Folder.
Most files, when compressed into a ZIP file, are reduced in size from about 10% to 75%, depending on how much free space in the file’s data there is for the compression algorithm to work wonders. Check out our other post that details which compression program is best
If the compression routine was able to compress the file below your email service‘s size limits, you can attach the file to your email. Also, be sure to read about the different types of compression formats
If you are trying to send one large archive file containing many files and folders, you can always split that file into smaller archives, each of which does not exceed the email service’s size limit.
For example, take a ZIP file just under 60MB in size. You won’t be able to send this file using Gmail or any other cloud-based email service.
Right-click on the file and extract all files inside it into separate files and folders by choosing Extract All.
Then create a new zip file by right clicking inside the folder and choosing New and Compressed (Zipped) Folder.
Then copy over all the individual files and folders you just extracted from the large zip file. Then right-click the new blank zip file and select Paste.
Repeat this process for as many files and individual folders as possible until the size of the new archive file you created is just below the size limit.
Repeat the above process to create another empty archive, and keep copying more files and folders until each of those files is slightly below the limit. Create as many archive files as you need to re-compress all files and folders from the original large archive file.
Finally, you can send each of these files separately until you have sent all of them.
Send files via Google Drive
Another approach is to upload an oversized file to a shared cloud storage account such as Google Drive, assign rights for anyone with the link to view it (which is the default), and send the recipient a link to the file in Google Drive.
To do this, upload the large file to a folder in your Google Drive account.
Right-click the file in Google Drive and choose Share.
In the Share with Others window, next to Everyone with a link, select Copy Link.
This will copy the url of the file from Google Drive to your clipboard.
Go back to your Gmail email and select the insert link icon. Paste the link to the file from Google Drive in the web address field.
Click OK to finish. The link will be inserted into your email message.
Select Submit to complete. All the recipient has to do is click the link to download the file from your shared file in Google Drive.
With this approach, it doesn’t matter how large the file is. This way you can send any file of any size.
Use Gmail Google Drive Integration
An even faster way to download a large file and send a link is to use the integration between Gmail and Google Drive.
If you are using these two services and are sending an email via Gmail, all you have to do is try to attach a file larger than 25MB.
Gmail will automatically download the file to your Google Drive account and the email recipient will see it. You will see a message about this.
When the download is complete, you will see a Google Drive link pasted into your email.
That’s all. This is the fastest way to send a large file via email, but again, you must have a Gmail and Google Drive account for it to work.
Send straight from the cloud
Another quick way to send a large email is to send it from your shared cloud storage account, rather than the email service itself.
For example, in your OneDrive account, you can right-click any file and select Share.
The Send Link window opens, where you can enter the recipient’s email address and the email message you want to add.
Select “Send” to send an email with a link to the automatically inserted file.
This is a much faster way to send large files, and you don’t need to worry about splitting them into smaller files or shrinking them to the limit in any way.
Use anonymous FTP hosting
If you have your own web hosting account, you can use the anonymous FTP feature that is usually included with these accounts.
If you are not sure if this feature is enabled, check with your web hosting provider.
If enabled, when logging into cPanel, simply go to the FTP section and look for the anonymous account username. Select Configure FTP Client to see the server name that the email recipient can use to establish an FTP connection.
All you have to do is use your own FTP client to upload large files to an anonymous FTP folder inside your web hosting account.
The folder for this is usually named something like public_ftp.
After you send the FTP data to the recipient, they can use their own FTP client to connect to the anonymous folder and download the file from the public_ftp folder.
This is the approach you might need for very large files, such as very large video files of several gigabytes.
Transferring files can take a while, but this is what FTP technology was designed for.
Transfer large files via email
As you can see, there are many ways to send very large files via email. The method you choose depends on what services you have and the size of the file itself.
The archive approach is great if your files are just over the limit. But if you are dealing with very large files that cannot be split into smaller archives, then the cloud or FTP sharing method may be your best option.