So, you have a gigantic file that you want to send to someone? Depending on which service you use for email you may be able to send it as an attachment, but in all likelihood you’re going to exceed the attachment size limit.
You could set up an FTP server or make use of your web space, but this can prove costly in terms of bandwidth. Direct connections are another possibility, but these can be tricky to set up and also pose a security risk. Digital Pigeon is a service that can be used to quickly and easily share files whose sizes are measured in hundreds of megabytes. We take a look to see how it shapes up.
Your Digital Courier
To help overcome the problem of sending large files from computer to computer, many people resort to using a USB drive for transporting oversized documents. But this is not practical – if only in terms of time – when files need to be shared with other people.
Digital Pigeon works like a cross between a web mail service, such as Gmail, and an online storage facility such as RapidShare. Sign up for a free account and you gain access to a delightfully easy way to share file in just a few clicks – and all without the need for software installations or complex configuration.
Signing up for an account takes the claimed 30 seconds to complete, and once you’ve provided your email address and chosen a password you can start sending files right away. You immediately notice that Digital Pigeon’s composition screen looks very similar to an email.
Working with the free account includes some limitations. You are only able to send four batches of files per month, but each of these can comprise up to 20 files or 500MB. There’s drag and drop support and this means that you can attach files to messages in one of two ways.
You can click the ‘Add files’ button and select your uploads, but to make things easier you can simply drag and drop on to the Digital Pigeon page.
If you opt to work with a paid-for package, there are additional options that you can apply to messages. By default, messages that are sent will expire after a week – this includes for free account users – but this can be increased to up to three months.
It is also possible to password protect messages to add a layer of security. If you are attaching several files, they can be color coded to help make file types easier to identify at a glance.
Files are not actually uploaded until you hit the Send Now button, so you can compose your message, click Send and walk away from your computer safe in the knowledge that your message will be delivered in your absence – you’ll even receive an email to let you know that the upload is complete.
You can keep an eye on which of the email recipients have accessed the files you have sent via the online dashboard – they will receive an email that includes a link through which they can view your message and download any associated files.
Things start to get even more interesting if you opt to subscribe to one of the monthly plans. Ranging from $10 – $30 per month, these packages enable you to work with larger files, send to more people at once and even receive files.
The free account may well be enough for your needs, but you can take a trial of any of the other three packages to see if the extra features are worth the money. The Basic plan costs $10 per month and enables you to send files up to 2GB in size with a limit of 15 files per month.
Small businesses may be more interested in the Professional or Teams packages which cost $15 and $30 respectively. With the Professional plan, the file size limit is increased to 5GB and you can send an unlimited number of messages each month to up to 20 recipients, while the top package enables you to send to up to 100 people.
The subscription is structured so that, while there is a 30 day trial available, you are obliged to commit for a year if you decide you need the service. Being tied into a contract in this way may be off-putting, particularly to potential customers who may only need the file sharing service on a fairly infrequent basis.
There are plenty of online storage sites for you to choose from – SkyDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox, to name but three – but there are scant few that make the process of sharing files as easy as Digital Pigeon.
For when you’re away from your desk, you can take advantage of an iOS app to manage your Digital Pigeon account from your iPhone or iPad (there’s an Android app in the pipeline as well), while Mac users can use a desktop app if the web site proves cumbersome. A similar option will be available to Windows users in the future.
The file-sharing concept is simple really, but so many sites seem to over complicate it, or just get it plain wrong. Here is a service that does exactly what it sets out to do, and does it well. Providing you’re not too demanding, you should find that the free plan is enough for occasional use, but it’s good to know that there are other options available if needed.
How have you overcome the problem of sharing large files with people? Let us know about any sites and services you use in the comments below.