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10 file-sharing options: Dropbox, Google Drive and more

By Serdar Yegulalp
July 13, 2012 06:00 AM ET

RapidShare

What RapidShare lacks in paid features it makes up for with few restrictions on its core product. The biggest limitations are on download bandwidth and file retention, not storage, so it's a handy way to quickly throw big files somewhere and distribute them to a broad audience on short notice.

Its desktop manager app, though, leaves something to be desired. It runs on Java and requires that you manually launch the installer as an administrator (most app installers do this automatically). Once set up, though, it makes uploading easy via an Explorer right-click context menu.

The "RapidSave" tool allows you to repackage your already-uploaded files for download as a single item. There's no apparent limit to how many files can be repackaged this way. However, while you can use RapidShare to send file links to multiple parties via email, there's no apparent way to import lists of contacts. (You can quickly access the names of previously emailed people, but that's not as useful.)

Free account storage space: No limit
Free account max file size: No limit
Paid account storage space: No limit. With paid account, files remain, even after 30 days of no downloads; pricing starts at 9.90 Euros for 30 days (the payment system accepts PayPal and credit cards, but all payments are in Euros).
Paid account max file size: No limit
File storage expiration: Files deleted after 30 days of inactivity for free accounts
Other paid options: Advanced admin tools; unlimited download speeds
Time to upload 100MB file: 16 min. 10 sec.

ShareFile

ShareFile is clearly aimed at corporate customers rather than consumers. There's no free plan, although there is a 30-day free trial for all account tiers; the 10GB-and-up tiers include access to desktop widgets and Outlook plugins. Files can be assigned an automatic expiration period, from one day to two years after uploading.

The Windows desktop-sync application is written in Adobe Air, so it doesn't have built-in amenities like a right-click context menu to Windows Explorer (although a tool can be downloaded separately, as can a number of other tools), but at least the app gives you the ability to generate a download link for each file or folder. In addition, distribution lists for mass mailings can be created from an Excel spreadsheet.

Free account storage space: None
Free account max file size: N/A
Paid account storage space: 5GB & 2 employee accounts ($29.95/month); 10GB & 10 employee accounts ($59.95/month); 20GB & 20 employee accounts ($99.95/month); enterprise edition (requires rate quote)
Paid account max file size: 10GB
File storage expiration: Only as designated by uploader
Other paid options: Outlook plugin; file request; desktop sync; stored file encryption; drive mappings; SAML support; remote wipe; "poison pill" security option; optional access to hosted applications for editing
Time to upload 100MB file: 7 min. 27 sec.


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