There are so many ways to share files these days that it can be a bit overwhelming. Of course, it doesn’t help that everyone advertises their system, service, or method as the best. If you’re pulling your hair out trying to decide, stop. Each service out there has its niche – its strong point.

File Sharing With iCloud

File sharing with Apple’s iCloud is ideal for anything you want to sync, but not necessarily store, in the cloud. So, for example, if you have a hard drive full of pictures, you can sync those with any other Apple device you own or that is registered under your account.

Apple’s native file sharing feature is called AirDrop. It lets you share with anyone near you that has an Apple device, and it’s built on Apple’s wireless mesh networking technology.

File Sharing With DropBox

DropBox is ideal for small files that you want to sync to all of your devices. In that sense, it’s a bit like iCloud. But, the service allows you to share any file on your computer too. You just generate a download link, and anyone you send that link to can download whatever file you want them to have. You can also invite friends and family to folders in your DropBox account. It’s supposed to have a very native feel to it so that users will feel like the folder resides on their own computer.

The only downside is that files uploaded through the website have a 10GB limit.

File Sharing With Vuze

If you want more control over your file sharing, and you need fast file transfers, then you really want a P2P file sharing client. Vuze bittorrent client, for example, lets you connect directly with other users instead of going through a third-party service.

File transfers are unlimited, and you never have to pay for anything outside of a one-off charge for the software. This is the most flexible option. It’s also the option with the steepest learning curve. With other services, all you need to do is sign up and upload your files. With a torrent client like Vuze, you have to configure your computer to share and download torrents.

But, after the initial setup, this option pays off more than all of the other file sharing options combined.

File Sharing With Google Drive

Google Drive is the free alternative to Apple’s iCloud. OK, iCloud doesn’t technically cost any money, but you do have to buy a Mac to get the most out of it. G Drive is excellent for documents and seeing edits in real-time — that’s its strong suit. So, if you’re looking for a service for team collaboration, this is it.

If you have simple spreadsheets you need to share, it can also be used for that.

Like all of the other services out there, you can choose to upgrade to a paid version. What do you get for the money? More space, of course. At $1.99/month for 100GB, it’s a pretty good deal. Things get expensive, however, when you hit 10 TB.

Just make sure you aren’t sharing files you didn’t create, or where the copyright holder has not authorized sharing.

Katherine Phillips is a data management guru. From file sharing to security and organization, she enjoys blogging about the ins and outs of keeping files under control in the digital age.

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May 13, 2015

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