The best files transfer software makes it simple and easy to manage and transfer files online, both individually or collaboratively as part of a team.
While home users have been sharing and transferring files between family members for some years, more recently file transfer software has become essential for business purposes as well. This is especially since remote working has taken off, meaning that it's no longer so easy to simply pass files over to a co-worker using the business intranet or a USB drive.
Businesses still need employees to be able to file and share documents online, especially since collaboration has become so important, from team editing of documents and presentations, to staff and supervisor updating of time keeping spreadsheets.
Cloud document storage has becoming an integral part of that, but not all cloud services allow for direct sharing of data with other users.
Luckily, there are a number of providers who do allow you to share files online and transfer data, giving you full control with regards to what and how you share. This means being able to set permissions to files and folders according to whether you wish to keep them private, allow read-only access, or of course allow full access for sharing and collaborative working.
We've compared these file transfer options on aspects like their storage limits, interface, ease of signup, security encryption, and individual file-size sharing limits. We also considered their free plans and the value of their pricing plans, among other things.
Here then are the best files transfer software services currently available.
For transferring large online files see our article: Best ways to share big files.
FREE Backblaze unlimited cloud storage with every ExpressVPN purchase (opens in new tab)
ExpressVPN (opens in new tab), TechRadar's #1 VPN provider, is offering free unlimited cloud storage courtesy of Backblaze for a whole year when you sign up for an annual VPN subscription. Transferring files online is even easier when you've already uploaded them to the cloud with Backblaze.
The best files transfer software of 2022 in full:
Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Slack isn't so much of an online file store as much as an online communications platform. However, if you're looking to share a select few documents rather than a huge archive then Slack might just work for you.
This is especially the case if you're managing a project, or working as part of a team on a project, and need to keep all your documentation in one place.
This is easy to set up in Slack, and better still, ensure control over which team members have access over which documents.
This provides an advantage over general file-sharing services, because it allows for much more user control - and especially respect hierarchies - without having to worry about overcomplicated permissions.
Even better is that Slack has a free tier with a generous 5GB of storage available per team member, so you can try it out with minimal investment other than a little time spent setting up your team(s). Paid-for plans allow for phone and video conferencing on top of messaging, with increases to member storage.
Read our full Slack review.
Even as the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft have rolled out their own file syncing and cloud storage services, Dropbox (which has been going since 2007) remains the leader of the pack: it's slick, it's easy to use, it's reliable, and it works on just about any platform.
Files can be shared via a URL with a couple of clicks or taps from Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux and the web, and time limits and password protection can be applied too. At the other end, the recipients can download files with or without a Dropbox account.
Maybe the only mark we can put against Dropbox is that you only get 2GB of storage for free. If you need more storage, individual and family plans are available, as well as business team plans, with annual payment discounts available.
To find out more, see our full Dropbox review.
Even the staunchest Apple or Microsoft fan would have to admit Google does the web stuff rather well, and Google Drive runs Dropbox very close in terms of sharing files - which one is best for you could well depend on which one you already spend more of your time in.
Files can be shared via email or link in seconds, though you don't get any time limit or password options in this case. What you can do is limit the edits that the file recipients can make: as you'd expect, it's perfect for sharing files from Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.
As with Dropbox, you can access Google Drive from just about every mobile and desktop platform out there. Users get 15GB for free across Drive and other services like Gmail, but if you need more, you'll need to upgrade your storage.
For more information, read our full Google Drive review.
If you want something quick and convenient that's not tied to a bigger platform (like Dropbox or Google Drive), give WeTransfer a try. You don't even need to register an account, though you do need to supply an email address you can be contacted on.
Just pick your file (or files), enter the recipient's email address, and you're good to go – it's hard to beat in terms of simplicity. You can email or copy the link to the files, and the link stays active for a week. WeTransfer apps for Android and iOS are available, if needed.
All that is free, but with a Plus account you can set time limits for your downloads, password-protect your files, change the look of the share screen, and more.
WeTransfer's customer support is prompt in its response. Although there's a three-business-day guarantee, you'll likely receive a response much sooner than that.
Send Anywhere offers up an even more lightweight interface than WeTransfer, so you can dive right in without any distractions or setup screens to work through. Despite the simple setup, you've got a variety of different file-sharing options to pick from as you go along.
Add files from the opening splash screen, and you can send them direct (through the site via a code), via a URL link, or via email. If you don't want to work with Send Anywhere through the web, you can install dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.
Free of charge, Send Anywhere will let you easily share files up to 10GB in size, with the link active for 48 hours. However, for the Plus account you get 1TB of storage and can share files up to 50GB in size, track and limit downloads, and remove the ads.
Hightail is a professional-level file collaboration service but there is a file transfer component that's easy to dip in and out of, even if you don't use everything else on the platform. It works straight from the web – you can just drag and drop your files into it.
There is a rather stingy 100MB file size limit in place, but the service is quick and simple and fast Your contacts get a URL they can click on to access the file or files you've selected, and there is no need to register an account at any stage. The files are available for seven days.
There is plenty more to Hightail, which you can get with a paid account, such as larger file sharing (individual file limit of 25GB), advanced collaboration options, and unlimited storage.
We've featured the best cloud storage.
What is file transfer software?
File transfer software is a tool that facilitates the sharing of files from one device to another using the internet.
These applications are used frequently by internet users across the world, and they come with their own storage, file-size limits, and file-sharing features.
How to choose the best files transfer software for you?
When deciding which files transfer software to use, first consider what your actual needs are, as sometimes free and budget software may only provide basic tools and saving options, so if you need to use advanced features you may find a paid platform is much more worthwhile.
You'll want to check how much storage the file-sharing app offers, the individual file size limits, security encryption, and the overall ease of use.
Additionally, higher-end software can really cater for every need, so do ensure you have a good idea of which features you think you may require from your files transfer software.
The best files transfer software: How we test
To test for the best files transfer software we first set up an account with the relevant software platform. We then tested the service to see how the software could be used with different files and folders, from different devices, in different situations.
We assessed their file-sharing features, limitations, security, and customer support.
The aim was to push each files transfer platform to see how useful its basic tools were and also how easy it was to get to grips with any more advanced tools.