Big File Transfer Winner

by Derrick Story

Transmit Icon

In my last post, There Has Got to be a Better Way to Share Big Files, I asked for ideas to help me improve my workflow for transferring big files across the internet. A ton of good suggestions were posted in the comments section, and I've tried out many of them today. Here's how my favorites shook out.

I used a 12.5 MB zipped file as my test subject and moved it around using four of the methods suggested in the comments discussion: regular iDisk from my .Mac account via the Finder, iDisk using the Transmit FTP client, a free DropSend account, and a free YouSendIt account. I tested these methods using my sluggish home DSL connection and the super fast O'Reilly T3 connection. The results were interesting.


2006-04-26 16:54:38
One more thing... if I were sending files to Windows users, especially those who aren't super computer savvy, I would probably use DropSend or YouSendIt, just because they're so easy for the user -- just click on a link in an email, and off you go.
2006-04-26 17:53:56
You could also look at Civil Netizen, which lets you share files directly off your own machine without having to upload to a remote server. It seems like a pretty cool idea - but you do need to install the Civil Netizen program on both the "sharing" and "downloading" machines.
Andy Lee
2006-04-26 19:18:10
Thanks for sharing your results. I've heard good things about Transmit, but haven't felt the need for it. The fact that it eliminates the pain of using Finder to upload to iDisk means I'll probably invest in it at some point. I really hate the way Finder sits there forever claiming that it's just finishing up the transfer, and clicking on the "x" to cancel it doesn't do anything. It may be a UI thing than a performance thing, but it's annoying as heck.
Joel Fugazzotto
2006-04-26 19:34:46
Great Information! This thread and your previous thread on this problem-solving topic is the exact reason why I find the MacDev Center so useful. Thanks for testing all the user suggestions and sharing the results.
2006-04-26 19:55:36
I whole-heartedly agree about Transmit. It makes the iDisk actually usable. In addition, with its column-view and other Finder-like features, it makes sftp connections feel like AFP connections, only snappier. In fact, unless you need the remote computer mounted in /Volumes, I can't think of any reason to run an AFP service. Another item I like (although I don't use this very often) is the ability to transfer files between two remote computers: just connect to both of them (in different tabs, for instance) and then drag the file from one to the other! DockSend is another useful feature which automates uploads to sites.
2006-04-26 21:12:36
Good to know. I never would have expected transfering to the iDisk via Finder to be able to keep up with other methods. I also assumed that it has a hideously slow method of transfer based on the interface and seemingly endless "closing file" messages. I assumed that their servers just had horrible performance issues.
2006-04-26 21:42:55
I echo Zac's comment about his surprise concerning "iDisk via the Finder" keeping up with the other methods. To me, it shows how powerful perception is and the importance of UI. That stupid "finishing" message gives the impression that iDisk isn't doing anything. The reality is that iDisk holds its own against the pack. Using Transmit makes it a lot more fun though. Hats off to readers who nailed this concept on the first thread.
2006-04-27 07:01:02
wrt download vs. upload speed. Cable/dsl companies have optimized the experience for what the majority of their users do - download.
2006-04-27 07:12:08
A list of free file hosts:

2006-04-27 08:30:47
The recently release Speed Download 4 has recently become my new favorite utility. Not only is it an exceptional download manager with auto-resuming abilities, but version 4 introduces a built-in FTP client and iDisk integration, as well as tons of other cool things. The main advantage of Speed Download is that you can always have all your ftp servers and idisks mounted and ready for access at moments notice. Since Speed Download becomes your systems download manager, there is no need to switch back and forth between different ftp applications and Finder iDisk. Your servers and iDisks are always there. You can do it all from one place which is killer cool for efficiency. To top that off its only $25. The cheapest 'good' Mac ftp application is at least $30 plus. Check it out at
2006-04-27 08:54:20
Have you tried Interarchy 8? It is supposed to be much faster than Transmit.
2006-04-27 10:59:19
It wasn't clear in your discussion of upload vs download, but assuming you were using your DSL connection the results are a function of your ISP, not the transfer services you were reviewing.

Most broadband ISPs cap upload speeds well below their download speeds.

2006-04-27 11:15:36
Did you know that you can upload and dowload to iDisk directly using your browser? No extra clients necessary. You can get there from the homepage. (Just click the little globe thingy on the iDisk seciton on the left). Or just use direct URL access.
That opens the web based iDisk UI (which is wicked fast compared to the Finder) and you can upload and download from there.
2006-04-27 11:17:15
Grr. Garbled my URL previously. My bad.

The URL to use browser access to iDisk is

2006-04-27 21:24:33
Great tip about using your browser to access iDisk. Seems like just about every way is better than the way I was doing it :)
Chris Parter
2006-06-24 20:07:55
DropSend's Upload service has recently been increased. I was just testing it out from my datacenter, after reading this article, and I was getting 5MB/s (50mb/s) upload & download .. My comparison is unfair since we've got metro gigE at our datacenter, but it still seemed fast for a free service!
2006-10-16 09:01:12
Derrick - thanks for the comparisons. So, just out of curiosity, how DOES one access an iDisk via Transmit (or comparable FTP clients)?
2007-02-01 06:29:29
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2007-02-01 11:12:14
I'd like to suggest RocketStream as a possible alternative.

RocketStream has an accelerated file transfer platform that can share and deliver files up to 100X faster than FTP over high-speed links. It's Station product is a desktop P2P sharing solution enabling direct file and folder transfers between two parties without the need for an interim server.

There's a beta available for download to qualified participants through the month of February. If you're an IT professional and interested in putting RocketStream through its paces, check out

2007-03-31 01:46:38
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2007-07-02 00:56:33
You need to transfer Your site from one hosting company to another.
Whats a good program for this?
Want to skip Your computer and transfer from ftp to ftp ?
Here You can transfer files between two FTP servers on the Internet

Directransfer is a rich FTP tool that is well suited to updating web sites.
Directransfer supports transferring entire directory structures while automatically determining
whether each file should be transferred in text or binary mode.

Directransfer save your time.
What do you basically need to start upload?
You need something to upload and you need to know server name and your login to this server.
That's all .
You just point to something you want to upload in your explorer,
right-click and choose destination.
Program just silently does the task without bothering you again.
Quite handy. Supports secure authentication (MD5).

2007-10-05 08:05:14
I'm trying desperately to access by idisk by web browser but when I type in the URL I get a message_
Account Error: Nonexistent I know it is published but not sure what i'm doing wrong. I've used idisk for file reviews and downloads from the Homepage set up, which worked great, but I want my clients to be able to upload any file format to my public folder. I've done alot of testing but I'm stumped as to what could be wrong. Can anyone advise??? Thanks!
2007-11-30 04:57:15
I have also tried palshare

They allow you to upload complete folders and files and it also zips your files during uploading so the download process is really easy and fast. Seems to work really well.
2008-04-15 09:48:18
You should try , i offer many features like online storage, send file up to 4Gb, upload directly from website or from desktop , branded option and so much more.