WeTransfer vs Dropbox

A while back I wrote a guide on using Dropbox to share files. There are other ways to store and share files over the net. Torrent files are rarely used but are a great way to share files, especially very large ones. WeTransfer is another great way to share files. There are other online services that I use to share and store files. Today I’d like to review two of them, WeTransfer vs Dropbox and offer suggestions on when you should use them. These sites offer free and paid services, for now I’ll restrict my review to the free services they provide.

Update: WeTransfer now have a pro account at $10/month and you can store the files in the cloud forever. It’s very similar to dropbox, without the dropbox sync (which by the way is a great tool to have). I’d recommend the Dropbox pro account over WeTransfer – you can do more with 1TB dropbox account.


Dropbox is a “cloud” service that allows you to store and share files. The files are stored in the “cloud” which means you can access them through an internet connection from anywhere. A good metaphor for Dropbox is a USB storage drive that’s online. Dropbox and USB storage device are very similar: you have limited storage (2GB); you can create, delete, and undelete folders and files.

However, you do need an account with Dropbox to use the service. If you don’t have one you can register here. You can also share files and folders in your Dropbox account. The best way to share files is by using a folder, especially if you are sharing multiple files. Each file in Dropbox has a unique url. You can share this url link with someone and they’ll have access to the file. Dropbox also have a Desktop app that sync’s a local Dropbox folder with your online account.

The major drawback of Dropbox is the storage limit which is set at 2GB. They also have an upload limit of 300MB when using their website. If you use the desktop app, there are no limits.

When to Use Dropbox

  • If you’re looking for online storage for small files (less than 1GB).
  • If you’re looking to share and store multiple files.
  • If you want greater control of your files.


WeTransfer is primarily a file sharing site. You can store files using WeTransfer but they limit the storage period to two weeks. WeTransfer does not require that you have an account with them. All you need is an email address and the file you want to share. You also need email addresses of all the people you want to share the file with.

What is so cool about WeTransfer, in addition to its great design, is that you can share a file of up to 2GB in size. And you can share as many files as you want. But you will need to upload each file individually.

The greatest limitation of WeTransfer is that all files are inaccessible two weeks after they are uploaded. You also have no control of the file after you’ve uploaded it. For instance you cannot delete the file or move it. You also have a maximum of 20 emails address that you can share the file with.

When to Use WeTransfer

  • If you’re looking to share multiple large files (more than 1GB, but less than 2 GB).
  • When you’re not looking for online file storage.
  • Want an easy to use, hassle free service.

Both Dropbox and WeTranfer are free file sharing and storage services that are perfect for different occasions. They are not interchangeable. You probably need both and they complement each other perfectly. I use WeTransfer to share large video and audio files that would otherwise clog up my Dropbox account and use Dropbox to share and store smaller files. Both are indispensable to our transcription business. However, we never use WeTransfer while working with confidential documents, especially when providing academic transcription services.

What other file sharing sites would you recommend?

33 responses to “WeTransfer vs Dropbox”

  1. Mike Avatar

    Great post. Have you tried using cx.com. They offer 10GB storage space!

    1. Kongo Avatar

      Looks interesting, I’ll definitely try it out. More space is always good. Thanks for the share.

    2. Clare michael Avatar
      Clare michael

      I can’t see, to find a free trail for wetransfer. Do you might sending he link? Is this the best transfer for a 4 minute video?

      1. Kongo Avatar

        It all depends on how large the 4 minute video is and your particular requirements. How large is the video and do you want to keep a copy of the file online?

  2. Mary Avatar

    I’ve been using google drive. It uploads very fast!

  3. Steve Avatar

    For my video editing work I now use:


    Super easy, super fast, and that creates a permanent link with your recipients.

    I’ve a private access key that might still work: KCAM2UQP6ETA

  4. Clare michael Avatar
    Clare michael

    I can’t fine a free wetransfer site. Do you mind sending a link? Is this the best the to se for a 4 mi ute video transfer?

    1. Kongo Avatar

      Hi Clare, the link to wetransfer is wetransfer.com

  5. Chris Avatar

    Why do you not use WeTransfer for confidential work? I need a means to exchange files with clients on a project by project basis—confidential. Also, I need it to be easy for clients to send me files—they might send a rough video (1GB) and I’ll edit and return. Then they might send a video clip for me to append. Email isn’t practical, DropBox seems difficult on the client end unless they have an account.

    1. Kongo Avatar

      Simply, me and my clients have control of the files when we use dropbox. With Wetransfer we don’t. You cannot delete the file after the project is done. And Wetransfer links are shared through email, which is not that secure. It’s so easy to create an account with dropbox that it should take your client less than a minute. But you can also create accounts for your clients and send them the log in details. If you do sign NDAs with your clients, stick to dropbox. Otherwise you can take your chances with Wetransfer (although now you can register for an account with wetransfer-I don’t think it’s free though).
      Hope that helps.

      1. Chris Avatar

        Well, right now, people email their “confidential” files to me. That certainly isn’t secure but the stuff isn’t really that secret—presentations that they will give will eventually be seen. I hadn’t thought of opening the dropbox accounts for them. I need something as easy as possible—Sharing though dropbox seems a little complicated and vulnerable. The WeTransfer account (plus) is $10 a month. That is well worth it to me but I’m not sure the client gains an advantage with me having an account—i.e., they cannot upload to my plus account (I do not believe they can).

        I look for simple because I have literally spent hours helping people upload and download files! The $10 would save me a lot of time as long as those links are not public—though they send them by email.

        1. Kongo Avatar

          I have not tried out the wetransfer pro account. So I really can’t talk about it merits or demerits. But for this to work you will need to get your clients wetransfer accounts too, which beats the purpose of using wetransfer in the first place; it complicates things. And yes they cannot upload file into your account, unless you give them your login details. It all depends on if you have a legal responsibility to keep the files confidential. If you do, then you’re better safe than sorry.
          It does take a while to get clients up to speed using dropbox. What I do is write blog post and do short video tutorial that I can share with my clients on how to use dropbox. That seems to solve 99% of the issues they have.
          Dropbox has a two step verification system, which makes it more secure. I do like wetransfer because it easy to use, but the pro account loses that advantage over the myriad of file sharing services that are out there.
          And if you are really concerned about confidentiality, you need to consider not using your email to share files.

  6. BILLY Avatar

    Great post Kongo–thank you. This comparison is exactly what I was looking for.

    1. Kongo Avatar

      My pleasure Billy. Glad it was of use.

  7. Sin Cos Tan Avatar
    Sin Cos Tan

    I absolutely LOOOOVE using Dropbox for ALL my storing and sharing needs, and HIGHLY recommend creating your own account (especially useful for college students), for free, AND download the many Dropbox related third party supporting apps on iphone or android!!!

    Every time u refer others to join Dropbox through your website account, Dropbox, I believe, gives u an additional 500MGs FOR FREE on top of your initial 2Gs free storage space.

    I maxed out at over 16Gs now, and I haven’t used half my space yet with all my documents, pictures, music, and videos there already. =D

    1. Kongo Avatar

      Yeah, glad to hear you like dropbox so much. I think their 2GB free storage (might have been okay in 2005, but not anymore) is too little for most users. I get 15GB free on a a Drive account or 10GB on a Box account. Yes you can get to 16GB max by inviting (a lot of) friends, but they do need to offer users more free space upfront. Look at what happened to YouSendIt (hightail)!

  8. brian Avatar

    How long does it usually take to upload a 1.5 gb folder

    1. Kongo Avatar

      I’ve not used WeTransfer in a while to upload large files. From my recollection it was dependent on your upload speed of your ISP. The site servers were very fast. Using a 7mbps connection, I did upload in a 2GB zip file in about 2 hours. Which I thought was impressive.

      With dropbox, that’s a different story. I use it regularly and as I said in the post, it is slow. You cannot directly upload the a 2GB using the website, so you’ll need to dropbox sync. And I don’t think I’ve seen upload speeds of more than 2mbps with dropbox sync. Probably because dropbox throttles uploads and downloads so they don’t interfere with your “browsing experience”…

  9. Sue Fordyce Avatar

    I mail medical reports to doctors and they mail audio files to me via a cloud service, SendThisFile. This all has to be HIPPA compliant, so a password needs to be used at both ends of the transfer to be able to open the files. SendThisFile is now being bought out by AdobeSend BUT AdobeSend has dropped the privacy feature. I don’t need a lot of space and I don’t need to save files more than a couple of days. Can you suggest what I should use? Thanks very much!

    1. Kongo Avatar

      Use Dropbox, that’s what I use. You can also use box.com – 10GB of free space.
      But if you are zipping up (I use 7-zip) the files on both ends and encrypting them with strong passwords – you’ll still comply with HIPPA privacy rules as you are limiting the disclosure. The Achilles Heel is how to share the passwords.

      Any suggestions?

  10. RHS Avatar

    wetransfer insists that you allow cookies .. Drop box does not ..

    Privacy issues with Wetransfer..

  11. Awadhesh Avatar

    Nicely explained

  12. Chinary Ung Avatar
    Chinary Ung

    would like to cancel the WETRANSFER PLUS AMTESDAM NL
    may i have a contact person.Thanks.

    1. Kongo Avatar

      visit their site at wetransfer.com?

  13. Mary Avatar

    Nice writeup, I have Dropbox for large longterm storage, but have found it inconvenient for quickly sharing simple things like photos. Trying WeTransfer’s free service now. I hate the idea of having two subscriptions for essentially the same service, and if WeTransfers Pro service decreases the ease of use for the receiver of shared files, then that would defeat the point.

    1. Kongo Avatar

      Mmh, have you tried placing the all the photos you want to share into a folder, creating a share link to the folder, then using that to share the photos. That’s what I do when I have numerous little files I’d like to share.
      You might be disappointed with the free version of wetransfer, unless you zip all the photos into one file…

  14. AbbasK Avatar

    How do I get my uploading started from the same place(say after a 33% upload of 1.5 GB file) after losing an internet connection? Can you help?

    1. Kongo Avatar

      I don’t think you can with WeTransfer.
      If you are using dropbox, you’ll want to upload large files using the desktop application.
      That resumes automatically from where you left off..

  15. Quictransfer Avatar

    Quictransfer Simple and easy-to-use no-registration upload and sharing of big files.

  16. Cynthia Avatar

    which is better to use We Transfer Plus or Dropbox Plus for sending videos? We Transfer Plus allows up to 20GB. Drop Box Plus has 1 TB storage but doesn’t say what is the max GB for file sharing. I would need something to be able to share videos over 10 min with people. I know I would have to upgrade with whatever service I choose. I just don’t know which one is better for sharing larger files. HELP!!!

    1. Kongo Avatar

      Definitely Dropbox. Dropbox does not have a max file size, it only limited by the amount of storage you have.
      If you upgrade to the 1TB plan, you can share a file as large as 1TB – provided you don’t have anything else in Drobbox.
      So, for large files, I’d go with dropbox. I actually don’t know of any disadvantage of using dropbox over wetransfer…

  17. Gavin Avatar

    For ease of use Wetransfer is the BEST! Nothing comes close. My subsidiaries transfer files to me all the time. Dropbox is much more complex and annoying.

    Email of receiver…drag and drop file…send!

    Beat that Dropbox!

    1. Kongo Avatar

      Gavin that’s true! It’s very easy to use wetransfer.
      BTW, dropbox have a feature where you can create a permanent link, email the link to anyone and they can directly upload the files to your dropbox account.
      All they have to do is click on the link, drag and drop the file (accepts multiple files) and send…

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