Update: The ban appears to have been lifted, but the alternatives and the resources mentioned in this post remain as valid as they did when this article was originally published. You can skip to the section
Alternatives to WeTransfer directly if you do not want to read about the ban and its impact.
On May 31 2020, several news sites in India began to report that Wetransfer was blocked by ISPs in India. This was a result of an order from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, or TRAI. The question arises, what are the alternative services that offer features similar to WeTransfer?
The core issue behind this was an order dated May 18th, which recommended blocking the service citing “national security and public interest.”
As on June 2, 2020- the day I am publishing this post, Wetransfer is still available on some internet networks, as well as via VPN or Virtual Private Networks. But that may not be the case with everyone, and it is likely that the ban may have an impact over the long run.
Ban and its impact
Many businesses, freelancers, and individuals use services such as Wetransfer to exchange files across offices or continents. Such services offer speed, convenience, and in some cases, privacy. We will discuss the features of such services in detail below. But here is a real life (and recent) example:
We are working with a new audio editor for editing episodes for Baalgatha podcast. The editor had completed their work and wanted to send the files over to us. He sent us a message on WhatsApp, asking if he could send files via WeTransfer. The below image tells the rest of the story. We use a different tool, Koofr, for managing our media files. You can read about it in the backstory section at the end of this post.
The Short List of Alternatives to WeTransfer
As soon as the news about the blockage was published, many publications posted articles like “3 alternatives to WeTransfer”. You can read a couple of them here and here. But they mostly cite the usual suspects: Google Drive and Dropbox, with only one real alternative each, Firefox send and Smash. However, the list is much bigger. Below I have included a much more comprehensive list of sites that can be good alternatives to WeTransfer.
The Long List of Alternatives to WeTransfer
Ezybox is a free service that offers transfer of files via web browser and an Android app. The files are secured using AES-256 encryption. Maximum file size is 5 GB, and multiple file sharing or upload is allowed. The files are stores for 7 days. Signing in offers greater control, such as showing past links, adding or removing files, and customising the logo for download page.
Highlights: Sendgb does not require you to register in order to send files. The upper limit of file size is 5 GB, that is, you can send files upto 5 GB in size. You can upload multiple files, but not folders. Folder will have to be zipped. One link can be shared with upto 20 people. The files are encrypted, password protection is available.
Free version: File size has a limit of 6GB with your family. Files stay ‘live’ for 3 weeks.
Alternative to Wetransfer: Other File Sharing Services
pCloud is a cloud storage service that allows sharing and transfer of files
Filepizza Allows transfer of files through the browser itself
Wesendit offers features similar to WeTransfer.
Uplovd they allow 20 GB of files, and I liked that they have a page in Hindi. Upvold is from the same folks who developed Piratebay. Bute now they also offer a file sharing service called Bayfiles. You may notice that their interfaces are quite similar.
“Open OnionShare, drag and drop files and folders into it, and click “Start Sharing”. A secret .onion URL such asonionshare website
http://asxmi4q6i7pajg2b.onion/egg-cainwill be presented for you to share.”
Self Hosted Alternatives to WeTransfer
Services like Owncloud, Nextcloud, Projectsend and Pydio can also offer ways to share files. Also Seafile (thanks user vimalware on Lowendspirit blog for the suggestion). In the community edition of seafile, unregistered users can upload to a password-protected folder.
If You Prefer the Command Line
This post lists the following options:
Backstory: using WeTransfer for gaathastory
Back in 2019, we were working with an audiobook publisher and we were trying to send them our media files. At that point in time, we used a different service. But that service kept crashing every now and then, forcing us to look for ways to send the files over to the publisher. Someone recommended WeTransfer. That sowed the seeds for the present system we use at gaatha story.
I will write about it in a separate post, but long story short, we use Koofr which is another cloud storage service. It also allows password protected sharing of files and folders, and one can define the time limit for access to the shared files.
Summing it up
When I had launched the underworldstartup blog, I was planning to write a post about WeTransfer and its sister services including Paste. In the process, I had also created a draft post. Now that blog is a part of this blogging site, it is apt that the current ban on Wetransfer in India proved to the trigger for me writing this post.
Update: You can find a short presentation that I created on Slideshare on this topic. You can view it below.