If you want to upload a file so that it can be distributed to others, there are hundreds of different services to perform that task. File hosting comes in different categories and a popular type is cloud hosting where you can use services like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox and iCloud. These are more geared towards personal storage and sharing files with friends, family and work colleagues.
Other file hosting options include services more suited to posting the links anywhere so that anyone can download the file. Sites like Rapidgator, MEGA and ZippyShare are better for this purpose. However, unless you pay a subscription fee, many of them have hosting limitations which place restrictions on what and how others can download the file you’ve uploaded.
Just a few of the annoyances are; a dedicated page to download the file with advertisements (sometimes containing fake download buttons), the requirement to solve a Captcha, waiting several seconds or minutes before the download can start and often the file download speed is restricted.
To get around most of these problems, we list seven free file hosting services where files can be downloaded via direct links. This removes the need for users to visit download pages first and the nuisances associated with them.1. Anonfile
Anonfile is a pretty simple service that offers a generous 20GB maximum upload per file. The absolute maximum that can be uploaded per day is 5,000 files or 100GB in total. Those restrictions should be more than enough for most users.
To upload a file just click the Upload button and select a file (select multiple files with Shift or Ctrl + click). The file will upload and show the download link once finished. Click the Copy button to copy the link and then paste it into your browser to visit the download page. Right click the Download button and copy the link to get the real URL which can directly download the file.
Files can potentially be left on the server and available for download permanently but will be deleted if certain conditions are met. Uploads that violate the terms of service can obviously be removed along with files that are over three months old and have never been downloaded or are over six years old but have not been downloaded for over five years.
There is an option to create an account which keeps a record of what files you have uploaded. Another advantage of an account is download links and files can be removed, just press the X button next to the link. Only a username and password is required to create the account so don’t forget those credentials. Emails are not used at all meaning there is no password recovery option.
Anonfile actually links to another service called Bayfiles, which in turn links to Megaupload. All three websites are identical in how they work so you can use any of them, only the visual themes are different.
The Filesend service is very easy to use and doesn’t have any extra functions to speak of, just upload a file and get the link. Files will be uploaded with a time limit that will expire the link and delete the file after a set period. Those time limits are 7 days, 14 days, 21 days and 30 days. Note that AtOnline Drive listed on the right is a different cloud storage service that requires registration.
The website accepts drag and drop onto the page or clicking a button and selecting through a file requester. One file or multiple files can be dropped or selected with Ctrl or Shift + click. When the file has uploaded, do not click on Copy Link. Instead, right click on the generic icon where the file name and size are, then copy the link. You can also copy the link of the Download button for a single file but not multiple files.
There is no mention of a maximum file size limit or any other possible limits like bandwidth. It’s great if there are no restrictions like that or very high limits but it would be nice to know. A 55GB file was accepted and began uploading but we don’t know if it would have completed successfully (our connection isn’t fast enough to upload it completely).
A good thing about FileTransfer is it’s transparent about what the free upload service offers because the limitations are displayed on its homepage. You can upload files of up to 6GB in size, they will be available to download for 21 days and can be downloaded a total of 50 times. A paid premium account lifts some limitations but free and unregistered should be enough for most users.
To get direct download links with FileTransfer, click Send Files and drag and drop a file onto the browser window or select manually via a file requester. Do note that if you select multiple files for upload at once they will be zipped into a single package when it comes to a direct download. If you want one download link for one file, upload the files individually. Click “Files chosen, continue” to upload the file.
When the upload process is complete, click the Copy Link tab and then the Copy Link button. With the link in the clipboard, you can get the direct link one of two ways. Append “?do=download” to the URL or paste the copied link into the browser, right click on the “Download Data Package” button and copy the link address. It ends up being the same URL either way.
In addition to a paid account, a free account can also be created. There isn’t much extra you get, but if you want a history of uploads and downloads or the option to add comments to files (not relevant for direct links), then it may be worth signing up for.
In terms of simplicity and ease of use, File.io has no frills and will simply provide you with a direct download link once the file has been uploaded. The maximum file size is 5GB per upload and you are allowed up to 100 uploads per day. There are paid plans but the prices are pretty massively high and designed more for professional users and websites.
You can drag one or more files onto a small red drop target on the main page or add them manually via the Upload button. Each file will upload in turn with its own unique direct link so it’s probably best to only upload a few files at any one time. Simply press the Copy Link button to put the direct link for the file into the Clipboard.
Each file can only be downloaded once and then it’s deleted, so don’t try to test the download yourself. There is a manual option to set a time limit so the file gets deleted even if it doesn’t get downloaded. Information on how to do it is at the bottom of the main page but the process will be tricky for many users. Downloading the file yourself when you want to expire it will have the same end result and is much easier.
AnonymousFiles lists on its homepage a number of things that it does or does not do to better look after your privacy. It promises not to store or log any data, not to monitor or share your files and that it’s servers are based outside of the EU or US. The service currently has a 5GB maximum file upload size.
To upload to AnonymousFiles, drop a file into the box on the web page or click in the box to choose a file manually. Once the file has uploaded, don’t click Copy URL but click on the URL itself to open the download window in another browser tab. Right click on the Click to download button and copy the link to get the direct download link.
If you open the Options window from the main page, a box is available where you can enter an expiry date. This can be from 1 hour up to 6 months in the form of 1-24h, 1-7d, 1-4w, 1-6m. The numbers can’t be mixed and matched so 1w3d for example (10 days) wouldn’t work. A Noindex checkbox is also in the options and we’re not sure why it doesn’t default to on as the service is seemingly big on privacy.
6 & 7. Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive
Most people are likely to already have a Google or Microsoft account with free cloud storage included. Although they don’t offer direct links by default there is a way to edit the share links they provide to force a direct download instead of directing the user to a download page. The websites listed below will do it for you automatically.
YTOMP4 is primarily a link generator for YouTube but also has a separate page for creating OneDrive and Google Drive direct links. Just paste the link, click Generate and then Copy. Dropbox is also listed but be careful as we’ve had Dropbox accounts banned in the past for privately sharing just a few Megabytes of legitimate files.
This is another direct link generator for Google Drive, OneDrive and DropBox. It also supports all Google Document types for download provided you have the share link and add a format type at the end. Simply paste in a link and click Generate.
WonderPlugin is a WordPress plugin developer that hosts an online Google Drive direct link generator. It has a guide on how to create shareable links and also tells you about the 100MB limit that most other websites or link generators don’t even mention.
Note: Don’t overuse the Google Drive or OneDrive methods as your download could be blocked or your entire account could even be suspended if you are deemed to be abusing the service. We’d recommend you avoid posting those links on public forums, blogs and social media and use them for personal sharing only. If you are going to freely share your direct links it would be better to create an account just for that purpose.