Computers come with gargantuan storage capacity, from 64GB to 1TB or more, and solid-state drives (SSDs) and external drives can add even more digital space. Moreover, storage potential in the cloud is vast, and high-speed internet allows you to send and share large files in ever-quicker times. With seemingly unlimited options and improving technology, why would anyone need file compression software?
Don't kid yourself. Everything we just mentioned is true, but smaller files are always better than larger files when it comes to storage and transmission. This is particularly true for video and music files, and for large graphics and schematics, as well as whole archives of documents and other materials. If you need to send it, share it or archive it, then ZIP software can be mighty handy.
A ZIP program is useful for file transfer and storage through cloud-based services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Box and for sharing via social media. The best file compression software integrates directly with these services. Here's a look at a few of those services.
This service offers free file hosting in the cloud. It gives you 2GB of free storage when you create an account and an additional 3GB free when you save photos and videos to Dropbox. You can upgrade your account for greater storage capacity and pay monthly or annually. You also gain 500MB of space up to 16GB for each friend you refer to the service, and more free storage for connecting your social media accounts to your Dropbox account. This service is great because it lets you store compressed and regular files, to be accessed from any computer or mobile device on which you place a Dropbox folder.
This cloud-based service is much like Dropbox. It offers 5GB of free storage space to store digital files. You can buy more space if you exhaust that, and like Dropbox, you can store all your documents, photos, videos and graphics on Google Drive, and compress files to get the most from the amount of free storage. You can access them anywhere on any device on which you've installed Google Drive, as long as you have internet access.
SkyDrive is Microsoft's file-hosting service. It's part of the Windows Live online services and lets you keep files secure, share them or make them public. It offers 7GB of free storage when you create an account. Like Dropbox and Google Drive, you can purchase additional storage.
One strength of this file-hosting service is that you can use it to send large files quickly. The company boasts that it will save you an average of 68 minutes a week, which equates annually to more than an entire workweek. You can send files directly from Box or by pasting a link into an email. You receive up to 50GB of free online storage, with file-size limits ranging between 250MB and 1GB.
All of these file-sharing services are great for storing and sharing your personal photos, videos, spreadsheets, digital presentations and documents. You can use them free or pay for upgraded packages. They also offer business packages with higher storage capacities and prices.