A Complete Guide to Uploading Your Files to Google Drive

From tiny bytes to terabytes of information— how to upload them all to your Google Drive.

Updated February 2021

It seems that we can never have enough storage space. Statistics show that an average US citizen uses up to 5.4 square feet of self-storage space forking out up to $88.85 every month. And these figures are on the rise.

Things are slightly easier with digital files. Sure, the volume of digital assets produced by individuals and businesses is going through the roof, and everybody seems to be on the lookout for convenient data storage. Yet, the professed data-geddon still seems very unlikely — with so many cloud storage services on the market.

Garage doors

Ever since Google created Google Drive, everybody is blessed with at least 15 GB of free storage space in the cloud. This space is even larger for businesses that use Google Workspace. Alongside with a corporate email, advanced security, and other functionalities, you also get unlimited cloud storage. Just think of it — unlimited storage!

In case you are still wondering if Google Workspace is a good fit for your business, have a look at our G Suite Maximizer. There we compiled all the advantages of Google Workspace & gave you an idea of how you can extend your cloud storage with Pics.io DAM.

G Suite

Stuck on starting upload — not again

Here comes the funny thing — having so much storage space doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always easy to manage your storage. Admit it, how many times you found your Google Drive failed to upload? My Google Drive won’t upload is the most common complaint on Google Drive Help.

So, before we move to describing the upload directly, let’s consider typical issues you could meet in the process. By and large, most Google Drive upload failures are caused by one of these:

  • Technical difficulties. For example, a missing/slow Internet connection is the most common explanation of why your Google Drive is malfunctioning. The least you can do is to run a troubleshooter and check your network’s status. Technical problems could happen on both sides, by the way. Although the latest service disruption encountered the Drive storage as long ago as in 2017, no one guarantees it won’t happen again.
  • Browser question. Of course, you can open Google Drive in any browser (despite Chrome recommendations by its support team). When the issue still appears, try changing your browser (or at least reopening it). Clearing your cache and cookies won’t hurt either.
  • Turned-off images. One more issue to double-check is turned-on images in your browser. Otherwise, you can edit and manage your data in Google Drive but not upload/download.
  • Plugins, extensions, and anti-virus. Your virus scanning software or browser extensions (for example, ad blockers) could also become a reason for a repeated upload failure in Google Drive. Consider disabling them for a moment until your files upload.
  • File requirements. At first sight, Google Drive doesn’t have extensive requirements to your files like their types, size, etc. There are still some basic things you’d better double-check. For instance, text documents should not exceed 50 MB, and the limit for presentations is 100 MB. You can check all the requirements towards file size and types in Google Drive help center.
  • Filename. One more interesting observation includes the demand for a filename, which should not have any special characters like the question mark or an asterisk. As a rule, you cannot even create such a name due to operating system restrictions. An omission could still happen, so re-check the name.

Here’s a good post to solve all your Google Drive problems. And if these fixes make no use for you, here are 5 more tips how to troubleshoot your Google Drive.

To make your life easier, we compiled a short checklist you just run through to solve an upload failure in your Google Drive with minimum effort:

  1. Check your network connection.
  2. Reconnect your Google account.
  3. Check the available storage space.
  4. Restart Backup & Sync (more on this below).
  5. Try running Google Drive as an administrator.
  6. Disable the anti-virus, ad blockers (AdGuard, for example), and Firewall, used for network security.
  7. Make sure to turn on the images in your browser.
  8. Remove the cached data in your browser.
  9. Reupload the browser and/or go incognito.
  10. Double-check file names, size, types, etc. Rename or resize them, if needed.

… And when we’ve got Google Drive running like clockwork, we can turn to uploading files.

What about upload then?

You will be surprised but one more stumbling block is the mere process of moving your files to Google Drive. Uploading files to Google Drive isn’t a problem when you only have to upload a couple of files at a time. But when it comes to moving your whole business archive to a new corporate storage in Google Workspace, you are bound to run against difficulties.

Anyway, let’s start from the beginning.

Simple in-browser uploading

If you work on a small scale, uploading files to Google Drive is pretty easy & straightforward. You just upload the files from your device or simply drag’n’drop them to the Google Drive screen. After that you can organize your documents in folders, rename them, and even share them with others.

Within the web interface, you can also upload a whole folder to Google Drive. It’s pretty easy. Just right-click where you want to upload the folder and select it on your computer:

Upload a folder to Google Driv

If you use a DAM service, such as Pics.io, which is integrated with Google Drive, things work pretty automatically. You simply upload your files in Pics.io & see them synchronized with Google Drive, organized in the same way as you arranged them in your DAM system.

To automate this manual process, you can try two Google products: Google Drive Sync (for individual users) & Drive File Stream (for corporate Google Workspace users). Additionally, you shouldn’t ignore the benefits of Google Drive mobile apps.

Let’s take a closer look.

Google Drive Sync — automatic upload for personal accounts

Google Drive Backup and Sync is a great feature that helps you automatically create backups of your files from your computer, camera, or even SD card.

Backup & Sync icon

You just need to install Backup and Sync Google Drive on your device and choose a folder that you want to be continuously backed up to GD. In this way, all the files you put in this folder on your device will be automatically saved in your Google Drive. That will save you lots of time on uploading them to GD and you will always have them close at hand.

My MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro Sign In

And if you work a lot with photo and video content, there’s another great thing about Backup and Sync. Just like Google Photos, it gives you a way to upload your photos and videos at a slightly reduced quality than they are originally. And if you save them this way, they won’t eat up space in your storage at all!

Drive File Stream for business accounts

If you are a business or a school that is a Google Workspace user, in addition to unlimited storage, you have numerous other features: corporate email, superior admin control, advanced security, a unique Shared Drives option which is a great way to avoid file ownership issues, etc. Plus, you can benefit from installing Drive File Stream.

BTW, if you want to learn more about Google Workspace, check out our G Suite Maximizer - a free guide to Google Workspace & this it can do for your business.

One great advantage of Drive File Stream is that you can see (or stream if you like) all your cloud-based files on your PC without actually having them stored on your PC. These are just mere placeholders that don’t occupy your disk space. This should be some great news if you deal with huge videos and high-res photos that are notorious space-guzzlers.

Our users from RocketBrand successfully use Drive File Stream to upload pretty decent file batches on Google Drive, and it works very well for them. It especially helps them to avoid possible errors connected with permissions. RocketBrand is a branding agency that accumulates content from numerous contributors, so being able to work with assets without running into ownership errors is a key priority for them.

RocketBrand has even made a short video tutorial where they showed how they use Drive File Stream to upload their assets to Google Drive.

A short video guide how use Google Drive file stream to import files.

Google Drive app for iOS and Android — Upload to Google Drive on the go

Auto upload to Google Drive through iOS and Android apps is also a good idea. This is a great feature when you abruptly need to clear up the space on your mobile device but don’t have access to your laptop at the moment.

This way to upload files to Google Drive suits perfectly to different creatives. Photographers, videographers, and bloggers frequently work on the go. And so they could produce content right in traffic, on vacation, or even more extravagant places.

The mobile app then allows them to upload photos, videos, and drafts to Google Drive without extra effort. To make it work, go to the Apple Store or Google Play Market and download the app. You’ll find the upload button intuitively – it works the same as with the browser version.

Google API — customizable upload for large volumes of info

So far uploading to Google Drive shouldn’t seem much of a hassle. However, when it comes to huge enterprises with terabytes of info, trying to upload them in bulk can bring the entire system to a standstill.

Google API

Those who’ve tried uploading huge amounts of information (something like more than 10 terabytes) will all say that this attempt is doomed to failure.

The reason can be anything: power outage, network failure, etc. In most cases, you will have to start the upload all over again.

Here’s where Google API can help. Google Workspace customers can use it to upload, edit, and remove a large number of files in batch. In particular, it helps to perform a Resumable Upload — this allows you to resume your upload after there was an interruption in the flow of data due to communication failure. And that saves you the trouble of restarting your upload from the beginning.

Read a few more tips on how to upload large files to Google Drives:

  • Archive your file or divide it in a few pieces if possible;
  • Pay attention to allowed file sizes in Google Drive. Maybe you’re just exceeding the limits;
  • Also mind 750 GB limit for uploads per day;
  • Remove other devices from your network, clear up the cache, and delete temporary files — do anything to improve your upload speed.

However, you should bear in mind that using Google API involves some programming skills. If you want to avoid this, think about employing third party utilities for your bulk upload to Google Drive. With this short list, you’ll know where to start with:

  • Rclone helps you sync your files across cloud storage. The tool copes perfectly with uploading multiple files to Google Drive;
  • Duplicati is a free backup software which can also help you with bulk upload;
  • Web client allows you to interact with the web services and gather the processed data from there. Mind that this option is for tech savvy users only.

Pics.io Data Migration tool for individual & business users

If you want your upload to go as smoothly as possible, you should consider the Pics.io Data Migration service. This solution is perfect for those who need to transfer data within their Google Drive storage, different GD accounts, or even cloud storages.

The only you’ll be responsible for is to grant permissions to the working folder or account you’re going to migrate your data to. Our Pics.io team will take care of the rest.

Why to choose this option?

First, it allows you to move your data from one place to another quickly and securely. We migrate 4 GB per minute!

Secondly, Pics.io migration service suits both individual users and big companies. It doesn’t matter how much data you’re planning to displace — a few gigabytes or terabytes of info. We’ll help you out in both cases.

Thirdly, this migration tool is not only about data transmission. With Pics.io, you can also move your metadata, keywords, file descriptions, etc. Also, no need to worry about your folder hierarchy. We’ll be able to preserve it & deliver all your data and metadata safe and sound.

By choosing this solution, you forget about all the troubles of data transfer and hand your upload over to professionals.

Google Cloud Storage — for huge enterprises

Google Cloud Storage, which is a sort of the big brother for Google Drive, is positioned by Google as a serious enterprise service. It’s primarily used by large organizations for hosting server backups & collecting significant amounts of analytical data that is necessary for conducting their business.

In addition to unlimited storage space, Google Cloud Storage also boasts of improved security, advanced storage tiers, access to object’s metadata, and other features that are not available elsewhere.

Google Cloud Platform

There are several ways to transfer huge amounts of information to Google Cloud.

  • If you need to move your data to Cloud Storage from another online storage provider, such as Amazon S3, and you have to resort to Storage Transfer Service. It’s a multistage operation that involves programming, but is very flexible as you can set up preferences for your transfer in a number of ways.
  • If you want to save a lot of time and effort, you can apply for offline data transfer with the help of Transfer Appliance. Basically, Transfer Appliance is a high capacity storage server that you fill with your data and ship it to a specific location where it is uploaded to Google Cloud Storage. With this appliance, you can securely transfer up to a petabyte (!) of data on a single appliance. The rates are quite steep, but if you consider the speed of uploading (45 days VS usual 1095 days for a petabyte of data), it probably seems worth it.

For what it’s worth, Google Cloud Storage is not really made of everyday routine work with digital assets, so many businesses are still better off with the usual Google Workspace corporate packages. To move your files from Google Cloud Storage to Google Drive, you once again have to resort to programming with the help of Google Cloud API.

Any other tools to make uploads easier?

Sure. There are quite a few services that can help you deal with this issue.

For example, there’s Drive Uploader. It’s especially useful if you want other people (not members of your team) to upload files directly to your Google Drive. For example, if you’re a teacher, it’s a smart move to give your students an opportunity to drop their works in a specific folder in your Google Drive where you can find them later.

Google Drive icon

If you already have your files stored in the cloud, e.g. in OneDrive or in Amazon Cloud Drive, and you want to move them to your Google Drive, there’s another cool app that can come in handy — MultCloud. It helps you transfer and/or sync your content between two different cloud storages, and the list of platforms they support appears to be quite exhaustive.

EaseUS is another tool that will help you automate your uploads to Google Drive. The tool is a Windows backup software which allows you to schedule regular uploads to Google Drive. You could choose daily, weekly, monthly, or upon request uploads. And your files will be backed up to Google Drive automatically.

Pics.io DAM can come in handy to you as well. This advanced data management solution allows you to access your files more easily, classify them, add revisions, and collaborate on the digital assets with your team.

The app has automatic synchronization with your Google Drive account (or just one folder — if you arrange it in this way). Thanks to it, you don’t have to worry how to upload a folder to Google Drive. Pics.io allows you to do it easily. And what’s more, the tool will preserve all the hierarchy inside your folder.

With DAM, you can supplement your files with any metadata to make them searchable. The title, dates, descriptions, and any other types of information like color, flags, or the number of people will be automatically transferred to your Google Drive from Pics.io. You’ll be able to download them together with a particular asset and continue to work on them outside your account in Pics.io.

(Keep in mind that aside from Google Drive integration, Pics.io also works on top of Amazon S3. Plus, the company released its own storage & became known as an all-in-one DAM solution.)


No matter what you use — Google Workspace or a simple Google Drive, you have a variety of upload solutions to choose from. And if you are still wondering about the difference between a usual Google Drive & business Google Workspace account, check out our G Suite Maximizer. It’s a free guide to all the useful features that Google Workspace has to offer to your business.

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Pics.io Team
Welcome to Pics.io blog, where you'll get useful tips, resources & best practices on how digital asset management can help your business to manage & distribute digital content on top of cloud storage.
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