How to Upload Large Files to Cloud Storage

Have you had this experience when you’re trying to upload a large PDF, and it keeps showing you an error message? Or you’ve been uploading a video for the last half an hour, but it didn’t go through afterward?

As digital content becomes larger and more complicated, it becomes more challenging to upload big data to the cloud. This is a common pain point for freelancers and all the creatives that work with larger files: designers, video editors, post-production agencies, and so on.

In this post, we’re going to cover the 7 best practices of how to upload large files to your cloud storage. Forget about sitting in front of your computer screen and praying for the video to upload this time. Get a chance to use your work time more productively!

The problem that only keeps intensifying

Big data is the new reality of today’s business world. By collecting and analyzing information, companies worldwide improve their decision-making. The result is better customer service, target marketing, cost reduction, enhanced security, and productivity. Together all these lead to increased profits, of course.

Statistics say that US companies in all sectors store hundreds of terabytes per company. To make it more clear, look at the next example:

A critical remark here is that half of these corporate data is stored in the cloud today. And more to be moved to if to follow the trend. So now the logical question comes to a head: how long does it take to upload big data to the cloud?

Share of corporate data stored in the cloud in organizations worldwide from 2015 to 2020
Share of corporate data stored in the cloud in organizations worldwide from 2015 to 2020

Of course, it’s difficult to give a straightforward answer. There are lots of factors here: the business location, its bandwidth, Internet connection, and so on. Still, some preliminary calculations result in a 2-day upload per 100 GB.

Not everyone’s ready to wait so long! If you consider that a typical length of quality video file could reach up to 5-7 GB, video producers would have to spend half their working time uploading files to the cloud. But it’s counterproductive, isn’t it?

So let’s consider best practices to upload large volumes of data easily.

7 Best Ways to Upload Big Data to Your Cloud Storage

1) Split up the file into pieces

The easiest you can do is to split your upload into smaller chunks. Use the most traditional archivers like WinZip or 7zip to create a multipart archive.

Then upload these pieces one by one individually. Of course, it won’t make your files upload any faster. But you can at least resume the upload whenever needed with the next available piece of information.

With this approach, you can also put off the upload if you have any issues right now. Later you’ll start from where you’ve left instead of repeating your upload from the outset.

Split into pieces your upload
Image from Unsplash

A similar but more tech-savvy solution is to use parallel uploads. In this case, you also split your upload into segments. Then you move these to the cloud all simultaneously by using the command-line interface.

For example, cloud storage providers like Amazon S3 or Azure leave you an opportunity to move large files through parallel uploads. Still, you need to have at least some basic programming skills to complete the data transfer.

2) Compress the file

Sometimes, you cannot break your upload into pieces, for example, when it’s a single large video file. Then, you should think about the way to reduce your file size.

Compressing the file is the most straightforward solution here. In this scenario, you won’t only appropriate the file size. You’ll also convert its format into a more web-friendly version. There are lots of free online tools like WeCompress or Compress2Go that will help you with this task.

You can also differentiate these tools based on the format you’re planning to compress. For example, since videos are usually the largest types of files, you can search for video online converters from the beginning.

Archiving the file is another good method to reduce its size. As said, there are lots of archive utilities available online to zip your files and upload them faster.

3) Increase your upload speed

Also, don’t forget about checking your Internet speed. Bad connection or low bandwidth is the most common reason why you cannot upload your materials, including large files. Of course, not everyone is ready to switch their internet service provider here and now.

And sometimes, you don’t even need to do it. Let’s start with less drastic methods.

For example, begin with cutting out other devices from your network. The more devices like mobile phones or wireless printers are connected to your internet, the more it slows down.

Another popular piece of tech advice is to restart your router. You can manually unplug it by pressing the power button right on the router. Or you can turn it off and on on your computer. Don’t be lazy to wait at least 10 seconds before plugging the router back in.

If you’re not using any antivirus software and ad blockers, hurry up to download them. It frequently happens that malware hijacks your bandwidth. And so your Internet works slower.

Increase your upload speed
Image from Pexels

But here’s the different side of the same coin. Your antivirus or ad blocker may cause any issues during the upload. So we’d recommend trying the reverse as well. Turn off the software, restart upload to the cloud, and see what happens.

One more good measure is to clear up your Internet history. Delete the cache, remove cookies, and any other temporary files you have. This should help your browser to work faster and, thus, speed up the cloud.

Lastly, you may try using the Ethernet cable to upload your big data. Although convenient, WiFi can result in clogging up your bandwidth, especially if many users are exploiting it now.

4) Check the limits in your storage

Another frequent cause of your upload problems is breaking your file size limits. Every cloud storage has its own size requirements. And you have to know them when you’re planning to upload big data.

For example, if you’re going to upload to Google Drive, you must know about the 50 MB limit for documents, 100 MB for presentations, and so on. Also, you cannot upload more than 750 GB to your storage in one day.

Also, don't go pass our full guide to uploading files to Google Drive.

To compare, Dropbox won’t allow you to upload a single file larger than 50 GB. Microsoft OneDrive places the limit of 250 GB (!). But if it’s a work or school account, your file size maximum reduces to 15 GB only.

5) Choose storage with block-level file copying

If you’re still deciding on what cloud storage to choose for your business, you’d better consider the one with block-level file copying. This technology breaks your file into smaller chunks. And then, rather than moving the whole file to your cloud storage, it transfers only those parts that were changed.

As a result, your sync time reduces greatly, as well as the upload time.

Dropbox is probably the most famous storage with a built-in block-level data transfer. OneDrive is another cloud storage provider with this feature. But here’s the limitation: block-level sync works for Microsoft-native files only.

Lastly, you can choose Amazon Drive. This is one more storage that uses block-level methodology.

6) Get advantage of resumable upload

Cloud storage services with resumable upload are another way to improve large file upload. In this case, you get a chance to renew your data transfer operation if any failure interrupted your upload.

Resume upload works in a way of sending multiple requests, with pieces of your information. So you don’t have to restart the upload process from the very beginning but from the moment where it stopped.

Google Cloud Storage has a resumable upload feature and recommends it for large file upload. If you’re a Google Drive user, you can achieve the same effect by using Google API.

How to get the most of your Google Workspace

By the way, multipart/parallel upload in Amazon S3 works according to the same principle of resumable upload. So feel free to use this tool as well when uploading large volumes of info.

7) Use upload acceleration technology

Of course, things will be much easier for you if you incorporate acceleration technology. This type of technology is designed to speed up your data transfers. So you’ll upload large files much faster and without extra manipulations.

Each cloud storage offers its own acceleration tools. And you’ll get the best results in this case because of using native technology. For example, you might choose AWS Snowfall, AWS Data Sync, or Amazon S3 Transfer Acceleration for moving big data to S3.

Use acceleration technology
Image from Pixabay

On the flip side, options like AWS Import/Export Disk and Azure Import/Export services are usually very costly. Sometimes, they also require you to have some technical background.

As an alternative, you might use one-size-fits-all solutions offered by many third-party tools. For example, Pics.io DAM presents to you a nice data migration tool. This helps you move data between cloud storage services. These could be files of any scale, by the way.

You can find lots of other tools to upload large volumes of data to your cloud storage. Here are just a few examples:

A few takeaways

With adopting 4K video and Ultra HD, media files are getting only bigger. And we have to find ways to upload large volumes of info more quickly and easily. In this post, we’ve offered you 7 basic troubleshooting if you cannot upload a large file:

  • Breaking up the file into pieces;
  • Compressing the file;
  • Improving your upload speed;
  • Checking storage size limits;
  • Using block-level data transfer;
  • Getting advantage of resumable upload;
  • Adopting upload acceleration software.

If your cloud storage doesn’t meet your requirements in file organization and distribution, consider incorporating Digital Asset Management. Working on top of your storage, this tool helps you access and organize your assets productively. And recently, Pics.io has released its own storage & become an all-in-one DAM solution.

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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