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We’ve talked a little in the past about back-up, but there’s another side to file storage—just plain storing files in order to share them with others.

Probably the most common reason to use an online storage service is the limitations of email. Emailing large files is not only bad etiquette, but often there are size limits that prevent large files from getting to your recipient. Sites such as YouSendIt are made exactly for this purpose.

An online storage site is an easy way to share files with groups of people—such as teams or committees. At our church we use ADrive for this purpose. Our worship leader uploads music files to ADrive for the singers and instrumentalists to download and practice. Our sound technician also uses ADrive to upload sermon recordings for the church secretary to post on the website.

ADrive is a particularly generous free storage site. You get 50 GB of space. ADrive has quite a lot of features but, so far, our church has used it just for simple file storage and sharing. It is designed to allow you to post files, then share them and send a link to the file you’ve shared. Our church actually uses it in a different way. Team members have one login and password and just log in to get the files they need. That saves the step of sharing each individual file.

YouSendIt is a more elegant solution for emailing links to large files. My place of employment uses YouSendIt both to send and allow others to send us large files. You can brand your YouSendIt site to make it look more professional. YouSendIt is not free but the prices are quite reasonable.

Another online service, Dropbox, is a convenient way to share files with others. With Dropbox you can create a folder right on your computer that syncs with the web and can then sync with other computers (such as the church computer and your home computer). You can share folders or files with others. Sharing the file is as simple as dragging or saving it to a folder on your computer. Dropbox has a free, basic service with 2 GB of storage and after that you’ll need to make monthly payments.

Of course, Google Docs, which we’ve also discussed before in the Network gives you storage space as well. You can upload files to Google Docs and keep them in their native format, or convert them to a Google Doc format. As we’ve also noted previously, unfortunately Google Docs is no longer free to non-profits but it does have a lot of functionality and could be a wonderful tool for your church.

There are many free and low-priced services for online storage. Here is a link to a review of this author’s 20 top choices. And here is a list of the top storage sites (both paid and unpaid) from the website. 

What do you use for online storage at your church? What kinds of applications are you using it for? Share your advice and expertise with The Network!

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