At a Glance
- Plays back audio and video files; Easy sharing
- Text-heavy interface; Ad-supported
Store and share your files, photos, videos and more with this free service.
4Shared is more than just a virtual drive for storing your
digital content. And it’s more than just a service for sharing that
content with friends and family. 4Shared accomplishes both of these
tasks, but with its browser-based sharing of audio and video, it
also does more than that.
To access the free service, you create an account online at
4Shared.com. When you sign up, you get 10GB of free storage space;
verify your email address, and you get 5GB more. 4Shared’s Web
interface bears more than a passing resemblance to Gmail’s design,
which means it’s reasonably attractive. The overall look is a bit
cluttered and text-heavy for a file sharing service, however.
Still, it’s easy enough to create folders and upload content
(though no file can be larger than 2048MB). You can set permissions
for each folder, allowing its content to be shared or remain
private. You can set passwords, determine whether users see all of
the files or only certain ones, and allow specified users to upload
their own content.
To share your 4Shared content, the service provides links that you
can send to friends and family. 4Shared generates its own links for
your entire account, specific folders, and individual files,
depending on how much you want to share. You also can create your
own subdomain (such as liane.4shared.com) for sharing content, if
the link you want is available. You friends don’t have to be
4Shared users to view your content, though they will be faced with
several links encouraging them to sign up.
4Shared allows users to subscribe to your feed, and makes it easy
for users to sit back and scroll through your content. It also
allows users to download the files you’ve shared–which makes it an
easy way to get your own content on multiple computers. But what’s
more impressive is the way the service shares audio and video
files. Both can be enjoyed from within your browser, which allows
you to use the service as a streaming media player when you’re on
If you’re going to be sharing a lot of audio and especially video
files, you may need to upgrade to a Premium account. Pricing starts
at $6.50 per month (when you sign up for a year), which grants you
100GB of storage space and allows you to upload files as big as
4Shared is not just a cloud-based app; the company offers 4Shared
Desktop, a downloadable app that lets you upload multiple files at
once. 4Shared Sync, meanwhile, offers a folder that can be synced
across your 4Shared account. And the service works on mobile
devices, too. 4Shared Sync is available as a free iPhone app, as is
4Photo, which lets you upload photos from your iPhone right to your
4Shared account. 4Shared Mobile apps also are available for Android,
BlackBerry, and Symbian devices.
4Shared isn’t perfect. Its interface is a bit text-heavy, and its
message inbox (which allows you friends to message you) came filled
with messages touting 4Shared features. But it offers a powerful,
pleasant way to store and share content online.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you must sign up to use this Web-based software.