File Transfer

Sending files as email attachments may be convenient however there are disadvantages.  

  • Most email servers limit the size of attachments (on many systems messages greater than 10Mb are likely to fail although the OxMail systems currently support messages upto 50Mb).
  • Attachments rapidly use up your mailbox quota  - for both sender (Sent Items) and receiver (Inbox)
  • Some email addresses, such as department maillists, reject attachments. (e.g. >200kb)

The solution is to make the files available on via the web and then just send the download link via email.

Here are three recommended systems for transferring large files - each system has it's own advantages and disadvantages depending upon what you want to transfer.

University Large File Transfer Service - OxFile

OxFile is a web service that supports the exchange of large files with people inside and outside of Oxford University. It is simple and fast to use, and any member of the University can setup a file exchange for immediate use.

The size of individual files is limited to 25Gb, and the size of a single folder to 40Gb. Success in uploading and downloading large files depends on the quality (and to a lesser extent the speed) of your connection. Interruptions in the connection may result in a download or upload that cannot be resumed.

Use OxFile now

Department of Materials Web Upload Utility

The Department of Materials provides a simple utility which enables users to quickly make one or two files accessible to colleagues via the web (either publically or privately). After upload the user is presented with text containing the weblink suitable for pasting into an email message, rather than sending the file as an attachment (either due to large size or due to maillist restrictions). The uploaded files are automatically deleted after a few days. This system is currently limited to filesizes <100Mb. For larger file transfers make use of the public FTP server (below) or one of many free large-file transfer sites on the internet.

Use Webupload Now

Department of Materials File Transfer (FTP) Server

For transferring large files or for transferring lots of files the Department of Materials operates a FTP server with one general usage account.

FTP Server Hostname:
Username: please contact IT staff
Password: please contact IT staff

There is total shared quota of 10Gb on the general account. Users should create their own folders for their own uploads and delete the files when they no-longer required (Note that there is an automatic deletion of files older than 29 days *unrecoverable*).

Example Usage

A typical scenario would be for PersonA to upload a large file then email the serveraddress and password to PersonB who then downloads the files and deletes them.

The ftp server can be accessed using:

a web-browser via but note that not all web-browsers cope with username:password in the URL.

a ftp client software such as FileZilla , CuteFTP for Windows or Cyberduck for MacOSX or via a command-line ftp client available on most operating systems (e.g. msdos)

Connected to
220 FTP server (Version 6.6/OpenBSD) ready.
User ( xxxxxx
331 Password required for xxxxxx.
230 User xxxxxx logged in.
ftp> dir
200 PORT command successful.
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for '/bin/ls'.
drwxr-xr-x 6 1001 1001 512 Jun 11 18:02 PersonA
drwxr-xr-x 3 1001 1001 512 Jun 1 10:30 PersonB
drwxr-xr-x 2 1001 1001 512 May 10 13:58 PersonC
226 Transfer complete.
ftp: 1254 bytes received in 0.03Seconds 40.45Kbytes/sec.
ftp> mkdir PersonD
ftp> cd PersonD
250 CWD command successful.
ftp> put
200 PORT command successful.
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for ''.
226- WARNING! 8460 bare linefeeds received in ASCII mode
File may not have transferred correctly.
226 Transfer complete.
ftp: 1092906 bytes sent in 0.16Seconds 7005.81Kbytes/sec.
ftp> dir
200 PORT command successful.
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for '/bin/ls'.
total 2176
-rw-r--r-- 1 1001 1001 1084446 Jun 12 11:39
226 Transfer complete.
ftp: 74 bytes received in 0.02Seconds 4.63Kbytes/sec.
ftp> get
200 PORT command successful.
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for '' (1084446 bytes)
226 Transfer complete.
ftp: 1092906 bytes received in 0.14Seconds 7751.11Kbytes/sec.
ftp> bye
221 Goodbye.