At Photofocus, our general policy is to only review products we like.  There are so many great products out there to help photographers.  In this case though, I am making an exception based on recent experiences with a company.

Many of us need to send large images or video files between clients and team members as part of our jobs.  Previously, I used Hightail for this.

Hightail (aka YouSendIt)

I have been a customer of YouSendIt (now Hightail) for at least five years.  I have also highly recommended it for years as an easy way to share files and send things to clients.  Sure, Dropbox works well, but Hightail and YouSendIt were easier to manage and I didn’t need to go in and clean out files.  I could set them to auto expire as well as get return receipts once a file was downloaded.


Recently, the service has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. I have seen delivery speed crawl to ridiculously slow rates.  Last week, the company slipped to download speeds that rival the best of the Internet… at least if it was 1992.

The Problem

I am a heavy Internet user. Last Friday afternoon, one of our team members sent me a file I needed for a client.  The file was large (700 MB) but not huge.  The download speeds at my house are 78 Mbps on average.

Hightail download speeds were  .73 Mbps.  Yes that’s a decimal point in front of the 73.  I was able to download files at less than 1% of my available bandwidth. That was 10+ hours to download a 700 mb file.

Sure, every server can have a hiccup.  But now, nearly one week later, the service is still only delivering downloads at 3.6 Mbps.  But my real beef? One would expect for a service that you pay more than $300 a year for that they would provide some real support. It was my experiences in trying to resolve my problems with the company and their lack of professionalism that were the impetus for this review.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Let me give you 6 reasons why professionals can’t depend on Hightail to deliver their digital files.  I excerpted several direct quotes from the company and my support sessions.  I used this method to contact them so I’d have a written record of their responses.   I’ve edited it down… but included the most relevant parts.

#1 Transfer Speeds

Your clients and your team expect things to download reasonably fast.  Getting download speeds that are 1-5% of your bandwidth is ridiculous.  Clients were asking us if something was wrong with the website.


#2 Hiding Problems

If an online services company has problems (or suspected problems) I’ll check their status page.  This is a quick way to determine if the problem is on my end or theirs.  Or perhaps it was a scheduled service update that I was warned about.


At Hightail, the company’s status page hasn’t been updated for over four months.  If you look in their support forums, there are numerous complaints about the service.  The company insists though that every thing has been perfect for months.  The support agents I talked to denied any problems, but I’m pretty good with the whole Internet thing and was able to show them they did indeed have a problem.

  • Support: As of the moment our status page is not yet updated but you can see the update on this link http://learn.hightail.com/t5/Site-Status/bg-p/SiteStatus
  • Me: I have been having download issues for 8 hours. How long does it typically take you to update a status page. Is that also 24-48 hours?
  • Support: Usually the site updates once there’s a known issue
  • Me: For the record. the last time that page was updated on Sep 7, 2013 12:49 AM. There are NUMEROUS reports in your forums of people posting about issues.

That status page — http://learn.hightail.com/t5/Site-Status/bg-p/SiteStatus still denies there were ever any problems.  This is despite my tech support contact informing me that he’d escalate that issue too.

#3 The company seems to be trying to cut costs 

The economy is tough.  I get it.  But you can only trim things so far until there’s a big problem. After I contacted support (and the company denied any problems) it took a while to get any real answers.  They finally admitted that there were server problems. Sounds to me like they don’t have enough servers.

  • Support: I really do apologize Richard but it is reported that we have an issue with our two servers
  • Me: *two… Seems like you guys have been having “ISSUES” a lot’

Here’s a screen shot to show you.  Richard was the name of the support representative for this part of my support “experience.”


#4 They don’t understand business needs. 

 I informed Hightail that I was going to miss delivering my files on time to my customer.  That I was not going to make my deliverable time due to the ridiculously long download time.  While the file said 10 hours… the estimate kept going up.

  • Me: I am about to blow a contract. It’s 2 am here… How long am I going to be staying up and waiting. I have an 8 am delivery (deadline).
  • Support: we really do apologize for this inconvenience that may have caused you
  • Me: So give me specifics. Do I need to call my client at 2 am and tell them that we’re about to miss their deadline? When are your servers expected to be fixed
  • Support: Please do give them a head’s up that we’re having an issues with our servers
  • Me: I am about to lose a few thousand dollars because of your servers

#5 They don’t solve problems very well.

I always try to find a solution to a problem.  In this case it sounded like the outbound connections to servers were malfunctioning.  But perhaps they could access my data and move it to a different location over their local network. I asked if my files could be accessed from another server.  Support said yes, but that only a Level 2 tech could solve this problem.

I spoke to two support people on this issue to verify the situation.

  • Me: Okay. Move my files to a server that works
  • Support: the only people that can do that is on our Tier 2 support
  • Me:  AND?!?
  • Support: I will escalate your case to then and they will reply to you via e-mail
  • Me: I pay hundreds of dollars for this and have multiple accounts in my company. I don’t want email support. Connect me with a real person either via chat or phone now. I am about to lose a client because of your cra**y servers.
  • Support: Sorry Richard, but there’s no available phone support as of the moment and for me to connect you to our Tier 2 support, I’ll need to escalate this issue.  (I’ll) write down the issues and they can respond to it
  • Me: Is your tier 2 support currently working
  • Support: They are here Monday to Saturday 6:00AM to 6:00PM PST.

So, your company’s ENTIRE business model is about delivering files.  But your Level 2 Tech Support (the ones who can do more than offering soothing statements) only works 42.8% of the time.  If it were my company, I think I’d keep people around who can actually solve problems.

#6 They break promises.

I was promised that someone from support would be in touch the next morning.  That request to speak to a manager that was also promised… still hasn’t happened more than a week later.

  • Support: I understand your frustration. But there’s no available tech on chat and phone. I need to escalate your issues using my tools here so they can respond to your concern.
  • Me:  And how long is it going to take to get a response
  • Support: ETA would be 24-48 hours, but as soon as they get my escalation, they will respond to it.
  • Me: I want a phone call from a manager on Monday
  • Support: yes, I will let them call you please provide me your phone number
  • Me: 703-6XX-4XXX

When did I get a call?  Six days later. But from that support tech who was supposed to call the next AM.  This was only after I publicly complained to the company twice on Twitter. Of course then they said they didn’t have my number.  Despite it being a part of the original report and appearing on my customer profile.

That request to talk to a manager… more than a week later and still hasn’t happened.

The bottom line

It’s really sad when a website which specializes in digital delivery can’t keep up with its promises. Especially when things like traditional courier and even overnight shipping offer faster delivery speeds.Additionally, I would expect that a request to have a manager call me to discuss my service would have resulted in at least some attempt at communication.

The resolution to the story?  I had to call the team member at home at 3 am and wake them up. They then had to login to a different service and resend me the file.  I pulled an all-nighter and made my deadline.

At this point, I can no longer recommend Hightail (aka YouSendIt).  What once was a great service has become completely unreliable.  I expect that if I pay a few hundred dollars a year for a service, its customer support can actually help me.  It also seems off that it took a company six days to reach out at all and all of my attempts to discuss their poor performance have resulted in zero response.

I’m looking for a good digital delivery company that’s not Dropbox (we already use them). Something that just emails clients a link to click and download (and then gives a return receipt).  Please post any suggestions in the comments below.


This Post Sponsored by:

The Digital Camera Store At Amazon

Join the conversation! 106 Comments

  1. FWIW, I dropped them last summer for similar reasons. Though it is more cumbersome, I created a password protected XFR folder on my corporate websites. I now use FTP to upload a large file, then send an email, asking them to let me know when they have downloaded the file. I then FTP back on to delete the file.

    At least this always works. As it happens, I have 3 different web sites, each on a different ISP, so if one is giving me headaches, I just upload to a different one. I LOVE redundancy… :)

    (I use Drobo for all local data, and CrashPlan + Time Machine to backup everything daily too)

  2. I use mailbigfile this end..

  3. wetransfer.com has always been good to me with upload/download speeds and they offer some big file sizes (10GB) with a paid account and 2gb when you use the free service

    • Unfortunately I subscribed to wetransfer plus and am experiencing a trickling crippling upload speed. Just 1 GB is taking over 3 hours. My speediest confirms I have a 128 mbps download measure and a 12mbps upload… which should still be much better than what wetransfer is giving me. I have a 6 GB file that will get to my client faster by fedex at this point. About to cancel that membership to wetransfer plus!

  4. Try Box.com (not to be confused with Dropbox). I think you’ll find them a breath of fresh air on the support front and their service is business-oriented.

  5. For years I have used my own FTP site (part of my website hosting pkg) to deliver files without any restrictions. However, with some customers having occasional problems logging into the site I have starting transitioning over to WeTransfer.com and have not had any problems. I also like the benefit of receiving an email that let’s me know when the file has been downloaded.

  6. I use wetransfer all the time, usually for video files of 1gb plus. never had a problem.

  7. We use hightail on a daily basis for sending/receiving files up to 2gb in size and haven’t had a problem. It sounds to me that the problem could have been on your end of a fluke.

    • Hi Joel

      Glad you actually read or even looked at the article. I show screenshots where Hightail admits they have a problem and their own testing utility shows a delivery problem. Of course after writing 40 technical books for the photo and video industry, it’s probably just user error on my end. Not.

      • Being with a company that has been using Hightail for over three years now I can tell you that their service is so slow you could fly to the destination and back before the file becomes synced.

        Yes we have unlimited storage for 75 employees but its hardly worth it do to the sync speed..

    • I’ve been using ‘yousendit’ / Hightail, for the past 6 months, and am not happy at all. Occasionaly it works well, but most of the time it’s painfully slow. I’m going to try ‘wetransfer.com’ now.

    • I use Hightail weekly, and ever since their name change, they have been the worst! What used to download in and hour or two, now takes 5-10 hours. I have been a long time user, and and now making the switch away from them. This story is 100% accurate with my experience. Go visit their support forums and decide for yourself. I would’t recommend HT to my worst enemy.

      • Agreed. Yousendit was good. It’s a really stupid name too. And worst of all as someone who is not the most computer savvy, I just can’t work out how to download a file when its sent to me. It’s so unintuitive. To date I have been unable to watch, listen or look at a single item sent to me on their crappy service.

        Wetransfer all the way.

  8. I can recommend ShareFile for this (disclosure: I’m a Citrix employee). Not only an enterprise-grade service, but also a support team that’s constantly being graded as one of the best in the industry.

  9. I also recommend ShareFile (and I am not in anyway affiliated with Citrix). I’ve been using it since I first heard about it on TWiT over a year ago and haven’t looked at any other services since. I routinely send 1GB +\- files without problems.

  10. I too have been with them for a while. No real issues but I complained about the name change. Confusing to me and to clients to have two names! Thanks for posting this I will look in to Sharefile and Wetransfer.

  11. Can I recommend our app DIgital Pigeon? We go to great lengths to ensure the best transfer speeds with global upload servers. There is also the option to show instant media previews on your branded download page. For photographers it’s often a contact sheet. We focus service on businesses to ensure better support.


  12. I am curious, with such a tight deadline why you did not change up how your client delivered the file to you? One way of dealing with being stuck in traffic is to go a different route. I do appreciate the article. I have been a yousendit/hightail user for many years and in general prefer it to BOX, but I have noticed similar download issues. I thought Verizon was slowing my download speeds, but after testing my upload and download speeds I realized it was hightails issues. Thanks for the article and sharing the experience.

  13. I was using Yousendit just just for a way to backup my archive and store files. Also I liked being able to sign documents. I stopped using it due to lack of speed. I must say the new branding looks great and I like the option to have your own custom branded page but if it’s still going to be super slow and id I can’t look at images without downloading, then that defeats the purpose. Leaning towards Box.
    Mosaic seems nice but I don’t use Lightroom.
    Wetransfer is fine for sending but I want unlimited and affordable storage for my archive which has been an endless search.
    I’ve been using Zenfolio for unlimited jpeg/tiff storage and I like how clients can log on and decide which size they want to download. Only wish I could store Raws- which is why I’m leaning towards Box.
    However, if it’s just back up, Hightail isn’t bad if you’re not in a rush. Just imagining they will never bother to fulfill our requests such as being able to preview images without downloading and whatnot. They also cap you off at 200gb/month so if you want to store 1tb of images, it would take close to a year to upload.

  14. HI Richard! Could I recommend you take a look at http://www.getalink.com? We were recently featured on the home page of Master New Media, and I think we fill the void nicely. Up to 4GB upload for free, no account or e-mail needed, fastest upload speed available, Amazon S3 based, and a strong independent artist outreach. Check it out and let me know what you think.

  15. I use Hightail too and it has gotten dodgy since the cutover from YouSendIt. I was using Box.net a while back but had some sync issues so I avoided it. But they recently had a major overhaul and basically did what Western Digital did, rebuild into a robust entity. They offer a YouSendIt/DropBox scenario that is quite good now IMO. In fact, I saw they have a promotion again similar to what that they ran 3 years ago, to garner interest: if you sign up with their iPhone app, your starting space is 50GB, all for free, no strings attached (no, I don’t work for them, lol!). I’m an IT guy/wannabe photographer that’s tired of cheesy software, but Box.net is looking pretty good right now. That promotion ends somewhere in February, not sure what date.

  16. Haha, ouch Richard, you crushed them. And ranked so high in a search… prolly be contacting you for free VIP membership or something. Beautiful blog design btw, love the font and clean layout.

  17. You nailed it! Hightail has been very problematic for us, including billing us AFTER we closed our account. Twice. Not dependable.

  18. Check out Filemail.com – I can send 30GB for free without registering there. Speeds could be faster I guess, but I still like it a lot more than wetransfer/hightail.

  19. Richard….I couldn’t agree more. YouSendIt was fine and wonderful. How could this High Tail have destroyed it so completely ? !!!

    I’ve been looking at the other recommended programs here and sampling them. One feature of YouSendIt that I liked and which doesn’t seem to be around is the ability to send folders with multiple files inside. Any recommendations in that direction? Tx David

  20. Another vote for wetransfer.com. I work in post-production (TV/film) and regularly use them for sending large files. The download confirmation email is a nice bonus too!

  21. I would not recommend Hightail as well. Why they have to fix something that is not broken? It became entirely a different thing.
    I would recommend wetransfer.com and brick ftp. Brick we use as our main server but the latter has been having problems so I switch to Brick and it runs smoothly for months now. No problem or issues. Like it lots as can use it both running an ftp program or the browser. Well, I still like to use ftp program

  22. I started using yousendit, this seemed to work for my needs as a designer, sending my illustrations and spec sheets, today, I had a catastrophic problem that lead to my late submission and subsequently lost a major account worth well over 250K in revenue for my company, I begged my client to allow me to fed ex my illustrations to their office in los angeles, and of course this request was denied as I would be not compliant with the deadline to submit…i learned a very important lesson..now im going to register with drop box, but gone are the days of compressing my work and e mailing it, back to sending my illustrations so I can actually track the prgress with a tracking number…a very expensive lesson learned today

  23. […] Estava quase fechando com a Hightail até encontrar um post detalhado de um cliente relatando problemas com a velocidade de upload e por isso saiu da nossa preferência. http://photofocus.com/2014/02/01/why-i-cant-recommend-hightail-to-send-large-files/ […]

  24. Have you tried Syncplicity? Works great for me. I got a enterprise edition for my employees and they like it. We were using box in the past, but used to have trouble syncing and accessing from mobile devices.

  25. I agree completely re the changer from Yousendit to Hightail being a disaster – slow download, unhelpful helpline, badly-organized website (from some pages I have found I have had to log out and log in again to get where I want to go because there is no appropriate link option), and it scares away those who I send files to (some get angry – no simple click on the file name and it will download, but a series of options that confuses people – such as “save” which does not save to their computer but tells them they are not subscribers!). Default period for storage on any file that you send is extremely short – and if you want longer you have to log in to your file activity – but even then you cannot change the expiry – if you then go to see all file activity from that page you can do it there. Designed by geeks for geeks, not for humans. A formerly good system that has been wrecked.

  26. I’m wondering it Yousendit was acquired and profits being plumped up to re-sell to someone else. It wouldn’t be the first time a good company was destroyed for short term profits.

  27. The product is indeed sinking. From friends in the valley, top management there is clueless and arrogant. With AOL and Yahoo in the background, they are taking the company to AOL dialup speed levels. Anyone with any engineering background, leaves the company. WHen the Hamlets depart all that remains on stage are the clowns.

  28. same problems here – upload speeds between 5 – 10 Mbps. realy unreliable!!!

  29. Yeah I’ve had it with them too and their lousy support for a paid for muddled up branded service. I sometimes get 17Mbps upload but generally its now down to 2mbps having been mostly 3.5mbps for ages. Its not reliable and its not fast. Every time I moan I check the connection and every time its over 15Mbops. What is the point of paying for that if they throttle you most of the time? Next…!

  30. I’m another unhappy long-time YouSendIt user. The company has apparently spent so much time on the re-brand they forgot that service is key to customers – not a new name or color scheme. I loved YouSendIt – rarely had a problem. When I did, I had a good experience with their help desk. I had 2 customers in 2 years who contacted me saying they couldn’t download their files. I wish I could say the same now.

    Since the changeover, it has been one thing after another – files that don’t upload or download; files that appear to download but have 0 bytes; very sluggish speeds. And I really don’t like having to educate my customers every single time I send a file that they cannot use the big SAVE option unless they have previously purchased Hightail. As a long-time customer I get a great deal – but saving money stops counting if you cannot get the service you and your customers need. So now I am evaluating alternatives.

  31. The heat exchanger milling and drilling steel storage drop down units machine for some time now, and what a phenomenal addition to our Heat Exchanger fabrication capabilities!
    Second of course is easy in case of closed ended vessels. Not only is a steel building, shordt of an extraordinarily violent storm
    such as a lawn mower. With an experfience of nearly 50 years, Bendel has served
    customers across many industries with superior design and manufacturing process for decades.

  32. I signed up today to try Hightail. I am a professional video editor and need to send and receive large files with consistently good performance. Unfortunately using Hightail (whether browser based or via app), download performance is about six times slower than it should be. I have Comcast Extreme 105, and get 120 megabit/sec 24×7. Unfortunately Hightail is only providing me about 20 megabit/sec, so that is not usable for my purposes. I cancelled the service the same day.

  33. Hmm 10+ hours. Really? 700mb/.73mbps = 958.90411 seconds or 15.98 minutes. I understand exaggerating a little esp cause 16 minutes is significantly longer than the ~10seconds it normally takes but calling the wait 10 hours instead of 16minutes is extremely misleading and frankly not fair to Hightail.

    • You do understand the difference between 700MB (Megabytes) vs .73Mbps (Megabits) don’t you? If not, look it up and be a bit more educated next time you comment on the internet.

      • Yes Jonny…. And I also understand when a 50 MB file takes 8 hours to download that its not performing to spec. How are things at Hightail these days?

      • Bob still has the point. Even if you multiply 16 minutes by 8 (the ratio between bits and bytes), you get 2 hours and 8 minutes, so NOT 10 hours still… So either your download rate estimate is wrong or the time given is just out of nowhere.

  34. I was a loyal customer for years (since Yousendit).
    They cocked up the billing and downgraded my account despite being assured via live chat that my account would be fine.
    Now they are not even replying to my supoort emails PLUS one phone number they give is dead and the other takes me through to a carpet cleaner!!
    I smell a rat.
    BOYCOTT HIGHTAIL they are good for nothing.
    wetransfer here I come!

  35. Got forced to use hightail to download software I bought. Can’t believe how bad the service is – about to write my supplier to tell them their choice is really dismal.

  36. Similar experience to some of the above: I gave them my credit card number years ago and have been spending months with the fraud department of a closed credit card to stop them from charging me for my old service.

  37. I am wondering why NOT MUCH is given time/info here to either of these 2 (except for a few commenters in the thread)>>
    1) Filemail.com

    2) WeTransfer
    BOTH have filesize /cost scenarios that are solid (even great /free for huge size in case of Filemail,
    to be honest),

    and WeTransfer uses file encryption—
    I’m VERY interested to
    know if FILEMAIL is similarly safe/encrypted from anyone’s experience ??

  38. I am trying to receive small video [50-70 MB] files that the producer was sending me for some work that I am trying to do and the throttling at Hightail is ludicrous. It seems to only operate in burst mode; sufficient for a MP3 [<= 10 MB] but little else. I've spent this weekend thus far attempting to get all of the videos that I need to have in order to continue my job. I am at my wits end trying to download those files. The last two [of about 18] will not download. The first half of the file is always a perky 500-600 KBs with a two minute DL time estimate, then suddenly; the DL hits a brickwall. The DL stops cold at about the halfway point [though occasionally the 3/4 point] and the throughput speed dwindles down to nothing as the DL estimate time balloons upward. Only about 1/5 files have downloaded without incident. Let me repeat, the file does not download slowly. It stops all together. During this period of 5-7 minutes the DL speed dwindles away to zero if you have really infinite patience. This is my life on the receiving end of Hightail. I have stopped using Dropbox for my own purposes and have switched to Copy in my work. No vendor companies who I share our [TIFF] photo assets at my job with [200-500 MB zip archives] have complained.

  39. I just joined Hightail last night about 8pm, and am already sorry I did. I had to send a 63Mb image file to a publisher, it took 45 minutes, and then they sent me an email saying it was sent. This morning the publisher phoned me asking me why I didn’t send the file. I checked the file, and found the email address was changed by Hightail. I then re-sent the file and the same thing happened. The email address I sent it to, had a capital letter in it,( which is quite common these days) so it seems the Hightail system changed the email address automatically. I have tried to contact Hightail, but it seems the don’t have a ‘Customer Service’ – for obvious reasons. Judging by what I’ve experienced, and read on this site, they’d have to employ a few thousand staff to satisfy the demand. I’ll be spreading the word around.

  40. This company is acting very dodgy now.

    I cancelled my “special yearly offer” account in May 2014. This was confirmed by a mail from Hightail. Now, just before my subscription runs out, I get a mail from them saying “your Hightail Mini Plus subscription will be automatically renewed on August 7”. I have never made a subscription like that and I cannot find any hint about that in my account settings. I don’t even know if such a subscription exists at all. I contacted the custom service with their silly email form – no reply.

    Also, under “billing information” I cannot see my credit card details. There’s just one sentence saying “Sorry, you cannot update your billing address or credit card information before the end of this billing cycle”. Now it’s the end of the billing cycle and I still cannot see it. And why the hell should I not be able to see my credit card details anytime? Also, when I tried to edit my profile data, it just didn’t work.

    My VISA card service advised me to get a lawyer. But that’s just ridiculous with an amount of 20,-$ per year.

    Beware these gangsters!

  41. Which service did you use in the end?

  42. I cant recommend HIGHTAIL either. I signed up for a free trial because I needed to send a large file quickly. I missed the piece about monthly fees and they have been taking money off my credit card for the last 2-3months without any further reference to me at all. No email to say trial was coming to an end, no email to say first payment was due to be taken, or 2nd or 3rd payment.

    When I have complained about this, they hide behind their T&C’s and will not budge.

    My point is – be really aware of this when you sign up for it.

    • Yes Andrew, they did the same to me – I do not remember giving them permission to take money out of my bank account whenever they feel like it. It is also a very NON User-friendly program.

  43. I am using MyAirBridge (www.myairbridge.com). For free you can send up to 20 GB, with profile even up to 100 GB.

  44. Go for one of these awesome free services: http://www.attachedin.com | http://www.wetransfer.com | http://www.transferbigfiles.com and for cloud go for http://www.onedrive.com | http://www.icloud.com | http://www.box.com and many others. Don’t pay and don’t trust services more than 10 GB simply because it doesn’t make sense to transfer over 10 GB online in one go, in my opinion!

  45. I’ve been having the same problems and wrote to Hightail referencing this post. They claimed that “our Director of Customer Success has reached out to him (i.e. you.) And the issue was his upload speed. They ran a speed test and he had a slow upload speed causing issues while sending.”

    After trying unsuccessfully all day and night to upload a 3.68 GB video file on Hightail, I finally purchased a Pro subscription to WeTransfer and immediately uploaded my file with no problem, over my wireless connection.

    • That would be a lie… I talked with them numerous times… the speed in my office has nothing to do with slow upload speed. It was downloading a file already on their system.

      • That’s what I figured. It’s kind of desperate the way they keep trying to throw the problem back on the customer. I have to wonder how much longer this company will be around.

        Thanks for the post. It was very helpful.

        • Its been rocking at a solid 17mbps upload for me since June and my many complaints. >original similar post done 6 hours ago but still not posted here – hope this site is fair?< Hightail may have got their act together?

          • Devans… I highly doubt you’re getting those speeds consistently as no one else seems to.. but that’s great if you are a real person and not on the company payroll. Please provide a link to your personal site and screen capture

          • No, my problem was yesterday. They kept trying to blame my upload speed, which was over 25mbps on a Verizon FIOS internet connection (and which worked fine on WeTransfer.) If I tried to upload directly into a folder, I got a message which said, “Sorry, files larger than 2GB are currently not supported” even though I have an account which should accommodate 10GB files. If I tried to use Hightail Express, it would not upload a file over 2 GB unless I zipped it, which I did not want to do. If I tried to send the file through the website, it would upload at a snail’s pace for a while and then freeze. Last month I needed to send a digital video file for a festival screening, and it took me 3 days to get it to go through. There’s no way a professional with deadlines can use this service.

            I think Hightail definitely has people working the consumer reviews to get the ratings that they have. There are plenty of complaints on their forums which go unanswered except for the same lame advice to check your upload speed and plug in your computer. Somebody should really consider updating their Wikipedia page.

  46. Richard Harrington – please refer to my earlier post castigating ‘useless’ Hightail and do not be so surprised if someone then updates this with their current, better, situation. And I didn’t change jobs so please don’t doubt me when I say my video production company’s videos now upload to Hightail at 17Mbps and have done so solidly for months. At last!

    ScreenGrab :-) http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u49/sony_sofa/HIGHTAILUPLOAD_zps9143754d.png

    Fair’s fair…

    D Evans

    • That’s not megabytes per second. But I am glad that it is performing better for you. While I’ve seen more stability lately, it still remains my backup (or third) option and not primary delivery as its too inconsistent.

      • Its mega BITs rather than bytes is it? 8 times smaller? Anyway I hope you get the consistency as when it works its great – this is the max possible with my internet connection so its using it all and I get about 5Gb per hour upload which delights me!

  47. We have been using Filecamp.com for a couple of years. It does more than just transfer files from A to B … it’s actually a complete image library as well. The system speeds are always consistently good and it’s evolving with new features. Any issues and questions have been answered quickly and to the point. I would recommend Filecamp to anyone who is looking for this type of solution.

  48. I wish I read all this yesterday. I upgraded to a Professional account last night. I was unable to get the desktop app to install correctly. I worked on it for hours – tried to uninstall / reinstall. Many of the help pages I tried to access read “Oops. The page you were looking for doesn’t exist”. I tried to contact customer support by submitting a ticket. I submitted 2 actually. Still haven’t heard anything back. Tried this morning to initiate a chat about getting my money back and canceling the account but got a response that said someone would contact me soon. “Soon” has since passed and no word from them. Last night was the first deadline I have missed in close to 20 years and I hold Hightail responsible . I would avoid HighTail at all cost!

  49. Multiple failed uploads yesterday and today, and frankly I’m very disappointed.
    If Hightail need to fix one single thing right now it’s to NOT wait until the END of a ludicrously long upload before giving me the ‘whoopsie, something’s gone wrong’ message.
    Even more worrying, I sent a client a file a few months back that appeared to arrive OK but turned out to be corrupted. Video was fine and the audio went to white noise half way through (the file was definitely OK at my end..!).
    I used to be a big fan of YouSendIt, but frankly things went downhill right after that stupid April Fool’s joke when they announced they were rebranding to SyncMyShareBox or whatever the hell it was.
    It would have been funny if the entire service hadn’t gone down right about the same time.

  50. I’ve tried using Hightail for my business, but got frustrated at their lame customer service. These guys have no technical knowledge of what they are doing. I needed a solution that would allow me to develop an interface using jQuery and JS and needed a restful API to upload my clients’ files to Hightail. They could not even provide me with a link with documentation for development API and did not even know what this meant! Worse: they said I’d not find anyone technical enough on their side to talk about API. When I asked what would be the advantage of using their service over using Dropbox or Google Drive for my business, they said they were not aware of what their competitors “were doing.” I almost laughed!

  51. Totally agree with everything in your post. I used YouSendit for a couple of years before the inexplicable name change to “Hightail” and the subsequent downward spiral in quality. Recently, I logged into my account to find that my “Pro” subscription, for which I paid about $60 a year or thereabouts, was downgraded to a free “Lite” account. Even though my Pro account was paid up until the end of December. No response from their support as to why. And now even their forums have disappeared. As far as I’m concerned, on top of providing a terrible, unreliable product and dreadful customer support, they’re a bunch of con artists, too. I will go out of my way to recommend people look elsewhere for their file transfer needs.

  52. Hightail should go ahead and close the doors. They are costing busy people time and money.

  53. […] data costs money. Some providers claim to offer “unlimited” service, but will have very slow file transfer speeds, effectively limiting your ability to transfer files. Waiting 25 minutes to transfer a huge file is […]

  54. My experience with painfully slow Hightail downloads mirrors the authors experience including the awful non-existent customer service. A certain percentage of Hightail users are experiencing this problem and Hightail is not owning up to it. Given the modest annual fee, there is only one remedy. First, file a service ticket with Hightail so there’s a record that you reported the problem. Second, contact your credit card company and demand a chargeback.

  55. ever since the change to Hightail I have to admit the service has gotten worse. I can’t really talk about speeds since I have pretty bad internet where I am in Australia.. I get about 550-680kbps upload speed at the office, and 1.5-4Mbps tethered to my mobile.

    Recently, hightail has not been sending confirmation emails which were really handy to have.

    Just now I am uploading 1.2gb of images to a client who needed them yesterday. It gets to the end and has an offset issue… so sick of the inconsistency. Towards the last third of the send the speed drops to 163kbps… consistent.

    I’ve been interested in Digital Pigeon, but I’m too cheap to pay $29 per month. $15 ok, but not $29.

    Looking into getting a Transporter, but I’m afraid my internet connection would be too slow, because the maximum SOHO internet upload speed here in Australia is 1Mbps… does that sound right?

    • I am in the same situation as you. I have ADSL with 10Mbps download, but just 1Mbps upload. This gets me 100KBytes per second on upload. Uploading a 1GB file would take few hours. Anyway i use ioroad.com because it is really cheap :) There is no monthly fee and I pay by usage.

  56. Hightail is killing me. Slow is one thing not working at all is another. Time to find a replacement.

  57. I agree. I am not making deadlines and have just lost a day trying to download and re-download Hightail Plug-ins, all just to send clients some files that used to go through in no time with YouSentIt. I’ll be cancelling my subscription and looking for alternatives. Thanks for posting. Helps me know I’m not alone.

  58. I dropped YouSendIt the week they changed their name. I thought such a stupid business decision (let alone stupid name) would be indicative of a poorly run business, even though I had been quite happy with them for a couple years prior to that.
    I switched to SugarSync and have been very happy, have not looked back (though that name is kind of silly, too).
    In the couple years since, I’ve only received one file through YouHightailedIt.

  59. I dropped them for similar reasons. I’m afraid this is not an isolated case of a once-free service that began charging without grasping the need to be responsive to paying customers. You put it beautifully: their ‘support’ do not grasp that their function is not to make excuses to deliver a party line but to make your problems their problems and solve them. This is the essence of good business, and if you’re not prepared to do that, you need to stick with being a free service that gets by on advertising.

  60. So finally what did you choose ?

  61. Yup…today, Hightail is in fail mode again. They had a significant outage in the past 6 months or so, too. They’ve mostly worked (I need them only a few times a week), but now this outage is holding up business. Grumble.

    Went searching today for a replacement and found this article.

    Thanks, Richard. I’ll look into Data Transporter and Conneced Data.

  62. Similar experience with me. I have one of the higher-speed FiOS internet options at home (a regular download speed ~75 Mbps +), and a file of (albeit RAW) images ~ 2 GB in size were downloading at a rate of 5 KB/sec with a projected finish time of over 2 days…

    I will read through some of the comments to see how others have dealt with this

  63. I run a real estate photography business that involves getting work out to clients quickly and reliably. I’ve been with YouSendIt and Hightail for several years but what’s happened in the last 3 days has led me to this website. On the 26th of February, I started getting messages from clients asking why they weren’t able to download their photos. They were being told by Hightail that the site would be down for 1½ hours due to “scheduled maintenance” (this blew out to 8½ hours). Then just 2 days later, another outage, this time for 4½ hours. I contacted several support people and all I got was “very sorry”. That doesn’t mean shit to my clients who just want photos so they can sell a property quickly. It seems that the name-change and the drop in service occurred around the same time. Way to go Hightail – I’m hightailing it outta there!

  64. Hightail Engineer here. Just want to inform we are tackling some long-standing problems that are the root of many complaints on this page. We recently transitioned to a new storage platform which eliminates files being temporarily unavailable, and also improves speeds up to 10x from before. Additionally, we now have in-country storage for Australia and are increasing capacity and stability for Europe. We’re also working to update our backend engine that tracks file/folder changes. This has proven especially challenging and was the reason for the unplanned maintenance last week. Ultimately we found some unexpected bugs, and will re-attempt rollout later this spring, making sure to better communicate it to customers and minimize downtime.

    Ironically, these projects date back to 2012, when our name was YouSendIt. Why are we doing them now? Because it’s become a highly competitive market, and frankly we have room to improve. These platform upgrades will not only improve our existing service, but lay a solid foundation for our next generation product, launching later this year.

    We really do appreciate those who’ve stuck with us, and are happy to be re-focused on providing a great experience for professionals, rather than a “brand” that was being pulled in multiple directions at once. We still have lots of work to do, but I can guarantee you’ll be seeing big changes from us in the coming months.

  65. JohnnyLingo: my fingers are crossed hoping that the improvements you report come to fruition.

    Reliable download speeds for my clients in Europe is a must-have capability. This week, speeds were atrocious.

    • Faster upload speeds! Your competitors give us 13 mbps uploads of files. You are an order of magnitude slower. IMO, if Hightail doesn’t get this one thing fixed, you’ll be looking for a job later this year. It’s a complete showstopper as slow is it is today.

      And it’s, frankly, offensive that Hightail seems to have decided to treat its customers like dirt by not building out the infrastructure to support faster uploads.

      I’ve got some inertia towards moving to your competitors but, frankly, it’s not a lot of inertia and they’re looking better every day. Box, ShareFile, and others kick Hightail’s butt.

  66. Hightail is terrible. I am a transcriptionist who lives in a rural area with very flaky cellular internet service and I have one client who uses this service. All the others use Dropbox. They add files (large video ones) to my folder and the desktop app downloads them automatically overnight. No worries if the services cuts out, DB resumes where it left off. With Hightail, if my download cuts out, I have to restart from the beginning because there is literally no way to resume an interrupted download. You can’t pop their public link into a download manager because Hightail blocks this. You can’t use the curl command in Terminal because Hightail blocks this. They have a desktop app ‘like’ DB’s, only the sync has to be restarted manually. I’ve gone through all the possible options with their support team and they’ve confirmed everything I just said here and that they have no intention of changing their service. On top of it all is the fact that their downloads are super slow. I can’t figure out why my client insists on using them.

    • It is true our current sync client does not support resumable transfers. Most of its users tend to be on broadband, so I doubt it was ever considered as a feature. However, we do make effort to provide fast, reliable transfers on all connections. I periodically test on 3G wireless and satellite connections and did implement some changes in late September that helps to auto-recover downloads that have stalled due to high packet loss or congestion.

      It is also true that we do not allow direct downloading of files. This is an anti-malware safeguard and most major file sharing sites behave the same way. That being said we completely understand there’s use cases where curl or wget may be desirable and hope to support this in the future.

  67. I just signed up with hightail, I use it for express and its fine, so i thought I would use for drop box. I wanted to archive my images but I have only just started and I am going crazy, the upload time is ridiculous.

    I don’t know what to do now.


    • After I tried 137 times the other night to download a 2.5mb file with them, I contacted chat support. As it turns out that my account has been on a server that has been having problems. They moved my files to another server and I had no trouble after. I suggest you contact them and see if that’s your issue too.

  68. I don’t even know how they got my credit card number. A local vendor that prints large theatrical backdrops had me go through YouSendIt to transfer a 5GB file in March of 2014. They said it was free. They had my Credit Card number. I can only guess THEY put in my info for the free 30 day trial and didn’t bother unsubscribing. I questioned my vendor about Hightail.com and he said they had no idea who they were. I have since fired that vendor. I didn’t notice the monthly billings from Hightail on my card. Paid those shysters over $200 last year for absolutely nothing. I NEVER sign up for any 30 day free trial, because they always figure out a way to screw you even when you unsubscribe.

  69. I’ve had a YouSendIt / Hightail account for years, but have barely used it since the download speeds and downright service outages became so frequent. I loved the concept of mistake-proof file sending which worked so well with YouSendIt, but Hightail’s lousy tech infrastructure, abysmal customer service and lack of communication have made it all but unusable. Tonight I was reminded of it when someone sent me a 436 MB file via Hightail – I’ve tried three times to download it now, and the download has failed every time. This is not a big file by any means. I think the Connected Data solution is overkill for me. Never had any problems with Dropbox, Box, or WeTransfer.

    • Yes, I agree with you, Michael. I haven’t used Hightail for over two years, yet they keep trying to take money out of my bank account, after I told them many times to stop, as I’m not using their ‘lack’ of services any more. Yet they are still trying to take money from my account, forcing me to open another account. YouSendIt was great until Hightail took over it. I’m now using We Transfer.

      • Just for clarification its the same company they just went through a re-branding. Our company uses Hightail and was with them through the YouSendIt change. I can say sometimes the service it great and other times its very lacking.

    • Dear Michael,

      I thoroughly agree with what you say about Hightail. I am having another problem as well. I stopped using them well over a year ago, I had told them I was not happy with their product, and that I want no longer want to use their poor quality service, yet they still try to take money out of my account each month, even though I haven’t used their program. They’ve just sent me another email saying that they tried to access my account, but failed. Now they are demanding that I rectify this problem ! I’ve replied back to them but they just ignore what I said, and keep on demanding my payment.

      I really want to make this public, but not I’m not sure if I that is the right or legal way to go about it. You are welcome to publish or use my story, if it’s of any use to you, to expose the tricks that Hightail uses to rip people off !

      Thanking you,

      Frank Allen


Let us know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.


Business, Opinion


, ,