When sending a file through email on servers such as Gmail etc. they always impose a drastically low file size limit. I really don't understand the reasoning behind this, as file sizes grow.

I am aware of services like Drive, Dropbox, and Apple's 'Mail Drop,' but simply for compatibility, wouldn't it be a better choice for mail hosters to simply raise the limits to those of Drive, because they obviously have the capacity to store large amounts of data, but disable it on email?

I'm sure there's a technical answer due to the SMTP protocol, but any answer would be appreciated!

1 Answer 1


There are two sides to every email exchange. Your outbound server needs to allow an extra large attachment, the inbound server also has to allow it.

It does you no good if the attachment is stripped or the message is blocked and it never get to the recipient.

For organizations where the mail remains on the server, they don't want to keep the large attachments stored on the mail server. They would rather have you send a link to the document or use a temporary storage system so the recipients can downloaded it. In places where I worked the internal limits were kept low to prevent repetitive mailing of large PowerPoint files every time somebody made an update.

  • Yeah, that makes sense, I still wonder though why they can't raise the limit to something more like 100MB, so people could send a collection of photos to a family member without hassle etc.
    – Stephen
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 21:28

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