I bet that most of you have faced this common problem: “How to upload large size files (above 4MB) in ASP.NET?” As you know, the default maximum file size allowed in the framework is 4MB and this is to prevent service attacks like submitting large files, which can overwhelm the server resources. In this blog post I am going to show you how to overcome this limitation, as well as how to validate the file size and type on the client before submitting it to the server.
All it takes to overcome the framework limitation is to do several modifications to the project’s web.config file. To enable large file uploads you need to change the value of the following attributes on the system.web/httpRuntime configuration element:
For example, the web.config configuration allowing uploads of files up to 100MB and upload periods of up to 1 hour should look like the following:
Sometimes you want to limit the file type and size which the user is allowed to upload on the server. This might be related to the application’s security or overall performance.
Here are some validation options you can choose from:
The main disadvantage of the standard file upload control is that it does not offer client-side validation. Therefore the file needs to first be uploaded to the server and then validated by some custom implementation of such functionality. Here is a simple server-side validation scenario involving the ASP File Upload control:
sender, EventArgs e)
HttpPostedFile file = fileUpload.PostedFile;
) && (file.ContentLength > 0))
// Invalid file type
iFileSize = file.ContentLength;
(iFileSize > 1048576)
// File exceeds the file maximum size
// validation passed successfully
//Checks for image type... you could also do filename extension checks and other things
) && System.Text.RegularExpressions.Regex.IsMatch(file.ContentType,
) && (file.ContentLength > 0));
The File API comes with the new web standard HTML5 and is supported by all modern browsers. Its main advantages are that it offers client-side validation and additionally supports the following features:
//this code will be executed when a new file is selected
//converts the file size from bytes to MB
.files.size / 1024 / 1024;
//gets the full file name including the extension
//finds where the extension starts
dotPosition = fileName.lastIndexOf(
//gets only the extension
fileExt = fileName.substring(dotPosition);
//checks whether the file is .png and less than 1 MB
(fileSize <= 1 && fileExt ==
//checks whether the file is .png
Let’s explain a bit about each of the modules:
The IFrame and Flash modules upload the selected file(s) using normal http post request. The IFrame uses <input type="file" /> tag for file uploads, whereas Flash uses the Flex object in order to upload files.
It is very important to know that the Flash module allows you to validate both file type and size on the client side. The files are uploaded using Post HTTP request in absolutely the same manner as the normal <input type="file" />. Since both modules upload a file with a single request, in case of uploading a file larger than the 4MB ASP.NET default limitation, you need to modify your web.config file as shown in the first section.
Browser support: IE9,8,7.
In contrast, the Silverlight upload is designed in a different way so that it divides the file to be uploaded on the client side in many chunks, each of which is 2MB large. It then starts uploading the chunks one after another subsequently. It does support file type and size validation on the client.
Browser support: Firefox < 3.6, IE9,8,7.
If you’re using a third-party control, such as Telerik’s Asynchronous ASP.NET upload control, all of the above modifications will be taken care of for you.
RadAsyncUpload is working with modules based on the above information in order to handle the upload process no matter of the current browser version. The module with highest priority is File API. If the browser does not support File API, the module is automatically changed to Silverlight. If there is no Silverlight installed on the client machine, RadAsyncUpload will utilize the Flash module. If neither Flash nor Silverlight are installed – the IFrame module takes place.
RadAsyncUpload helps you overcome the 4 MB file size upload limitation in ASP.NET by dividing the large files into smaller chunks and uploading them subsequently. You can control the size of the chunks and thus the number of requests to the server required to upload the file, which can improve your application's performance. No need to modify the configuration file and override different properties.
After reading this article you should now be able to:
Boyan Dimitrov is a Support Officer at Telerik’s ASP.NET AJAX Division, where he is mainly responsible for RadScheduler and the navigation controls. He joined the company in 2012 and ever since he has been working on helping customers with various RadControls scenarios and improving the online resources. Boyan’s main interests are the web, mobile and client-side programming. In his spare time he likes participating in sport activities, walking in the nature and reading criminal stories.
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