Files.com allows you to easily share files and folders with third parties via publicly accessible share links. Administrators maintain full control over which users have access to sharing features, as well as how long share links will last before expiring.
What a share looks like
The Files.com share provides a virtual read-only, dynamic access point to select files and folders stored on your site.
While other share systems are usually static snapshots of files at the point of the share creation, Files.com shares remain dynamic. If you make changes to a file, this change is automatically reflected in all shares that include that file. If you add a file to a folder being shared, the new file is automatically added. This makes the Files.com share a much more powerful tool, and an effective alternative to sending files via email.
Administrators have powerful controls over all shares in their account.
Want to limit the amount of time that a share is publicly available? No problem, a simple change to the expiration setting, and you have updated the share expirations site-wide. Some users set this to the minimum of 1 day, while others opt for ultra long-term share access.
Would you like only select users to be able to share files? You can do that as well! Share feature access is set at the user level so only those you explicitly grant this access to will be able to create shares.
Want to see a list of every share being served by your site? Head over to Sharing and you will have full transparency. Curious if a share has been downloaded? Files.com includes this information in your site history logs.
There are so many uses for Files.com shares. Let’s explore how to create and manage shares with those outside your account.
Starting a new share
There are three ways to start a new share. You can use the method that is most convenient depending on your needs.
- Option 1: Navigate to Files or Sharing, and click the New Share button.
- Option 2: Check the checkbox for one or more files/folders, and click the Add to Share button.
- Option 3: Hover your cursor over a file or folder and click the Add to Share (chain link icon) button.
Adding files and folders
Once you have started a new share, it is easy to add files and folders to it. A share can contain as many files and folders as you wish.
As with starting the new share, there are multiple ways to add files and folders to it.
Option 1: Click the checkbox for one or more files/folders and click the Add to Share button.
Option 2: Drag and drop a file or folder from the folder list onto the share drawer.
Option 3: Hover your cursor over a file or folder and click the Add to Share (chain link icon) button.
Option 4: If you started a share using the New Share button, click the Add current folder button in the share drawer.
Users can expand and collapse the share drawer by clicking the handle at the top left of the drawer.
Password-protecting a share
To ensure that the contents of your share don’t fall into the wrong hands, you may optionally elect to secure your share with a password. Password protected shares will require those visiting your share link to enter the correct password in order to view and download the contents of the share.
To password protect your share, select the Secure this share URL with a password option, and enter your desired password.
Generating the share link
The final step to create your share is to generate the share link and copy it for distribution.
That’s it! Your share link has been created and is ready for distribution. You can copy the share link to your clipboard by clicking it.
Anyone visiting the share link in a web browser will be presented with a page displaying the contents of the share. The visitor will have the option of downloading select files individually by clicking on a filename, or they can download everything contained in the share using the Download all button.
Note that once the share link has been generated, you will not be able to add to or remove from the share, except by adding to or removing from a folder already contained within the share. For example, let’s assume you have a share containing the folder
Publications. After sharing, you realize that you found another file which should be included in the folder and thus the share. No problem! Since shares are dynamic references to the files and not snapshots of the files, once you upload the missing file to the
Publications folder, your share will automatically reflect the change.
Emailing the share link
After generating a share link, you may optionally choose to have Files.com send the link to one or more recipients via email. Simply click the Share via email button, and enter the recipient email address(es) in the Send to box separated by commas. You may include a custom message in the email by entering it in the Add a custom message box. Finally, click the Send email button.
Both standard users with access to sharing features and administrators have the ability to view shares. Standard users will see only shares they created, while administrators will see shares created by all users.
A user can view shares by clicking on the Sharing icon in the left pane. The resulting table displays information about each share, including the share link, the user who created it, the date it was created, and whether it is password protected.
A share can be revoked at any time by an administrator, or by the user who created it. When a share link is revoked, it will immediately cease functioning, and anyone visiting the share link will receive a “Share not found” message.
To revoke one or more shares, head over to Sharing and click the checkbox next to the share(s) you want to revoke. Next, click the Revoke button. The Revoke all button can be used to instead revoke all of the listed shares.
Share link expiration
By default, share links will expire after 30 days. Administrators can customize the number of days that share links will last before expiring by adjusting the setting at Settings > General > Share expiration.
Note that if you want your share links to never expire, you can effectively achieve this by setting the expiration to a very high number like
Password protecting all shares
By default, password protection of shares is optional. For greater security, administrators may elect to require that all new shares be password protected by enabling the security setting at Settings > Security > Password protect all shares.
Administrators can audit their existing shares for password protection by heading to Sharing and reviewing the SECURITY column for each share.
Controlling access to share features
“With great power comes great responsibility.” Share links are extremely powerful; however, they also come with risks. Once a share is created, those files are accessible to anyone with the share link until the link expires or is manually revoked. To help administrators manage this, Files.com lets administrators control exactly which users have the ability to create shares.
Access to share features is controlled at the user level, and by default is disabled for all new users. Administrators can adjust this setting for any user at Settings > Users > [username] > Outbound Sharing.