Share Links

While many business-critical file exchanges rely on systems automatically transferring files between other systems, sometimes you need to exchange files without a regular schedule. For example, you may need to publish an RFP and collect the individual responses from potential contractors. Perhaps you need to deliver video recordings to people who attended a workshop. Maybe you're collaborating with a marketing team that needs to collaborate with you and exchange assets and design documents during a particular campaign.

Onboarding and off-boarding users for one-time or short-term file exchange isn't always feasible because it requires too much time, and a limited number of staff have the necessary administration privileges.

Share Links provide human-centric, web-based methods of exchanging files with people who are not users in your account. In the world of MFT (Managed File Transfer) this capability is often referred to as Ad Hoc File Transfer.

Administrators can enforce security requirements, so you can protect your organization from shadow IT solutions and risky personal file sharing practices while still meeting your users' requirements for ease of use

Share Links support a dizzying array of options to customize the behavior to meet your needs, whether you want to distribute files or receive them, either with an unknown public audience or only trusted contacts. The following use cases represent only a few of the many ways our customers use Share Links.

Example Use Case: Previewing Confidential Images

In this example, you want to share some images with an external contact, but you don't want them to download the files. To accomplish this, you would create a Share Link that allows visitors to preview the contents that are shared with them.

To make things secure, assign a password to the Share Link, enable access control for the link, and share your link through email invitations generated by the platform. Your images are protected against someone discovering your link address or the email being forwarded.

You can assign a clickwrap to your link, which will require your contact to agree to the terms of the clickwrap before gaining access to the files. Their agreement will be tracked, along with the information about when they agreed.

To guard against visitors taking screenshots of your confidential files, configure your link to apply a watermark to every preview, including the email of the person the files were shared with.

Example Use Case: Sending Files Too Big for Email

In this scenario, you want to provide access to a file on your computer that is larger than the typical email attachment limit (usually 25MB), but you don't want this file stored within your site long-term.

To achieve this, you'll create a Share Link and attach the file directly to your link without first uploading it into your site. This creates a "snapshot" share link, where the file is copied to a hidden directory of your site.

You can configure the link's security options to require a password and only allow people who follow the link from an email invitation to access the file.

You can use the expiration date setting on your link to make the file available for a short period of time, and you can also set the think the automatically expire after the file has been downloaded once.

When your contact downloads the files, or the link expires, the large file that was copied to hidden storage is automatically deleted from that hidden storage.

Example Use Case: Accepting Film Festival Submissions

For this example, you wish to accept submissions from a variety of sources, such as screeners for a film festival. People who upload their files to you should not be able to see any of the files uploaded by others, and you don't know ahead of time who will be submitting files to you.

You can create a Share Link for a folder and set it to allow uploads only. Customize the link URL key to something that matches your intended purpose like "filmfestival" (giving you a link URL like If you've customized your account domain, that custom domain will be used for the link.

Collect registration information from your submitters, such as their full name and email using registrations, and even use a custom registration form to capture non-standard information, such as the name of the project. You can use a clickwrap to display rules for the film festival that participants must agree to before they can upload their screeners. The text is stored, along with all of their other registration info and the date and time they accessed the link.

Your link can automatically organize the uploaded files into sub-folders, and those folders can be automatically named with the name of the project, the submitter's email or any other of the fields you collected from your custom registration form. This allows multiple submissions from the same person to be kept separate.

To prevent your hopeful participants from contacting you to ask "Did you get my files?", you can enable upload receipts for your Share Link. With upload receipts enabled, your submitters will receive an email listing the files that were uploaded along with any answers they provided in the registration form.

If you have a staff member responsible for monitoring the submissions and processing them, you can configure a Share Link notification for that user, and they'll be automatically notified each time a new submission is received.

If there's a strict deadline on when submissions must be received, you can configure the expiration date for your link. Visitors who attempt to access your link address after that expiration date will see a message that the link is not available. You can customize the message that would be displayed, allowing you to funnel the potentially unhappy would-be participants to a single point of contact within your organization.

Example Use Case: Shared Data Room

In this example, you are collaborating on a project with external contacts. Both you and your contacts will need to upload and download files as you iterate.

You can create a Share Link for one or more folders related to your project, and configure it to allow visitors to both upload and download. If it's appropriate for the external contact to delete files as well, you can instead configure the link to allow full access.

To ensure only your desired contact can access the data room, add a password to your link, turn on access control, and generate an email invitation to share the link with your contact.

When your contact accesses the link, they'll be able to perform all of the file management you've granted access for. When you make changes in the link's folders, your contact will immediately see those changes.

Example Use Case: Download and Submit to An Inbox

In this scenario, you have a PDF order ticket that needs to be downloaded by your customers and then uploaded along with other files to be printed. You want to use an existing Inbox for the upload submissions.

You can create a Share Link that contains the PDFs to be downloaded, and configure it to allow visitors to download from the link.

In the settings for your link, you associate the desired Inbox with your Share Link.

Other settings for the link allow you to add descriptive text that will be avilable to your web visitors. You can take this a step further by embedding the share link within your own custom web page on your own site, or any other domain. The transfers are still secure, no matter where the link is embedded.

Example Use Case: Soliciting Project Bids

In this scenario, you want to publish a project specification and share it with many potential contractors who can bid on the project.

You can create a Share Link containing the project specification and configure it to allow visitors to download the files.

In the settings for your link, enable access control and use the share groups to send email invitations to all of the relevant contact emails in one step.

To automatically track which of your contacts have not accessed the link, you can require registration from your visitors. If you're using the standard registration form, your visitors won't need to enter any information to view the files, because their names, company and contact will be automatically stored when they access the link from their invitation email. Your staff can always view the email invitations that have not registered, and update your contact lists as needed to remove defunct addresses.

Share Links are a powerful tool for ad hoc and human-centric file exchange, but that doesn't always make them the appropriate solution in every situation.


Inboxes are very similar to Share Links that allow uploads, but there are some key differences.

Only site administrators and users with admin rights for a folder can create and manage Inboxes. If you want your users to create their own upload links, and you don't want to grant folder administrator rights to all of those users, then they will need to use Share Links. If you want to ensure that uploads from web visitors only occur in specific folders in your site, then use Inboxes to define where those uploads will go.

Inboxes are permanent, and never expire. If you want to enable a site-wide maximum expiration for Share Links, and you want to make a public upload webpage available for a long period of time, you should use an Inbox for that upload instead.

Inboxes can allow people to submit files through email. Share Links only work with web submissions. If you'd like to enable email uploads, then you should use an Inbox configured to accept emails.

Public Hosting

Share Links allow you to create a listing of files and folders that the public can access, especially if you embed it within another site and disable password protection. However, such a link still requires a human to access the page and download files. If your aim is to allow remote scripts to access your files via the web, you should use Public Hosting instead of Share Links.

User Accounts

Share Links can support full access for web visitors, providing an experience much like the Files section of the web interface, but with less work than onboarding your contacts as users of your site. However, certain features of user accounts are not supported by Share Links, and you may find that creating user accounts makes more sense for certain cases.

Users can receive automatic email notifications. If you are sharing files with an external party on a regular, recurring basis, it's often desirable to automatically send notifications when there are new files for them to download. Email notifications can only be sent to users and user groups, so to take advantage of automated notificaitons, you would need to configure an email account for your counterparty.

User accounts support advanced authentication and two-factor authentication methods, while Share Links only support password authentication. If your organization requires two-factor authentication for all file exchange, you'll need to create Users rather than using Share Links.

User accounts can connect in more ways. Share Links only allow file transfers through a web page. If your contacts need to use any of our other supported methods, you should create a User account for them.

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