Upload to site or Dropbox links?

Category: Joomla 25

jampff
Asked:
2013-07-18 5:37 pm EST

Hits: 1,077
I'm wondering what the pros and cons are to this issue, other than the ones I already see...

On my website, I provide .pdf and .mp3 files to paying registered users. I don't want them to be available to the whole world...

I'm thinking that I can either: upload the files to Joomla and provide links to them from the site...

OR...

I can include "public links" to the files from my Dropbox account, and not worry about uploading them to the site at all.

Pro of uploading:
The files might be more secure... as in, I can more easily make sure that only registered users can access them. I'm actually not even sure if that's true?

Cons of uploading:
TIME CONSUMING. We are talking hundreds of files. Since I'm rebuilding my website with Joomla 2.5, I would need to upload them all.
Also, any time I make an edit to the file, I would need to manually upload the revision.

Pros of using public Dropbox links:
I don't have to manually upload anything, ever. I create the files on my home computer, and when I save them, Dropbox automatically uploads them to their servers in the background and generates a public link.
Also, if I provide that link on my website, I can make revisions to the file, and as long as I don't change the name, the link will automatically pull up the revised file when it's clicked.

Con of using Dropbox links:
The links are public, which means that anyone who ends up with that link can download the file. I can make the link difficult to guess, but I can't stop someone from sharing it and then it's out of my hands.

Am I missing something here? Any wiser input? Which is the better option? Thanks:-)

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Arn
Staff
17,331 Points
2013-07-18 6:12 pm EST
Hello Jampff,

Thanks for the question. If you are hosting the website with us, it's important to remember that it's against terms of service to use the website as a file sharing server. We recommend that you use a Content Delivery Network. Though Dropbox is not a CDN, it would definitely be the preferred method to share your files, especially, since as you say, you have hundreds of files. Placing files that would be regularly downloaded or streamed in a CDN or file share location like Dropbox would also be better because they are built to distribute files better than the web server. The web server is only in one of two data centers in contrast to CDNs or file sharing services that are typically networked across the country (and in some cases internationally). This makes for a better access/download experience for your users.

If you intend to share files and there aren't many (and they're small files), then you can include them on the website, though again, if it's primarily for the purpose of file sharing even just to your registered customers, then you should move it to a server designated for that type of service.

I hope that helps to clarify the issue. Please let us know if you have any further questions or comments.

Regards,
Arnel C.

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Wow, what an eye-opener! Thanks for clarifying that, Arn. It did not occur to me that I was running a "file sharing" operation, although I guess that's what it is! I will use the Dropbox links for now...
jampff
24 Points
2013-07-18 6:48 pm EST
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