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How to create short, masking url for single .html file in Dropbox?
December 12, 2013 11:02 AM   Subscribe

(Sorry, I'm Internet-challenged:) I keep a small website (essentially it's one html file) in my Dropbox folder as a minimalist way to share my various weird projects with friends. I like everything about this solution except the fact, that website's address is this ugly dl.dropbox.com/​u/​yadayayda​ydyadyada/​something/​somethingelse.html Is there a way to mask this address from showing up in browser and replace it with something more elegant and free? Or is this some next level stuff?
posted by desultory_banyan to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Use a URL-shortening service like goo.gl to generate a short URL for that page and share the short on instead.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:06 AM on December 12, 2013


The problem with a url shortener is that it just redirects, so people are still going to see the Dropbox URL when they get there.

If you have your own domain, you can host a static website on Amazon S3 pretty easily and cheaply. However, depending on how "Internet-challenged" you are, you may find the setup confusing.
posted by primethyme at 11:12 AM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, the masking part is crucial: I want the fact that .html is on Dropbox to be forever hidden behind veneer of something more elegant.
posted by desultory_banyan at 11:14 AM on December 12, 2013


is there a reason to not move that file to a service that does better with urls, like tumblr? then just make one update with the one page of projects and give everyone the yaddayadda.tumblr.com address.
posted by nadawi at 11:15 AM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


not saying it has to be tumblr - the just first i thought of. blogspot also has some easy to parse urls and i'm sure there are a bunch more.
posted by nadawi at 11:16 AM on December 12, 2013


Not an answer, but I think that you should consider that what you are asking for specifically, a way to fully mask the real URL from being visible, might be (correctly) regarded as malware by any reasonable browser and/or anti-virus program.

I think you should consider living with the shortfalls of a url shortening service.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:26 AM on December 12, 2013


nadawi, does that mean that in tumblr (or any other blog service) you can create a separate, fully custom static html page and host it under your tumblr address?
posted by desultory_banyan at 11:37 AM on December 12, 2013


This can be done relatively easily, but you'll need your own domain and hosting. Google Dropbox url rewrite.
posted by cnc at 12:04 PM on December 12, 2013


This is relatively easy with your own domain and hosting, but then you probably wouldn't need it in the first place if you had those two things.
posted by cnc at 12:06 PM on December 12, 2013


you could give them a shortened url and then when you get there, you can change it in javascript.

A little backwards, maybe
posted by czytm at 12:19 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


(most likely change it to the shortened url, to keep things consistent)
posted by czytm at 12:21 PM on December 12, 2013


Faking the URL of the page someone is viewing is generally considered to be malicious behavior and most modern browsers will attempt to mitigate this kind of attack.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:44 PM on December 12, 2013


If you buy a domain and point it towards the Dropbox file the domain company will almost certainly offer domain masking as part of the basic service you get with your $10 a year domain account. I know GKG does as all my domains are hosted there.

So..

1. Buy domain at GKG.
2. Set up free domain parking and turn on masking.
3. That's it. You can probably insert pretty much any domain registrar for GKG.
posted by COD at 12:52 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


desultory_banyan - tumblr is going to want you to have a "theme" - i think you can just straight rewrite most of the html to get it looking pretty plain. it might be easier to do blogspot who i think has less of of a theme culture. there are also others, but my mind is a complete blank right now. the draw back of the free ones is that they're probably going to want to put an ad for themselves on the page, but they're usually unobtrusive and have urls that everyone recognizes.
posted by nadawi at 1:42 PM on December 12, 2013


I think afraid.org offers this service.
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:03 PM on December 12, 2013


I know people who use github to host simple sites. Most of them build the sites using ststic site generstors, but you should be able to use your handmade files as well. The URL would be http://your-account-name.github.io. Their WYSIWYG editor is good enough to edit simple pages in a browser.
posted by phil at 4:16 PM on December 12, 2013


When a browser asks a server for a URL, the resource (in your case, the HTML file) has to be available directly at that URL in order for it to show up at that URL. In other words, when I ask the web server for www.example.com/foo.html, it needs to respond with the file that I asked for, not with a reply that says, "Oh, what you really wanted is at dl.dropbox.com/gobbledygook/foo.html, go load that instead" which is what happens with most (all?) URL redirectors.

There is a way to hide the URL using an IFRAME that loads the actual resource while still having the clean URL in the address bar, but I don't know of any free service that provides this, and it's generally considered poor form to do it because many malware attacks use this mechanism. If you really want an elegant-looking URL, you'll either need to pay for domain and web hosting, or find a free host that generates better-looking URLs than Dropbox. Github might work well enough for your purposes, but it's not quite as user-friendly as Dropbox.

Good luck!
posted by Aleyn at 5:13 PM on December 12, 2013


Many, many urls are really project.server.domain.com/directory/subdirectory/folder/stuff/index.htm etc., and there's nothing suspect about registering myurl.com and pointing it to the page. You have to own a domain name, and pay to have the name point to your page. For free, copy it tumbler, blogspot, etc.
posted by theora55 at 6:13 PM on December 12, 2013


There is a way to hide the URL using an IFRAME that loads the actual resource while still having the clean URL in the address bar, but I don't know of any free service that provides this

Dyn does.

and it's generally considered poor form to do it because many malware attacks use this mechanism.

This is true, though the only practical consequence for the OP is that some of his friends will get access to his site impeded to some degree by their security suites.
posted by flabdablet at 8:07 PM on December 12, 2013


Site44 is a recent webhost that lets you host your file while keeping it in dropbox.
posted by wongcorgi at 8:28 PM on December 12, 2013


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