Just a basic download link, please!
April 4, 2012 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Please explain modern file sharing (do I even mean that?) "in the cloud" to me as if I were 6 (or 86)! But first, let me tell you what I need. I'm sure it's very simple…

(It's MobileMe/.mac going away—and me not ready yet to upgrade out of 10.5.8—that's making me need this info.)

I only use my .mac account for sending folks links to download large files, not for backup, syncing, collaborating, mobile access, etc.…

My problem seems to be not quite getting all the current features terminology used on the sites of the various supposed alternatives to .mac or iCloud I've looked at (or even in the previous posts here). I can't tell which bits of jargon are describing what I need amidst all the features I don't need!

All I want to know is what service (or feature) will do exactly this: Let me drag and drop to upload a largish file and automatically generate a link to only that one file that I can share, either with friends for free or buyers after getting paid.

I don't want to expose my entire online file system for browsing, nor let other people edit the file online. I don't need more than a couple of gigs of space…

Thank you!
posted by dpcoffin to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Dropbox will let you do this and it starts you out with 2GB but gives you options to increase it for free.
posted by soelo at 11:02 AM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Alternately, if you already have existing web hosting, you can post single files to uniquely-named subdirectories, then right-click to grab the url so anyone can just surf right to it.
posted by Aquaman at 11:07 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem with Dropbox is (I think) the other person has to have a Dropbox account (correct me if I'm wrong, but that was what was hinted at in the previous thread).

Is it a new file every time? In other words, are you OK with having to (or do you want to) upload the file every time? If so, WeTransfer as recommended in that thread looked like a good solution.
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:08 AM on April 4, 2012

OK. I lied. It looks like you can share your Dropbox files with others.
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:09 AM on April 4, 2012

. . . even people without a Dropbox account.
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:10 AM on April 4, 2012

No, the downloader does not need an account. Here is a comment I made in Metatalk with an example (although i am not 100% sure the file is still there).
posted by soelo at 11:10 AM on April 4, 2012

Other people do not need Dropbox accounts to download files from links you send to them. You can also sync files between your computers with it.

You install it on your computer, and it gives itself a folder with some subdirectories. One of those is called 'Public' and anything you put there will be available as a URL that you get by right clicking the item in the folder. Email or text the URL to the person you want to get the file, then they put that in their web browser and download the file through the web interface.

It's pretty much exactly what you're looking for.
posted by carsonb at 11:12 AM on April 4, 2012

Sorry, CMD+click or whatever makes a context menu show up on your Mac.
posted by carsonb at 11:14 AM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: DropBox does sound good; I'd already installed it but wasn't making much headway finding just what I needed from it. What's the "web interface" you mention look like, carsonb?

soelo: Your file's still there (enjoying it:)). And I didn't see any web interface; it just started downloading when I clicked, exactly as wanted. Is that the default, or is there a "web interface" unless you do something tricky?

Thanks, all!
posted by dpcoffin at 11:22 AM on April 4, 2012

Here's the relevant FAQ at Dropbox:

How do I share folders with other people?
posted by carsonb at 11:26 AM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: And thanks for the "previously", Betelguese; guess I shoulda said "file transfer" not "sharing".
posted by dpcoffin at 11:27 AM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: Actually, this How do I link to files in my Dropbox? FAQ I just found is more to my point; that Sharing Folders one is what originally confused me about whether DropBox could do what I wanted; I don' need no steenkin' collaborators…
posted by dpcoffin at 11:32 AM on April 4, 2012

Happy to help; for what it's worth, it took me forever to find that thread (despite it being relatively recent) because I couldn't figure out the correct search terms.
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:48 AM on April 4, 2012

"The cloud" is super annoying marketing mumbo-jumbo. It just means that it's stored on a server somewhere else, and you don't necessarily care where that is or which server it's on, as long as it's accessible.

For what you want, I might suggest rapidshare. You upload a file, give your friends the link, and they download it. Pretty straightforward.
posted by zug at 12:48 PM on April 4, 2012

YouSendIt is also a great alternative. Free and no need for your recipient to have anything installed.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:09 PM on April 4, 2012

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