How can I share a single file/folder on my Mac?
June 10, 2008 11:07 AM   Subscribe

How can I share a single file or folder on my Mac? I am always connected to the internet, have seen what gazillions of "upload first" file sharing websites and services can do (MobileMe, Pando, YouSendIt, etc.), but it seems to me there should be a way to right click on a file, choose "share & email link," write & send that email and be *done* with it. My recipient can then download said file straight off my machine. Does anyone know of any solutions which are even close? Thanks!
posted by spinpapi to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like Papaya might meet your needs. I haven't tried it.
posted by sharkfu at 11:16 AM on June 10, 2008

There are ways of doing what you want, but they all represent really horrific security risks.

If someone can take a file from your machine that you want them to have, what's to prevent them from also taking files from your mahcine that you don't want them to have?

So the problem is to figure out how to keep that from happening. One way is to put an FTP server on your computer, and only enable one directory for it. That allows your friend to FTP the file from there after you make a copy in the one directory. Or you could put a web host on your computer, and likewise limit it to a single directory, and put the file there. Or you could use a peer-to-peer program, which yet again is limited to a single directory, where you put a copy.

The kind of thing you're talking about doing is quite common on LANs, but that's because physical access to the LAN is limited to people who are trustworthy (e.g. coworkers). Doing that with the wide world would be insanity; your computer would be plundered within minutes.
posted by Class Goat at 11:39 AM on June 10, 2008

You could enable personal web sharing and link files you wish for people to access into your Sites folder. This doesn't provide any access control. Another concern is whether the outside world can directly connect to port 80 on your computer.
posted by PueExMachina at 11:48 AM on June 10, 2008

Oddly enough, this exact feature was demo'd yesterday in the big keynote at WWDC. It's part of what .Mac is evolving into, Mobile Me
posted by adamrice at 12:14 PM on June 10, 2008

Another option would be
1. turn on "web sharing" (under "system preferences:sharing"),
2. set up a subdirectory of files you wanted to share under ~user/sites/ -- call it "files"
3. move files you want to share into that into it
4. create an .htaccess file in that subdirectory with the contents "options +indexes" (this will allow everyone to see a list of files in that directory)
5. set up an account with so that people can actually find your machine easily.

This isn't exactly what you're describing, but it's not a bad option (and it's free).
posted by adamrice at 12:19 PM on June 10, 2008

I'm a fan of DropBox ( If you MeFiMail me, I'll send you an invitation (it's still in beta). Works on Macs and PCs, and also via a Web interface.
posted by littleme at 12:56 PM on June 10, 2008

For a folder that you'll continually be adding and removing things from, Foldershare is great...

I use it with many friends on a daily basis, but if you're looking more for a one off, it's really not an appropriate option.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:48 PM on June 10, 2008

I second Dropbox. wonderful wonderful program. I've got a couple invites too if anyone else wants to try it out...mefi-mail me. :)

posted by AltReality at 5:44 PM on June 11, 2008

I love Dropbox too, but it doesn't really fill the OP's needs, as files put in the dropbox still have to be transferred from your dropdox--> the shared folder of the online server --> the other person. The OP was trying to avoid that extra leg of uploading to a middle server.
posted by sharkfu at 8:46 AM on June 12, 2008

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