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Hello, I work for a company that has a need to allow customers to download files from our website. What I need to know is how is the best way to do this? I would like to be able to let my customer service people post a file for one of their customers and then some how the customer recieve a email with a link for them to download the file. Is there any automated way of doing this?
9-10-02, 12:37 PM
As usual, there are several ways to allow users to download files from your site.
If you don't need to control the access to the downloading (for example, requiring a user name and/or password), then in some cases you can use a simple HTML <A HREF="somefolder/somefile.xyz"> link on a plain old vanilla web page. As long as the file is not a type recognized by the user's browser software (ie. its not an .html or common graphic file), the browser will automatically give the user a chance to save the file on his hard drive. This is a brute force method and is not always a good choice, but it has the advantage of simplicity for the webmaster and the users.
Another option is to set up a special folder/directory on your site to hold the files to be downloaded and give selected users FTP access to that directory. You need to go through your OPS control panel to set this up, and since I've never done it I would direct you to the online tutorials for more information. This method gives you some control over access to the files, but it does require a bit of sophistication on the part of users.
A third option would be to use a CGI script. There are many sites that offer free or low-cost scripts that you can install on your website that will handle this job. Installing scripts for the first time can be a little intimidating and frustrating, but there's lots of help available over in the Perl/CGI forum.
This method gives excellent control over access and can reduce the burden on the users, but it will take some effort to get everything up and running smoothly.
With a little more information about your needs, I'm sure you'll get more suggestions from others. Good luck!
Richard L. Trethewey
9-10-02, 12:43 PM
I forgot to mention...
If you decide to use the simple HTML method I described, you can control access by storing the files in a directory with password protected access via a .htaccess server control file. Again, you'll want to check out the tutorials at help.powweb.com for details on this.
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