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Dropbox kills grandfathered Public/ folders
58 points by fernly on Dec 15, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments
Unbeknownst to me, Dropbox phased out Public/ folders new accounts as of 31 July, 2010[1]. As an existing user I never noticed and continued to use my Public folder to distribute some little freeware apps.

Today I got an email saying,

> We're always looking to improve the Dropbox sharing experience... we'll soon be ending support for the Public folder. Dropbox Pro users will be able to use the Public folder until September 1, 2017. After that date the files in your Public folder will become private, and links to these files will be deactivated. Your files will remain safe in Dropbox.

The part about links being "deactivated" is troubling. It is true that one could easily create new Dropbox "shared links" to the files one wants to share. However, bit.ly links and similar are forever! There is no way to redirect or edit "bit.ly/my_great_freebie" or change "goo.gl/aRgle" to point to a different place. And once you've made such links public, you have no control over where they are re-posted and no idea who might try to use them in the future.

So a major unanswered question is, after 1-9-17, what will a user see when following a link to a now-private file or folder? Will there be any way for the owner to customize that from the default 4xx error page -- or possibly even redirect it?

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4114474




>However, bit.ly links and similar are forever! There is no way to redirect or edit "bit.ly/my_great_freebie" or change "goo.gl/aRgle" to point to a different place. And once you've made such links public, you have no control over where they are re-posted and no idea who might try to use them in the future.

First of all, neither bitly links, nor Dropbox public folders are "forever". Both would die immediately if the company shut down, or pivoted, or merely decided to drop the feature (as Dropbox did exactly now) or change the url scheme and deprecate all the old links after some grace period.

The only thing that would be "forever" would be links on a custom domain you control -- and these only for as long as you remain interested in keeping them up and paying for the domain.


> The only thing that would be "forever" would be links on a custom domain you control -- and these only for as long as you remain interested in keeping them up and paying for the domain.

Just use IPFS. The link remains the same for as long as the content exists and isn't modified.


So IPFS is there forever? Why so?


Dropbox is probably aware of what happened to MegaUpload, and doesn't particularly want any more attention from the movie industry.


There is a limit on uploads, 2GB for free accounts and 100GB for paid. They virus-check everything in the Public folder and block it -- as I know to my cost, when recently a zip file containing a PyInstaller-made .exe tripped their detectors and resulted in my Public folder being blocked for 5 days until customer service reviewed it.

So no, that isn't the issue. Anyway, under the new regime you can distribute shared links to anything you upload.


Sounds like dropbox is best suited to answer your question. Ask them?

Edit: This two-in-one example of the perils of relying on free cloud services. Here it's the whims of Dropbox and the immutability of bit.ly/goo.gl links that have broken OP's setup.


Link shorteners are important because the generated links to shared content -- at Dropbox or MediaFire or wherever -- are impossible to dictate or manually type.

Also, I've got a Pro ($99/year) account, so it isn't a free goddam service. Do you know of any free or paid cloud services that let you share uploaded files using custom, short, pronounceable links?


Your own domain. You only need to setup a redirect from my-awesome-stuff.com/the-app to whatever storage provider you use.


Looks like you could do it with AWS pretty cheap: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/build-a-serverless-priv...

Key part is that S3 supports redirects.


OK, fair answer. I don't really want to own a domain, but that would be a solution: it gives me complete control over the form of the link, and makes it editable and redirectable.


You don't need a domain for S3. It's usually something like mybucket.s3.region.amazonaws.com.


Using S3 does not solve the problem. It just postpones it to the unknown future.


github pages might suit your needs.


It looks very much like github pages[1] combined with github release support[2] will do the job. Thank you again for the pointer!

[1] https://pages.github.com/

[2] https://help.github.com/articles/about-releases/


Except at the rate GitHub is losing money there's no guarantee they'll be around forever either.


Additionally you can use git.io to shorten any github.io or github.com link. It's not available on the website but their API also allows you to choose your own pronounceable name. Most names you could want are still available.


Huh. TIL. Reading further, thank you!


If you're not happy about this news, make some noise and upvote my request for Dropbox to change their minds: https://www.dropboxforum.com/t5/Dropbox/Don-t-kill-Public-fo...


Best upvote is a public announcement of switching to competitor.


Indeed, I am not happy about this.


Dropbox owes you nothing. Zero. You need a new setup. Consider hosting your own domain.


As far as I can tell, they'll just see an error page if they follow a link to a now private file or folder.

Which means I'm gonna have to find a place to rehost a bunch of files too. Probably one of my own servers, again. Thanks Dropbox, gonna need to move about 200 files now.


This is why I chose to host my own cloud server. Be dependent of a cloud platform for your data, you have to accept each move this industry make to its product. Such a nightmare.




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