These days most of us use at least one cloud file-sharing service, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive, to sync files between devices and share files with friends or work associates. What you might not have considered is how those same services can integrate with your WordPress website to provide some valuable enhancements.
Maybe your website already includes a form or interface to enable certain visitors or site members to upload documents or other files. You might need people to be able to upload signed forms, or business reports, or project plans, or any number of other items. These aren’t files that will actually be used or displayed on the website; that’s just the most convenient place to have people deliver them to you.
What if those files could go directly to your cloud file-sharing service? And, why would you want them to?
Reasons To Send File Uploads To A File-Sharing Service
Easy Access & Notifications
There’s a good chance you don’t have quick access to the back-end of your website from your phone or other portable device. And even the most mobile-friendly website back-end interfaces, can’t compete with an app designed specifically for your device’s display and operating system. Imagine how convenient it would be if every time someone uploaded a file through the form on your website, the Dropbox app on your phone gave you a notification and you could click the notification and immediately view the file. Sounds pretty handy, doesn’t it?
File Access for People without Site Access
Maybe the files that get uploaded always need to go your accountant, but she doesn’t have any other reason to be using the website, and retrieving the files from the site is extra effort. If the files went straight to a directory in her OneDrive account, as soon as they were uploaded on the site, the files would start downloading to her computer in the background. Within minutes, the files would be ready to open and work with—no additional steps required.
Keep Files Secure & Separate
In many of these scenarios, the files being uploaded are likely to contain some amount of sensitive or private information, and even though you keep your site as secure as possible, you’d still feel better not leaving the uploaded documents sitting on the same server with your publicly-accessible website. Instead of needing to constantly monitor uploads, so you can download them and delete them off the server as quickly as possible, wouldn’t it be nicer to just have them delivered to your separate cloud account?
Conserve Hosting Server Resources
Does your Google Drive account have a 100 GB of space limit on it? Or a terabyte? Or maybe even unlimited space? Getting the file uploads off your website server (especially if they’re large files that end up getting downloaded multiple times) can help prevent your site from using up premium storage space and wasting unnecessary bandwidth. The cost of storage and bandwidth on file-sharing services is always going to be far lower than the equivalent on a hosting platform that has far more complex infrastructure and maintenance requirements.
How To Send File Uploads To A File-Sharing Service
There isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all solution to getting this kind of integration set up. In some cases (especially if your site is on WordPress), it might be a matter of setting up the right form builder plugin with the right add-on for the file-sharing service you’re using. In other cases, where you have a custom upload interface or you’re using a trickier storage platform (I’m looking at you, Microsoft SharePoint), you are likely to need some custom development to get uploads working smoothly.
So if you’re intrigued by the idea of getting some of your uploads moved to the “cloud,” but you aren’t sure where to start, be sure to contact us, and we’ll see how we can help.