How to Use Dropbox as a Web Server in 3 Easy Steps

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So you’ve got some web content, now what do you do with it? Typically, this is where you’d upload your content to a web server.

Maybe you’re new to creating web content and the idea of signing up with a web host is daunting. Perhaps you’re dipping your toe in the water, and you don’t yet need your own domain name. You just need a place to post your files so that others can view them.

Fortunately, there’s a cheap (in most cases free) and easy solution. You can use Dropbox to host web sites.

Step 1: Copy your site into the Public folder within your Dropbox Directory

You may want to create a subfolder, so that you can house multiple sites in your Public folder.

Important note: If your Dropbox account was created before Oct. 4, 2012, you will automatically have a Public folder. If your account is newer, you may have to request a public folder.

 

Step 2: Right-click and choose Copy Public Link

You can create a shareable link from any Dropbox file or folder, but if your file has dependencies (images, CSS files, JavaScript files, etc) the Public folder has an easier time linking to those files.

 

Step 3: Paste the link in your browser to test, or paste into an email to send

You now have a link to your site. Here’s a sample site I created using in5.

Optional: You can use a link shortener to create a more memorable URL.

Strengths of Using Dropbox as a Web Server

  • Cheap/Free
  • Fast
  • Easy
  • Built-in version control
  • Doesn’t require an File Transfer Protocol (FTP) application. Files can be managed from the desktop.

Weaknesses of Using Dropbox as a Web Server

  • No server-side scripts
  • URL is generic

Helpful links

New to Dropbox? It’s a very useful service. Check out Keith Gilbert’s Up and Running with Dropbox course on Lynda.com to learn more about what you can do with Dropbox.

Need a Dropbox account? You can create one for free.

See also 4 Ways to Host Your Website on Dropbox.

This article originally appeared on ajarproductions.com. Republished with permission of the author. © JustinPutney 2014

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