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How can I share files without allowing people to modify or delete them?

My church has been using Dropbox for sharing sermons and photos. But when a
file is shared with anyone, that person has the ability to edit the files.
Because of this, many files are constantly being accidentally deleted and must
be restored. Dropbox says it’s not currently possible to change this. Are
similar sites available that do not have this problem? Thank you.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #68
, I look at ways that organizations can share files in a way
that prevents users from deleting or changing them.

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Protecting shared files

I can actually come up with about three different approaches to solving this
problem.

Use your website

If your church has its own website, I would actually recommend that you set
aside a corner on that website for exactly this.

What you would do is create a page on the website that actually had links to
the files and those files would themselves be stored on your church’s website.
That’s probably the easiest in the sense that it gives you the most absolute
control over allowing people to view and edit the files and it allows you to
remove them when you need to and do whatever else.

Like I said, it does require that you have your own website, but so many
churches and facilities do these days that it might very well be the most
viable option – and certainly easiest for the folks that you’re sharing these
files with to be able to use.

Google Docs

Another approach would be to use something like Google Docs.

Google Docs allows you to have documents and photos in the sense of Picasa
(we’ll talk about Picasa in a minute), but you’ll be able to have documents
stored online.

It’s now called “Google Drive” which means you can store pretty much any
kind of file on Google Drive. You can then also specify if the file can be
shared with individuals (and give them specific permissions if that’s the kind
of sharing you’re looking to do) or I believe you can also make them public.
But the bottom line is then that if they’re public, I’m not sure if
you can actually control the level of user access.

I know for a fact that if you’re sharing only with specific individuals,
Google Drive will absolutely let you do that. The important thing to realize
here though, of course, is that everybody involved in putting up files and
accessing files will need some sort of a Google account.

Photo-sharing sites

Finally, when it comes to photos, this is really, kind-of what photo-sharing sites are all about!

I mentioned Picasa earlier; that’s Google’s photo sharing site. There are
many others – everything from Flickr to Photobucket to any number of other
places. They’re all about allowing you to upload photographs – and then share
them publicly with others: others than cannot make changes to those files.

So, those are the kinds of things that come to mind that solve this
particular problem.

It may very well work out that like I said, the website (I’m guessing you’ve
probably got one; in all honesty, most entities should have one) and that,
probably, would be my preferred solution to this problem.

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2 comments on “How can I share files without allowing people to modify or delete them?”

  1. I would put the file in the Public Folder (on DropBox) and send everybody a link to that, who has subscribed.
    This apart of course of the first suggestion presented by Leo.

    Reply

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