Downloads with an External File

Use when files stored on web, cloud, or some other server.

jDownloads supports downloadable files stored on the web on regular web locations and on services such as DropBox, g-drive and similar.

Getting the link for an External File to include in a jD  Download is not always obvious especilly on service providers!  Sometimes there may be unexpected side effects.

The picture opposite shows the 'Files' tab of the front end upload form.  It gives an overview of how to add a file to a Download.

The primary objective here is to determine the contents of the two fields "External File Link" and "File in external Web site".


In most cases the "File in external Web site" field should be set to Yes.

Upload form04

In this article we show what to do if the required file is

  1. on a 'normal' web site      www2 32px
  2. on DropBox                      ' dropbox icon
  3. On Google drive (g-drive) logo drive 32px

 1. File located on a web site Server www2 32px 

This is the simplest case as all that is necessary is to find the location of the file on the web site.  The 'Files' section would appear as shown opposite.

An example would be https://www.some-website/uploads/Website-Brochure-2018.pdf

The only item to consider is the setting of the field "File in External Web site" as this controls whether it is downloaded to a separate page or to the same page

  • setting Yes then a separate page/tab
  • setting No uses same page/tab
The other aspect to bear in mind is that the file must have file system 'world readable' permission, that is the permission should end in 4 or higher.  This must also apply to the directories that contain the file. You may of course need to seek permission from the site owner unless it is already in the public domain, in which case it would be polite to let the the owner know.
 2. File in DropBox dropbox icon  

Here is is assumed you have setup a drop box account and have loaded up relevant files.

Getting the file link from DropBox has more steps to go through than for a direct link.

The first step to get the link is to simply right click on the relevant file name

  dropbox links03

This will show a Drop Down with a Drop Box secton as indicated opposite.

So next click on Share as we need to see if file is shareable.

  dropbox links04C

The Share type needed is " Can view". 

If this is shown then click on Copy link which will copy a link to your Clip Board

If it is not shared then seek advice from Drop box.

  dropbox links05B

The link in the clip board will be something like the opposite.

Note that for secutity the one shown is not a real link

There are four forms that the link might be set to be used as an external link.  One style, noted below as 'Special', involves replacing the part www.dropbox in the link with dl.dropboxusercontent
The other three are different endings a) ?dl=0  b) ?dl=1  c) ?raw=1 

The table below shows the various setting possibilities.  Note that the last three possibilities result in a non standard extension name. Also the 'Special' link used a different file in my examples.

  dropbox links01
 3. Google Drive logo drive 32px  

Setting up an External link for a g-drive file is similar to that for Dropbox

Go to your g-drive which is typically a link such as

  google drive00

As with Dropbox the File must be set as shareable. If it is not shareable then consult Google Drive

Click on  'Copy link' which will put the link in your Clip Board.

  google drive02

 This time the link can be copied in directly as there are no changes required.

Set the field "Is the main file on an external web page?" to Yes.

  google drive03

Colin Mercer July 2018

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