Shares Vs. Users: File Sharing 101

In the world of file sharing, file transfers, uploads, and downloads, it can be confusing to know what is what. Throw users, permissions, and activity logs into the mix, and you practically have a dictionary worth of terms. We want to make sure you are sharing what you need to share and creating the appropriate users who need access to your file sharing account.

To provide access to your file sharing account, you can either create a share, or create a user.

What is the difference between shares and users?

Great question. With an equally great answer…

First, let’s go over users.

Users: The Basics – A Guide To Adding, Editing, And Deleting Users.

Users are alternate logins to your file sharing account. You create a user (or user account) in order to grant another person access to the files stored in your account.

Here are some examples of when you would create a user:

  • When you want to give an employee ongoing access to the account (or specific folders in the account).
  • Create a new user when you are allowing someone to create and manage shares, monitor sharing activity on the account, manage notifications, changes account settings or other administrative duties.
  • If you want to give someone access via FTP or SFTP.

As you can see, there are a variety of reasons to create a user. Not all users have to be set up the same. This is where permissions play their role.

Create user for file sharing account

What Are Permissions?

Permissions allow you to decide who has access to your data, as well as who doesn’t. This file sharing feature can enhance your business security. Finding a file sharing solution that offers a flexible permissions model gives you control over who can access the data in your account, and for how long.

Per-user permissions allow you to set permissions for each individual user you create.

Let your creative assistant upload files to the account as access only files in the marketing folder. For the marketing manager, this user could be granted permission to not only upload and delete files but to access all files in the account.

Example user permissions

User permissions vary from one file transfer provider to another. Below is an example of user permissions that can be set by admin for users in an ExaVault account. You get full control over what each user can do, and what files or folders they can access.

Example of User Permissions:

  • Share and send files.
  • Upload files and folders.
  • Download files and folders.
  • Delete files and folders.
  • Modify (new folder, rename, copy, move).
  • Setup notifications.
  • List files and folders.
  • Change password.

For more on users, check out ExaVault’s support library page – Users: The Basics.

The marketing manager is a user who can see all the files in my account. But what if I just want to share a file with someone?

Do I have to create a user to share a file with someone?

Not necessarily…

Next, let’s go over shares.

Sharing 101 – ExaVault’s Guide to Sharing Files & Folders

Shares are when you share a file or folder on your account with others. How does this differ from creating a user?

Of course, creating a user is one way of sharing files. There are, in fact, several ways to share your data without creating a user.

For one, you can send files directly to someone. Direct shares are similar to sending an email. However, a direct share is not limited in size. Quickly share large files using the send files feature in your account.

Another example of shares is creating a shared folder. A shared folder allows you to share a file or folder with several people who do not have user accounts. Shared folders are ideal for collaboration. In many cases, it is simple to create a public link for the shared folder. This link will allow access to the folder by anyone who has the link. Share the link in an email with a custom message letting the recipient know that a folder has been shared with them.

Additional features available with this type of share on an ExaVault account include delivery receipts, require email to access, an expiration date on the shares, and require password to access a shared folder.

What if you need to receive a file from someone without giving them a login and password?

This type of share is known as a receive folder. Let others share files with you, directly to your account without creating a new user account for them. Receive folders are extremely handy for businesses. Clients can directly upload files to the business’s file sharing account.

With ExaVault receive folders work as shares by letting clients and customers upload directly to an account via a link to a web form or an upload widget. Embed the upload widget into your website for easy access when someone needs to upload and share a file with you.

For more on this type of share, check out ExaVault’s support library page – Receive Folders.

Who do you need to share files with
Who do you need to share files with?

Now you have a better understanding of shares vs. users.

Shares – allowing someone to download or upload a file.

Users – individuals with access to your account.

In summary, this topic is about more than just file sharing. It is about finding the right option when it comes to activity on your file sharing account and providing the correct access for any situation. Review the following options and choose the best one for each file transfer.

1. Users

Create users when you need to have people logging into the file sharing account for security reasons. The option to create users is good for FTP, regular file transfers back and forth, or when there is a need to assign individuals to a specific isolated folder.

2. Sharing

Sharing provides ease of use. Shares can be bookmarked. There is no user maintenance for simple shares. Sharing can even be embedded directly into your website. This keeps your business look streamlined and lets you focus on your clients.

Shares are the simple way to let someone else access a file. Shares are great for distribution of materials such as manuals, RFP, etc. Recipients can bookmark the web link you provide them for access to the shared file at their convenience.

3. Send

Great for one-time downloads – think large email attachments. Use the send feature and include an expiration date limiting how long the recipient is able to access that file. With ExaVault, the links you send automatically expire in 2 weeks, but can be extended up to 60 days.

4. Receive Folders

As stated earlier, receive folders allow people to upload files to your account without being a user or having a login. This is a great way to let people get you the files they need to upload without having to create an account for them. Use a simple web form link that can be emailed or embedded directly into your website.

5. Upload Widget

An upload widget is an advanced option for receive folders. It lets you embed the uploads into your own custom form. Great for businesses with order forms that need files attached.

Ditch the file sharing confusion. From sharing with other users and coworkers to sending and receiving files with just about anyone. There are ways to make file sharing meet your needs whatever the situation. From simple shares via link to advanced upload widgets, once you know the options, it’s easy to create the appropriate users and shares.