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Free and Easy File Sharing?

jceo asked
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Last Modified: 2012-03-21

Can anyone recommend a free and easy file sharing site/ service where multiple users can edit an Excel spreadsheet?  I checked out Google docs but it looks like everyone needs a Google account which can be problematic to create a bunch of accounts for the end users.  Any ideas?  Thanks!
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Depending on how these files will be worked on I would recommend Dropbox. It's an application instead of a website but a small application that will automatically sync the contents of your Dropbox folder and the plus side is online backup & ability to restore files.

Where Dropbox becomes an issue is when multiple users need to edit the file at the same time. You will end up having duplicates at times if changes are being synced at the same time because each computer would have their own copy of the file which when saved is then synched to the online server and then all other users associated with that Dropbox account.

Dropbox: http://www.dropbox.com
I think with pretty much all of them you are going to have to create an account of some type.
I use Mirosoft's Skydrive.   It is free, holds 25GB and will change your life.  Forget yousendit..... and all of other file servers that 'share'.  This is exactly what you need!
I was thinking Skydrive but he would still have to create user accounts.
David SpigelmanPresident / CEO
There is no system you would want to use that wouldn't require some type of authentication (read: login account) to access. I mean, I suppose you could create an anonymous FTP site on one of your computers, and then give the anonymous user full rights, and open it to the Internet. But then everyone in the world would be able to edit your files, and you'd wind up hosting gigs of malware, kiddie-porn and stolen-ware for all the Internet-nasties, within a week.

Again... nothing you'd want to use.

I'm going to assume that is not what you meant. But then, what did you mean? What exactly is the issue with creating Gmail accounts for the users? The only thing I can think of is that it would be a bit of a pain to have to create separate accounts for every single user, and then have to manage them, individually, etc. Now there's a question I can work with.

Moving forward, I would suggest you look at Google Apps. You can set up the free version of the software, which enables you to have managed accounts that include mail, calendar, contacts, docs, sites, etc. You get a limited mailbox, and you can't use Google Apps Outlook Sync, which is great, but at the moment, we're not talking about email systems. And from a management perspective, you get a back-end that allows you to create up to 50 user accounts, and manage them from there, instead of as individual, independent accounts. You can create groups and assign permissions too, so you could have some people accessing the financial files, but not everyone. And you can set it up using your own domain, so for example, you could tell your users to point to https://docs.yourdomain.com.

So assuming my assumptions are right, I think Google Docs is still a good way to go.


Thank you everyone for your answers.  As far as the user accounts... yes I was infering it would be a pain to create separate accounts for every user and have them manage the account, etc.

Google Apps does not seem to have a free option.  it looks like it is $5 a month per user.  Can anyone tell me where to find the free version?

President / CEO

If that doesn't help you, you can always do the free trial - when that expires, it reverts to a free version, unless you pay for it. Oh, and apparently the free version no longer allows up to 50 users. They've cut it down to 10.
Or, as suggested above, you can use Microsoft's Skydrive (set up a Live ID, Hotmail account, etc) and that's completely free.
David SpigelmanPresident / CEO

Yes, but that would still require a separate Live account for each user, that would be managed independently, which is what he says he doesn't want.

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