How to Monitor Download Count in Dropbox

By . Filed in Web Design

Dropbox has made it easy for us to share files publicly. We can put a file out there to be publicly downloaded via a public link. Users can download or save files into their own Dropbox account. However, as the owner of that file, we don’t get to see how many times our shared file has been downloaded by the masses.

Dropbox is not intended for storing downloadable files. It may terminate the public link once the bandwidth threshold is surpassed. Still, if you want to monitor your shared files download count, here are two viable workarounds you can use.

Method 1: Using Short URL

Short URL services like Bitly and Goo.gl will track how many times the links are clicked, showing you the count of how many times your file has been clicked on.

Bitly remains my favorite URL shortening service to date. Bitly’s statistics report of a link’s performance is more comprehensive compared to other similar services that I’ve tried. Bitly lets us see the click count in a specific range of time: hourly, 7 days, and 30 days. Bitly also shows us geographical reports, recording the places where our links are clicked.

method 2: Using Dropbox Plugin

Although Dropbox doesn’t have a downloaded link count, it does have the Dropbox API which allows developers to build plugins to help you do that. One outcome of that is OrangeDox.

To get started with Orange Dox, connect OrangeDox to your Dropbox account.

Once you’ve allowed OrangeDox to have access to your Dropbox account, OrangeDox will retrieve the list of files stored within. Through OrangeDox, select the file you would like to share.

Then create the public URL and specify the name to describe the URL.

Hit the “chain” icon as shown below to see and get your URL address to share to anyone.

OrangeDox’s statistical report is quite comprehensive as well. We can sort the report by Today, Yesterday, or in a specific date range. To view it, navigate to the file that you have shared, and click the link title. It will pop up a new dialog and display the stats quite nicely, like below. That’s it.

Limitation

Both methods have some shortcomings. These methods merely redirect the users to the Dropbox page where they have to hit the download button in that page to download the file. This may not represent an accurate depiction of the actual number of downloads as the numbers shown in Bitly as well as in the OrangeDox statistic page only counts how many times the URL page has been clicked. At best, this gives us a ballpark figure of how popular the file is.

Author:

Thoriq is a writer for Hongkiat.com with a passion for web design and development. He is the author of Responsive Web Design by Examples, where he covered his best approaches in developing responsive websites quickly with a framework.

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