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.
Recommended Reading: How To (Automatically) Backup Your Website Into Dropbox.
Method 1: Using Short URL
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
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.
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.