Best option for hosting PDF files off site


I want to offer some PDF book chapter samples on a website that can then be downloaded and read by site visitors but I don’t want them to load immediately on the same web page as the site opens because they will increase the size of the web page considerably and slow down performance.

Does anybody have any ideas on the best way to do this so that clicking a link on the home page makes the PDF files available for download? I thought I could upload them to another domain on the same server but the whole process needs to be seamless and not cause any slow downs. I have a couple of PDF embed stacks but I don’t think that is the right way to go.

Can I just create a web link on the same domain that visitors don’t access directly as a web page? That would solve an SSL issue as well because linking to non SSL pages on other domains creates security warnings for users.


I’ve looked at Dropbox but it’s not good because it asks anybody clicking on a link to join their service. I just want the files to download.

(Nik Fletcher) #3

You could just add them as assets in RW and create a link (just as you would to another page). Remember that the download or inline rendering is mostly browser dependent!


I forgot to add I am using Foundation which doesn’t allow me to add resources like standard themes. I thought of adding a modal window but I gather these are not considered a good idea on mobile.

(Terry Norton) #5

Anybody and everybody can read an Evernote note, and no hassles at all. Every note has a shareable public link. Simply include the link on your webpage.

As an example, I just started my site and have an introduction to an eBook I’m writing. The introduction is copy & pasted from Evernote on the page for the reader, but at the top is also a link to the original note in Evernote that I copied from.

Check it out to see if it’s the kind of thing you’re looking for.


That works well in theory but from a marketing point of view it takes potential buyers away from the landing page, which is generally a bad idea. Ideally I want to keep them on my landing page but offer them a viewable PDF that is loaded from another source so it doesn’t slow down the initial page load. I’m wondering if there is a way to force a PDF to download from the browser without zipping the file.

On an old site I used a modal window that only appeared when the link was clicked on and had the PDF stored on another domain. This worked quite well in the days of desktop but not so much now with lots of mobile devices.

(Christopher Watson) #7

Foundation doesn’t allow resources…?


In Foundation you can choose images from the desktop for example but you can’t use drag & drop. There is an area on the left to drop in resources but I recall I was unable to choose them in Foundation when trying in the past.

(Christopher Watson) #9

Ok. I’m lost. You want an image to display a paragraph or two…? Then download the pdf?
You can select an image from resources in Foundation with the Foundation Image stack, then link it to a pdf that is also in resources… Can’t you…?


No I simply want to include a few text links e.g chapter 1 or chapter 2. Then I want visitors to click on a link so that the PDF can be downloaded to read as a sample of the book.

These PDF chapters are quite image heavy and very high quality, therefore I need a solution where the files are warehoused somewhere else and only accessed when the link is pressed so they don’t slow down the initial page loading.

I’ll play around with the resources option to see if I can make it work somehow but when I tried once in the past with simple images I was unable to select items from resources in Foundation like I could with normal themes. Foundation wouldn’t let me drag an image from resources into an image stack and I couldn’t choose them manually either.

(Christopher Watson) #11

Just drag the pdf into the resources area then in a foundation paragraph stack type in “Chapter 23” (or whatever you like), highlight it and click the link button at the top left of the edit window. Then select the corresponding resource from the dropdown options.

Or if they are so big you want to warehouse them; upload them and do the same with the link but type in the warehouse url.


OK I’ll play around with it and see what works best. The main thing I want to avoid is having these chapters load automatically as the page opens, adding another 2-3mb to the page size.

The modal window solution I used in the past was quite cool but didn’t work on some browsers and I gather they are not convenient on mobile devices.