File sharing, multiple users

So I run a creative agency.
I have clients and freelancers.
I want clients to be able to drop files to me, freelancers to do the same or pick files up from me.

I initially setup a sub-domain for clients and one for freelancers and found I was creating multiple login details but yet they all saw each others files. Not going to be good.

Emailing isn’t great when you have huge creative documents.

What would you suggest for a solution to my problem. Multiple users to share files with myself, large files, each with a login I can generate or give them… and they can only view their area.

Hope someone comes up with some suggestions.

PHP limits my file size for web uploads so it’s not grand, I don’t want to get into custom php.ini files etc… I looked at net2ftp which Dreamhost use themselves but that’s 2mb uploads and it’s not restrictive by folder for the users.


You can either jump through lots of hoops to make a convenient FTP setup, or try php.ini. Really, php.ini is pretty slick and not too difficult to set up. The FTP approach is also hindered by the Terms of Service, which states that your account is to be used for Website and email hosting. Though I’m not sure why they offer Anonymous FTP.

I use PHPfileNavigator with the php.ini mod. I really like the interface. I jacked upload_max_filesize up to 100 Megs.

Here’s the wiki entry for php.ini, which you may have already seen. Though it says it’s “advanced,” it’s well-written and if you have any trouble, post back in the Troubleshooting forum.

edit: I’ve also tinkered with AjaxExplorer. It’s pretty new and also pretty slick.


The most robust method for file transfer is SFTP. This can be accomplished quite simply by creating an SFTP account for each user, then using symbolic links to their userspace inside your own “administrative” account.

For web-based uploads you could implement one of the solutions Scott provided above, or use practically any uploading script at a central location like Choose a script that emails the admin, or provides a direct link to the file after successful upload so that users can then email you with the details necessary for you to pick up the file.

Getting an editable PHP.INI onto your domain can be painless (see link below).

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How To Install PHP.INI / ionCube on DreamHost

To add onto sXi’s post, you’ll need to set Group access on each user’s directory so you can access it.
You’ll have to create a group for each user, containing that one user and you.


Thanks for your help!

I just read regarding UNIX Groups on Dreamhost’s Wiki and they said some (not all?) servers have a group limit of 16, so as soon as I get 16 clients and/or freelancers, it might not work for me grabbing their files.

I think I am going to create 1 sub-domain, 2 new users, give the FTP details out to my trusted regular clients and freelancers of 1 user account then just delete the files as I go.

The second account can be for new clients and freelancers and I can change the password on that user account from the panel, each time I think it needs to, to ensure they don’t access the sub-domain. That way, I can ensure they can’t access anything out of that sub-domain and I can still install net2ftp so that clients whom aren’t sure of FTP software can easily log in and transfer. I’ll do the custom php.ini file thing to ensure they can upload a large file too.

Thanks for the suggestions!

I’m concerned over the Terms of Service now though…

ToS really doesn’t catch their eye until it’s a burden on the server. Thankfully, you’re not dealing with a copyright violation, and I don’t think you’ll be using much space. It’ll probably fly under their radar. And if you’re installing net2ftp, it’s sort of a web-based operation. And if it’s in support of your main website (i.e. graphics design business), it’s even that much more legit.