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Thread: Starting a File Sharing Site, Which Template/CMS is best?

  1. #1
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    Starting a File Sharing Site, Which Template/CMS is best?

    Hi there,

    First post i think, long-time reader recently diving into my first venture, hoping to benefit from the wisdom here.

    So due to the good advice here i have already obtained domain and hosting but i am confused on the CMS system i can use/ if i can do this myself.

    I know a bit of HTML and Java but not enough to build my own system.

    Ok so, needs:

    User-generated content (ie. Upload and Folder creation)
    Database to hold all files and organise them (Similar to cloud tech i suppose)
    User profiles

    Preferences:
    Dynamically up-datable (so i can add things like reputation points, ratings, forum, articles, blog and things later)
    A way for users to comment on each others uploads (good, bad,etc)

    I am a bit confused as to which system i can use for this, a general web search is telling me fully-dedicated systems cost 4000-6000 which is a joke to me as i am a student.

    I am pretty sure i can use a template for this no? It quite a simple thing a file-sharing site i thought.

    Anyway ideally it would be free but i can pay a bit if you recommend getting a web builder in from elance or freelance or wherever.

    Also aware of systems like joopla, drupal, WP, Ruby on Rails but i dont know if they complement/which to use. Also am pretty sure i am several plugin available from my web host but still unsure how to use these tools.

    Thanks a lot.

    Josh

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
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    There isn't going to be a template out there for this. This isn't just a drop-in and go kinda deal. It's going to take a good bit of work and probably a fair amount of cash to make happen.

    Just to be able to log in users, you're going to need to build a website front end, which will require, at the simplest, a CSS styled HTML form served over an SSL connection. Then, when the user submits the form, you'll need to secure the data further on the client side, send it to a backend script that will bump the info against a database table and send the user to the appropriate page depending on whether their login was successful. And that's just to log them in. Then, you'll need to build scripts that take their uploads, a comment system, the reputation system, and all of those require front-end design, server-side scripting and databases to run them. Then, if you want it to act like modern sites do, you'll need to transfer all of that data using AJAX.

    You might, and I mean might be able to get this together using Joomla with a plethora of plugins, but it would be huge, unwieldy monster, as sites built on Joomla tend to be.

    I don't mean to burst your bubble, but a lot of people come on here with the same misconception you have. All these years of templates, CMSs and WYSIWYG editors have people thinking everything on the web is just a drag and drop deal. There's a lot of work that goes into this stuff.
    Last edited by Ronald Roe; Apr 27th, 2014 at 07:34 AM.
    TheGAME1264 and JoshSite like this.
    Ron Roe
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    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."

  4. #3
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, it's not that simple. If there's one thing Kim Dotcom has taught us about file sharing, it's that the idea is incredibly complex and contains a lot of layers most people completely ignore.

    Here's an example: copyright. If someone uploads a file in violation of copyright law, you're protected to some degree depending on the laws of your jurisdiction (the US provides a safe harbor under DMCA for example), but that doesn't mean that you can simply remove an infringing file every time someone uploads it...you have to take steps to make sure the file can't be uploaded again (usually by analyzing the file hash and making sure that it doesn't match any existing infringing hashes). There are other issues with your idea, but that alone will take you months if not years to figure out, and none of the third-party CMSes will do that. Side note: you're mixing up concepts a bit...Ruby on Rails is a framework, not a CMS.

    Another thing you have to worry about...adult, objectionable and/or illegal content. If you give people the opportunity to upload anything, they will for any reason they can think of, and quite often no reason at all. That means people will upload revenge porn pics, swastikas, pictures of crosses burning, MP3s without the artist's permission, cracked software, and all sorts of stuff you probably don't want on your site and may or may not be a violation of your hosting terms of service. Again, you need to have a way for these files to be removed. Some of that overlaps with the copyright in that you can compare file hashes, but again it's a nasty issue.

    The point in all this...if it sounds simple in your head, you haven't thought it through all the way. As a student, you'd definitely be biting off more than you can chew.
    JoshSite likes this.
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  5. #4
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    Hey Guys,

    Really appreciate the help and criticisms, especially to a first-timer. Definitely helps me avoid some problems down to road.

    I genuinely thought there would have been a plugin/template/skeleton code for a simple user generated file system.

    What about if i were to be a redirection site instead? Users would only be able to write in urls to the websites. Could that be a starting point?

    I am really determined to get this thing off the ground, i think it is a great idea, that i have a unique spin on. Any advice is welcome.

  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Again, it's still user-generated content, and linking to potentially objectionable / illegal content is just as bad as hosting it in the eyes of most hosts and most laws. If anything, having it on your server is better in the sense that you have more control over it.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  7. #6
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    Fair enough, however, i have seen the disclaimer on some sites such as :"We are not liable for UGC as we do not moderate content, if you find anything voilating laws please contact us and we will remove it" I think it's on Fivrr.com.

    In any case, is it possible to get a bare bones prototype up for less than $250?

    If i was going to do this, which CMS/Framework/Back-end would you recommend?

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Yeah, and that disclaimer and $5.00 is collectively worth $5.00. Sites that host file sharing content are expected to be proactive in their removal of material when reasonably possible.

    Megaupload legal case - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As far as your question is concerned...to do it properly, you'll need to add at least two digits and probably a third. This is not, repeat not, a third time not, anywhere near as simple as you think it is.
    AlphaMare likes this.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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