Most file hosting sites like RapidShare, Rapidgator, MediaFire or Netload will keep your free account files active and on their servers for periods from a few weeks up to several months and the only condition usually is that the file is downloaded at least once every 30, 60 or 90 days to keep it active. But what if you actually want to go the other way and make your files available to download for only a certain period of time? A few hosting sites do this but it’s nearly always part of their paid service and difficult to get hold of for free.
Previously one of the best and easiest sites to do this was Senduit which would allow you to set an expiring limit ranging from 30 minutes to 1 week before the download became unavailable. Sadly the service is dead these days and only displays an error after upload. We have searched around and found a couple of alternative services which will also allow you to set an expiration date on your downloads. If you want to do a similar thing with emails and messages, we have written about that before in Online Services to Send Messages that Auto Delete after Reading. 1. FileMail
Filemail has a free no registration service to go with its paid offerings which allows you to upload a maximum of a 2GB file or a total of 2GB in several files per day. The maximum time files are available is also only 3 days but you can set this to either 1, 2 or 3 in the free version, the maximum downloads per file is also limited to 20.
The principle of this program is that you send the link and a small message via email to the recipient where they can open it and go to a webpage at Filemail which provides the download links for the files. When the download limit or time has expired, only a file not available message will be displayed. If you don’t wish to send an email, a link to the files will made available after uploading.
Simply go to the website and enter an email recipient, a message if you want one, and then browse for the files you want to upload. Click the Advanced button and you will be able to set the limits to the number of times the files can be downloaded and for how many days they are available, don’t forget the free version limits. Once you’ve finished uploading, a link will be sent to the address provided and you will also be redirected to the download page which can be given to others.
For convenience if you upload more than 1 file at once, they will all also be made available as a single zip file which does actually count as a separate download, so the files can be downloaded twice as much. The screen will have the description if you left one and the limits set on the downloads along with how many downloads are left for each file. Filemail is certainly a useful service if not abused, and if you upload more than a few times within 24 hours, will receive a message that you tried to use the service too much and to try again the next day.
Wikisend is a much simpler service that doesn’t involve emails and simply provides you with a download link to a page to give to any recipients. Only a single file can be uploaded at once, and the file size is capped at 100MB. The file can be given an expiry time of anywhere between 1 and 90 days. Do note that after 7 days, the file will be given a low priority and download speeds will be halved.
Usage is easy, go to the website and click to browse for a file on your computer, then click the Properties button. Now you can supply a friendly name, description and supply the expiry time limit which defaults to 7 days. You can also set a password for an extra layer of security, then click Upload File.
The finished upload tab will give you an ID number you can use at a later date to log in and make any minor changes, and you will also be given the chance to edit the properties. A download link will be visible for you to distribute to who you want to receive the file, and a handy forum link is also available. When another person clicks on the provided link they will land on a similar page which offers the download link, the expiry time and a password box if you set one up.