How to Setup a Download Section on My Web Site

By Evelyn Trimborn

A download area of your site helps keep it organized for you and your visitors.9+
i address bar image by Wiktor Osiecki from

A download section of a website is a common way to keep a website organized for both the webmaster and the website's visitors. Many different kinds of media, such as PDF documents, Excel spreadsheets, MP3s and videos, can be shared between multiple users on the Internet. Determine which files you want to make available before setting up a download area on your site.

How to Set Up a Download Section

Organize the files you wish to make available as downloads on your website. Put each file into the folder called "Downloads." If you have more than one kind of file to be downloaded, such as PDFs, MP3s and so on, create a folder for each type within the download folder. Place each file type into the correct folder.

Open your File Transfer Protocol software program and upload the folder titled downloads to your website. If you are using your Control Panel to edit your site, click on the FTP button to upload the "Downloads" folder.

Open your web creation software, or your file manager in your Control Panel. Create a new web page called downloads.html. If you are permitting more than one type of file download, create one page for each type of download and name it clearly, such as downloadpdf.html, downloadmp3.html and so on.

Create a link for each of the files in the downloads folder you created. Create the link using the name of the file to be downloaded. For example, a PDF titled Special Report would say "Special Report," not just "Click here." Make sure the link includes the full file path, for example, <a href=""> or <a href="">. Create a new link on each line. Save often as you work. Check your preview panel to make sure the page looks the way you would wish.

Upload the download.html page using your FTP software. Type the full URL of this page into your browser. Begin testing the links to each file to make sure it downloads correctly. Edit your download.html page as needed. If you are using your Control Panel, click on the View Page link and test the links on the page. Edit as needed.

Link the home page of your site to your download.html page.

Items you will need

  • Computer

  • Folder titled "Downloads"

  • Files for download

  • Folders named for each type of file you wish your website visitors to download

  • File Transfer Protocol software and web page creation software (or access to your Control Panel of your website)

  • Download page or pages for each type of file to be downloaded

  • Hyperlink for each file, showing the full file path of the download


You may wish to add instructions on how to download the files on your download.html page. For instance, for PC users, they would need to click their right-hand mouse button and "Save As…" to save the file on their computer in an appropriate folder. Mac users usually just have to click to download.

You may wish to add a link to the download.html page to the navigation menu at your website if your site has many pages.


Avoid using any special characters or spaces in the names of your files or your folders. They will appear and/or function differently in different web browsers.

Test your links in a variety of different web browsers to be sure they work correctly. Edit your instructions on the download.html page to include any special instructions.

Be sure to close the link for each link.