There is a myriad of reasons someone chooses to store their files on Dropbox. Ease of use, price, etc. Interestingly, one of the reasons many people add files to Dropbox is to share them. But there’s a problem with this.

It’s a terrible experience.

Dropbox is great at storing files. It’s not designed around sharing and displaying files in the way the creator economy of today requires. It was never meant to be a creator’s distribution platform. And because of this, sharing a file link on Dropbox looks a lot like this for the people you share with.

Sure that modal can be cleared and the sidebar can be collapsed, but should they even be there? Did you share the file in hopes that the person you shared it with would sign up for Dropbox? Shouldn’t it be your experience?

What if this was a file you had locked behind a Patreon membership? Do you want your patron to see this, or do you want them to immediately see the file they paid to access, unobstructed?

If you stored the file on IPFS and shared the link, it would look something like this:

Which of those experiences would you prefer? Which would the people you’re sharing with prefer? What if you could also share your work with a link that includes your own branded domain? A link like www.yoursite.com/your_awesome_work is so much better than a link like www.dropbox.com/share/id/work.

Thoroughly convinced now? Ok, let’s walk through how to migrate your content from Dropbox to IPFS using Pinata.

Using Pinata

The first step is to sign up for a free account here. Once you’ve done so, you can start uploading content from the Pin Manager. You already know how to use Dropbox, so using Pinata will be a breeze.

Click the Upload button, choose whether you’d like to upload a file or a whole folder, and then click to upload. Simple as that.

Once a file or folder has been uploaded, you’ll see it in the table view on the Pin Manager, very similar to how you’d see files in Dropbox. To view a file, just click on the name in the row on the table. You’ll be taken to a window that displays your content through the public Pinata IPFS gateway.

You can grab that link and share it with anyone. Just like with Dropbox, only the person with the link will be able to access it. Unlike Dropbox, the person accessing it gets to experience you and your work and not Dropbox’s branding.

What makes this even more powerful is the idea that you can put this link behind your own branding. If you sign up for one of our paid plans, you will be able to create your own dedicated IPFS gateway. With that gateway, you can add a custom domain. For example, here’s a link shared from my own personal custom domain:

https://ipfs.submarine.me/ipfs/QmQRDYPTprDPknn3zE2ZSpc8DjnUKfYztyaeMBYdR8GDdw

And one of a 3D model from Kyle Tut’s gateway:

3D Models - IPFS Gateway
3D Model Viewer for assets loaded from IPFS Gateways

A link with your own domain conveys authority and professionalism in a way that a Dropbox link can not.

Setting up a dedicated gateway is easy. Here’s a short guide on doing so. Creating a custom domain is just as easy, and here’s another short guide to help you do that. Or, you can watch the video below.

Ok, so adding files manually works fine, but what if you have hundreds (or thousands) of files on Dropbox? We’ve got you covered.

Mass Migration

Head over to Zapier and sign up for a free account. Once you’ve done so, you’ll want to create a new Zap:

Search for and select Dropbox as the trigger for your Zap. Now, before we move on, go to your Dropbox account and create a folder called “Pinata”. Once that’s done, come back to Zapier so we can finish up this Zap.

We want the trigger to be a new file added to a folder. You can select that and move on to the next step.

You’ll be asked to connect your Dropbox account to Zapier. Select the right account, log in, and Zapier will now have access to run this Zap that you’re building.

Next, you’re going to configure the trigger. You want new files added to the “Pinata” folder to automatically be uploaded to Pinata. We don’t need to get the full content of the file on the trigger (we just need the link to the media file), so set the “Include file contents” option to No.

Make sure you move a file in Dropbox to your new folder so we can test the trigger. Once you’ve done that, come back and move on to the Test trigger step.

Zapier should find the file and you’ll see information about that file. This is perfect because we are going to need that information in the next step.

Before moving on to the next step, you’re going to need to grab an API key from Pinata. This is simple. Go to the Keys page and create a new API key.

Make sure to toggle on the “Admin” selection and give your key a name. When you click “Create Key” a new modal will show you your API Key, API Secret, and a JWT token. We’re going to need that JWT token. So keep it handy.

Back on Zapier, for the Action step, search for Pinata. Select it and choose the Pin File action.

Next, you’ll be asked to authenticate your Pinata account. This is very similar to how you authenticated your Dropbox account, except in the case of Pinata you’re going to be using the JWT you got from the Pinata Keys page.

Paste your JWT in and click the continue button. You should now be allowed to map data from Dropbox to Pinata to pin files.

The file field will use the Direct Media Link from Dropbox. The Filename field can use the File Name property from Dropbox.

Simple as that!

Test your trigger and you should be able to go back to your Pinata Pin Manager and see the new file in the table. Now, you can finish the creation of your Zap and turn it on. You can move as many files as you’d like into your Pinata folder in Dropbox, and they will automatically be imported into Pinata.

Note: This Zap runs every 15 minutes on free Zapier plans, so it’ll take a bit before you see the files start showing up on Pinata. But once they do, that’s where you can grab links to share your work. No more Dropbox branding. Instead, it’s replaced by a fantastic viewing or download experience represented by a link that’s branded with your own domain.

🎉 Congratulations! You’ve migrated your Dropbox content to Pinata, where you can provide a better viewing and download experience and have complete control over your branding. This is the future of the creative community. You are in the driver’s seat now.

Happy pinning!