Central File Management: the why, the good, and the bad

We've been moving Site Manager to a single, or central, file management source slowly over the past half-year. With the latest releases - page level tools - many users have just become aware of this transition.

First, we profoundly apologize for the bugs. We have the bugs fixed and we're confident that there should be much smoother sailing for the majority of you. Thank you for your patience.

The primary issues really stem from the filenaming conventions used. In this update, our system is now using standard web file protocols, which are not new, but are more important than ever. When we realized that most of the problems stemmed from having a space or a comma in the filename, we worked to write code that converts those unacceptable elements in a web file. Effective 2/19/2014, you should not have to rename a file if it just contains a space and/or comma.

Next, we need to address why we are doing this. Many of you have voiced that you liked the old way and that this way isn't as convenient. Others of you have voiced that you love this and this moves the system more towards how other CMS or content/database systems work. I think both sides of the fence are right.

And that is the problem. There is no way to please everyone with all the upgrades we do to the system. But before you determine that you really dislike us for making this change - hear out the reasons why the change was made.

The Why:

Imagine with me that you have a large closet with no drawer units. Every time you buy a pair of socks, you clip them on a hanger. As time goes on, you tend to not bother matching the socks and pretty soon, they aren't just on hangers, they are draped over shirts, on the floor and everywhere. It's chaotic. It's really hard to find a pair of matching socks quickly. You go and buy more socks, but the situation just repeats. Clearly, its time for a better solution. It's time to figure out how to add a drawer or shelf with boxes.

Okay, now in my silly word picture, the socks represent each of your files stored on your website. The closet is our entire hosting and back-end application system. Your files are associated within every individual page tool, and not in any central "drawer". File Uploads is the drawer unit. Get the idea? 

For those of you who have been here a while, you know that our original system is 10 years old, and years ago, web file organization wasn't really any different than your computer file organization.

But all that has changed. Dramatically changed. Web files have very strict filenaming conventions (rules) and new organization protocols are in place. That's why the majority of CMS and related systems (such as blogging systems) have a central file storage and you work with that system to bring in all your media. 

With that concept in mind, here are some other reasons behind the why:

  • Central file location allows us to do more significant upgrades and enhancements with less interruption of your content
  • The system that we use for File Uploads is one of the leading web file management systems in the world. It is secure and continually updated to ensure that the files are managed in all the ways that web files must be served to the end user. This is huge. It's not just about desktop computers anymore. It's about dozens of different platforms, devices and emerging technologies. In a nutshell, we need to use this file management system to help us keep your files showing up on screens.
  • There are many advantages for you with using File Uploads. It allows for drag & drop, on-the-fly multiple uploads, organization, file sharing, immediate optimizing of images, the creation of image thumbnail sizes, and the ability to use a document multiple times with only one upload. You can also plan ahead and have your files uploaded to File Uploads in small or large batches and then add to your pages at any step or time. 


Filenames for a website are much more touchy than file names on your computer or network. On your computer, that file simply exists in its own folder and nothing is continually scanning or accessing it. It can have any filename that the application you create it in allows. And if we are talking about PDFs, you can name a PDF pretty much anything.

Take that same file and push it up to the web and now its in the great cloud, and that file must play nice with the hundreds of other files, code and more. And web code has exploded. Many of the codes that are used to power cloud based computing and the internet use characters as the code. So when your file name has a character - such as a parenthesis or comma, the cloud is confused. Is this code? It doesn't look like a file. And errors occur, but those might not be errors you will detect immediately, or ever on your system. Again, everyone takes in your content in vastly different ways.

Then, if the code confusion wasn't enough, Google and Bing are really against bad filenames. And ANY character - including a comma, parenthesis and more, are "bad". Over time and with repeated filenames that are bad, your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will be affected. 

Our old system converted the spaces and characters into % signs. This is no longer a good practice. SEO experts feel that search engines are temporarily tolerating this, but it is a practice to immediately discontinue.

We heard from a good dozen of you that you didn't like having to rename your files - and it is really extra work. We get that. So, we compromised and put back the conversion - but ONLY for spaces and commas, which seemed to be the biggest culprit of the issues.

I cannot urge you enough to rethink the practice of how you name your PDFs and other files at the start. Please remove spaces and characters. The use of an underscore is very acceptable in lieu of a space or divider if you prefer.

Going Forward:

We recognize that to upload documents, in some tools, we added a couple clicks for you. We also know that for other tools and types of updates, especially for image management, we've reduced clicks. 

We are going to stay with the process of one central file management system. It is the utmost importance that we work to deliver your content in a manner that meets current security, device, platform, and SEO standards. This change moves us towards that goal.

If you would like to learn more about what other benefits File Uploads brings to Site Manager, drop us a line at We are building a video series explaining File Uploads and may do another live webinar user group on this topic as well in the near future.

 In the meantime, you can also learn how to use page level tools with File Uploads with written documentation or a video

We hope that you are understanding of the change and while you may still not like the change, that you'll give it a try and see if you can get used to it. There are many exciting updates and enhancements planned for 2014 - one of these upcoming enhancements will be something you'll like so much that you'll feel our file management change was worth it!


Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request


Powered by Zendesk