Is it possible to prevent downloading a shared file?

Hello everyone,

I was wondering whether it is currently possible (or planned for the future) to share a file, e.g. via a link, while blocking the possibility to save or download it. I do understand that this may be technically difficult to develop, but there are some cloud software that claim to offer this feature.



Strictly speaking, if a file is available for someone to view, they can download it, with relatively little effort.

Are you talking about something such as simply hiding the graphical ‘download’ button for some files, to discourage non-technical users from trying to fetch the file at all? Or are you actually proposing trying to develop roadblocks to make it actually difficult to download a file?

The first is very feasible, the second is not really worth doing. Doing things like disabling right clicking and obscuring source aren’t security, they just make it more difficult for people who will be able to download the file anyways. IE, more trouble for no reward.

maybe he was more pointing into the direction of somewhat like “streaming” - and of course i know that those streamed files are as well saved to your local hd - at least for some seconds. which would mean: they can be caught as well by experienced users.

but not everyone is experienced… so if you’d hide the DL-button, e.g, that would be a first step and making it impossible for estimated 95% of all users to download the file to a place of their choice.

1 Like

Hiding the graphical “download” button is of course “useless”, but if my customers think it is enough protection, then who am I to disagree? In this sense, may be this feature would be useful, and it seems to me like something relatively easy to develop.

To answer your question, I am not referring to a specific way of achieving download restriction. Based on my limited knowledge, if my browser can display a file, then I already have this file in my possession. On the other hand, it could be that I am missing something.

There are cloud software that claim to do this. As an example, Tresorit claim they can protect confidential documents with DRM. As far as I know, DRM can also be by-passed, but please correct me if I am wrong.

We’re looking for this functionality also, just as an energy barrier against downloading some files for redistribution by means outside of Nextcloud. We realize it won’t stop a determined user from copying a file if they really want to do so, even if it means taking a picture of what they see on their screen.

I’ve been playing with the File Access Control app and I envision that it could perhaps be enhanced to provide different access restrictions instead of just a blanket “denied”. There could be another field associated with each File Access Control rule group that specifies the modes of access that are allowed for files matching the rule group. Then perhaps there could be a “View only” mode that only allows a files contents to be viewed as images within the browser window. Perhaps such “View only” files could even be watermarked automatically by Nextcloud.

all in all this means at least 2 major enhancements…

  • more detailed grained permissions on files
  • watermarking them

i think it’d be great if you’d file 2 feature requests here (pls check if it wasn’t requested before - i haven’t had the time to check it out)

Also looking for such a function. Our financial statement shouldn’t be downloaded, just viewed.

Same for me. To prevent non technical users to download things easily.

I’d like to second the removal of the Download button and other on screen elements as a whole for certain users in groups.

I’d like a little more customisation for some Users in a Specific Group.

Some users shouldn’t be able to access or see the other features of Nextcloud.
So remove all other UI elements other than the logout and change password.

I’d like some groups to be “security groups” that if the user is a member of such group they aren’t able to see who the members of the group they are in.

Use case:

User Pays to have access to a video file.
User logs in to the server with authentication and plays a video file. The user should know nothing else about the server or who shared the file with them. Just that they have access to view this file and play using the inbuilt NextCloud video player.

The reason for using NextCloud is for the Uploader of the Videos and Sharer needs to quickly be able to give and remove access to individual “users”.

We don’t want to use a direct link, because anyone can share the link and bypass the “paywall”.
Also end user should have easy access to all of their “premium” content.

If I can see something - I can download it ©. If you just disable download button it does not help against users with wider knowledge (check simple - will download in one click, ether if you disable download button).
Basically such use case could be achieved ether via DRM or you have to generate “one time link” that will be available only for 1 click, so nobody can share it - it does not prevent from downloading.

75% of the Audience I’d be reaching with my content wouldn’t know the little “downloading” tricks.
The other 25% half of which would be happy to pay for the content and the rest of them well they will do what they gotta do.

1 Like

CSS code to give a pure files only view if anyones interested.

.app-settings #app-navigation {
display: block !important;

[data-id=“help”] {
display: none;

.app-settings #app-content {
margin-left: 300px !important;

#appmenu, #app-navigation, #controls, .selection, .filesize, .date {
display: none !important;

#nextcloud {
position: static;
padding: 7px !important;

#app-content {
margin-left: 0 !important;

thead, tfoot {
display: none;

.searchbox, .fileactions, #contactsmenu, .notifications {
display: none;


i know there is a lot of ways to download something from a share link but my question would be how to remove download link button. So I show only video/picture.

that would stop most of people to download it. Thanks.

I idea is to edit some sample php for share links?