Secure and Efficient Client File Uploads: A Website Owner’s Guide

by Josh Biggs in Software, Tech on 27th June 2023

Imagine uploading files at the last hour — just minutes before the launch. Only a few hours later did we realize that all the client upload files to the website were compromised by hackers and had all been corrupted. There was only one thought in my head: if only we could upload files efficiently and securely without risking cyberattacks.

We may run into some challenges and vulnerabilities whenever we upload a file to a website. One of the most common file upload vulnerabilities is when a web server allows us to upload client files without validating data such as name, size, type, or content. 

Even a basic file upload could be used for cyberattacks and criminal activity when we do not address these concerns. Other common challenges include a follow-up HTTP request for the uploaded files, which leads to its execution by the server.

Let’s understand how we can stop that from happening. 

Enabling Client File Uploads on a Website

We can enable secure and efficient client file uploads on a website in many ways. Let’s look at some of the most common and accepted file upload methods that we can implement right away:

  1. HTML Forms

HTML forms should be our go-to option if we’re looking for the most simple way to enable client file uploads. Not only is it easy to integrate, but this file upload method is also supported worldwide.

These forms have an input field where our user is given the option to choose a file. After the user opts for the file, it is sent to the server after the HTML form is successfully submitted.

This file upload form’s only downside is that it provides much less control over file validation. The problem is the validation is only from the client’s side and can be easily compromised to alter the content, size and facilitate any type of cyberattack.  

  1. JavaScript Libraries

We can use JavaScript libraries to allow client file uploads effectively. The libraries have features such as indicators and previews, which help us have better control when validating files. 

But the disadvantage remains because these libraries depend on JavaScript being enabled.

  1. Server Side Scripts

If we’re familiar with languages such as Python or PHP, server-side scripts are the best option. They can be integrated into different coding languages and let us manage file uploads on the server.

The good thing is that scripts provide the best security when the files are processed, preventing any possible cyberattack. However, the downside is that server-side scripts may require us to be aware of different languages, so they could be challenging to implement.

Common Issues With File Uploads

It is possible that we may face persistent issues with file uploads. Let’s explore some common issues experienced during file uploads and how we can resolve them.

  1. File Size Limit 

Some websites may have restrictions on the size of the file to free up space on the server. So, when we try to upload a large client file, the upload may be unsuccessful.

We can resolve this issue by increasing the file size limits on the server. On many servers, we can modify the setting that may limit our upload size. We can also change the limits using different coding languages like PHP and Node.js.

  1. File Format Restrictions

Many websites only allow specific file types for different reasons, mostly relating to security. For instance, some websites only allow PDF file uploads. So, if the client uploads files to the website using Word or Google Docs, they will be immediately rejected.

The best way to address this issue is to use conversion tools. We can easily find conversion tools on the internet that allow us to convert to the file supported by the website. 

  1. File Upload Failures

If we’re experiencing server issues or network access problems, we may have to deal with file upload failures. Even a glitch or error in our browser can lead to unsuccessful uploads. 

We can quickly resolve this issue by ensuring we’re connected to a stable internet connection and have a compatible browser to upload the files.

Best Practices for Secure and Efficient File Uploads

Filestack is a file uploading must-have that offers fast and safe uploads. It also allows simple and secure file uploads, which works for everybody, especially for developers. 

When we’re using Filestack for uploading files, there are some practices we can follow to further improve the efficiency of the process. Let’s check them out:

  1. Set the Right File Size Limits

Large files take more storage, so ensure that our size limit is set according to our server’s capacity and meets the client’s requirements. 

  1. Restrict File Formats to Improve Security

Some file formats are prone to being accessed by unauthorized people, such as Google Docs. To prevent this from affecting your data, you should restrict file formats, such as only allowing PDF uploads, to improve security. 

  1. Handling Errors

The right error-handling procedure can improve our users’ experience by leaps and bounds. For instance, whenever a client uploads files to a website and fails, we can deliver instant error messages so that our users can fix any potential issues immediately.

Security and Compliance with Filestack

Filestack has some of the best security features to safeguard our data when uploading client files. It enables us to follow compliance standards, such as CCPA and GDPR, and makes sure that our file transfers are properly encrypted. This ensures data security during file uploads. 

Plus, Filestack uses tokenizations that convert data into characters referred to as “tokens.” This ensures that our data is secure and discreet when the files are being uploaded. 

We also get the ultimate access control options with Filestack. This lets us restrict who can or cannot upload or modify files. We can also give access to selective people who can view or open file upload links.

The Takeaway

Secure and efficient client file uploads are crucial for website owners. And Filestack remains one of the best file transfer tools for uploading files securely and efficiently. 

Whether tokenization or encryption, Filestack has up-to-date features to upload client files in the most effective manner possible. Plus, this software follows all the compliance standards, including GDPR and CCPA, helping us keep up with regulatory requirements. 

So, explore file upload using Ajax and Filestack today and implement the best practices for uploading client files.

Categories: Software Tech