Hosting Your Courses for Free with Google Cloud Storage (Windows or Mac)

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*Updated 3/20/19*

The easiest way to share your courses with your reviewers and with learners is via web hosting. Being able to just hand over a link is simply the best, especially for your learner. Whether you’re using Captivate, Storyline, or some other software, the published files can be large and clunky to share with others via email or other manual transfers.

I pay for web hosting myself, so that I can have this fabulous website that you’re viewing right now and so I can store whatever I want on the server, but there are several free ways to host your courses on the web without paying a dime. I have a list of these over on my post Hosting Your Captivate or Storyline Courses for Free, but I found that the list is slanted towards Windows users since two of the options require downloading CloudBerry Explorer, which is Windows-only. As a Macbook user myself (though I also have a Windows desktop), I wanted to discover an alternative to CloudBerry that works for Mac.

And I found it! Instead of CloudBerry, Mac users can download Cyberduck. Below, you’ll find instructions on how to set up Cyberduck to work flawlessly in conjunction with Google Cloud Storage to host your courses online for FREE!

View larger versions images in this how-to guide by clicking on them.

Hosting your courses with Google Cloud Storage - Windows or Mac

 

Step 1: Create Your Google Cloud Storage Account and Upload Files and Folders

Go to Google Cloud Storage to create your account. You will need a credit card to create your account, but you will not be charged unless you go over their free storage, which is very generous and will accommodate many elearning projects. You will have free access to Google Cloud Storage for the duration of your free trial, which is twelve months.

You can manually upload files and folders from within Google Cloud Storage, or you can download file transfer software to be able to upload files and folders from your computer.

In this video, I demonstrate how to upload entire folders that contain published Storyline and Captivate projects to Google Cloud Storage. Once they are hosted, I show you how to set permissions and share a link that will open the project. If you want to use file transfer software to upload your files and folders, scroll all the way down. If you want to embed your courses as iframes, see my blog post.

Uploading Your Projects to Google Cloud Storage (And Sharing the Links!)

Setting Your File Permissions in Google Cloud Storage

This is covered in the video above – but if you want text directions, here they are!

Before you can share your link, you have to set the permissions for your content to allow others to view it.

  1. Go to your console in Google Cloud Storage.
  2. Click on the three dots to the right of your bucket (my bucket is titled loneill)
  3. Select Edit bucket permissions
  4. In the box labeled Add members, type allUsers, then select the role Storage Object Viewer. This gives viewing permissions to anyone with a link to your files. The capitalization is really important – lowercase “a” and uppercase “U,” all one word.
  5. Click the blue Add
  6. Now, navigate to the specific file in the elearning course that you wish to link (for Captivate projects, this is index.html, for Storyline projects, this is story.html), and click the link symbol next to Public to get the public link!
  7. This will open your course in a new tab. Copy the address from your browser, and share the link.
  8. Always remember to TEST your link! I recommend trying it out in an incognito browser, then sending it to a friend for them to test on their own computer. Since your bucket is now viewable to the public, you are all set for any future uploads, as well.

Here’s my Keyword Generator hosted on Google Cloud Storage. Pretty neat!

 

Optional: Download and Set Up File Transfer Software

If you think you’re going to be uploading tons of files to Google Cloud Storage, you might be interested in using software on your computer to avoid having to log in and out of Google Cloud Storage. Here’s how.

Windows

Download CloudBerry Explorer (free). Follow directions from Articulate.

Mac

Download Cyberduck software (free). Cyberduck can manage your files in Google Cloud Storage.

  1. Open Cyberduck
  2. Click Open Connection in top left.
  3. Select Google Cloud Storage from the dropdown list.
  4. Now, you need your Project ID from Google Cloud Storage. Go back to Google Cloud Storage and click Settings in the left Sidebar. Copy the number listed after x-google-project-id (I’ve blurred mine out because security).
  5. Paste the number in Cyberduck’s Project ID Box.
  6. Click Connect.
  7. You’ll be prompted to authorize Cyberduck to manage your Google Cloud Storage. Authorize it, and you’ll be given a passkey to copy and paste into Cyberduck to complete setup.
  8. Now you should see your Google Cloud Storage bucket listed in Cyberduck:
  9. You can drag and drop files and folders into Cyberduck, or select File -> Upload. The files and folders you upload to your bucket will synchronize with Google Cloud Storage. Now, you just have to set the permissions to make them public and accessible to others.

 

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