For good reason all major browsers have blocked the ability to link from an https site to file://servername/folder. However, I need to find a way to be able to link to Windows file shares from a company intranet portal site.

I've been looking around but haven't found a good way to do this. Can anybody think of a secure way to do this?


3 Answers 3


I think you have at least two options. You could:

  1. Change the way the files are shared to something natively supported by browsers. E.g move them into a file sharing tool such as Box, or on to an FTP server (linked via SFTP or FTPS for security) or Web server (use integrated auth for access and HTTPS for security).

  2. Find out if there is a security setting in the major browser/s used by your company that is blocking these links that could be disabled. You can potentially then have this disabled company-wide via a Group Policy. Alternatively for IE specifically, having the intranet site added into the "Trusted sites" list in IE should reduce the security restrictions and may make this then possible.


In addition to the suggestions already offered, you might also want to investigate WebDAV. WebDAV can be nice because it is an HTTP extension which means practically universal web browser support, and Windows also has a file system minifilter driver for WebDAV which means you can access WebDAV shares from Windows Explorer as if they were a file share, or a mounted drive, UNC path, etc. It's very easy to enable in IIS, and probably about as easy to do in other web servers like Apache. The downside is it is usually pretty slow compared to other protocols.


As Mark stated, It's probably best to use a different protocol. A Windows file share really isn't designed for linking from the web, internal or otherwise. Their are too many variables to consider (does this person have permission to the share? Is the route properly setup?) IE and chrome I know do support the file:// protocol, but I've only seen it work on a single file (i.e., no folder browsing) and like I said, a lot of other variables to consider.

I would likely go either the FTP/SFTP route, or even something such as MS Sharepoint, which will give you a canned web UI, with Windows Authentication built in.

  • 1
    Incidentally, both Firefox and Chrome will happily list directory contents. IE just opens it in Explorer.
    – Bob
    Jun 19, 2014 at 15:34

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