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I am looking for a very simple file sharing server application. I am having a hard time finding one (or even getting useful search results) because of all the Dropbox clones out there.

All I am looking for:

  • Local file hosting. The files should be stored locally, not on an external web service.
  • Download links. If I want to share a file with someone, the easiest way to do it would be to provide a download link.
  • Password-protected links. A lot of Dropbox-like services provide this by allowing "guest accounts". This means that if I want to share a private file with someone they need to first create an account on my server, which has permission to download that file. That seems unnecessarily complex. All I want is a page that asks for a password before starting the download, so I can send a URL and password to someone.

TL;DR: I want to be able to send someone a password-protected download URL. In addition I want control of my files, I don't want to host them on someone else's server.

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I don't think it would fit your definition of 'very simple' (since it has a lot more features than simple file sharing), but ownCloud is a self-hosted file synchronization server that actually fits your requirements:

  • Local file hosting: You would have to host it on a server (which might not be a 'local' machine if you use an external hosting service, but it would still be a server under your control). Hosting it on your own local machine might work depending on your internet connection (outgoing ports that might be blocked on residential connections for instance).

  • Download links are available from the web client (similar to Dropbox and other solutions' download links).

  • Download links can be password-protected; in that case opening the shared URL in a browser will take you to a page that asks for a password, and then to a page where the user can download the file (if the correct password was provided, of course).
  • As an interesting bonus, download links can also have an expiration date, in case you want to share something only for a set amount of time.
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