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In this video tutorial we’re going to show you how to host and share PDF files for free using Beacon.by. These PDF files can include lead magnets or ebooks that you’ve created, and you can host them inside of Beacon for free.
Beacon is an all-in-one lead magnet, ebook and worksheet creator, that uses a drag-n-drop interface to build your PDF’s. You can host your already created PDF files inside Beacon for free, or make your own PDF lead magnets with Beacon.
CREATE A FREE ACCOUNT
To get started, create a free account (no credit card required).
Simply visit our referral link:
When you click on our link, you will be on the beacon homepage. Just click the “Create A Free Account” button.
Fill out the signup form, check the two legal boxes, then click the “Create Account” button.
That’s all there is to it!
UPLOAD A NEW PDF FILE TO BEACON
Inside of your beacon account you can see that it’s pretty straightforward, with the navigation menu over on the left.
- Click on “Uploads” from the left-side navigation menu.
- At the top-right click on the “Upload New File” button.
- When the pop-up box appears, click on the “Choose File” button.
- Select the PDF file from your computer and it will upload into your Beacon account.
Next let’s look at how to Rename the PDF and how to manage Tags.
RENAME PDF & MANAGE TAGS
There are a couple of different things we can do as soon as our PDF is uploaded.
RENAME THE PDF
- Over on the right click on the drop-down arrow.
- Click on “Rename” from the drop-down.
- Type in the new name of the PDF.
- Click the “Rename” button to make the change.
- Over on the right click on the drop-down arrow.
- Click on “Manage” from the drop-down.
- Add your Tag name.
- Click the “Add New Tag” button.
- Now the Tag will show up on our list.
- Click the “Save” button.
PDF FILE SETTINGS
Now let’s go in and take a look at our PDF file settings.
To get to Settings you can click on the “Settings” button OR you can click on the title of the PDF file.
USE YOUR CURRENT URL TO SHARE PDF
The first setting that we want to look at is our “Current URL”.
Right now we’re using the “beacon.by” default domain.
Because we are on the Beacon “Free” plan, we can only use this URL for sharing our file.
If we upgrade to a paid plan, we can use a custom domain.
To share your PDF, just highlight and copy the Current URL.
EDIT CURRENT URL
The only part of the Current URL that we can change is the end of the URL.
We can change the URL by using the “URL” field.
Type in what you want it to be, then click the “Update URL” button.
Even though it says it’s updated, the URL hasn’t changed. Refresh your internet browser and it will change the current URL.
REPLACE OLD PDF WITH NEW PDF
If you’ve made changes to your original PDF document on your computer, and you want to replace the old PDF in Beacon with the new PDF, you can do that easily with the “Replace With New FIle” button.
You don’t need to delete the current file, and then re upload the new file.
All you have to do is click on the “Replace With New FIle” button, the select the new PDF from your computer.
Beacon will automatically replace the PDF in Beacon with the new PDF, without changing any of your settings or links.
VIEW CURRENT FILE
Just to the right of the “Replace With New FIle” button is a link titled “View Current File”.
If you want to quickly see what your current PDF looks like in Beacon, click on this link and it will open a new window with your PDF.
You don’t need to copy the URL of this document to share the PDF. Use the “Current URL” to share the PDF on the web.
DELETE PDF FROM BEACON ACCOUNT
If you don’t want to host your PDF inside Beacon any longer, you can easily delete the file.
- Up at the top-right of the page, click on the “Delete” button.
- At the prompt, click “OK” and your file will be deleted.
Deleting your file permanent, you will not be able to get your file back.
If you delete the file from beacon, you will have to re-
UPGRADE BEACON ACCOUNT TO PAID PLAN
If you would like to use your own custom domain to share your PDF, you will need to be on a paid plan.
Up at the top-left, click the “Upgrade Your Account” button.
Let’s take a look at the $19 per month plan.
One thing to note is that where it says “Download PDFs”, this doesn’t have anything to do with uploads. You only need to download a PDF when you create a brand new lead magnet inside of Beacon.
With the $19 per month plan you can see that we get 1 custom domain.
Let’s go ahead and upgrade our account…
- Scroll down and click on the “Upgrade” button.
- Choose to pay “monthly” or “yearly”.
- Choose your Country.
- Click “Continue”.
- Add your Billing Details.
- Click the “Submit Payment” button.
Now that we are on the paid plan, let’s add a Custom Domain to our account.
ADD CUSTOM DOMAIN TO ACCOUNT
Before we can use a custom domain, we have to add it to our Beacon account.
- Click on “Account Settings” from the left menu.
- Click on the “Custom Domains” option.
- In the “Existing Domains” section, click on the “plus” button to add your custom domain.
- For this example, we are going to use the custom domain “ebooks.yourwebsite.com”.
- Click the “Add Custom Domain” button.
Please be aware that you cannot use your main domain name inside of Beacon.
Chances are your main domain is probably being used for your website, so you don’t want to use your main domain here or it will mess up your website.
After adding your custom domain into Beacon, you will need to connect the domain using a CNAME record in your DNS settings.
CONNECT CUSTOM DOMAIN TO BEACON
Just adding the custom domain to Beacon will not allow you to use it for sharing your PDF.
The next thing you need to do is connect your domain to Beacon by creating a CNAME record in your DNS settings.
WHERE DO YOU MANAGE YOUR DNS SETTINGS?
First off, where do you manage your DNS records?
There are a couple of places where you might manage your DNS records: Domain Name Registrar (like GoDaddy or Namecheap) or Web Hosting Provider (where your website is being hosted).
If you are using Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, or another kind of website platform, you will probably manage your DNS settings through them. Contact their support to learn more.
CREATE A CNAME RECORD IN DNS SETTINGS
Okay, now we’re going to create a new CNAME record in our DNS settings.
To do this we only need 2 pieces of information:
1. Name / Host / Alias
Since we are using “ebooks.yourwebsite.com” as our custom domain, we just need to put “ebooks” in the Name/Host/Alias part of the CNAME record.
The destination is the Beacon server. All you need to put here is “customdomains.beacon.by”.
Please note that it may take up to 72 hours for your custom domain to actually become available inside of Beacon.
This is just the standard wait time for the DNS to propagate across the internet.
If you try and use your custom domain to share a PDF, and it doesn’t work, you might just need to give it a couple hours or wait until the next day.
USE CUSTOM DOMAIN TO SHARE PDF
Now that we have our custom domain added and connected, let’s set our custom domain as our URL for sharing our PDF.
- On the left-side menu, click “Uploads”.
- Click on the title of your PDF to get into the PDF settings.
- You will now see a new area called “Domain”.
- Use the drop down menu to select your custom domain from the list.
- Click the “Update URL” button to make the change.
- Refresh your browser so that your Current URL is updated.
Now you will be able to use your custom domain from this point on to share your PDF!
Please be aware that if you had already shared your URL with the beacon.by domain, it will no longer work.
You will need to change out the old beacon.by URL with your new custom URL.