How to Add PDF Files to Websites

Add PDF files and PDF links to your website

What to Know

  • Use your web host's file upload program to upload PDF files to your website. If they don't offer one, use an FTP program.
  • To link to the PDF, find the URL of the PDF, copy the URL, and determine where you want the PDF link to display on your website.
  • Paste the link into your website's HTML code. On website builders, add the link to anchor text according to web host's instructions.

This article explains how to add a link to a PDF file on your website for your readers to download or print. You can create PDFs in Adobe Acrobat, convert Microsoft Word documents to PDF files, and convert hard copy documents to PDFs while scanning. Sharing PDFs with your readers makes sense because practically anyone can open a PDF.

Upload a PDF File to Your Website

To upload a PDF file to your website, use the file upload program that your web service provides. If they don't offer a file upload program, you'll need to find an FTP program to upload your PDF to your website.

How to Add a Link to Your PDF File

After uploading a PDF, here's how to add a link to the PDF on your website:

  1. Copy the URL of the PDF file.

    Where did you upload the PDF file? Did you add the PDF file to the main folder on your website or to another folder? Find the PDF file that you uploaded, and copy the URL. Most website hosts will generate a URL for your PDF.

  2. Choose where you want to display the PDF file on your website; determine what page and where on the page you want to place the link to your PDF.

  3. Look through the HTML code on your web page until you find the spot where you want to insert the link to your PDF file. Or, if you use a website builder, go to the location on your site.

  4. Paste (Ctrl+V) the URL where you want the PDF file's link to show up on your website.

    You can make the anchor text for the PDF file link say anything you want.

    For example:

    • You uploaded the PDF file to the main directory in your file manager on your website.
    • The PDF file is called flowers.pdf.
    • The anchor text you want the reader to select to download the PDF file is, "Click here for the PDF file called flowers."

    Or, if you use a website designer such as Wix, go to the exact space on your website where you want to add the text (or image) that will link to your PDF. Add the link according to the web host's instructions.

    Adding link to a PDF on Wix platform.
  5. Test the PDF file link.

    If you're creating your website on your computer, verify that the link to the PDF file on your hard drive works properly before uploading the PDF file to your server.

    If you're using a website builder, preview or publish the website, then select the link to verify the PDF will open.

Make Sure PDF Files Are Allowed

Some hosting services don't allow files over a specific size, and some don't allow you to have certain types of data on your website; this might include PDF files. Make sure that what you are about to add to your website is allowed by your web hosting service. You don't want to get your site shut down for not following the rules or do a lot of work getting ready to add the PDF file to your website only to find out you can't. 

If your hosting service does not allow you to have PDF files on your website, you can get your own domain name for your website or switch to another hosting service that allows PDF files or large files on websites.

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