With the upcoming change that will transform the currently public CDN into an internal CDN (where attachments can only be accessed from inside Airtable), Airtable customers are looking for a way to keep some attachments public.
This could be gracefully handled with the ability to enable the “public CDN” option, for any “Attachment” field. Also, the ability to specify into which field to store the URL might be useful, the goal being able to know the public url of the attachment (one that doesn’t change!).
Attachments configured this way would be properly stored into a public CDN, designated for that use case.
The public CDN feature would have its own pricing and limits based on the customer’s plan.
I’ve read that “Airtable doesn’t want to become a public CDN”, and that it shouldn’t be used for this purpose. I beg to differ slightly: Airtable doesn’t want to become a public CDN for free.
The real issue at hand is for Airtable to store the attachments of all customers and support its cost.
Also, there are real privacy-related issues about the current public CDN, because all attachments are automatically made public, which might not be GDPR-compliant, depending on what documents are made public this way. Aggravate by the fact there is no way to disable a public link ourselves to fix that manually.
Airtable could imagine a few things:
A free tier for public attachments, based on the customer’s plan (ex: 100 public attachments, 1000 public attachments for Pro, etc.)
Something like “pay-as-you-go” where customers would pay additionally based on the number of public attachments stored, or size, or a mix of both (KISS, please)
Make all attachments private by default (no public CDN, or more so “no long-lasting links”), while allowing us to enable public CDN (or so, “long-lasting links”) for the few fields where we really need it (and are ready to pay for it)
Bring more options for Attachment fields where the public CDN has been enabled, such as:
The ability to manually refresh the link (invalidate the old one, provide a new one)
The ability to have “self-invalidating” links, that would expire after a set date (static or dynamic)
It would make sense to propose such “public CDN” feature, which would be a good complement to the “internal CDN” that can only be accessed from within Airtable. Assuming it has its own pricing and managed differently, it would both provide great value, while forcing customers to only enable the public CDN for the few fields we need to have public. It wouldn’t be a hindrance to security, GDPR, or performances.
I really hope such a system will be designed, better sooner than later, as it would help with the upcoming transition quite a lot. :crossed_fingers: