I would like to be able to store files that will be linked off a web page outside of the web application itself. This would allow me to redeploy without having to backup all the files first. How do I do that?
Since servlet containers are not allowed to directly serve resources stored outside the application directory structure you will have to be indirect. Make your link point to a servlet that can use the file system to read and send the files.
Note that you will have to pay attention to setting the headers for content type and length.