This is most often caused by either invalid shapefile packaging, improper shapefile formatting, or because the shapefile itself does not meet the requirements for uploading to the online applications.
Solution or Workaround
The first two steps outline general required shapefile formatting and packaging that applies to all of the online applications. The third step goes into specific requirements for each.
Check for Improper Packaging
a. The ZIP file must contain one shapefile.
b. The ZIP file must contain the .shp, .shx, .dbf, and .prj files that comprise the shapefile.
c. The ZIP file must be created by selecting the required files and zipping them directly. If the files are moved to a folder, and then the folder is zipped, it will cause an error upon uploading.
Check for Invalid Formatting
a. The shapefile must contain valid geometries. Currently, self-intersection in polygon shapefiles is not supported. If you have ArcGIS Desktop, the Repair Geometry Tool can be used to correct invalid geometries in shapefiles.
b. The name of the shapefile, and the field names of the shapefile, must not contain any spaces or special characters (with the exception of the underscore).
Make sure that the shapefile meets requirements.
A. ArcGIS Online / Explorer Online
a. Compression formats other than a .zip archive are not supported.
b. Files containing more than 1,000 features cannot be added to a map.
c. The following features are not supported: multipatch or multipoint geometries, geometries that cross the dateline, or self-intersections in polygons. Shapefiles with these features cannot be added to a map.
d. The ZIP archive must be no larger than 10 MB
B. Business Analyst Online / Community Analyst
a. A maximum of 100 records and a file size limit of 3 MB.
b. Only point and polygon geometry (no lines and no multi-part geometry) can be added.
c. Compression formats other than a .zip archive are not supported