WebDAV How-To Access

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Common initial steps/background

This page documents how to access a server at Dreamhost. For information on WebDAV, the wikipedia page provides a good background. For more background on how to enable WebDAV for your site at Dreamhost, see the local WebDAV page.

You will need three basic pieces of information to set this up:

  1. The WebDAV site URL - this is a path to a root WebDAV enabled folder, e.g. http://host/WebdavRootFolder (or https:...), e.g. http://StashIt88.Dreamhosters.com/s
    • Note: the Dreamhost control panel requires WebDAV to be set-up on a real subfolder of the root of a domain - not in the root of a domain. This can be worked around via manual configuration.
  2. The WebDAV account username & password
  3. A nickname for the connection/shortcut to remember the site you are connecting to, who you are connecting as, etc.

Follow the appropriate remaining steps for your situation.

Client connection from built-in file explorer

Starting with the background understanding you have because you read the section on Common initial steps/background...

You are choosing this option because you want the basic operation of working with files and directories in your WebDAV server to be similar to working on files and folders that are locally on your computer.

MS Windows clients

Starting with the background understanding you have because you read the section on Client connection from built-in file explorer...

Windows refers to shortcuts to WebDAV servers as "Web Folder" shortcuts and they can be more convoluted to set up than you might expect.

Prerequisite

  1. Run Windows Update and install all required & optional updates before commencing
  2. Consider installing a Microsoft Web Folders fix from KB907306
    • How do I know if the Web Folders Update is installed? The safest way is allegedly to just install it again.
    • Is the Web Folders Update installed as part of the usual http://update.microsoft.com? No - Web Folders are an optional component and this is not pushed out broadly to all Windows boxes.

Creating the Web Folder

  1. After you enabled WebDAV from the Dreamhost goodies (or configured manually), start using that URL
  2. Next, either...
  3. When prompted, enter your WebDAV username & password
  4. Give the shortcut a friendly name
  5. Finish

add via a Network Place/Location

(This should be the easiest method)

  1. Open "My Network Places" (XP) or "Network Location" (Vista).
  2. Start the "Add Network (Place|Location) Wizard" by clicking - this should appear in the left "action" pane
  3. click Next->"Choose (another|a custom) network location".
  4. When prompted for "Internet or network address" use the URL for your WebDAV share. Syntax matters and you will be presented with a pop-up suggesting properly formatted URLs if it doesn't like the format. If your syntax is correct but you still get an error back quickly, you may need the hotfix for Web Folders mentioned above from KB907306.

bad hack: add by overriding the MSN webdrive

This is a hack and should be discouraged, but maybe it will work for you.

  1. As before, open "My Network Places" (in XP) aka "Network Location" (in Vista)
  2. click My Web Sites on MSN and then cancel any Live ID prompts
  3. Then in the left menu,
    • In XP, click Web Folders –this gives you a listing of all your Web Folders. Then in the blank area of the details pane, (right-click)New->Web Folder.
    • In Vista, (right-click)Web Folders->New->Web Folder
  4. Then in "the location to add:" paste the URL from above then click Next.

Map a drive letter for the Web Folder (optional)

You may find some applications are not able to navigate into the Web Folder you just created (depending on the application and your version of Windows). In this case, you should follow the Help documented in Windows or run a web search for how to map a network drive so that the Web Folder can be accessed from those applications.

Complications you may run into / workarounds

  • Bugs in operation
    • modification-dates are NOT preserved but reset to the present time, meaning every copied-in folder & even file does NOT copy the mod date of its source (folder or file), but rather the copy has the mod-date reset to the present time. This makes it look like the copy was modified (and a different version) when it's not. And especially for files, much often depends on the mod-date being correct (as often backup, version management, search results putting the most recently updated stuff first, and more). So, unless WebDAV can't accomplish this, this bug in the client is sloppy and unacceptable for the many and/or larger uses where mod-date matters (unless possibly all files are originally created in the WebDAV, which many times they aren't, including moving existing content into WebDAV) and justifies accessing #via alternative (more powerful) WebDAV client software without this woe.
    • A number of more recent versions of the WebDAV "mini-director" (including Windows 7) have a bug wherein the client will probe the root of the WebDAV server with a PROPFIND command; if WebDAV is not configured at root (which is typical), Apache will return 405 error; the client will then give up, usually with an unauthorized login error.
    • Many recent versions of Windows (including Windows 7) will not allow for basic authentication (cleartext) over non-SSL connections. This restriction makes security sense, however, the user interface simply fails without explaining why. You can override this security with a registry change: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/841215
  • Be sure to insure you’ve applied all the patches & updates (see the containing/parent section (above)) then retry.
  • If bugs continue (I CaydenMC haven't seen more in Vista after updates done, but in XP bugs continue even with KB907306 (you'll get the bad popup)), then note these bugs that in this paragraph if not already noted, then try to fix it with the workarounds suggested here (and note in the workaround's paragraph if it works). The workarounds are simply editing the URL slightly so stupid & buggy "Add Network (Place|Location) Wizard" will clue in that this URL is NOT a UNC path. How? There are a few ways which MAY cause it to clue in:
    • Try all the workarounds suggested by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebDAV#Microsoft_Windows as
      • Explicitly state the port number -- http://host.com''':80'''/WebdavRootFolder
      • Explicitly state the username -- http://'''username@'''host.com/WebdavRootFolder
    • On the end of the URL, try adding "/#" (without the quotes, so your entire path should read like "http://host/WebdavRootFolder/#") --suggested by http://svn.haxx.se/users/archive-2004-10/0866.shtml and this seemingly worked for suggester Wwvine but DIDN'T work for me CaydenMC (for me, it DID cause the URL to be seen NOT as a UNC BUT then login (with the correct credentials) still failed with the popup "The folder you entered does not appear to be valid.").
  • Try the workaround suggested in http://www.sevenforums.com/network-sharing/9042-network-location-hosted-sharepoint-webdav-issue.html#post132138
    • Instead of adding https://example.com/path/to/folder, add \\example.com@SSL\path\to\folder
  • Try stopping the WebClient service and setting it to Manual
    • This only works for the initial setting up for some people and break if you restart the service (or reboot)

If you still have trouble

Please edit this page and leave your story here (trouble / error messages you're having). Then also see:

  1. http://MyDocsOnline.com/info_webfolders.html --this is not as complete but provides a video tutorial
  2. Google Search[Web-Folders OR (Windows WebDAV)], and to narrow your search, append " Vista" or " XP OR WinXP" as appropriate.

via Mac OS X Finder

It is pretty easy to connect to a DreamHost WebDAV share from the Mac Finder. Using Mac OS X 10.6 you just have to treat the share like any other remote server.

  1. Choose "Connect to server..." from Finder's "Go" menu.
  2. Enter the address of the share, be sure to include the username and the directory information. For example: http://username@webdav.domain.com/directory
  3. Enter the password you chose when Finder asks for it.

The share will be mounted like any other hard disk. Note, it will be slower than most real hard disks because it is still a remote server.

You may also want to google for more recent information about webdav mac osx.

via Linux’s built-in file explorer

Starting with the background understanding you have because you read the section on Client connection from built-in file explorer...

In Nautilus:

1. File, Connect to Server 2. Service type: WebDAV (HTTP) 3. Server:

       www.servername.com

4. Folder:

       /foldername (if any)

5. User Name:

       name chosen at setup

6. Add bookmark

       check this

7. Bookmark name:

       give clever name

If you follow these steps, all should work but for me, i had to do a step before this to get it all to work:

1. Open up Terminal:

      echo "machine www.domain.net login loginname password password" >> ~/.netrc

2. Then do the steps above and everything should work.

via your HTML & website editing/authoring software

Starting with the background understanding you have because you read the section on Common initial steps/background...

With such software (as Dreamweaver, FrontPage, & Expression Web), it's often possible to conveniently browse & edit WebDAV storage, most especially if it's used for hosting a website (MS FrontPage Extensions plus MS SharePoint ARE WebDAV storage!).

via FrontPage & Expression Web

First read the containing/parent section (#via your HTML & website editing/authoring software above) & do all steps there.

TBA

via Dreamweaver

First read the containing/parent section (#via your HTML & website editing/authoring software above) & do all steps there.

To set up a WebDAV connection:

  1. In the URL text box, enter the URL of the WebDAV root folder (see top of page)
  2. Enter your user name and password (see top of page)
  3. Click Test to test your connection settings.
  4. Click the Save checkbox if you want Dreamweaver to remember your password each time you start a new session.

Notes:

  1. Select the Refresh Remote File List Automatically option if you want the Remote pane of the Files panel to update automatically when you add and delete files. For increased speed when copying files to the remote site, do not select this option.
  2. To manually refresh the Files panel at any time, click the Refresh button in the toolbar.
  3. Select the Maintain Synchronization Information checkbox if you want Dreamweaver to automatically synchronize your local and remote files. (This option is selected by default.) For more information, see Synchronizing the files on your local and remote sites.
  4. Select the Automatically Upload Files to Server on Save checkbox if you want Dreamweaver to upload your file to your remote site when you save the file.
  5. Select the Enable File Check In and Check Out checkbox if you want to activate the Check In/Out system. For more information, see Checking in and checking out files.

via alternative (more powerful) WebDAV client software

Starting with the background understanding you have because you read the section on Common initial steps/background...

There are numerous other WebDAV clients available if one of the above options either doesn't work for you or doesn't suit your needs. You may want an alternate client if...

  • local caching - to avoid round trips to the server, which may be slow for you or expensive for the server
  • offline access - for work while you are disconnected
  • versioning - (e.g. Delta-V), custom permissions, or other fancy features which your WebDAV server may offer only thru a more advanced client.

Alternate (and sometimes non-free) clients include:

  1. IT Hit's MapDrive
  2. South River's WebDrive
  3. and WebDAV hoster www.DavDrive.com lists 4 "Open Source" clients
  4. or others...