Troubleshooting WebDAV server

Created on 2016/10/20, server, webdav
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Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that facilitates collaboration between users in editing and managing documents and files stored on World Wide Web servers. A working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) defined WebDAV in RFC 4918. The WebDAV protocol makes the Web a readable and writable medium. It provides a framework for users to create, change and move documents on a server; typically a web server or web share.

The interest of this protocol is that nowadays, most Operating System implement its support by default, and provide the ability to “mount a network drive” mapping to a remote WebDAV server. But still, as each OS has its own implementation of a WebDAV client to do this, it can be quite cumbersome to setup on both server and client sides.

We assume that you have already read the WebDAV Activation Guide in the Admin Guide.

Testing the server ability

Check requirements

One important thing to understand is that Pydio does not use WebDAV protocol internally (for its web-based client or mobile application). Thus it’s an optional feature you have to activate in the configuration, and everything can be running file in Pydio, that does not mean your WebDAV is up and running.

Since version 5.0.0, we are now using the well-known SabreDAV component as a the WebDAV file server in Pydio. This adds a dependency to the php_mbstring extension, and also that you have some kind of Rewrite Engine activated in your web server. Apache would for example require mod_rewrite to be loaded.

Check .htaccess

As described in the Administration Guide, you must manually edit the .htaccess file (or equivalent for other webservers than Apache) to make sure the RewriteBase is the right one: if your installation if for example located at http://mydomain.tld/my/files/, you will have to make sure the RewriteBase is /my/files.

Also, the Authorization Header can in some server setup create problems. Try commenting/uncommenting the last two lines of the .htaccess to forward the header.

Check the server is actually activated

Check both the global configurations (Pydio Main Options), and that the user with which you are trying to access has indeed activated her account, and set up a password if necessary.

Use the “Browser Access” to test

One of the most reliable testing client would be accessing the webDAV shares through the browser. You have to enable this feature in Pydio Main Options, and then access your shares directly at http://mydomain.tld/my/files/shares/ . You will be prompted for an HTTP-Authorization, and you must be able to list folders and files here.

Fixing clients issues (mostly on Windows)

Windows 7

Slow Performances

One fix that works for me is to make sure that the proxy settings in IE are disabled. For some reason, at times, the settings “Automatically Detect Settings” In the connection tab reset itself. If it is disabled it works great.

No Connexion at all on HTTPS

If your SSL Certificate is self-signed, you will have to manually add it to the OS authorized certificates. To do this, access to the server first through your a browser, and there, do the necessary manipulation to tell IE to always trust this certificate.

Then make sure to your the standard “Map Network Drive” dialog, instead of “Connect to an http server…”.

Mac OS Finder

Mac OSX Finder is using a specific Transfer-Encoding header for PUT requests (uploading files), which seem to be very poorly supported by servers, thus breaking the files uploads (file appear but is zero-byte sized).

Basic-auth only clients

In some cases, you may be using a WebDAV client (typically a programming SDK) that is not able to handle Digest-HTTP Authentication, and only Basic-HTTP. In that case, you can enable Basic in the Pydio configs.