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How to Configure and Manage WebDAV Web Disks in cPanel

cPanel & WHM come with several tools built-in for accessing files stored on a web server, including the File Manager, SFTP functionality, a web-based terminal, and Web Disks.

In this KB article we’re going to talk about Web Disks, which is cPanels implementation of the WebDAV protocol. Using a Web Disk, cPanel users can manage and edit files stored on the server using compatible applications on Mac and Windows devices, as well as some mobile devices.

What is WebDAV and What are Web Disks?

WebDAV, or Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning, is an extension of the HTTP protocol that allows clients (which are browsers or other applications requesting the content, not people) to perform remote Web content authoring. The protocol provides a framework for users to create, change, and move documents on a server using a supported application. The most important feature about WebDAV perhaps is it includes the maintenance of properties about an author or modification date, namespace management, collections, and overwrite protection.

In essence, WebDAV allows a web server to act as a file server, enabling authors to collaborate on content. This could be compared to an early version of Google Docs, but if you were all editing code at the same time in different places of the file, rather than a Document, Presentation, or Spreadsheet.

The WebDAV protocol is also the foundation for other protocols, including CalDAV and CarDAV. CalDAV enables a client to access calendar and scheduling information on a remote server, while CardDAV is an address book protocol that allows users to access and share contact data on a remote server.

While you could compare WebDAV to something like GIT or SNV, it’s important to note that WebDAV’s versioning capabilities are not as robust as those available in Git. If you are looking for a modern code version control system, you should check out cPanel’s Git integration instead.

Web Disk is cPanel & WHM’s implementation of the WebDAV protocol. cPanel automatically creates a Web Disk account for users to manage files in their home directory remotely. It provides tools for configuring Web Disk accounts and users can create additional accounts as needed to share directories within their home folder.

WebDAV vs. FTP vs. SMB

While WebDAV is similar to other remote file management protocols, WebDAV has strengths that make it better suited to a very particular set of use cases. Let’s examine WebDAV as it compares to FTP and SMB:

  • FTP is an ancient file transfer protocol. FTP has no native support for encryption, therefore authentication details and data being transferred are visible to anyone monitoring or snooping on the connection.
  • SMB (Samba) is useful for sharing files on local networks, but it’s not advisable to use it over the public internet due to major security and performance concerns unless you are using a VPN.
  • SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is much more secure than the older and unrelated FTP but it’s not great or ideal for collaborative workflows.

By comparison, Web Disks use HTTPS to provide secure, encrypted file transfers and because it’s designed for collaborative editing, it features file locking so users sharing the file can’t make simultaneous conflicting edits to the file, avoiding any problems down the line with publishing.

Common Use Cases for WebDAV Include:

  • Managing and editing web server files on a local computer.
  • Collaborating with developers, designers, and content writers working on a site.
  • File-sharing within an organization.
  • Network-attached storage accessed via local machines or other servers.

How To Configure WebDAV on cPanel

All cPanel accounts have a Web Disk account based on their home directory, assuming the server administrator has enabled Web Disks in the WHM Feature Manager.

Important Information:

At ChemiCloud, we have enabled this feature for your success and convenience!

You won’t have to configure the login information for the default account since it uses your cPanel username and password for authentication. This means you can use this login information with any WebDAV app of your choosing, such as:

Where can I find my cPanel login information?

You can locate the login information for your cPanel by referring to the Welcome Email you received after signing up for ChemiCloud!

If you need this information to resent to you, just open a ticket from your Client Area or visit Live Chat and one of our friendly Happiness Engineers will get you sorted in no time!

cPanel also includes Client Configuration Instructions for the native WebDAV integration available in macOS, Windows, Linux & BSD OS’, and Mobile OS such as iOS and Android.

Accessing the cPanel Client Configuration Instructions

Step 1: Log in to your cPanel. Once logged in, look under the Files section for Web Disk.

 

Step 2: Click “Configure Client Access” beneath the Main Web Disk Account section.

Step 3: Locate the Operating System are using and click the drop-down beneath the logo to choose a Version and download the Configuration Instructions.

These configuration scripts will configure the system’s file browser after which you will be able to view and edit files on the remote server, depending on your user permissions, as if the files were stored locally.

Sharing a Specific Directory With Another User

Sometimes you may need to grant another user, a developer, for example, access to a specific directory. You can use the instructions below to do this.

Step 1: Login to your cPanel. Once logged in, look under the Files section for Web Disk.

 

Step 2: On the Create an Additional Web Disk Account, you have several options. Let’s review them.

  • Username will be the username of the user to whom you’re granting access.
  • Domain will be the domain to which the user will belong.
  • Password will be the security credential the user will use to login.
  • You can use the Password Generator to create a secure password.
  • Directory will contain the path to the new users directory. You can specify a custom directory here, as well.
    • Please note: it is not advised to place the new users directory inside of your public_html folder as this will make the contents of this users directory public.
    • If you wish for them to be able to access your entire home folder, you can specify this as well by entering / in the directory field.
  • Permissions will give this user either read and write permissions or read only permissions.
  • Enable Digest Authentication typically isn’t required, however if the server you are on does not have a SSL Certificate signed by a recognized certificate authority, you will need to enable this feature.

Windows Vista®, Windows® 7, Windows® 8, and Windows® 10 require Digest Authentication support to be enabled regardless if you have a SSL or not. 

Use the blue Create button to add the new user.

After clicking Create, cPanel will create the Web Disk and the user and they will be able to access files using their remote WebDAV app of choice.

Deleting Additional Web Disk Users

If you have given a new user access and they have completed their task and no longer need access, you can (and should) remove their access to your account.

Step 1: Login to your cPanel. Once logged in, look under the Files section for Web Disk.

Step 2: Scroll down to the Manage Additional Web Disk Accounts.

Click Delete to delete the user and web disk account.

cPanel will ask you to confirm the action, just click Delete Web Disk Account and the user will be removed!

And that’s it!

Updated on March 1, 2021

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