OS X Server – WebDAV SetUp

WebDAV can be great, not just for shared OS X iCAL Calendars, but (with OS X) as a virtual directory that users can use all over the world. Like having an AppleShare volume on your Desktop that you can drag and drop, delete and rename files and Mac OS X Server can help.

My investigations started when a client asked “how can we share a folder between multiple offices?”.

My first thought was FTP, but this was going to involve too much additional software and the upload /download practice was not what they (or their skill base) wanted. They wanted, essentially, an AppleShare volume on their desk when they were out of the office, anywhere in the world.
Ultimately a VPN over a DSL line would be great! But we have a budget to deal with here and leased lines, VPN routers and the Admin is not available in this clients request.

My second thought as a solution was a single .Mac account where users could login to the same .Mac account. But so far this does not seem possible, .Mac is for a single user (I believe, correct me if you found otherwise).

Not that you could easily find an answer! The OS X Server manual, Helper app or Forum did not have the answer for novices. Apple has some Tech notes here:https://www.apple.com/support/macosxserver/webtechnologies/ But this was not really in ‘novice speak’.

So, finally, WebDAV seemed to be the solution, and here’s how we did it with OS X Servers easy to use interface as detailed by Apple.

01/ Launch the Server Admin application.
02/ Select Web Service.
03/ Click Settings.
04/ Click Sites.
05/ Double-click the website definition you want to edit.
06/ Click Options.
07/ Be sure the checkbox for “Enable WebDAV” is selected.
08/ Click Realms.
09/ Create a new Realm by clicking on the plus (+) button.
10/ Add users to the new Realm.
11/ Be sure the “Can Author” checkbox is selected.
12/ Save the changes.
13/ Restart Web Service.
Note: Check the permissions on the document root for your web site or on the folder(s) in question. The user “www” must have read and write permissions for Owner and Group for the WebDAV connection to work properly. Update the permissions if necessary.

Some of the logic that we learned along the way…

1/ WebDAV serves ‘documents’ over port 80 on your web site, so, you need to have your web site setup and working first (I’ll cover that in another blogg) and ensure that WebDAV is turned on.

2/ Each folder that you WebDAV share on your web site will be a Realm. You can simply accept that ‘Realm’ means ‘Folder’. So make a Realm in your web site and give it a folder to protect.

3/ You need to set users or groups who can access this ‘Realm’ or ‘Folder’.

4/ It’s really an OS X version of .htaccess meets FTP.

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