Plesk WebDAV – Here’s everything that you need to know!
Control panels like Plesk offer many file transfer options like File Manager, FTP, WebDAV etc.
And the choice depends on the upload requirements of each user.
Uncommon, but convenient, WebDAV supports features like file locking, user restrictions etc.
Plesk WebDAV users often find the initial setup confusing and run into problems with access of files.
That’s why, we often get WebDAV related queries from website owners as part of our Outsourced Technical Support for Web Hosts.
Today, let’s discuss more details on Plesk WebDAV feature.
What is Plesk WebDAV ?
Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) helps any webserver to behave like a fileserver, which allows storage, modification and retrieval of files.
Plesk provides the WebDAV component via the File Sharing tab in the panel. It functions just like the Google drive or the Dropbox utility.
To access File Sharing settings, you need to go to the option Tools & Settings > File Sharing. Then configure the parent folder which contains the shared files, folder for public files storage etc.
The exact settings page in a Plesk Onyx panel will be as shown in the image.
Why should you use Plesk WebDAV ?
Now the question comes, When there are many other options like FTP upload, File Manager etc., why should you use Plesk WebDAV?
The reason is simple. Plesk WebDAV gives couple of advantages over other tools for file transfer.
Let us have a quick look at them.
1. Fast transfer of big files
In WebDAV based method, the whole file transfer happens in a single connection unlike ftp based file upload.
Also, since this works as an extension of HTTP protocol, it allows data compression mechanisms like GZIP. Therefore, when transferring very large files, WebDAV will get an upper edge.
2. Serves as online storage
When we use the “File Sharing” option in Plesk, it serves as an online storage of data. There is option for multiple users to upload or retrieve files at the same time.
Additionally, this gives option for website visitors to have read-only access to public files.
3. Authentication features
Since Plesk WebDAV relies on web protocol (HTTP), it supports more authentication methods than simple ftp programs. We can use methods like Windows Challenge/Response, Kerberos etc. to restrict access here.
4. Version management
Similarly, WebDAV helps to store important revisions of a document for later retrieval. It maintains file properties related to things such as the creation, removal, and querying of file information.
5. Allows partial transfers
Partial transfers work well here. This is not the case with upload using ftp. In ftp upload, if there is a modification of the files at the source server, you have to restart the whole process. Also WebDAV locks files to avoid the possibility of collision, when multiple users access the same file.
Common issues in Plesk WebDAV
Although, there are many benefits in the WebDAV feature, users often get into issues in Plesk and get errors.
1. “Internal error”
When accessing File Sharing tab for user in Plesk, the “Internal Error” message pops up.
This happens normally due to broken or incorrect secure links to files and folders for the user.
To fix the error, Go to Home > Tools & Settings > File Sharing option in Plesk panel.
Then our Hosting Engineers regenerate secure links by disabling/enabling “Generate secure links to files and folders” option.
Similarly, in Windows server, another variant of this error can happen.
Internal Error: Method Not Allowed
Here, there was more than one domain binding to port 80. To resolve the error, we stop the additional domain and start the original domain in the IIS webserver.
2. “Cannot enable File Sharing: There are no hosted websites”
When you click on the File Sharing option in Plesk, a warning message shows up.
Warning: There are no hosted websites. If you want to share files, you need to set up at least one site. You can do it here.
By default, plesk administrator can manage shared files only for websites under its ownership. This error happened as the domain is not under the Plesk administrator account.
To fix, our Hosting Support Engineers change the subscription owner of the domain to Plesk admin.
Plesk WebDAV option is a boon when you have to work with large files and user based access restrictions. However, at times it creates usability problems for certain Plesk domains. Today, we’ve seen the merits of WebDAV feature and how our Dedicated Support Engineers fix common Plesk WebDAV issues.