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Accessing Files Remotely

Accessing CS File Servers Remotely

Many of our users want to access files on computer science systems from home or from other computer systems that they control. There are two reasonable technologies for this:

  • sshfs
  • WebDAV

Sshfs lets you mount any directory to which you have access, from any system that you can access via ssh. Performance is quite good, often better than NFS. The main disadvantage is that you need to install the sshfs file system. On Linux it's a standard package. It is also easy to install it for Mac and PC.

There's one operation that is surprisingly slow: ls -l in a very large directory. As a worst-case example: in a directory with 4000 files, mounted over a DSL connection, ls -l took 12 minutes. Normal ls is reasonable, as are other file operations.

WebDAV is supported by Linux, Windows, Mac, IOS and Android, so you don't have to install any software. But it is substantially slower than sshfs, particularly for operatiions involved a lot of files. One big advantage of WebDAV is that it is supported on the iPhone, while we're not aware of any way to use sshfs there.


Documentation isn't ready for Windows. For Linux and the Mac it's very similar.

Linux: make sure your system has the sshfs package installed. This is generally avaiable from the standard repositories. First login to the system whose files you are going to want to access. Use the "pwd' command to find the name of the directory. E.g. my home directory in an ilab system is /ilab/users/hedrick.

To mount this directory from my home machine

  • find or create a "mount point." This is a directory where the remote file system is going to be available. If it's your own computer, it's common to use a directory in the root filesystem sucha as /mnt, but you can also use "mkdir" to create a directory in your home directory. You must have write access to the directory. For this example I do "mkdir remote" to create a new directory
  • use sshfs to mount the remote file system. E.g. to mount my ilabl directory on remote I would use "sshfs remote". Any of the ilab sysems could be used in place of composite. It may prompt for my password.
  • At this point, I should see all my ilab files in the directory "remote"
  • To unmount, use "fusermount -u remote" (on the Mac "umount remote")

​On a macintosh you will need to install two packages, "FUSE" and sshfs. See the osx sshfs page for details. Note that you don't need Macfusion, just FUSE and sshfs. The downloads pages provide severla options. I recommend downloading the DMG files, as those give you a normal Mac installer.

To use sshfs on the Mac, the instructions are the same as for Linux, except that to unmount, just use the umount command, e.g. "umount remote"

User and groups may show up incorrectly, unless both name and number match on the two ends. This shouldn't normallly be a problem, but if you need to change a file to have a specific group, that group has to exist on both ends with the same name and number. Alternatively, you can use the idmap and gidfile options to map groups on the other end to groups on your system. In most cases this won't be a problem.


by Hanz Makmur - Jan 11, 2011


The Laboratory for Computer Science Research has set up a Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) server. The server is set up to allow remote access to all of users's files stored on CS public File servers (Fac/Res/Grad/UG/iLab/FilerTemp) using a WebDAV client on your computer and mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android Phone and Black Berry.

Unlike CIFS/SMB - a propriety unsecured protocol that are likely blocked by firewall - WebDAV uses standard Secure HTTPS protocol and is not likely blocked. This makes WebDAV a much better choice for sharing files.

With a WebDAV client you can access and manipulate your data on CS resources from any MacOS X, Windows OS, Linux OS and Mobile devices, negating the need to use proprietary commercial service like DropBox, BoxNet and etc. which have limited quota and uncertain privacy policies.

Below you will find instructions how to connect to the WebDAV server from WebDAV clients on different operating systems and mobile devices. Click on the link below for instruction on connecting to WebDAV server on your specific OS or device.

Accessing from Windows OS. 

Current WindowsOS (except Windows98/2000) has built in support for WebDAV.

You can connect to WebDav via Add A Network Location or Map network Drive option.


Connecting to WebDAV using Add A Network Location on Windows7


  • Click the Start button and right click on Computer menu item.
  • Select Add a network location
  • A welcome to Add Network Location wizard opens. Click Next
  • Select Choose a Custom Network Location then click Next.
  • In the Internet or network address: field, Enter: and click next.
  • When asked, enter your netid and password and click Ok
  • Click Next to accept the default name for the network location.
  • Click Finish to open the network location.


If you would like WebDAV disk Mapped as a drive,follow instruction below:


Connecting to WebDAV using Map network Drive on Windows7



  • Click the Start button and click on Computer menu item.
  • On the Computer window that appears, click Map network drive.
  • Select your Drive and under the Folder field enter your WebDAV address:
  • Check the box [x]Connect using different credentials.
  • Click Finish to complete the setup.
  • You will be asked to enter your username and password. Enter your Rutgers netid and password in these fields and click OK
  • If you enter correct credential, you should see WebDAV drive open up ready for you to use.


Connecting to WebDAv via WindowsXP



WindowsXP has native support for WebDAV. To access WebDAV server from windows XP, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Start and select My Network Places On the left bar, Click Add a Network Place, click Next on the welcome page.
  2. In the Service Provider window, Select Choose Another Network Location and click Next
  3. Enter in Internet or network Address
  4. Enter your_Netid in Username: and enter_you_RCI_or_Eden_password in Password:
  5. Click the checkbox Remember password to make windows remember your password
  6. Click the Ok button to connect and mount the WebDAV server.

Once connected, you will be presented with the WebDAV icon named

If you have older OS (except for Windows98) or prefer to use special WebDAV client, you can use a program called WebDrive available free for all Rutgers users from Download and Install webdrive and follow the steps below to connect and mount the WebDAV server.




  1. Select and open Webdrive from your Start menu.
  2. On the WebDrive window and click on the New Site button.
  3. Name the site: and click the Next button.
  4. Select WebDAV, click on the Connect Securely checkbox and click the Next button.
  5. Enter: in the URL for the server field and click the Next button.
  6. In the Certificate setting window, click the Next button
  7. For the account Information, Enter your_Netid in Username: and enter_you_RCI_or_Eden_password inPassword:
  8. Click the checkbox Save Password to make windows remember your password and click the Next button.
  9. Click on the Connect to Site now checkbox to make the connection
  10. Click on Connect at login/startup if you want webdrive to automatically connect at login/startup.
  11. Click the Finish button to make the connection.

You should now see an additional icon under Network Drives with the name under My Computer

Accessing from MacOS X. 

The best way to connect to WebDAV server in MacOS X is to use a client called: CyberDuck



To access the WebDAV server,

  1. Open your CyberDuck program by double clicking on its icon.
  2. Once CyberDuck is running, click on the Open Connection icon.
  3. Select: WebDAV(HTTP/SSL) and enter
        Port: 443
  4. Click the Connect button.

Once connected you will be presented with list of files available on different servers in one location. For more info on how to use CyberDuck, please read the CyberDuck help page.

Alternative Option: Mount via SSHFS. See Mounting Linux/Unix Home Directory on MacOSX Securely

Note: MacOS X comes with built in WebDAV support. However, due to the way files are saved in MacOS X, the more files you have, the slower the access. This is a known problem in MacOS X Finder. This issue is documented in KB TS1656 and some people have come up with work around to speed up access. Our tests shows, it only helps a little bit and we would not recommend using MacOS X Finder as a WebDAV client.

Accessing from LinuxOS. 

In Linux, there are many ways to connect to WebDAV server from File Manager program like Dophin, Konqueror, and Nautilus. The steps below will show you how to do so for each file manager on Fedora or CentOS system.

Using Linux Dolphin to connect to WebDAV server



  1. Click on the Start button, select Computer and select Network
  2. On the Network Window, click on the Add Network Folder icon to create a Network folder.
  3. On the Network Folder, select WebFolder (WebDAV) and click on the Next button.
  4. On Network Folder Information window, enter information as shown below and click Connect when done.
        Name: webdav.cs
        User: your NetID
        Port: 443
        Folder: /
        [x] Use encryption
  5. On connect, a window will open asking you to enter your password. Enteryour_RCI_or_Eden_password.
  6. Click Connect and a window will open showing all your files in the WebDAV server.

Using Linux Konqueror to connect to WebDAV server



  1. Open Konqueror window and enter on Location: webdavs://
  2. Press Enter and Authorization Dialog window will open.
  3. Enter your_Netid in Username: and enter_you_RCI_or_Eden_password in Password:
  4. Click the OK button to connect to the WebDAV server window showing all your files in the WebDAV server.

Using Linux Nautilus to connect to WebDAV server



  1. Click on the Places menu and select Connect to Server...
  2. On the Connect to Server window, enter:
        Username:  your NetID
        Name to use for connection:  WebDAV.cs 
  3. On Connect, a window will open asking you to enter your password. Enteryour_RCI_or_Eden_password.
  4. Click Connect and a window will open showing all your files in the WebDAV server.

Mounting WebDAV server as root

if you have root access, you can simply mount the file systems directly with -t davfs. Example of mounting the WebDAV server to /mnt:
    mount -t davfs /mnt

Accessing from iOS Mobile Devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) 


In iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, you can use free App called: WebDAV Nav. Using WebDAV Nav on your iOS device,

  1. Click [+] to add a new server.
  2. In the window that open, enter
        Name webdav.cs
        Server URL: 
  3. Click the Save button to save the newly added server configuration.
  4. Click on the icon to connect to the WebDAV server.

Alternative Solutions

There are other alternative commercial programs that are available on iOS you may want to try also. These programs have other features such as ability to open .doc, .ppt, .xls and more. Example: ReaddleDocs andGoodReaders.

Disclaimer: We do not recommend any specific commercial products. Please read available user's reviews for each App you are interested in before purchasing them.

Accessing from Android Mobile Devices 

With Android Mobile devices, you have an option for a commercial WebDAV client called WebDAV Nav for Android, a WebDAV clients that you can test for 30 days before paying for it, called Mobile WebDAV or purchase a commercial client called Cloud Browser: FTP, WebDAV, S3.

No matter which client you choose, when connecting to the WebDAV server, you need to enter:

    Server URL: 
    Port:443 (if asked)

Disclaimer: We do not recommend any specific commercial product. Please read available user's reviews for each App you are interested in before purchasing them.


Accessing from BlackBerry OS. 



BlackBerry does not have a freeware WebDAV client yet. In this document, a commercial program called PaderSyncFM will be used to show how to connect to a WebDAV server.

Disclaimer: We do not recommend any specific commercial product. Please read available user's reviews for each App you are interested in before purchasing them.

To access WebDAV server on BlackBerry using PaderSyncFM, first, you need to setup a bookmark. Once a bookmark is setup, simply click on the bookmark to establish your connection to the configured WebDAV server.

To setup a bookmark:


  1. Select and open PadderSyncFM from your BlackBerry Apps.
  2. In PaderSync, click Bookmarks then New to create a new bookmark.
  3. Protocol window will open. Choose WebDAV to continue.
  4. WebDAV window will open. In this window, you need to enter your credential as follow:
        Title: webdav.cs 
        Base Directory:/
        [x] SSL/TLS
        [x] Expect/Continue
  5. Click on Save to save your webdav.cs bookmark.
  6. Select on the newly created bookmark, and verify its property is correct.
  7. Once the bookmark is created, go back to main window of PaderSync.
  8. Click on Bookmarks and select webdav.cs to access your files.


Accessing from a Web Browser 


The ability to access your files from a web browser is a feature that is supported by CS Department WebDAV server. Although this feature gives you basic functionality, it negates the requirement to run specific WebDAV client. To access the WebDAV server from your browser, simply open a connection in your web browser to:

A window will open asking you to login, Enter your_Netid in Username: and enter_you_RCI_or_Eden_password in Password:. Click Ok to connect. A window will open showing all your files in the WebDAV server.

If you have problems or questions, please email