BigCommerceBigCommerce is my hosted shopping cart of choice and I recommend it to most of my clients.

Recently, BigCommerce announced that they are phasing out FTP support in favor of WebDAV.

This mostly won’t affect store owners, but it will have an impact on those to manage a BigCommerce store — web designers and developers who need access to the store’s template files.

The instructions BigCommerce currently have on their website for setting up WebDAV are geared toward those running Windows and Mac OSX. Unfortunately, there’s a sizable percentage of developers who work on Linux. For those using WebDAV on Linux, the details currently on the BC site will not work.

If you use Ubuntu (or any other distribution that uses Gnome, I assume), getting setup with WebDAV is pretty simple.

Enable WebDAV Access

We first have to enable WebDAV access in the store’s BigCommerce control panel.

  1. Log into the store’s control panel
  2. Go to the Users section
  3. Find the user for whom you want to allow WebDAV access and click the Edit link
  4. Under the Permissions section, tick the option
  5. Save

Find Your WebDAV Login Info

Now that you’ve enabled WebDAV access for the account (and making sure you’re logged into the control panel as that user), you can grab the login details.

  1. Go to Settings -> File Access
  2. Note the details under the WebDAV tab

Setup the WebDAV Connection In Nautilus

Ubuntu (I’m currently running 12.04) and Nautilus should have everything you need for accessing WebDAV share, so you should not need to install anything extra.

  1. Open Nautilus
  2. Go to File -> Connect to Server…
  3. Use the following details:
  • Select Secure WebDAV (HTTPS) as the Type
  • Port 443 should work (it’s default)
  • Default folder is fine left at ‘/
  • Use the BigCommerce control panel username and password for the user that you gave WebDAV access to, and tick the Remember this password option

Note the WebDAV path that was given to you in the BigCommerce control panel. It probably looks something like this:

While this URL apparently works in Windows and Mac OSX, you will not be able to connect using this address in Linux. Instead, replace https:// with davs://


Enter that address into the Server field in Nautilus and click Connect.

If all the details are correct, you should see the contents of your BigCommerce store loaded into Nautilus, and will show up as a mounted drive/filesystem in the Nautilus sidebar.

Update (09/18/2012): Depending on how your domain name is registered and setup, it may also be required that you keep the ‘www.’ in the URL. If you get an error message, double check that you’ve included the ‘www.’.

Bookmark It

I recommend bookmarking the server so you can find it easier.

  1. In Nautilus, right-click on the name of the WebDAV share in the sidebar
  2. Select Add Bookmark from the menu

If you manage multiple BigCommerce stores, you will want to change the default name of the WebDAV share to avoid confusion.

  1. Once you’ve added the share as a bookmark in Nautilus, go to Bookmarks -> Edit Bookmarks…
  2. Scroll down the list of bookmarks, select the new WebDAV share, and change its name to something more meaningful
  3. Bonus: You can drag and drop the bookmarks to reorder them
  4. Click Close to save your changes, and you will see the change reflected in the Bookmarks section in Nautilus

Connect to WebDAV Using a Linux Program

Connecting with WebDAV via Nautilus sounds like a good idea on the surface, and may work if you only have one store you need to manage.

However, when using Nautilus, WebDAV is very slow and prone to disconnects (much like connecting to WebDAV through the file managers in Windows and Mac OSX).

A file transfer client is a better option since it’s faster and the connection is much more solid.

I’ve searched for a lot of programs for Linux that handle WebDAV, but most only support (officially) Windows and Mac. I was hoping FileZilla supported WebDAV, but sadly, no. The only one I’ve found that works well on Linux is CrossFTP.

You can download CrossFTP for free, but to use the WebDAV feature, you must upgrade to the Pro version (current $24.95 USD). However, it’s very speedy, runs well, and connecting with WebDAV feels no different than using FTP.

If you manage multiple BigCommerce stores, you also get the added benefit of not cluttering Nautilus with bookmarks to multiple sites. You’re able to setup and organize your connections/sites in CrossFTP and quickly switch between each.

I’m not endorsing CrossFTP, but it’s the only Linux app I’ve found that works for WebDAV. If you’ve found a file transfer program that supports WebDAV and runs on Linux, let me know and I’ll add it to the article.

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