Important: FTP to be Discontinued Soon, Replaced with WebDAV

FTP_Image1

FTP support is being discontinued in the near future. If you (or your designer) use FTP to upload and change design files then you’ll now use WebDAV instead. WebDAV displays your BigCommerce store as a folder on your PC or Mac – exactly how file sharing software like Dropbox or Google Drive works.

Figure 1: You can now access your BigCommerce files in the same way as Dropbox

Technology has a way of reminding us that time doesn’t stand still.  There are always better pieces of information to act upon, technological advances being discovered, and new ideas being put into practice.  In order to keep up with the needs of the rapidly-changing e-commerce environment, BigCommerce is updating the way you interact with the files that your site relies upon by implementing WebDAV as the preferred method to manage the files for your store.  WebDAV makes processes such as uploading products, product images and editing design files quick and painless.

Since FTP is going away soon you will need to prepare yourself (and your store) for this change. We have created a few resources to make the transition straightforward and worry free. If you have been using FTP and are not familiar with WebDAV, just think of it as a way to upload, download, and edit files located in your site’s document library from the convenience of your desktop.  For those of you who use cloud-connecting apps such as Dropbox, WebDAV will seem very familiar to you.  Similar to Dropbox, you use your own computer to create a link to your repository in the cloud.

If you are a PC user:

Here’s how easy it is: from your “Computer” view in Windows Explorer, simply click on Map network drive. 

When prompted, just paste in the link provided to you from your control panel under File Access.  You’ll then be asked to login using your credentials for the control panel, and PRESTO…you will see your files.

Figure 2: Setting up WebDAV on a PC

 

If you are a Mac user:

Click on Go from the top menu in Finder, and then choose Connect to Server.

Figure 3: Setting up WebDAV on a MAC

When prompted, just paste in the link provided to you from your control panel under File Access.  You’ll then be asked to login using your credentials for the control panel, and PRESTO…you will see your files.

Just to summarize, this method allows you to manage your site’s files the same way you would manage your files on your computer.  For more detailed information on how to use WebDAV, please see the Knowledge Base article here.









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  • Daniel Brady

    This WebDav is insanely slow compared to FTP. I’m reconsidering using BigCommerce since I don’t know how I’ll ever get my custom theme implemented when changes go through so slowly.

  • Jessica Malnik

    Hi Dexter, have you considered looking into SmartFTP? Many of our clients have said this is there preferred way to manage multiple workflows in WebDAV.

  • http://dapd.net Dexter Adams

    I totally agree with it being a bad move…so many other options. Kills my workflow!!!

  • David

    This is ridiculous. Bad move.

  • Kurt

    I also use Dreamweaver and I’m disappointed that it won’t connect with webdav. When I click test it passes but when I go to actually connect, it just gives an error. I’ve resorted back to FTPS for now.

  • Jessica Malnik

    Hi Chad,

    I understand how change can be hard and difficult to swallow at first. But as someone who personally uses Transmit, I can tell you the speeds on Transmit are a lot faster than through Dreamweaver directly. Plus, there are many advantages to using WebDAV. You can read about them here. https://support.bigcommerce.com/questions/1706/

  • http://chanluu.com Chad

    I use Dreamweaver as my master file management system. Dreamweaver does not connect to HTTPS webdav at all, so I can’t maintain any sync information anymore. I have to leave the editor, go find the files and use Transmit to get them on the server.

    Loss of FTP is very inconvenient.

  • Brian

    FTP is a key part of my development workflow. This is a huge inconvenience as a active developer!!

  • http://www.asmc.net Alex Schubow

    I don’t understand why FTP has to be “retired”. It isn’t as though it is some sort of huge drain on resources.

    In my experience FTP is faster than webdav for transferring large files. Much faster. Half the time I use WebDav it stalls 3/4 of the way through uploading my data feed (about a 150MB text file).

    I have scripts in place to update the data feed and automatically upload it over FTP at night. works 100%, every time. I tried changing it to copy over WebDAV and more often than not the copy is stalled when I start work in the morning.

    why not keep both?

  • Jessica Malnik

    Hi Bob, if you still need assistance with this, here’s a great step-by-step tutorial for how to do this. https://support.bigcommerce.com/questions/1365

  • Bob

    Never mind – looks like I have to manually create the images folder per this doc: https://support.bigcommerce.com/questions/1138/

  • Bob

    I’m not seeing how to use webdav to upload the template images. Using the brown template, I have a folder ../images/brown with images such as bg_navi.gif, bg_topseller.gif, etc that I need to alter the color of. I downloaded those template images and have modified them. How do I upload them without FTP? I may have webdav configured incorrectly but I don’t see an images/brown folder under the /dav path that Cyberduck has access to.

  • Jessica Malnik

    Hi Tony, What’s your support ticket number? I’ll be happy to take a look at this for you.

  • http://btpallettruck.co.uk Tony

    Need to update site. Add a few panels etc. Got to use WebDAV. with CyberDuck. Not impressed.

    One or the other doesn’t work. Files wont transfer. BC have raised a ticket.

    It’s not a big job would have had it done in a couple of hours. As it stands I’ve been chatting for about an hour with no joy.

  • http://shop.dgbrands.net Gilles

    Never mind, I figured it out. the login is not the email address but the username. Got in. Thanks.

  • http://shop.dgbrands.net Gilles

    Hi,

    I am a bit amused by comments talking about webdav being bad when they’ve been using ftp with passwords sent in the clear over the internet. From an IT stand point, I understand how webdav can help you with automating your CDN and increased security over ftp.

    My only problem with WebDAV is that, it refuses my login/password for the SAME user/pwd I’m enabled it for. I’m on a mac so I’ve tried both the “connect to server” method and pasting the https: in firefox.

    Is webdav available under the 14 day trial? I’d like to fully evaluate before “Buying”. As of now, I can’t upload files.

    Cheers,
    Gilles
    .

  • Bob Hart

    Hi Steve,

    If you will please submit a ticket with our Technical Support team (https://account.bigcommerce.com/tickets.php?a=submit&token=) they would be happy to help you with these steps on XP.

  • http://esdev.net Shawn Scammahorn

    I’m running Ubuntu 12.04 and was getting errors trying to connect using the details that BigCommerce provides for Windows and Mac users.

    This is what works, however.

    Instead of your server address being:

    https://www.yourstore.com/dav

    It needs to be:

    davs://www.yourstore.com/dav

    I haven’t tested it extensively, but I can view/navigate directories. Drag/dropping new files into a directory works fine as well. Deleting works too.

  • Chris Boulton

    Hi Jesse,

    We only talk WebDAV over SSL, and of course requires credentials for a valid administrative user in your store.

    WebDAV tends to get a bad wrap for security, primarily from Windows Server based environments (with Sharepoint, IIS, etc). In terms of it being a writeable file system on our servers, our implementation of WebDAV (I mentioned this in a comment above) is software based – meaning we basically expose a virtual file system to stores, which lets us control access with fine-grained ACLs, and have control over the whole end to end process.

  • Chris Boulton

    Jennifer – they’re taken care of. The replacement of FTP with WebDAV only affects how you transfer files to your store, not actually where they are saved – so no change is required by you.

  • Chris Boulton

    Hi Jake,

    FTP is going away at *BigCommerce* soon. Our apologies if that wasn’t clear in the blog post.

    For us, replacing FTP with WebDAV wasn’t an arbitrary decision – a lot of planning and work has gone in to out integration. On a purely technical level for us to be able to grow and improve our architecture, FTP no longer makes the cut. WebDAV works, because it’s a system that we can control entirely in software (you upload a file, we clear the appropriate cache on your store, delete the related record from the database, etc)

    I hope that provides a bit of context.

  • http://www.vironmedia.co.uk Viron Media

    Why have you chosen to discontinue FTP? Is there any reason you can’t have it AND WebDAV? I use FTP software for all my client sites. Having numerous mapped drives would be a LOT of clutter. Plus, if I move over to a new PC I can’t simply export and import all the linked accounts. I will have to remap all the drives again. Now, if in the future I manage hundreds of clients, how is WebDAV going to be better? And won’t my computer be slower trying to connect to all these drives?

  • http://www.forestsoftware.co.uk John

    I tried (and commented in a reply to my comment above that seems to have not been approved, about the steps I’d tried) for abut 2 hours yesterday Stephen and then gave up and found an old laptop with Windows on it.

  • http://www.blueskyhousewares.com Steve Hull

    Great development but I followed the instructions and was not able to map to WebDav using thepath provided – can you provide instructions for mapping using Windows XP please. Thanks

    Steve

  • Jesse

    Lol, so you are switching from a decently secured Explicit FTP to an insecure WebDAV format with several major security flaws?

    http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/050511-webdav.html

    Please say you are using SSL and Two-Factor Authentication at least?

  • http://www.eczemacompany.com Jennifer

    I’m sorry, but I’m not a developer, and only used FTP once – to store my FB, Twitter, and other social media icons. Do I need to migrate these to WebDAV? Or will that be taken care of for me?

    Thanks.

  • http://www.jimmyweb.net James Beattie

    Your WebDAV is soooo slow! tehre are better options than this

  • Stephen

    Great now if you could just put a tutorial together for getting webdav on ubuntu 12.04 that would be awesome..

  • http://pricebeatmusic.com The Webmaestro

    Sorry about the typo… another late nite(night). ;)

  • http://pricebeatmusic.com The Webmaestro

    I’ve been using FTP since 1995 (yes, I’m a webdesignosaur). There are FTP tools that can do things that are not possible with Webdav. I use half a dozen development tools for different reasons and certain FTP tools have automation and bulk processing capabilities that I rely on daily. Fact is people who don’t use FTP probably don’t know what it is or why it’s still relevant as a protocol not to mention that it’s integrated into many development processes. I’d reconsider this decision to avoid alienating developers who have reliable production processes that may use FTP tools in various capacities. I’m not apposed to Webdav I just don’t want to rely on it as a sole means of file manipulation not to mention the unreliability of webdav connections in certain networking environments. Ok…there – i said it.

  • http://www.tallduck.com Mike George

    Does this mean that demo accounts will be given access to WebDAV? Or maybe developers can apply for developer access accounts to create themes and make modifications.

  • Jaysen

    FTP is (was) my sole method of customising my (and my clients’) stores. It’s the most reliable (and least frustrating) aspect of the BigCommerce experience. Now you’re deprecating it?

    Drag-and-drop upload/download may be wonderful for casual (i.e. most) users, but for diffing the templates folder tree I use Beyond Compare (which is awesome, but apparently does not support webdav) so this just means more work (and/or more money on another diff tool) for me.

  • Jake

    Excuse me, FTP is going away soon? Said who?! I work as a sysadmin at a large web hosting and dedicated server provider and by no means are we seeing any trend of replacing WebDAV with FTP. I do not understand why BigCommerce would arbitrarily cut an *industry standard* protocol and replace it with one that is less stable, less common, and less favored by IT leaders around the globe. I can understand saying you want to switch to SFTP or FTP with SSL/TLS for security reasons, but WebDav is not really suitable for web designers/web server file handling.

  • John

    As a follow up – I tried several methods of connecting using webdav on Unbuntu – with the following results :-

    Firefox (supposed to support natively) : Got a method not supported error when connecting

    Webdav and mount the webdav folder in Terminal : Could connect but couldn’t write a new file (an jquery file) to the /content/ folder

    Cadaver in Terminal : could connect but using PUT or MPUT resulted in the session hanging.

    The only way I could work on my clients site to do what I needed to was to find an old Windows PC, copy the files to a memory stick on Unbuntu, read it in Windows and use the standard Webdav functionality – not something that I want to have to remember to do every time I need to use Webdav :(

  • http://www.forestsoftware.co.uk John

    But if you run Ubuntu on the desktop and not Windows or Mac you no longer have access to that area of customisation :(

  • http://www.bigcommercetemplates.com.au David Ferguson

    I really like the webdav feature – FTP has past its used by date so good stuff for getting rid of it.