Not sure who to blame on this one, cPanel or Microsoft, but trying to get cPanel’s “Web Disk” facility to play with Windows 7 seems to be impossible.
I’ve not had much experience when it comes to cPanel hosting. Back in the day I always used to manage Plesk installations so cPanel is a bit of a new beast to me. After getting a basic shared hosting package the other day (which is all this blog and a few other small sites really need) I thought I’d have a play with the Web Disk facility. It’s essentially a bit like Dropbox, apart from the fact that it’s on your cPanel account and uses the WebDAV protocol to communicate between client and server.
All sounds well doesn’t it? A location that you can have as a network drive that you can chuck data into. It isn’t. The problem boils down to how you authenticate with the server. Windows 7 will not connect to WebDAV servers that support Basic Authentication, and as you can probably guess, this is what cPanel uses to authenticate.
Windows 7 had a RTM in July 2009 with general availability in October 2009. You would have thought that in 3 years cPanel could have managed to sort this problem out. I had a quick sniff around cpanel.net and it seems that this problem was highlighted back in November 2009 on their forum. Still no fix at the time of writing, although an employee has stated that the fix will be in 11.34, although no specific date as to when that will be released.
The worst thing about it that as a customer who has a simple shared hosting account that uses cPanel there is literally nothing I can do that resolves the problem and allows me to use Web Disk with Windows 7.
I actually quite like cPanel, the UI is quite nicely designed for both beginners who have just bought their first hosting account and experienced users like myself. That kind of balance is a very difficult one to achieve. However, it’s a terrible effort from them to leave this bug sitting around for 3 years without a fix. All I can say is Dropbox’s status as my application to use to share files between computers is safe for a long while yet.