Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Installing WDFS on Mac OS X

Though Mac OS X includes support for WebDAV folders, it doesn’t always work. WDFS is an alternative WebDAV package for FUSE, a Linux utility for mounting file systems, and can be used on a Mac via MacFUSE. So if you’re having problems using WebDAV on OS X, this guide will tell you how to install WDFS and mount a drive.

First of all, we need to install MacFUSE, which is available for Tiger and Leopard (sorry Panther users, this won’t work for you). Download the relevant disk image from the MacFUSE downloads page – there’s separate packages for Tiger (10.4) and Leopard (10.5). Mount it, and then run the installer. You may have to restart your Mac after doing this.

Now, we are going to install a program called MacPorts, which allows easy installation of various Unix utilities; strictly speaking this isn’t necessary but WDFS depends on a number of other projects and it’s a much easier way of installing them all. If you’ve ever used apt-get on Linux then MacPorts will be familiar to you as they work in a similar way. Go to the MacPorts download page and select the disk image that matches your platform, either 10.4 or 10.5. There is also a version for 10.3 users. Once you’ve downloaded it, run the installer – it does take a while even though it’s only a small package.

At this point, you will also need to install XCode if you haven’t already. It’s on your OS X install disc or on the Apple web site, but bear in mind that it’s a big package so you may want to stick with the disc copy as it could take a long time to download. If you already have XCode, you don’t need to re-install it.

Once this is all done, you need to open Terminal, located in Applications/Utilities. Once open, the first task is to install a package called Neon, which WDFS uses as a library. To install this, simply type:

sudo port install neon

We need to type ‘sudo’ first as this has to be run as an administrator, so you will be asked for your admin password first of all. Then, the MacPorts installer will go through and install Neon and its dependencies (such as gettext and openssl). This may take a while.
Once it is done, you can download WDFS. Extract the archive to a folder, and then browse to that folder in Terminal using the ‘cd’ command (so if it was in a folder called ‘Downloads’ inside my home folder, I would type ‘cd ~/Downloads/wdfs-1.4.2).

We now need to compile WDFS – this was why we needed to install XCode earlier. Don’t worry if you’ve never compiled software before or had a bad experience in the past, as WDFS is quite simple and we have all of its dependencies already installed. Type the following in turn:

sudo make install

Once this is done, WDFS is installed and ready to use. Now we need to mount the WebDAV share, so type the following in turn:

cd /Volumes
sudo mkdir WebDAVShare

This creates a folder which we can use as a mountpoint for the WebDAV share. Now, to mount the share:

wdfs http://[host]:[port]/[path]/ /Volumes/WebDAVShare

Replace ‘http://[host]:[port]/[path]’ with the address of your WebDAV share. You will be asked to enter the username and password for the share (and accept any security certificates), and then the volume should be mounted. Congratulations!

(Yes, I have just spent part of my Christmas Eve getting this to work, thanks for wondering)


  1. Thank you so much.

  2. Well, it is not working with NetStorage (via WebDAV). I keep getting the error “rejected basic challenge” even though user name and password are correct.
    I am starting to hate WebDAV. Works poorly on Vista, doesn’t quite work on Leopard… seems like total garbage (no one can implement it right).

  3. Thanks for these instructions! I found that I also had to install glib2 using macports before compiling wdfs:

    sudo port install glib2

    Otherwise everything worked fine!

  4. Any ideas on how to get this working again on Snow Leopard?

  5. Hi,
    I’ve been cracking my head to make this work on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Finally I realized that, at least for me, it isn’t needed anymore.
    I’m now using mount_webdav. Apparently it was updated. I needed wdfs since the server I use at work wasn’t compatible with the previous versions of mount_webdav. Now the updated version works as expected.
    I’ve been using wdfs on mac for years, it’s sad to see it go, but it’s nice to have native Apple support!
    Hope you find that useful.