Shared folders

A shared folder is a place where files can be accessed by a group of people using different methods, or protocols. Since NethServer is a modular system, the actual methods depends on what modules have been installed.

The available methods/protocols are:

  • Web access (HTTP)
  • Samba (SMB/CIFS)

Access privileges

A shared folder is always owned by a group of users (Owning group). Each member of the group is allowed to read the folder contents. Optionally the group can be entitled to modify the folder contents and the read permission can be extended to everyone accessing the system. This simple permission model is based on the traditional UNIX file system permissions.

Access privileges can be refined further with the ACL tab, allowing individual users and other groups to gain read and write permissions. This extended permission model is based on the POSIX ACL specification.

Web access

The Web access method allows the connection of a web browser to a shared folder using the HTTP protocol. Web resources are identified by a string, the Uniform Resource Locator, or URL.

For instance, if docs is the name of the shared folder, the URLs that allow the access to it could be:

Each URL has three components:

  • protocol (http:// or https://),
  • host name (, myserver,,
  • path (docs).

The Web address radio group defines the “path” component.

  • Folder name is the default, the same as the shared folder name, as docs in the example above.
  • Web site root means no path at all. For instance
  • Custom means an alternative name, to be detailed.

The Virtual host selector lists all Server alias defined under the DNS page. “Any” means the host part is not considered to map the URL to the shared folder.

The web access is anonymous and read-only. There are some options that can be tweaked to restrict the access.

  • Allow access from trusted networks only, restricts the access by looking at the IP address of the client,
  • Protect by password, requires an unique password to gain read access (to be specified here),
  • Require SSL encrypted connection.

Configuring a web application

The Allow .htaccess and write permissions overrides check box activates a special Apache configuration designed to host a simple web application on a shared folder. It allows overriding the default Apache configuration and grants Apache the write permissions on specific sub-directories.


If a shared folder contains executable code, such as PHP scripts, user permissions and security implications must be evaluated carefully.

If the check box is enabled

  • any file named .htaccess is loaded as configuration for Apache.
  • a text file named .htwritable positioned in the root level of the shared folder may contain a list of sub-directories where Apache is granted write permission. The syntax of the file is one sub-directory for each line. Lines beginning with # are comments. When the content of .htwritable changes, the Reset permission button must be pressed again to propagate the file system permissions.


Shared folders are a powerful tool but are not meant to be a complete web hosting solution! For advanced Apache and virtual host setups drop a .conf file under the /etc/httpd/conf.d/ directory. Refer to the official Apache documentation for this.


SMB/CIFS is a widley adopted protocol that allows to share files across a computer network. In a way similar to Web URLs above, the shared folder name becomes the SMB “share name”.

For instance, the SMB network addresses of the docs share could be


Compatible SMB clients can be used to set special ACLs on a specific file or sub-directory. At any time, the Reset permissions button restores UNIX and POSIX permissions according to what is defined in the General and ACL pages.

If the option Network recycle bin is enabled, removed files are actually moved into a special “wastebasket” directory. The Keep omonym files keeps distinct file names inside the wastebasket directory, preventing overwrites.

If Guest access is enabled, any provided authentication credentials are considered valid.

If Browseable is enabled, the shared folder is listed publicly. This does not affect the permission to use this resource.