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File Access

Overview

There are several methods for accessing files, each with their own purpose. WebDav is useful for accessing files assigned to a website, while git is useful for version controlled files. Git is typically used to version website files, but in the case of Burris Builder also applies to configuration files. Finally, SCP is used for general server files access, similar to FTP. Traditional FTP has been deliberately left out of Burris Builder, as it is an obsolete and insecure form of file transfer.

Note:

All file access options documented here assume you have a domain correctly pointed to the correct resources. Please ensure your domain is correctly functioning before accessing files.

SSH

SSH, or secure shell, is an encrypted network protocol which allows interactive terminal sessions via command line interface, or CLI. In short, this is where you have complete control over the processes, actions and files of your web server. This is the heart of the web server, and by extension, your infrastructure. Do not let anyone access it.

MacOS, being Unix based, includes a terminal from which you can connect to your server. Windows requires the help of an external program.

To get started for either operating system, you will need the pem file you downloaded when creating the server.

MacOS: Terminal

 

Windows: Putty

PuTTYyGen

Windows does not natively support the pem format. In order to use the pem you downloaded when creating the server, you must first convert it to a putty private key, using puTTYGen, located at the Putty Download linked in the notes above.

Open putty and select "Load". In the dialogue that opens you may need to select "All files" from the drop-down in order to see the pem in the selected folder.

Now, "Save Private Key" should be available. It is recommended to name this exactly the same as the original pem to not cause any future confusion.

A password is not necessary, though you may choose one if you wish. Keep in mind that you will need to type the password every time you would like to tunnel into your server, and be absolutely sure it's a password you'll remember; there is no way to recover it.

Optionally, you may login with Putty alone, but WinSCP will provide a layer of management to make managing multiple sites and logins easier.

SCP

SCP, or "Secure Copy" is a means of copying files securely, as the name suggests. It uses a secure shell (SSH) to transfer data. It's possible to perform file transfer actions over command line, but this section will cover the GUI method for the most popular operating systems.

MacOS: CyberDuck

 

Windows: WinSCP

WinSCP integrates with Putty (covered above) to manage SSH connections, as well as SCP for file transfer. After installation, open WinSCP and you will be presented with a "Login" screen. Select "New Site"

Your host name will be the hostname you chose during server setup. Your user is ec2-user. You won't need a password yet. You'll be asked for one during connection if you assigned a password while creating the private key.

Next click the "Advanced" button and select "Authentication" under the SSH tree. Click the three dot button in the Private Key field, and select the PPK file you created with PuTTygen in the previous section.

Before logging in, click "Save" to make it easier to access your site later. Under Site Name, you may name it anything you like, the field is only used as a label, and it accepts spaces and most characters.

You may click login now. If your login was successful, you may access the putty terminal with ease from here by clicking the icon.

If putty cannot be found select Options -> Preferences from the main menu or hit Ctrl + Alt + P From the Preferences menu, under the Integrations tree, select Applications and browse for the location of Putty.exe.

WebDav

WebDav service is controlled provided by Apache. If you are having trouble connecting, check to make sure:

  • Apache is running. From an SSH terminal type: sudo service httpd status. If it is not started, type sudo service httpd start
  • You have opened ports for your IP address in the AWS security group. More information in the Launching Burris Builder section

WebDav is an extension of HTTP which allows authoring as well as reading. It's most notable advantage over FTP is its native support in operating systems. Desktop operating systems support mounting WebDav locations as network drives. This means files on your web server behave similarly to a local hard drive, and no additional clients are required for any program to access files directly. Just hit File -> Save as to save onto your web server.

The HTTP extension also means WebDav connections may be tested over any web browser for read-only connections . Type/paste the address into your

Due to OS differences, the nature of WebDav is slightly different for MacOS and Windows operating systems. Windows will not connect to a self-signed certificated, used to secure the WebDav connection, while MacOS is not compatible with MD5 security employed on the standard connection. Instructions per each OS are provided here.

The links for each website are provided in the Burris Builder admin after a website has been built.

MacOS

Mac will use the "Secure" connection provided in your Burris Builder Admin

Windows

Windows will use the "Standard" address located in your Burris Builder Admin.

Git

Git is largely considered the standard for collaboration versioning. Its connection is secure, and the feature set is robust. Git is installed on Burris Builder and supported for every website installed.