1.0.0-alpha.31 • Public • Published

Nephele Serve - File System Backed WebDAV Server

Run Nephele WebDAV server to serve files from a file system.

What is WebDAV

WebDAV (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning) is a protocol that allows users to access and manage files stored on a remote server. It is commonly used for web-based file sharing and collaboration, as it allows users to upload, download, and manage files directly from a web browser or file manager.

WebDAV is based on HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and uses the same basic communication methods, but adds additional features and functionality specifically designed for file management. These features include support for file locking, collections, and metadata.

WebDAV is a popular protocol for file sharing and collaboration, as it is easy to use and allows users to access their files from any device with an internet connection. It is also secure, with support for encrypted data transfer and authentication to prevent unauthorized access to files.


Follow these steps to install PAM development libraries and build tools for your OS:

# Centos/RHEL:
sudo yum install pam-devel gcc gcc-c++ make

# Fedora:
sudo dnf install pam-devel gcc gcc-c++ make

# Debian/Ubuntu:
sudo apt install libpam0g-dev build-essential

# Arch and macOS: already installed


Then install Nephele Serve:

sudo npm install -g nephele-serve


To serve the current directory.

sudo nephele-serve .

To serve users' home directories.

sudo nephele-serve --home-directories

To serve user directories under the current directory. This creates directories within the server root with the users' usernames, and serves their own directory to them.

sudo nephele-serve --user-directories .

If you want to run it without installing it, you can do that too.

sudo npx nephele-serve .

If you want to run it without root, you can do that too, but you must set the port to something higher than 1000, and you'll likely only be able to log in as the user who runs the script.

nephele-serve -p 8080 .

Only regular users (UIDs 500-59999) are allowed to log in.

Cluster with PM2

You can load Nephele as a cluster of worker processes using PM2. The following will start a cluster of 8 instances serving users' home directories.

sudo npm install -g pm2
sudo pm2 start -i 8 -u root --uid 0 \
  nephele-serve \
  --node-args "--experimental-specifier-resolution=node" \
  -- \

Then you can save it and have it load at system startup.

sudo pm2 save
sudo pm2 startup systemd

So, putting it all together, if you:

  • use an Ubuntu or Debian based server
  • use a Let's Encrypt certificate for TLS
  • want to serve user directories out of a custom folder
  • want to serve directory listings for browser support
  • want to use a cluster of 8 worker processes
  • want to have the server load on startup

You'd do this (replacing with your domain, and the path at the end with your server root path).

# Follow these install directions to install Node (the minimum Node version is v16):

# Install requirements.
sudo apt install libpam0g-dev build-essential
# Install nephele-serve and pm2.
sudo npm i -g nephele-serve pm2

# Start a nephele-serve cluster.
sudo pm2 start -i 8 -u root --uid 0 \
  nephele-serve \
  --node-args "--experimental-specifier-resolution=node" \
  -- \
  --user-directories \
  --serve-listings \
  --cert /etc/letsencrypt/live/ \
  --key /etc/letsencrypt/live/ \

# Save the cluster and have it start on system start.
sudo pm2 save
sudo pm2 startup systemd

I recommend installing Node from NodeSource instead of apt, because apt tends to have very outdated versions and lots of unnecessary dependencies.


Nephele Serve will check for updates on launch, but if your server is set to load on system start with PM2, you probably won't ever see the notification that there's an update. Therefore, every once in a while you should install the latest version (of PM2 and Nephele Serve).

# Update nephele-serve and pm2
sudo npm i -g nephele-serve pm2
# Restart the server
sudo pm2 restart all


nephele-serve --help

Here's a copy of the help output:

Usage: nephele-serve [options] [directory]

Run Nephele WebDAV server to serve local files.

  directory                        The path of the directory to use as the server root.

  -v, --version                    Print the current version
  -h, --host <host>                A host address to listen on. The default is to listen on all external hosts. (default: "::")
  -r, --realm <realm>              The realm reported to the user by the server when authentication is requested. Defaults to the system hostname.
  --cert <cert_file>               The filename of a certificate to use for HTTPS in PEM format.
  --key <key_file>                 The filename of a private key to use for HTTPS in PEM format.
  -p, --port <port>                The port to listen on. Defaults to 443 if a cert is provided, 80 otherwise.
  --redirect-port <redirect_port>  The port to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS. Set this to 80 if you want to redirect plain HTTP requests.
  --home-directories               Serve users' home directories to them when they log in.
  --user-directories               Serve users their own directory under the server root when they log in.
  --serve-indexes                  Serve index.html and index.htm files when the user requests a directory.
  --serve-listings                 Serve directory listings with file management forms when the user requests a directory.
  --no-auth                        Don't require authorization. (Not compatible with serving home directories or user directories.)
  --no-update-check                Don't check for updates.
  --help                           display help for command

Environment Variables:
  HOST                 Same as --host.
  PORT                 Same as --port.
  REDIRECT_PORT        Same as --redirect-port.
  REALM                Same as --realm.
  CERT_FILE            Same as --cert.
  CERT                 Text of a cert in PEM format.
  KEY_FILE             Same as --key.
  KEY                  Text of a key in PEM format.
  HOME_DIRECTORIES     Same as --home-directories when set to "true", "on" or "1".
  USER_DIRECTORIES     Same as --user-directories when set to "true", "on" or "1".
  SERVE_INDEXES        Same as --serve-indexes when set to "true", "on" or "1".
  SERVE_LISTINGS       Same as --serve-listings when set to "true", "on" or "1".
  AUTH                 Same as --no-auth when set to "false", "off" or "0".
  UPDATE_CHECK         Same as --no-update-check when set to "false", "off" or "0".
  SERVER_ROOT          Same as [directory].

Options given on the command line take precedence over options from an environment variable.

Nephele repo:
Copyright (C) 2022-2023 SciActive, Inc

Node Warning

If you see this warning:

(node:319632) ExperimentalWarning: The Node.js specifier resolution flag is experimental. It could change or be removed at any time.
(Use `node --trace-warnings ...` to show where the warning was created)

Don't worry, it's because the script is using --experimental-specifier-resolution=node to be able to load the PAM authentication module from an ES module.


Copyright 2022-2023 SciActive Inc

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

Package Sidebar


Weekly Downloads






Unpacked Size

58.5 kB

Total Files


Last publish


  • hperrin