Devonthink, Devonthink To Go and WebDAV

It would be great to see more robust support for WebDav. It seems from a scan of the forums that WebDav doesn’t really work between Mac / iPad in terms of sync.

Are there any plans to get this functional?

The sort of thing I mean are the issues where all WebDav clients on iOS can hit a WebDav target with no issue, then DTG sync setup throws NSURLErrorDomain 1004 errors and doesn’t sync anything.

Welcome @cmhorn

It seems from a scan of the forums that WebDav doesn’t really work between Mac / iPad in terms of sync.

WebDAV servers are not all created equally and the setups and implementations vary. The best best is an Apache server. But WebDAV isn’t necessarily simply administered*, especially via remote access over the Internet, and why we don’t advocate it as loudly.

WebDav clients are similarly not all created equal.

All other webdav clients on Android and iOS, and OS X work against these hosts except Devonthink and Devonthink To Go.

And yes, the hosts are using Apache servers.

It should be that you concede that you don’t support WebDav – this is effectively true.

For what it is worth, I got it working best by ignoring the errors that DT and DTG throw. To set up sync, it has to be done from OS X client first. Then you have to select and unselect each database for sync as it will generally fail to push all docs before the error. If you make it this far for all databases, you can then set up the ios client and do the same thing. Select and unselect the databases, ignore and clear errors and eventually it will consider the databases synced.

It seems fine for one doc sync at a time. I have not stress tested it enough to know where the wheels fly off.

Hello cmhorn,

DEVONthink supports WebDav depending on their setup of course. If you state that all other clients will work on your WebDav server, so should DEVONthink 3 and DTTG too. Probably, there will be a clinch at your setup or your syncing workflow needs to be adjusted.

Whatever the reason is, you should also consider that some providers states it will be a WebDav server but at the end of the day it is not at all.

If you need help then you can me contact me directly.


My main (and only) sync store is a WebDAV server in my Synology NAS with a custom certificate and DT/DTTG never gave me a problem about it, not in local inside my local network nor external network.

Issues I had, were because my NAS got auto-updated, restarted and the WebDAV partition is encrypted and need manual mounting, or my internet went down. Or the WebDAV server went berserk. DT/DTTG never failed on access to the server, and if I see it failing to connect, it is an indicative of a problem in my NAS than the email announcing it.

I don’t disagree that DT and DTG should be as able to operate against WEBDAV hosts as the other clients, I simply observe that they do not.

There is no syncing workflow beyond configuring DT and DTG with the same credentials and WebDav url that work everywhere else.

Whether or not QNAP’s webdav server is a ‘real’ webdav server or not does not explain why DT and DTG uniquely fail.

I don’t need help. It is enough to see the flaky support that Devon Technologies provides to know this cannot be deployed in our environment. We will pursue other options.

Awesome story for Synology users.

I have the same setup on multiple QNAP servers and it just doesn’t work. By it, of course, I refer to DT and DTG which are the only apps failing on WebDav connections.

No, the WebDav server logs are clean. If you need help keeping yours from ‘going berserk’ let me know.

It is interesting that you claim to have it working then concede that it fails under no less than 3 scenarios for you. Which is it, you never see it failing, or that it fails to connect?

I’ve been using webdav against my synology server since DTTG was deployed and never once have had an issue with the ability to synchronize.

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Yes, I am familiar with that narrative. Thanks for sharing.

When it has failed, hasn’t been because DT, it failed by the server itself and by external causes respect to DT.

What I wanted to mean is in my scenario (3 Mac, 2 iPad, 1 iPhone) the so and then fail to connect problems have been caused by WebDAV server (or not have mounted the sync partition), not by DT/DTTG cause.

I am using QNAP WebDAV for syncing since years. No issues so far. Using some German cloud services with repeating issues before, especially regarding the manifest file.

It would be a compelling narrative if it were not for the fact that only DT and DTG fail, and they fail against all WebDav servers on the network, not just one.

It may be true that I could forensically experiment with reconfiguring the servers in order to reverse engineer what makes DT and DTG so fragile, but given that the app is not yet considered critical, and that outage would risk the apps that are already functioning and being used, it is more likely to be back burnered for ‘maybe someday’ deployment.

I agree — from what I have seen before I back burnered it, the manifest file does seem suspicious as a causal factor.

I’m also having this error, NSURLErrorDomain -1004, syncing between DT, DTG, and a QNAP WebDAV server. I’ve been having this problem from the beginning (> 1 year), but I’ve usually been able to bludgeon DT* into submission by repeatedly mashing the sync button. Support was not helpful when I raised the issue with them last month. This morning I tried to dig into it a little more.

The error indicates that the app can’t connect to the host, but doesn’t say why (connection refused? incorrect credentials?); that would be useful for debugging. The QNAP has bupkis for logs, which I’m trying to chase down separately.

While poking around on the file server I discovered two folders in the WebDAV share:
It seems at some point DTG lost its mind and started duplicating the extension. So I’m going to sync to to a reliable location and start over with WebDAV for this database.

DEVONthink makes some nice products, but the WebDAV support is really disappointing.

I couldn’t agree more, more information would be definitely useful. But that’s unfortunately the only information returned by macOS/iOS in this case.

The sync doesn’t use “drCloud” extensions, only “dtCloud”. The only possibility coming to my mind right now is to add such an extension to the sync store’s name while setting it up.

The WebDAV support works actually quite well, only QNAP devices seem to experience these issues a lot lately (especially after recent firmware updates).

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The issue is that DT/DTG cannot maintain the connection over many documents being pushed. When syncing a database for the first time, you can expect to have to mash on the sync button over and over. Throughout this process, you will get a few more docs to sync before another failure. Sometime you will have to restart the client.

Neither the error message, nor DT support, nor the bulk of the DT community will be helpful. You can expect to hear a litany of “worked fine for me” from the community, and from support, “your webdav is set up wrong” with no specificity about what wrong means to DTG.

Best chance at success seems to be to start the process from a OSX client, and when that is 100% done, strap in for a bumpy ride from mobile clients.

Correction: webdav support is non-existant. Webdav connections for large databases are broken. Webdav connections for small databases are fine. Sync with small numbers of docs are fine.

Once you have sync successfully set up, it generally works, but I have no doubt that if I left sync off for long enough the issue would reoccur.

For small updates it os fine.

I’m sorry but this is just your personal experience. We and many users use it successfully.

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Incorrect. You use Webdav connections successfully. So do I. This does not change the fact that DT does not offer support for its customer base in connecting via webdav.

Once I gave up on the notion that either DT, the error messages, or the community would provide support, I was able to fix the issue in under two hours.

Webdav connections for large databases are broken.

I am syncing multi-gigabyte databases via WebDAV with no brokenness, and have been using them for over two years with DEVONthink 3, and more years previously with DEVONthink 2.

And no, we don’t have support for setting up people’s specific WebDAV instances. Running a WebDAV server is not necessarily a simple matter and isn’t for everyone.