Howto Setup a Remote Calendar using WebDAV with Mozilla Sunbird

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Mozilla SunbirdĀ® is a cross-platform calendar application, built upon Mozilla Toolkit. Our goal is to bring Mozilla-style ease-of-use to your calendar, without tying you to a particular storage solution.

Installing the Apache Server

To install the Apache Server, open up a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal)

sudo apt-get install apache2

Now, you have the option of changing the port your Apache Server runs on. By default it runs on port 80, which is fine if there is only one computer. But if you setup a router to forward all traffic for port 80 to one computer on your network the internet on your other computers will not work.

To change the port

sudo vi /etc/apache2/ports.conf

In the file add the following line, where "port" is whatever port you would like to use (e.g. Listen 9999) save and exit

Listen port

NOTE: Make sure to forward traffic on this port to your server if you have a router

Enabling the WebDAV modules

To enable the WebDAV modules, open up a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal)

sudo a2enmod


(press enter)

sudo a2enmod


(press enter)

Setting up the WebDAV folder and the user

This will make a WebDAV folder at: /var/www/davhome

To create the folder, open up a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal)

mkdir /var/www/davhome

chgrp www-data /var/www/davhome

chmod 775 /var/www/davhome

Next to create the user, input the following command changing the last "username" part of the command to the username you would like to use (obviously make a note of the username and password you create)

htpasswd -c /var/www/davhome/.DAVlogin username

Tell Apache where the folder is and to use it

To tell Apache to use WebDAV, open up a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal)

sudo vi /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/dav_fs.conf

Paste the following into the file.Change "username" (two instances) to the username you created above. Also, the DAVMinTimeout is optional it just sets the how long Apache should lock the file after it is accessed.I don't use it and haven't had a problem, but then again I only have one computer accessing the calendar at any time.

DAVLockDB /tmp/DAVLock
#DAVMinTimeout 600

<Location /davhome/>
Dav On
AuthType Basic
AuthName username
AuthUserFile /var/www/davhome/.DAVlogin
<LimitExcept OPTIONS>
Require user username

Hopefully you didn't exit and save yet because you have some more options. With the way the file is setup above you will be prompted for a username/password everytime you read or save a file using WebDAV.

If you don't want to be asked a password when you read a file change the first LimitExcept line to

<LimitExcept GET OPTIONS>

If you don't want to be asked a password when you save a file (write) change the first LimitExcept line to

<LimitExcept PUT OPTIONS>

If you don't want to be asked a password when reading or writing (not recommended unless you want to make the calendar completely public) change the first LimitExcept line to


Okay, now you can save and exit.

Restart Apache

This step is very important so that Apache recognizes the changes you made!

Open up a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal)

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Testing Your server

Now you can either create a new calendar in Sunbird and tell it to put it on your server or publish an existing local calendar to the WebDAV folder. Just go to the calendar tab in Sunbird and right-click in the list of calendars or right-click on an existing calendar in the list.

The address format you would enter for the remote calendar is as follows


Other Items to Note

If you place an exisiting calendar file directly in /var/www/davhome, you should change the group and the rights on this file as follows

sudo chgrp www-data /var/www/davhome/filename_for_calendar.ics

sudo chmod 644 /var/www/davhome/filename_for_calendar.ics

If Sunbird does NOT create a new .ics file, do the following and point Sunbird to that file as if it is an existing calendar:

sudo touch /var/www/davhome/filename_for_calendar.ics

sudo chgrp www-data /var/www/davhome/filename_for_calendar.ics

sudo chmod 644 /var/www/davhome/filename_for_calendar.ics

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6 Responses

  1. tenshu says:

    sundbird keeps on returning me a 405 method not allowed response …

  2. Pak says:


    I resolve “405 method not allowed” with this LimitExcept

    and I chmod /var/www/davhome the user www-data too
    drwxr-xr-x 2 www-data www-data 4096 2008-04-04 17:57 davhome

    It works great for me

  3. Pak says:

    I post my LimitExcept again (this time without tag)

  4. RV says:

    I tried to share Calendars between users using WebDAV and Thunderbird Lightning. But private events are visible to other users. Is it possible to hide the private events?


  5. Ken says:

    I keep getting a “Publishing the calendar file failed, Status code 403: Forbidden” message. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  6. Ryan says:

    You really shouldn’t put the .DAVlogin file in the publically accessible part of the website. If you really must put it there, make it unreadable by the outside world. If you don’t someone could get your password and then upload other things to your site.

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