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PubPages on CISUNIX Systems

This file describes how to enable publicly-accessible personal Web pages ("home pages"), that are served from your individual computer account on our central Unix systems.

What is a home page?

On the World Wide Web the term "home page" refers to the first document you come to in a collection of logically-related documents on a Web site. Once you learn the basics of HyperText Markup Language (HTML), you can create a personal home page within your account on our central Unix systems. It is easy to do.

Why create a personal home page?

There are several kinds of home pages, depending on their logical focus. This document deals primarily with personal home pages. Pubpages is intended as a basic service, not to rival all the things you could do on a system of your own or with a commercial Internet Service Provider.

Personal home pages.

Why would you want a personal home page? Because it is kind of cool and your friends will be impressed. And, more important, because it is a good way to learn about the way the Web works and how you can become an information contributor as well as an information consumer.

Instructional home pages.

Pubpages is a reasonable choice for an instructor who wants to make materials available to a class.

Departmental/office/organization home pages

If you have need for a department/office/organization Web page, what we call a UNHINFO Contributor Account is available for serving the information on the UNHINFO system. But Pubpages may be a useful location to design and test a prototype of a departmental Web page before relocating and advertising its existence on UNHINFO.

How to set up your directory.

  1. Log in to your Unix account and exit from the menu to the shell prompt (%) by selecting menu item 4. You can always return to the menu by typing "menu" at the shell prompt. Confirm that you have a subdirectory within your home directory named "public_html." If not, create one by typing in the follow command:

         mkdir public_html

  2. Put all of your HTML files, graphics or other files into the public_html directory. These files will count against your personal disk quota. To view your current quota usage type the following command:


  3. Change permissions to allow access to the public_html directory and its files:

    NOTE: All these commands must be given exactly as shown, respecting the use of spaces and lower case letters. The most common problem users experience is not having the proper permissions set on both the home directory and public_html subdirectory.
Command Explanation
cd # move to your home directory
pwd # should end with your account name
chmod go+x ~ # make home directory world execute
ls -ld ~ # look for pattern "drwx--x--x"
chmod go+rx public_html # make public_html world read/execute
ls -ld public_html # look for pattern "drwxr-xr-x"
cd ~/public_html # move to home page area
pwd # should end with "/public_html"
chmod go+r * # make all files world readable
ls -l # look for pattern "-rw-r--r--"
WARNING: make sure the permissions on your home directory are correct. Incorrect directory and/or file permissions can allow unintended access to any personal information contained therein.
  1. From this point on the address (URL) for your home page is:

    where "account" is your account name (IT ID).

  2. Your home page file must be named "index.html". If you choose another file name, then the file name must be explicitly included in the URL for your page, e.g.,

  3. To have your home page listed in our UNHINFO campus-wide information server, send e-mail to If you have a public_html directory, you are automatically listed unless you ask to be excluded.

What about content?

What should you put in your personal home page? Often people include a scanned color photograph of themselves and some information about their field of study or interests. Many home pages also act as a "jump station" with links to other Internet resources of interest to the owner. Browse and look at what others have done.

Are there any do-not's? Well, your prime directive should be to use common sense. We (technical support staff in Information Technology) do not monitor the content. So don't be the cause of serious complaints that we will have to investigate and don't generate so much traffic that it will interfere with the normal operation of the system. We will follow the computing code of ethics and other University rules and our own common sense if complaints about content come in. We do keep traffic logs of the server activity on the "" system, to be able to trouble-shoot technical problems and to track usage volume. Summaries of these stats are linked on the list of UNH personal Web pages for anyone to view.

Occasionally asked usage questions.

1. Some of my files work and some don't. Why?

All files to be served must be world-readable. The commands above assume you have your files in place. If you add a file later and it doesn't pick up the world-read protection, you can set it by using this command when in your public_html folder:

     chmod go+r *.html

2. My file protection is OK, but it still won't display. Why?

Assuming your file is not corrupted, consider that Web servers and browsers use the MIME-types convention to identify what type of file it is. That means you should name it in the expected way (e.g., HTML files should be named .html or .htm). If it is an unusual MIME type it may need to be added to the list that the PubPages server uses, which means you need to contact the central Unix system administrator. If it is an unusual MIME type it may need to be made known to your browser, including making sure you have a plug-in or application that can view it.

3. I can't login to my pubpages account. Why?

There are various possibilities. Assuming that you had a working central Unix account, it could be disabled because of inactivity. Or maybe you don't remember your password correctly. Contact the Computing Help Desk in person to resolve this kind of account-related problem.

4. I can't get my GIF or JPEG graphics files to display. Why?

If you've created or captured them on a desktop system and know that they work OK there, then the most likely thing is that you've corrupted the files in transferring them to your Unix account. Get some help from someone who knows about using the particular transfer software (e-mail attachment, FTP, or whatever) that you are using. In most situations graphics (and sounds) would be transported as binary. An exception is when uploading a GIF or JPEG file from a Macintosh using the Fetch program--instead specify "raw data".

5. How do I use a CGI script?

Some basic CGI scripts are available on Pubpages and it is possible to develop or import your own. For security reasons these are under the control of the system administrator, placed in a special directory. Contact the central Unix system administrator for more information.

6. How do I get counts of hits on my Web page(s)?

You can either look at the summaries from the Pubpages server log or you can install your own page counter. There are free services available on the Web.