The University of Connecticut Department of Physics
Computer and Network Support FAQ

Setting up and maintaining your physics web page

  1. I have created an html file on my own computer that I want to make my homepage. How do I put this file "on the web?"

    To publish your web material from your physics account, you must complete the following steps.

    1. Log onto your unix account over ssh.

    2. Type ls -l to list your files and directories. The result will look something like what follows.
             -rw-r--r--     1 staff        23606 Oct  6 15:26 newpwa.tex
             drwx------     2 staff          512 Nov  6  2001 news
             drwx------    23 staff         1024 Oct  1 17:37 nsmail 
             drwxr-xr-x    14 staff          512 Sep 29 15:41 physics 
             drwx------     5 staff          512 Aug 19 07:43 private
             drwxr-xr-x     6 staff         1536 Sep 19 14:51 public_html 
             drwx------    43 staff         1024 Aug 19 07:43 tex 
             drwxr-xr-x     8 staff          512 Oct  5 18:59 wabi 
             drwxr-xr-x    12 staff         2048 Oct  2 11:48 win

      Lines starting with "d" are directories, those starting with "-" are ordinary files.

    3. If you already have a directory called public_html as in the example above, skip this step. Otherwise you must create one by typing the command mkdir public_html. Typing ls -l again should now list public_html as one of your directories.

    4. Upload your web files to the public_html directory using secure copy.

    5. Check that the files have been uploaded by typing ls -l again. Any files ending with .html will display in a browser with the URL

    6. Make sure that none of your html files are read-protected. A read-protected file has a "-" instead of a "r" in column 8 of the ls -l listing. To remove read-protection from all files after you have uploaded them, type the command chmod +r * from within the public_html directory.

    Naming your home web page index.html has the advantage that it can be accessed without typing the file name as a part of the URL. That is, is the same as

  2. It is possible to use scripts to dynamically create web pages on our web server?

    Yes, although by default web scripting is disabled, every user can enable execution of CGI scripts in her public_html directory. However, web scripting is "dangerous" and requires from a user rather advanced understanding what she is doing. In order to allow only savy users scripting access the Department presently implement the following filter. A user is left completely on her own to enable web scripting.

    The only non-standatd feature you need to know - make your scripts readable, writable and executable only to yourself.

  3. (Students) Once my homepage is "on the web," how do I get it listed on the department homepage?

    Any physics student who wishes may have their name in the listing on the main departmental web page linked to a personal home page that he or she will maintain himself. This web page may be located on the physics web site or elsewhere; the only requirement is that the student keep the site reasonably up to date. To have the link installed, the student should send an email message to giving her name and the full URL of her home page.

  4. (Faculty) I don't like the page the department created for me and I want to change it. How can I change it? How can I add links from it to other documents (publications, CV, etc.)?

    The departmental webpage committee made the decision to organize the main physics web site around a centrally-managed core. This core was designed to maintain a minimal set of information about every member of the department and present this information in a uniform way. The consultant who created the site separated the core from the bulk of the web site by creating a second browser window whenever one clicks a link that leads outside the core. This distinction between core and bulk provides a coherent structure that helps the visitor to navigate the site, and at the same time allow the users to present their own content (outside the core) in the way they please.

    The committee has asked individual faculty to make sure their picture and coordinates are correct on the core page that appears following a click in the left column of the physics home page under "faculty". Any additional information they would like to present can be linked via the blue button labeled "more information" at the bottom of this page, or from a similar button at the bottom of the research group pages. This single link can then lead to a personal page created by the faculty member under his own computer account on which links to publications, CV, etc. can appear.

  5. Should I provide a link back to the Physics Department page from my homepage?


  6. I downloaded my files to the server as instructed but they don't look right on the web. What did I do wrong?

    The most-frequent error people make in designing web pages is to assume that the files will always reside directory where they are created, and to hard-wire the links to that location. If the web page looked OK in its original folder, but links or graphics do not show up when things are uploaded to your public_html directory then this is probably the problem. The answer is: use relative addressing for all links between pages and graphics that reside on the same site. For example, instead of the absolute link HREF="", the relative link HREF="pics/ono.jpeg" is better html: it is both shorter and more transportable. Relative addressing avoids the use of the html directive as much as possible, and specifies all links to local files with relative pathnames.

    Other problems are insufficient access permissions on web files or folders (see FAQ #1 above), or stale cache files in the browser. Before concluding that there is something wrong on your web site, try flushing the cache on your browser, then reload the page and see if the problem is corrected.

    If nothing works, contact your web administrator at

© 1998-2004 Department of Physics, University of Connecticut
This page was last updated by WWW administrator on January 9, 2004
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