At IU, what should I do if people get an error message when they try to view my web page?

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"404" or "File not found" errors

If you or others receive a "404" or "File not found" error message when trying to view your Indiana University web page, the web browser has not been able to locate the page you are trying to access. Check the URL to make sure it is correct. In particular, consider the following:

  • URLs are case sensitive: Research.html is different from RESEARCH.HTML, research.html, or research.HTML.
  • Names of files must match exactly: research.html is not the same as research.htm, nor is home.html the same as home.htm.
  • Make sure your pages are in your www directory or a subdirectory of www.
  • Do not include the www directory in the URL. The following URLs are correct:
      http://pages.iu.edu/~dvader/sith.html
    
      http://www.indiana.edu/~deathstar/contact.html

    The following are incorrect:

      http://pages.iu.edu/~dvader/www/sith.html
    
      http://www.indiana.edu/~deathstar/www/contact.html

    The web browser considers ~/www to be the top directory. Adding an extra www to the URL causes the browser to look for a subdirectory of ~/www called www.

  • Check the link pointing to the page that is returning the errors. Make sure there are double quotes around the page's address, for example:
      <a href="foobar.html">
  • Make sure the address is in the correct format. If you are using relative URLs, refer to ARCHIVED: What is the difference between an absolute and a relative URL?

    If you use absolute URLs, make sure the entire hostname is included in the address. If you include only the name of the computer, many people, especially those outside of the university, will not be able to view your page. A correct URL looks like this:

      <a href="http://pages.iu.edu/~jdoe/foobar.html">

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"403" or "Forbidden" errors

If you or others receive "403" or "Forbidden" errors when trying to view your IU web page, the web browser does not have permission to access your page. To change the permissions, follow the appropriate steps below based on where your page is hosted.

Before starting, check the web page's URL to make sure all of your files are where they are supposed to be and have correct names.

Changing file permissions from the command line on Pages

If your web pages are on Pages, use the spinweb command to set the correct permissions. Log into Mercury and, at the Unix prompt, enter:

  spinweb

Refresh your browser's view of the page in question to check that the problem is fixed.

You can also enter the Unix chmod command:

  chmod -R 755 ~/www

For more, see In Unix, how do I change the permissions for a file?

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Changing file permissions from the command line on Webserve

If your web pages are on IU's central web server (Webserve), log into your account and enter:

  chmod -R 755 ~/www

This command makes the ~/www directory, including all of the files and subdirectories in ~/www, accessible by web browsers. On Webserve (www.indiana.edu, www.iupui.edu, www.iun.edu, www.iuk.edu, and www.iue.edu), the default name of your web directory is www, and it is located in your home directory. If the name of your World Wide Web directory is something other than www, or if your web directory is located anywhere other than your home directory, you will need to replace ~/www with the appropriate directory name and path.

Note: For security reasons, certain file types should not be made world-readable. For example, Perl or PHP files should be set to be readable for owner only.

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Changing file permissions using a graphical interface

If you wish to use a graphical interface, use one capable of using SFTP, such as WinSCP or Cyberduck. For more, see At IU, what SSH/SFTP clients are supported and where can I get them?

For help on WinSCP, see Changing File Permissions using WinSCP on a PC.

For help with Cyberduck, see Changing File Permissions using Cyberduck on a Mac.

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Directory indexing and home page filenames

Directory indexing is disabled by default on IU's web servers. Therefore, your home page must have one of the filenames listed below. For details, see For my web page, what is directory indexing, and how do I enable it?

For individual home pages on Mercury/Pages at IU, if your home page is not named one of the following, you will get an error:

  home.html
  home.htm
  home.shtml
  index.html
  index.htm
  index.shtml

Unless you have a file in the www directory with one of those names, the following URL will return an error (where username is your username):

  http://pages.iu.edu/~username/

For web accounts on Webserve, if your home page is not named one of the following, you will get an error:

  home.html
  home.htm
  index.html
  index.htm
  index.shtml
  index.cgi
  index.php4
  index.phtml
  index.php

This is document adho in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-04-29 00:00:00.

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