At IU, what is Pages, and how can I publish a web page there?

UITS provides Pages for serving individual web pages. Anyone with an IU username and passphrase may create an individual web page on Mercury and publish it using Pages. The Pages service removes the burden of serving web pages from IU's general-purpose Unix systems.

For policies regarding posting information on Pages, see At IU, what is the policy for information on personal web pages?

On this page:

About Mercury/Pages accounts

The Pages service at Indiana University is for professional, research, instructional, and academic web pages only. You should not use Pages to share hobbies, family information, and favorite entertainment links or other purely personal content. If you will be using your web pages for official IU business related to your organizational unit, approved professional organization, or registered student group, then you should request an account on Webserve. Accounts on Webserve have access to subservices and web utilities not available through Pages. For more, see the IU Webmaster's Accounts. To determine which account is best for you, see the Pages and Webserve sections of Web pages and central hosting at IU.

The web pages for the Pages service are hosted on Mercury; that is where you will log in and create, upload, or update your pages. If you have an IU Network ID but not a Mercury account, to create an account, see At IU, if I already have some computing accounts, how do I get others?

Your account should be available within an hour after you create it, and will have a storage space of 1 GB.

Making a secure connection

To log into your account on Mercury or upload files to it, you need to use a secure client. For help, see:

If you use an HTML editor (e.g., Dreamweaver), you can use the software's built-in upload feature to move files to Mercury only if it permits secure uploads. Consult the program's documentation for information about secure file transfer.

To connect to Mercury, use the server name Log in with your IU Network ID.

Creating your individual home page

Learning HTML

Web pages are text files containing special instructions, or tags, to tell web browsers how to handle the text. These tags constitute HTML.

At IU Bloomington and IUPUI, IT Training offers workshops on creating web pages and graphics. Browse workshops by topic to view the current offerings.

You can also learn about HTML by looking at the source text (i.e., text coded with HTML tags) of existing web pages.

Choosing a tool for writing and editing HTML files

You have the following options for writing and editing HTML files:

  • Use the text editors Nano and vi on Mercury. Nano is similar to Pico; if you are familiar with Nano, Pico, or vi, this is probably the easiest way to create or edit your pages. For example, enter nano home-template.html to use Nano to edit the template home page file created automatically in your www directory.
    If you edit the template file created by spinweb to create your home page, you may want to rename it from home-template.html to simply home.html. To do so, at the Unix prompt, enter:
      mv home-template.html home.html
  • You can also use any text editor or word processor with which you are familiar. Some of these programs, such as Microsoft Word and BBedit, come with tools that assist in creating HTML documents.
    If you use a word processing program, make sure to save the file you create as a plain text file (or as HTML text, if that option is available) rather than the default word processing file format. Also, if you create your files using a word processor or an HTML editor, you will need to transfer them to Mercury. See Uploading your files below.
  • You can use an HTML program specifically designed for creating web pages (e.g., Adobe Dreamweaver). These programs help you manage HTML tags and format your text.

    If you use an HTML editor with built-in file-transfer capabilities, you can upload files to Mercury only if the program permits secure file transfer. For help, consult the software's documentation.

Naming your home page

For your page to be listed in the Directory of Personal Home Pages, your home page must be named home.html. If you don't want your page listed in the directory, choose one of the following alternative filenames for your home page: home.htm, home.shtml, index.html, index.htm, or index.shtml. If you do not use any of these filenames, the URL (where username is your username) will return an error.

Working with your pages on the server

Uploading your files

Once you've created your web pages, you need to make sure they're in the proper place in your Mercury account. If you created your web page directly on Mercury using Nano from within your www directory, your files are already in the right place.

However, if you created a web page locally (e.g., using Dreamweaver on an STC workstation or personal computer), you will need to move the file to Mercury using a secure FTP (SFTP) program. See:

Navigating on Mercury

To run Unix commands on Mercury, you will need to use a command-line SSH interface.

Because Mercury is a Unix system, you may want to familiarize yourself with basic Unix commands. See:

In particular, note the following commonly used commands:

  • To see all the files in the directory that you're in, enter ls.
  • To create a new subdirectory, enter mkdir directoryname (replace directoryname with the name of the subdirectory you'd like to create). If you have problems viewing files in the new subdirectory in a browser, run spinweb at the command line on Mercury.
  • To move to a different directory, enter cd directoryname (replace directoryname with the name of the directory to which you'd like to move).

If your Unix configuration files ever become corrupt or stop working, you can run the ezreset command; for more, see At IU, what is ezreset, and how can I use it to reset my accounts to their default settings?

Spinweb and file permissions

The correct file permissions should be set by default so that your pages will be visible to you and to others in a web browser. If you have trouble viewing your pages, run spinweb while logged into your Mercury account. This should correct any problems and ensure that the permissions are set correctly on your www directory and any subdirectories. For more, see What is spinweb?

Alternatively, you can set proper permissions by using the Unix chmod command. While logged into Mercury and at your home directory, enter chmod -R 755 ~/www. This command sets the permission on ~/www and all files and directories within it so they are accessible via the web.

Accessing your individual home page

Once your files are in place and the permissions are set correctly, you can view your individual home page from a URL similar to the following:

Replace username with your username. This URL will take you to the home.html file in your www directory. Thus, the full URL for your home page will be the following, with username replaced by your username:

For files other than home.html that are in the top level of the www directory, the URL must include the filename. For instance, if your username is dvader and you have a file in your www directory called secrets.html, the URL for the secrets.html page would be:

If the file is inside a subdirectory of the www directory, its URL includes the name of that directory, the / (slash) character, and the filename. For example, if dvader has a directory called death-star inside his www directory, and the death-star directory contains a file called blueprints.html, the URL for blueprints.html would be:

Controlling who can see your pages

You may serve individual pages over a secure server. Newly created Mercury accounts automatically have a wwws directory. You can have some control over who is able to view your web pages by using .htaccess files in your wwws directory and its subdirectories. For more, see Controlling web page access. The information refers to Webserve, but also applies to Mercury.

Be especially careful that your permissions are set correctly, and keep in mind that you can specify access by IU Network ID only in your wwws directory.

Sharing files with others through your individual home page

Your Pages space is a good way to share files with others outside of IU. To upload the file you would like to share, make a secure FTP connection to Mercury as described above. Once you transfer the file, run spinweb to make sure the file permissions are set correctly. When you have done that, others can access the file. If it is in your www directory on Mercury, the URL will be similar to the following:

Replace username with your username, and filename with the name of the file you uploaded.

For information about limiting access to your files, see Controlling web page access.

Publicizing your individual home page

You have the following options for publicizing your individual home page:

  • If you have a file named home.html or index.html in your www directory on Mercury and have run spinweb after creating it, this page will be listed in IU's Directory of Personal Home Pages (the directory updates twice a day). Once your page is linked from the directory, anyone using the IU Search will be able to find it. For more about using this directory, see At IU, how do I add or remove a link from the Directory of Personal Home Pages to my web page?
  • Another option is to create an email signature file that contains the URL for your home page. The signature file will be automatically appended to every email message you send.
  • You may submit your web page's URL to a search engine such as Yahoo! or WebCrawler, but note that some search engines use robots to verify the address. At IU, the Pages server has a robots.txt file that denies access to all robots. Account owners can change their robots.txt search engine crawl settings at Search Engine Crawl Settings for Pages.

Archiving and transferring your site

You may want to save your website or some files in your account for your instructor's use, for your own use after you leave IU, or as an additional means of backup. You can use the Unix tar command to save entire directories or collections of files in one archive file that you can send to your personal computer or an STC workstation. You can also use the tar command to compress your archive to a smaller size, making it quicker to transfer. From your personal computer or an STC workstation, you can use IU's Slashtmp service to share that file with someone such as your instructor.

For more, see:

This is document alcr in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2017-01-18 12:42:50.

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