At IU, what is Pages, and how can I publish a web page there?
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
- Making a secure connection
- Creating your individual home page
- Working with your pages on the server
- Accessing your individual home page
- Controlling who can see your pages
- Sharing files with others through your individual home page
- Publicizing your individual home page
- Archiving and transferring your site
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:
- At IU, what SSH/SFTP clients are supported and where can I get them?
- What is SFTP, and how do I use an SFTP client to transfer files?
- In Mac OS X, how do I use Cyberduck to transfer files over SFTP?
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
mercury.uits.indiana.edu. Log in with your IU
Creating your individual home page
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
nano home-template.htmlto use Nano to edit the template home page file created automatically in your
Note: If you edit the template file created by
spinwebto create your home page, you may want to rename it from
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.
Note: 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
index.shtml. If you do not use any of these filenames,
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
directory, your files are already in the right place.
- In Windows, how do I transfer files using an SSH or SFTP client?
- In Mac OS X, how do I use Cyberduck to transfer files over SFTP?
Navigating on Mercury
Note: 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,
- To create a new subdirectory, enter
directorynamewith the name of the subdirectory you'd like to create). If you have problems viewing files in the new subdirectory in a browser, run
spinwebat the command line on Mercury.
- To move to a different directory, enter
directorynamewith 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
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
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:
username with your username. This URL will take
you to the
home.html file in your
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
www directory, the URL must include the
filename. For instance, if your username is
you have a file in your
www directory called
secrets.html, the URL for the
page would be:
If the file is inside a subdirectory of the
directory, its URL includes the name of that directory, the
/ (slash) character, and the filename. For
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
Controlling who can see your pages
You may serve individual pages over a secure server. Newly created
Mercury accounts automatically have a
You can have some control over who is able to view your web pages by
.htaccess files in your
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
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,
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:
username with your username, and
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
wwwdirectory on Mercury and have run
spinwebafter 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?
- You may wish to add your home page address to your IU Address Book entry. See How do faculty and staff change personal/group/affiliate information?
- 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.txtfile that denies access to all robots. Account owners can change their
robots.txtsearch 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
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
For more, see:
This is document alcr in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-03-12.
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