ARCHIVED: At IU, how can I publish personal pages on Mypage?

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Note: On June 23, 2008, UITS will retire Steel. As part of this process, UITS will move the Mypage service to a new platform. For more, see ARCHIVED: About the Mypage migration.


This document offers a very broad overview of using Steel to publish personal web pages on Mypage at Indiana University. Once you create an account on Steel, and then create a web directory, you can place files in that directory to publish them as web pages. The sections below cover these actions in detail and in the order in which you will need to do them.

Steel is not the only option for hosting web pages at IU, but it is the main server of personal pages. Some IU departments provide their own web servers; additionally, departments, student organizations, and other groups within IU can use the main university web servers for their official web pages. For more information about web publishing options, see At IU, how can I publish on the web?

Note: The IU South Bend Mypage service is different from the Mypage service noted here; see IUSB's Web Publishing: Mypage.

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Getting a Steel account

If you do not have an account on Steel, you will need to create one. To do so, see At IU, if I already have some computing accounts, how do I get others?

Mypage serves your personal web pages from your NFS directory. UITS provides tools on Steel to facilitate creating and editing your web pages. These tools are detailed in the next sections.

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Preparing your Steel account

Once you have an account on Steel, you will need to select a login shell. Connect to Steel using SSH and log in with your IU Network ID. (If you need to obtain an SSH client, see At IU, what SSH/SFTP clients are supported and where can I get them?) To connect to Steel, next to "Host Name:" enter

Next to "User Name:" enter your IU Network ID username. Enter your Network ID passphrase when prompted.

After logging in successfully, enter 5 to select the bash shell. In five minutes or less the setting will take effect, and you can continue preparing your Steel account. You will need a subdirectory in your home directory named www. Only files in your www directory, or in its subdirectories, are accessible on the web. No other files in your Steel account will show up on the web. The simplest way to create your www directory is to use the spinweb command. To do so, at the Unix prompt on Steel, enter:


The spinweb utility is a locally developed program that takes care of several mundane tasks associated with setting up web pages on IU computers. Among other things, the spinweb command creates a www directory if one does not exist, and places in it a file called home-template.html, which can be used to design your web page; finally, it sets file permissions within the directory so that others may read the pages within it.

To change to your www directory, at the prompt enter cd www.

Note: Since Steel uses the Unix operating system, you will need to be familiar with some basic Unix commands. For starters, see Introduction to Unix commands and For Unix, where can I find online tutorials?

After you have entered the spinweb command, you should be able to view your page with a web browser. However, when you get a new Steel account, there may be an initial delay of up to six hours before your web pages are viewable.

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Creating web pages

Web pages are ordinary text files that also contain some special instructions, or tags, to tell web browsers how to handle the text. For example, some tags create links or give text a special appearance. These tags constitute HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).

For example, if Luke Skywalker ran spinweb, his home-template.html file would look like this:

  <!-- This is a comment. It won't show up in a web browser. -->
  <TITLE>Sample Personal Home Page for Luke Skywalker </TITLE>
  <H1>Sample Personal Home Page for Luke Skywalker</H1>
  <!-- Your name here comes from your finger information (set by chfn). -->
  <P> does not yet have a personal web page.

  <!-- Put whatever you want here. -->


If Luke chose to edit his home-template.html file, he might change it to look like this:


    <TITLE>Luke Skywalker</TITLE>


  <H1>Welcome to my home page!</H1>

    I'm working on this page in my spare time (when I'm not out saving
    the galaxy).  Stay tuned for more!

  <!-- Add link to Death Star plans soon. -->



You can create a web page with any of the several text editors on Steel, including Pico, Emacs, and vi. If you are familiar with any of these Unix editors, this is probably the easiest and most convenient way to create or edit your pages. For example, enter emacs home-template.html to use Emacs to edit the template home page file created by spinweb.

Note: 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 create web pages on your computer at home or in your office, using any text editor or word processor with which you are familiar. Some of these programs, such as WordPerfect, 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 file using a word processor or an HTML editor on a home, office, or Student Technology Center (STC) computer, you will need to transfer the file or files to Steel.

Finally, you can also use HTML programs specifically designed for creating web pages. These programs help you manage HTML tags and format your text. You can find a massive list of HTML editors at:

In the "Search Software Library" box, type HTML editor. Then, from the drop-down menu, select your operating system, and click Go.

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

Some good introductions to HTML are available on the web, including those listed below:

You can also learn a great deal about HTML by looking at the source text (text coded with HTML tags) of pages already on the World Wide Web. Your browser can usually show you the source of any web page you are viewing. For more information, see ARCHIVED: How can I view the HTML code of web pages?

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Transferring web pages

If you created your web page on Steel from within your www directory, using an editor such as Pico, Emacs, or vi, your files are already in the right place.

However, if you created a web page on a workstation or at any computer other than Steel, you will need to move the file to Steel. You need to use a secure FTP (SFTP) program such as MacSFTP for Mac OS or Mac OS X, or SSH Secure Shell for Windows.

For specific instructions for transferring files, see:

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Finishing up (file locations and permissions)

As mentioned earlier, your web pages must be inside the www subdirectory of your home directory.

You must also make sure your files and directories have the correct permissions before they will be available on the web. The easiest way to do this at IU is by using spinweb. If you have subdirectories within your www directory, make sure that spinweb sets permissions within those directories. To do this, run spinweb in recursive mode by entering:

  spinweb -r

Alternately, you can set proper permissions by using the Unix chmod command. For more information, see ARCHIVED: How do I create subdirectories of my www directory for my web pages?

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Accessing your web pages

All pages on the World Wide Web have a unique address called a URL (Universal Resource Locator). For your web pages on Steel, the URL will always begin with:

Replace username with your actual 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, then 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:

If you have a file named home.html in your www directory on Steel, this page will be automatically listed in IU's Directory of Personal Home Pages. For more information 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?

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This is document cafu in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-04-06 00:00:00.

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