Do you setup and use User Web Pages on our systems? These are web pages that are accessed by URLs that look like:….

If you do, you may be affected by some structural changes we are going to be making to our web infrastructure over Winter Break.

Affected pages may:

  • Use password protection (using .htaccess/htpasswd)

  • Use PHP code

  • Use any sort of executable code (CGI)

  • Access any paths outside your public_html directory

Please test those pages now at our test server (…

If your pages fail on this test web server, they will need to be fixed before or during the transition. If you see problems, please let us know so that we can investigate and help with solutions. (The details below may help you understand how to fix things.)

Note, these changes do not affect any other websites we deliver in MCECS.


What is changing?

  1. The location of your web directory (public_html) is moving to a separate “homedir” which will be available on the web server.

    1. Your existing public_html will reside as a subdirectory inside this new home directory. The rest of your UNIX/Linux home directory will not be available there.

    2. This can affect htpasswd files or other locations your code or pages may have been accessing (such as other locations in your home directory or stashes).

    3. From the Linux side, your public_html directory has been moved to /home/username/web. Symbolic links have been made to old locations to keep things working.

  2. Code executed by your web files (PHP or CGI programs) will now run as your user identity and not as the web server. This will affect permissions and file ownership you may have set up to accommodate our old environment.

  3. The new server will require PHP 7. If you have old PHP code that uses deleted features, you will need to update the code.

  4. After the change, when you login/sftp to, your home directory will be your new web home directory.

  5. Windows users accessing their web directory through an existing drive map or the S: drive should not see any changes. We have made symbolic links to retain references to the old structure.

Why are things changing?

Our shared hosting based user web page infrastructure hasn’t changed much in over 20 years. We finally have all the pieces functioning to isolate the web directories from the home directories as well as have code execute as the user. This helps both with security and with being easier to develop web-based code and experiment with frameworks.