Log Into Your Unix Account
Your Caltech user account comes with shell access to our Unix cluster which is running RedHat Linux. You can log into your account using ssh:
Or you can use an sFTP client to connect to ssh.caltech.edu. In either case, once you log in, you will be in your home directory: /home/<username>/ which is aliased to
~ per unix convention.
Create a Directory for Your Pages
Note that you will need to set this directory up no matter what interface you plan to use to edit your web documents. First, create a directory called public_html in your home directory.
chmod 755 public_html
This directory has the URL
(Substitute your username for username.)
Any files that you put in the public_html directory will be accessible via the Web. For instance, if you put a file blorf.html in there, its URL would be
An Important Note about File Permissions
Note that files in the public_html directory and its subdirectories should be -rw-r--r-- for them to be viewable on the web, and subdirectories themselves should be -rwxr-xr-x. You can set these permissions by doing:
chmod 644 filename
chmod 755 subdirectoryname
Default page (optional)
If you want, you can also make a default page, which corresponds to the URL
Without making a default page, this URL gives an index of all of the files in your directory. If you make a default page, the URL will instead give the contents of that page. To make the page blorf.html the default page, type
ln -s blorf.html index.html
(The server looks for a file called index.html when looking for a default page. The above command makes index.html be a symbolic link to the real file -- effectively, one file now has two names.)
Making a default page is nice because, if someone only knows your user name, they can access your Web space without having to know the exact name of your home page.