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How can I get started with a website?


The servers at and use a shared file system called "AFS".

It's common to login to (over ssh) to access a machine that mounts the AFS file system.

You will need:

  1. Some way to access AFS
  2. A locker (or other AFS space) you have access to - this can be your user homedir (Request form here
  3. Some way to edit text/html files

Option #1 - Linux/Unix tools

This path includes:

  1. ssh into
    How can I connect to the Athena dialup servers?
  2. navigate the file system /mit/lockername/www
    AFS on Athena
    How do permissions work in AFS?
    Who has permission to change files in a locker or website?
  3. use a text editor such as emacs, vi, pico to work on your website

Option #2 - sFTP client and an editor of your choice

If you are comfortable editing files in a text editor, then you can upload them to AFS using an sFTP client such as SecureFX.
How to manually configure Secure CRT and Secure FX

Technical Context runs a modified Apache, and is fronted by Akamai's caches; it does not obey directives in .htaccess, but it does obey a subset of directives in

Akamai's cache properties: page cache - Akamai

More about available directives:
Web Publishing - Redirects
Protecting a Web Directory via Certificates - more technical background
Why do I get "Forbidden" when trying to view a directory in my Athena locker over the web?

Managing the content out of github and checking it out into AFS is an option for maintaining a website:
Using GitHub to Manage or Host an MIT Website

User Home page location and examples

In order to create a homepage, you need to place your HTML documents in a world readable directory named "www" in your home directory. This directory is automatically created for new accounts, so in most cases you should not need to create it. If it does not exist, and you do need to create this directory, use the commands:

    cd ~
    mkdir -p www
    fs sa www system:anyuser rl

to do so. This creates a directory named www into which you will place all files relating to your home page. Now, within that directory, you have to create a file (such as home.html) written in html format. Note that HTML documents MUST end in ".html".

Once you have created your index.html file, the URL for that page would be:
    (or since index.html is assumed)

Or, you can access the index.html file through the same web server through

See also:
Why do I get "Forbidden" when trying to view a directory in my Athena locker over the web?

Need more help?

  • For more information about publishing information on the web and the capabilities of MIT's and servers, look at the URL:

See Also

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

April 12, 2024

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