Skip to main content

Web Documentation

Web.nmsu.edu is a Web Hosting Service provided by NMSU Information & Communication Technologies (ICT).

Web.nmsu.edu Setup

Activating Your Web Hosting Account

By default, web publishing services are not activated automatically with your NMSU account creation or when affliations change. You must manually activate web publishing services in order to create and utilizes services on web.nmsu.edu

  • Simply SSH into web.nmsu.edu to create your account.

Note: If your web.nmsu.edu account is inactive for more than 180 days it will be deactivated. Accounts inactive for more than 365 days will be purged!

Connect with SSH

Secure Shell, or SSH, is a technology that uses an encrypted protocol to allow a user to connect to a server remotely and open up a command-line terminal to run commands, scripts, or edit files. SSH is a core technology and is utilized for many different purposes.

Connection Settings

Depending on what client and method used, information required from programs may differ slightly. These are general guidelines:
Settings Value
Server: web.nmsu.edu
User: My NMSU Username
Password: My NMSU Password
Port: 22
You will need to use the VPN Client if you are not on the NMSU network,

Programs & Connecting

GNU/Linux and Apple OS X systems include SSH capabilities built-in. Microsoft Windows systems require a SSH Client to be downloaded.

Microsoft Windows

We recommend PuTTY

Apple OS X & Linux

Users can open the "terminal" application and run the following command to connect to a server via SSH:

[matt@mycomputer]$ ssh username@web.nmsu.edu

Transferring Files

Looking to transfer files instead? Take a look at Moving Files Using Secure FTP

Moving Files Using Secure FTP

Secure FTP

Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is widely-used to transfer files between systems. The web.nmsu.edu server utilizes this technology to allow users to send files to and from their account.

Generic Connection Settings

Depending on what client and method used, information required from programs may differ slightly. These are general guidelines:
Settings Value
Server: web.nmsu.edu
Port: 22
Protocol: SFTP/SSH
User: My NMSU Username
Password: My NMSU Password
Directory: Leave Blank
You will need to use the VPN Client if you are not on the NMSU network

Programs & Connecting

Apple OS X

We recommend Cyberduck for help using Cyberduck please refer to the help guide.

Microsoft Windows

We recommend WinSCP for help using WinSCP please refer to the documentation.

Public_html folder

Web Publishing folder Structure

When you first log into the web.nmsu.edu server, you will be in your linux home directory, which contains files that are just accessible by you. Your home directory is commonly used to store backups, databases, and other information that shouldn't be public.

You should also see a folder in your home directy name public_html. This folder will house your website, anything you place in this folder will be accessible from your website URL.

If you are missing your public_html folder please visit the toubleshooting in this documentation.

Setting Unix Permissions

When you first activate your Web.nmsu.edu account the server will assign specific Unix permissions which make it accessible only to you and the server. This prevents others from snooping. To ensure that this service works correctly, we recommend that you try to maintain the orginal permissions applied when your account was setup. The instuctions below are intened to help when it is absolutely nessasary to set the Unix permissions of your website.

What Causes "Forbidden"

When the server is unable to read files in your Web.nmsu.edu directory it will respond with an error message.

This message often indicates a problem with permissions that you can fix by restoring the orginal permissions of your Web.nmsu.edu directory and its contents (see steps below)

Restoring the correct Web Directory Permissions

In order for the Web server to serve your pages properly, you directories (folders) need to have correct permissions set.

  1. Log into your Web.nmsu.edu using a terminal session. If you're not sure how to do this, click here for instructions.
  2. At the prompt, enter the following command to apply the correct base permissions to your Web directory.
    [matt@web.nmsu.edu]$ repair

Technical Details

Here are some technical details about the Unix permissions assigned to web directores and folders:

  1. Each Web directory is owned by the user who activated it and is assigned to the "www" group. The web server runs the "www" group, so this setting is important in dertermining if the web server can read files it has been requested to serve.
  2. The "repair" command will create the public_html directory if it is not present, and will set the permissions accordingly.
  3. The "repair" command will also set the permissions for all directories and files within the public_html directory.
  4. Files will receive the permissions of 644 (-rw-r--r--) and directories will be set to 711(-rwx--x--x) respectively.

Using VI

What is VI?

The default editor that comes with Unix operating system is called vi ( visual editor).

The Unix vi editor is a full screen editor and has two modes of operation:

  1. Command mode commands which cause action to be taken on the file
  2. Insert mode in which enter text is inserted into the file.

In the command mode, every character typed is a command that does something ot the text file being edited; a character typed in the command mode may even cause the vi editor to enter the insert mode. In the insert mode, every character typed is added to the text in the file; pressing the <ESC> (Escape) key turns off the Insert mode.

While there are a number of vi commands, just a handful of these is usually sufficient for beginning vi users. To assist such users, the here are a few basic commands:

To start vi

To use vi on a file, type vi filename. If the file named filename exists, then the file will be displayed; if the file does not exist, then an empy file and screen are created into which you may enter text.

[matt@web.nmsu.edu]$ vi index.html

Moving the Cursor

Unlike many visual text editors, the mouse does not move the cursor within the vi editor screen (or window). You must use the key command listed below. On some Unix platforms, the arrow keys may be used as well; however, since vi was designed with the Qwerty keyboard (containing now arrow keys) in mind, the arrow keys sometimes produce strange effects in vi and show be avoided.

Key Action
J or down-arrow Move cursor down one line
K or up-arrow Move cursor up one line
H or left-arrow More the cursor left one character
L or right-arrow Move the cursor right one character
Here is list of vi commands
To exit vi

Usually the new or modified file is saved when you leave vi. However, it is also possible to quit vi without saving the file.

Note: The cursor moves to the bottom of the screen whenever a colon (:) is typed. This type of command is completed by hitting the <Enter> key.

Quit vi, writting out modified file to file named in original invocation.

:x

Quit vi, writting out modified file to file named in original invocation.

:wq

Quit vi

:q

Quit vi even though lastest changes have not been saved for this vi call

:q!

Using MySQL (MariaDB)

Setting up your MySQL database

Note: You will need to be on the VPN to access the MySQL Setup or the phpMyAdmin page(s) if you are not on the NMSU network.

By default when you create your web.nmsu.edu account it will not automatically create you MySQL database.

  1. Visit MySQL Setup and sign in using your NMSU username and password.
  2. Your MySQL password will be sent to you via email.
  3. Once you have your MySQL password you can login to your database using the following command (enter the password you received in email):
    [matt@web.nmsu.edu]$ mysql -u <username> -p
  4. You will also have access to the phpMyAdmin site using your nmsu username and the password you had received in email

Great resources to assist in learning MySQL:

Accessing Log Files

Web.nmsu.edu offers both access_logs and error_logs both of which can be access from the following:

The access_log:

The access_log is a collection of information about the requests made to web.nmsu.edu. You can view the last 100 lines of logs relavant to your website by visiting: access_log recent activity


The error_log:

The error_log much like the access_log is a collection of the information about requests made to web.nmsu.edu. However these logs are requests that could not be served, either due to permissions or to non-exsistant file requests.

You can view the last 100 lines of the error_logs relavant to your website by visiting: error_log recent activity


Understanding the log output

Your access_log and error_log files contain information formatted in the Common Log Format. This is a popular format used by most web servers. Most log file analysis tools can process this format.

Each line in your log file represents on request. For example here is an out put from access_log:

123.123.123.123 - - [23/Nov/2015:10:30:40 -0700] "GET /about.html HTTP/1.1" 200 822

In this case 123.123.123.123 is the IP address of the computer that made the request for /about.html on the morning of November 23, 2015. The Request was successful (that's what the 200 means) and 822 bytes were sent.

Site Analytics

We currently do not offer any internal Site Analytics; however we do encourage you to setup a free Google Analytics account.

Backups

Web.nmsu.edu is backed up on a nightly basis, this does include your home directory and your database. To retrive backups please contact the ICT Help Desk.

Be sure to include your NMSU username and the file(s) and their location you want to have restored.

Website URL Reference

Your URL is web.nmsu.edu/~<username>

When visiting your URL if you recieve the "403 Forbidden" error, check to insure you typed the url correctly and check your Unix File Permissions

Server Guidelines

Overview

Web.nmsu.edu hosting and MySQL database are persistent even when you are not logged into your account. Use of such services should be made with a complete understanding of the following rules, responsibilities, recommendations, and disclaimers.


Rules & Responsibilities

  • All web.nmsu.edu accounts are subject to all the rules and policies reguarding the use of NMSU computing resources.
  • Use of web.nmsu.edu must support research, learning, teaching, and/or community outreach activites.
  • You are responsible for all content hosted on your web.nmsu.edu account.
  • Content found to be in violation of the rules and policies may result in web.nmsu.edu account termination.
  • You are resonsible for any impact that your account may have on other NMSU computing resources.

Disclaimers

  • Due to limited resources, ICT does not provide programming support. Web.nmsu.edu has been and will continue to be a do-it-yourself webhost.
  • Web.nmsu.edu is intented to be highly reliable, but system maintenance may interrupt hosting services.

Troubleshooting

Introduction

Toubleshooting websites can be a daunting process at first. This section is designed to guide you though the contents of your error message, and also lists common issues and possible solutions for a wide range of possible problems.


Finding the Error Message

Finding an error message can be extremely helpful in pinpointing the cause of the issue. The following is a list of steps to follow, which may help find an error message:

  • You may be receiving an error message in your browser. Read it carefully for any hints. Often times a "Permission Denied" error will include "Error Notes" that can help pinpoint the reason for failure.
  • Check your website's error_log. Your error log will contain information about major server errors

Common Issues and Solutions

Receiving "Permission Denied" error

Be sure you have correctly typed the address you are tying to reach. It is recommended to keep your permission for web viewable files to the "644" permission. Read more about changing file permissions.

A .php, .cgi, or other script file does not load, or loads with a blank page

This is where your error_log can help. In this case, this is what the error log shows:

Script /testpage/index.php is writable by group or world

Executable scripts cannot be writable by anyone but your own user acccount. You will want to set the permissions to either 644 or 755. Read more about changing file permissions.


Im Uploading Files, but They're Not Appearing On My Website

If files you're loading aren't appearing on your website, here are a few things you can try.

  • Be sure that you are uploading to your public_html folder.
  • Check to be sure that your files are not going into a subfolder.
  • If neither of these work, contact the ICT Helpdesk for further assistance.

I deleted my public_html and I remade it, but it isn't working.

Your public_html will need the correct permissions in order to be readable by the web server.


Where To Get Help

If you've read through the troubleshooting guide and your website is still in a non-functional state, try searching online for similar issues. If you can't find anything, you can contact the ICT helpdesk or email help@nmsu.edu. While we cannot fix every problem, we may be able to spot something on our end that isn't working or give you pointers on where to look for a solution.

Contacting ICT

Have questions, need help or would like to ask for a new feature?

Contact us