Web site FAQ

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This page contains frequently asked questions (and answers!) about the EEB department's web server.

Contents

The web server (hydrodictyon)

What is hydrodictyon?

Hydrodictyon is the name of the computer that serves up all the web pages that together constitute the EEB web site. The term web server can refer to either the software that serves web pages (Apache in our case) or the computer that runs that software (a Dell Optiplex 755 in our case). Hydrodictyon runs the Red Hat Fedora 9 Linux operating system.

Do I need an account on hydrodictyon?

You need an account on hydrodictyon if you want to create a traditional HTML-based web page for yourself or a course. Many find it much easier to create and maintain web pages using EEBedia than the traditional approach. This FAQ page, for example, was created in EEBedia. If you would like to try using EEBedia, click on the Help link to your left to get started.

How do I get an account on hydrodictyon?

Just send an email request to the EEB Webmaster. Ordinarily, you must be a current member of the EEB department to obtain an account, but exceptions will be made under some circumstances.

What is the difference between my home directory and my web folder on hydrodictyon?

When your account is created, you automatically get a home directory. Your home directory is located within the /home directory on hydrodictyon. (For those unfamiliar with Linux, the root of the file system is "/", which is akin to "C:/" in Windows, so /home is one level up from the root of the file system.) Items you upload or create in your home directory will not be visible on the internet. Inside your home directory, you should find an an item named "html". While "html" looks and acts like a directory, it is actually an alias (or symbolic link, in Linux terminology) to a completely separate directory on the hard drive, your web folder. For example, my (Paul Lewis) home directory is /home/plewis, whereas my web folder is /var/www/html/people/plewis. Items placed in your web folder will be immediately visible on the internet at an address (URL) that looks like this:

http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/people/yourusername/

or, equivalently,

http://hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu/people/yourusername/

Note that you should replace the "yourusername" part of the URL with your own username.

The "html" alias makes it easy for you to transfer files to your web folder. No matter how you connect to hydrodictyon, you will be dumped first in your home directory, where you should see the "html" alias staring you in the face. Just double-click that alias and you will be transported across the hard drive to your web folder.

Before you begin uploading files, read the next section entitled "Why you should name your home page index.html"

Why you should name your home page index.html

Suppose you name your home page MyHomePage.html. In order for someone to see your homepage, they must know the exact name of your home page file and append it to your base URL, as follows:

http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/people/yourusername/MyHomePage.html

If someone does not know the name of the file serving as your home page, they may try typing this URL into their browser instead:

http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/people/yourusername/
Dirlisting.png
If they were to do that, they would not see your home page. Instead, they would see a directory listing like the one shown on the right (click the thumbnail image to see the full size image if you want). Now they have to wade through all your web files and try to figure out which one is your home page. In the meantime, they might happen on some files you didn't plan on anyone viewing (e.g. junk_I_home_noone_ever_sees.html), perhaps because they represent works in progress or obsolete content that you just can't bring yourself to delete.

If you name your home page index.html, however, then users will always get your home page when they enter your base URL, i.e.

http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/people/yourusername/

and they will never get an index showing all your files. This gives you a lot of control over what people see: they can only see the files you have linked to your home page or to other pages linked to your home page. It also gives you control over what will appear in searches conducted on Google (and other search sites) because the webbots used by the search engines also cannot get a listing of all your files.

Who is the EEB Webmaster?

The current EEB webmaster is Paul Lewis.

What can the EEB Webmaster do for me?

The EEB Webmaster's duties include:

  • maintaining the web server (both hardward and software)
  • backing up the web content daily
  • creating accounts and providing edit access to EEBedia
  • creating and maintaining software for editing course, event and people information
  • maintaining and creating department-wide content, such as the flash display on the EEB home page
  • helping with problems involving access to the web server

The EEB Webmaster's duties do not, however, include helping you write web pages. You must create your own content, either as a traditional HTML web page or using EEBedia.

How do I change my password on hydrodictyon?

Use the web form to create your first password, or change your password.

Important! If an account has just been created for you, or if your password has just been reset by the EEB Webmaster, you should leave the field labeled Old password blank.

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The EEB home page

How do I get an image into the Flash display on the home page?

Send the webmaster these three things:

  1. A landscape-style image (e.g. jpeg format) at least 500 pixels wide and 350 pixels tall
  2. An appropriate caption about 10 words long
  3. The URL of an existing web page that can be linked to the image

Keep in mind that the caption inside the purple rectangle will obscure part of the image, so try to compose your photo so that important parts are not hidden by the caption.

Why do I sometimes not see a particular image in the Flash presentation when I view the home page?

To keep the file size of the Flash presentation low enough so that there is no noticeable delay when the home page is loaded, photos are grouped into casettes of about 4-5 images. The casette that will be shown is chosen randomly when the home page is loaded. If you want to see other casettes, simply refresh your browser to load another randomly-chosen group of photos.

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Transferring files

Hydrodictyon does not support FTP for security reasons (the old FTP protocol sends passwords across the network in plain text), but it does allow file transfers via the Secure Shell protocol (Secure FTP, or SFTP for short) or Samba-mediated Windows network shares. What means you use to move files back and forth depends on what operating system you use.

Mac users

If you use a MacIntosh running Mac OS 10.x, Fugu or Cyberduck are probably the easiest means of transferring files back and forth from your own computer to hydrodictyon.

Cyberduck for MacOS 10.x

Cyberduck provides a free secure file transfer solution for Macintosh computers running MacOS X. Cyberduck is only for transferring files. It will not help you create or edit web pages.

How do I connect to the web server using Cyberduck?

To set up file transfer using Cyberduck (I'm using version 4.2.1 at this writing), follow the steps below (I will assume your user name on hydrodictyon is honeydew and your password is beaker)

  1. In the Bookmark menu, click "New bookmark"
  2. In the dropdown control at the top of the dialog box that pops up...
    1. choose "SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol)" (the default will not work).
    2. choose a nickname (I chose "hydro")
    3. specify "hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu" for the server
    4. the port should be 22
    5. enter your username (not the same as the user you use to login to EEBedia)
    6. do NOT check "Anonymous login"
    7. close the dialog box
  3. Now you should be able to just double-click the bookmark (choose "Toggle Bookmarks" from the "Bookmark" menu if you don't see the new bookmark)
    1. type your hydrodictyon password to login
  4. Use the "Upload..." item from the "Action" dropdown to upload a file. If the directory where you want the file uploaded is not visible, double-click your way to it first.
  5. Use the "Disconnect" button at the upper right to disconnect when you are finished.

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Fugu for MacOS 10.x

Fugu provides a free secure file transfer solution for MacIntosh computers running MacOS X. Fugu is only for transferring files. It will not help you create or edit web pages.

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How do I connect to the web server using Fugu?

To set up file transfer using Fugu (I'm using version 1.1), follow the steps below (I will assume your user name on hydrodictyon is honeydew and your password is beaker)

  1. In the Connect to field, enter hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu
  2. In the Username field, enter honeydew (remember, this is just an example, I doubt that honeydew is really your username)
  3. In the Port field, enter 22 (this is the standard Secure Shell, or SSH, port)
  4. Click the Add to Favorites button to make it easier to connect to hydrodictyon the next time
  5. Click the Connect button to login to hydrodictyon. If you have never connected to hydrodictyon before, you will see a warning stating "The authenticity of host 'hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu (137.99.88.31)' can't be established. Unable to get host key. Something is odd. Are you sure you want to continue connecting? " You can ignore this warning (the first time you see it, at least) and just press the Continue button.
  6. You should now be asked for a password. Here is where Dr. Bunsen Honeydew would type his password, beaker (your password should be more secure than his!). After entering your password, click the button Authenticate.
  7. At this point, you should see an alias (shortcut) named html in the righthand window labeled "hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu". If you don't, write to me. This alias (when double-clicked) takes you to your web folder on hydrodictyon. Anything you transfer from your computer to the web folder will be immediately visible on the web at http://hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu/people/honeydew/ (once again, remember that you are not Bunsen Honeydew, so you will use your user name instead of honeydew when typing in the URL).
  8. To upload a file, find it in the Local window, then simply double-click the name of the file to move it over to hydodictyon
  9. To disconnect from hydodictyon, click the Disconnect button on the menu bar at the top

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Why does Fugu say @ WARNING: REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGED! @?

You will get this warning whenever the machine serving as hydrodictyon is changed, which will happen once or twice per year. Fugu's warning is designed to make you think twice about connecting to hydrodictyon because the identity of hydrodictyon has changed. To stop this warning, choose Fugu > Preferences... from the main menu, then click the Known Hosts tab. You should see an entry that looks like this
hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu.137.99.88.31
Select this entry, then press the Delete button, and finally press the Save button before closing the Preferences dialog box. Now when you attempt to connect to hydrodictyon, it will present a different warning (The authenticity of host...Something is odd. Are you sure you want to continue connecting?), but it will at least let you continue connecting if you press the Continue button. Your Fugu client will now download a new host key from hydrodictyon, which it will use each time you connect to verify that you are indeed connecting to hydrodictyon (at least until hydrodictyon is changed again!).

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Windows users

If you use Windows, you will probably want to use either Samba (if on campus) or FileZilla/CyberDuck (from off campus) to move files back and forth from your own computer to hydrodictyon.

Using Samba

Hydrodictyon runs Samba, which makes it possible for a Windows user to mount their home directory on hydrodictyon as if it were a network share on a Windows machine. Each person given an account on hydrodictyon is automatically set up to use this method, but be aware that UConn prevents the use of Windows file sharing from off-campus sites unless you log into the VPN (Virtual Private Network).

To mount your home directory on hydrodictyon as (for example) drive Z: on your Windows XP machine, follow these steps (I will use the user name userid here, but you should of course substitute your own user name wherever userid appears):

  1. Open My Computer
  2. Choose Tools from the main menu, then Map Network Drive...
  3. Choose Z: (or some other letter) as Drive
  4. Specify \\hydrodictyon\userid for Folder (remember to replace plewis with your own user name (given to you when your account on hydrodictyon was created)
  5. Check Reconnect at logon if you want your Windows machine to try to map this drive every time you start it up
  6. Press the Finish button
  7. In the dialog box that appears, type hydrodictyon\userid for the user name (note: no leading double backslash this time) and enter your password.
  8. If all goes well, you should be able to access files on hydrodictyon using drive Z: on your Windows PC. If things don't go well, please feel free to ask for help from the EEB Webmaster

Another approach is to simply open your Start menu, choose Run..., and type \\hydrodictyon\userid into the edit box labeled Open. You can also set up a network neighborhood shortcut to hydrodictyon.

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FileZilla for Windows

FileZilla provides a free secure file transfer solution for Windows computers. FileZilla is a bit bewildering at first, but it is free. It is only for transferring files. It will not help you create or edit web pages. Go to "How do I connect to the web server using FileZilla?" for help in setting up FileZilla.

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Cyberduck for Windows

Cyberduck provides a free secure file transfer solution for Windows computers. Information about connecting to hydrodictyon using Cyberduck is forthcoming...

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How do I connect to the web server using FileZilla?

To set up file transfer using FileZilla (I'm using version 2.2.18), follow the steps below (I will assume your user name on hydrodictyon is honeydew and your password is beaker)

  1. Choose File, Site Manager... from the main menu (or press Ctrl-S)
  2. Click the New Site button. You can change the name of the site now from "New FTP site" to something more appropriate, such as "Hydrodictyon" or "EEB Web Server "
  3. For Host, enter hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu
  4. For Port, enter 22 (FileZilla defaults to using the old, insecure FTP port 21, but hydodictyon will not grant you an audience if you arrive at port 21; you want to dock at the Secure Shell SSH port 22 instead)
  5. For Servertype, enter SFTP using SSH2
  6. For Logontype, click Normal
  7. For User, enter honeydew (remember, this is just an example, I doubt that honeydew is really your username)
  8. For Password, enter beaker (your password should be more secure than this one!)
  9. I would prefer that you check Don't save password, but I know better than to ask
  10. Now press the Connect button. If you have never connected to hydrodictyon before, you will see a warning starting "The server's host key is not cached in the registry." You can ignore this warning and just press the Yes button.
  11. At this point, you should see an alias (shortcut) named html in the window labeled "Remote Site". If you don't, write to me. This alias (when double-clicked) takes you to your web folder on hydrodictyon. Anything you transfer from your computer to the web folder will be immediately visible on the web at http://hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu/people/honeydew/ (once again, remember that you are not Bunsen Honeydew, so you will use your user name instead of honeydew when typing in the URL).
  12. To upload a file, find it in the Local Site window, then simply double-click the name of the file to move it over to hydodictyon
  13. To disconnect from hydodictyon, choose File, Disconnect from the main menu (or use the key combination Ctrl-D)

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Windows or Mac users

Dreamweaver

The Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Dreamweaver software is installed on many of the computers in the McCarthy room computer lab. Dreamweaver allows you to edit web pages and upload them at any time to the web server with the click of a button. It is available for Windows or MacIntosh computers. Go to "How do I connect to the web server using Dreamweaver" for help setting up Dreamweaver. You can also purchase Dreamweaver 8 from the Co-op. Note: do not just go to the Co-op and buy it off the shelf; you will pay way too much this way! Take a BO46 form (see Stephanie Balough in the Bio Central Services) to the bookstore after figuring out the price at the UConn Co-op's Adobe and Macromedia Licensing web page. As of this writing (30-Aug-2006), the Dreamweaver 8 software itself costs $100, with a media fee of $7.95.

How do I connect to the web server using Dreamweaver?

To set up file transfer using Dreamweaver MX 2004, follow the steps below:

  1. Click Start, then navigate to Dreamweaver 2004 (you might need to go through a link named Macromedia to get there) to start Dreamweaver
  2. If you have never used Dreamweaver before, you will be asked to choose which workspace setup you want (just choose one or the other).
  3. Once the program is started, choose Site (from the main menu at the top), then Manage Sites...
  4. Click the New... button, then choose Site, and finally click the Advanced tab (you will end up providing the same information whether you choose Basic or Advanced, but Advanced is faster given that you have these instructions)
  5. For category (see left side) Local Info:
    • For Site name, just make something up (e.g. mysite)
    • For Local root folder, choose the folder where your web site files will be stored on the computer you are now sitting at. In my case, I chose \\dentata\faculty\plewis\My Documents\mysite\. The \\dentata part means that my files are actually stored on the server named dentata, which manages the new EEB domain. (Your folder path may start with \\matrix if you are still in the older EEB-NET domain, which is managed by the file server named matrix.)
    • For HTTP address, I entered http://hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu/people/plewis/. You should enter the same thing, except change the final plewis part to your own login name. If you do not yet have an account on hydrodictyon, you will need to send an email request to the EEB Webmaster to get one.
  6. For category Remote Info:
    • For Access, enter FTP
    • For FTP Host, enter hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu
    • For Host directory, I entered /var/www/html/people/plewis/, but you would of course replace the plewis with the user name you use to login to hydrodictyon
    • Now skip ahead and check the box beside Use Secure FTP (SFTP)
    • Fill in your user name and password (these were assigned when you obtained your hydrodictyon account from the EEB Webmaster) and press the Test button. You may get a Windows Security Alert popping up. I was able to dismiss this, but if this turns out to be an insurmountable roadblock, please contact the computer room administrator to help you punch a hole in the firewall. Dreamweaver should indicate that it was able to log in to your site successfully. The EEB webmaster can help if something goes wrong at this point.
  7. The defaults should work well for the remaining options. Once you close the dialog box, you can view your files on hydrodictyon by choosing Remote view in the Files window (if the Files window is not obvious, hit the F8 button to open it). Choosing Local view lets you see the files currently on your local computer. The up and down arrow buttons in the Files window allow you to upload selected files to (or download selected files from) hydrodictyon.

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Miscellany

How do I create a web page that will redirect users to my new site?

Here is how to create a very basic redirect page using an HTML meta tag. This assumes your name is Jonathan and your new web site URL is http://www.uconn.edu/. Just create a file named index.html in your old web folder (and remove all other files), then add the following text to index.html
 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
 <html>
   <head>
     <title>Redirecting to Jonathan's new home page</title>
     <META http-equiv="refresh" content="5;URL=http://www.uconn.edu/">
   </head>
   <body>
     <center>
        You will be redirected to Jonathan's new home page automatically in 5 seconds.<br/> 
        Please update any bookmarks to point to the new address, which is<br/>
        <a href="http://www.uconn.edu/">http://www.uconn.edu/</a>
     </center>
   </body>
 </html> 

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