Accessing comprehensive web hosting

This document describes how to access the files in your comprehensive web hosting site and how to manage your databases. Please also read our notes on the access node, note the SSH Host keys for this server and the notes on the local quota restrictions.

Accessing files in your site

SSH/SFTP clients

To access the files within your site, you will need to login to the server access.nsms.ox.ac.uk using an SSH or SFTP client.

There are a number of options for free clients, if you do not already have an SSH or SFTP client installed. These are:

The above is not an exhaustive list, and there are other clients (both free and commercial) available.

IP based access restriction

For security reasons, we restrict logins to the server to those from known, static IP addresses. Please contact the service desk to inform us about any changes of your static IP address.

Username and password

To login you need a username and password; the username will be either the same as your SSO username (e.g abcd1234 ) or provided to you by NSMS if you are external to the University (and generally have the form nsmsXXXX). For University members, the password is your NSMS password, which can be reset by visiting the password reset page. Please note, you will first need to authenticate yourself using your SSO username and password, after which you will be able to update your NSMS account password. Your account will expire in line with your University card. People external to the University will have to contact NSMS for their passwords, and you should note that your account accounts will need to be validated once a year.

Directory structure

Once logged in you should find the following directories:

    database_details
    <SITE>/cron
    <SITE>/home
    <SITE>/htdocs
    <SITE>/logs

where <SITE> is the name of your site. Note that if you have multiple virtual hosts being served by one contract then this will be the primary name of your site.

In the <SITE>/htdocs is the document root of the webserver, and <SITE>/logs contains a (read only) copy of the log files. The <SITE>/home contains space for files you wish to store outside of the document root of your site - e.g. backup copies of .htaccess files.

Accessing your databases

To access your databases you will need to login to the the database server. For each database we provide access in two ways: a specific account for the web application to use, and an account for you to use to manage the database. The username and password for the web application will have a username like site1234_abcd and will normally only be allowed to connect from the web server to the database server; should you wish to use tools like drush we can enable this account to work from access.nsms.ox.ac.uk.

MySQL database credentials

The password for the web server will be in a file named after the database you requested and will be stored in a directory under the home directory of the web site (i.e. in the example above this would be <SITE>/home/database_details); it will contain the following information:

  • database name
  • database server
  • database user name
  • database password

We would advise you to use the database server name rather than looking up the IP address of the server.

Your password will be in a file called <database server>-login-details.txt and contain the following information:

  • a link to the web interface for the database
  • your username
  • the password for the database
  • the name of the database server

Your named account will be able to login using the command line tools on access.nsms.ox.ac.uk or via the a web interface as below. 

MySQL instructions

For MySQL users the command line tool is mysql and can be run on access.nsms.ox.ac.uk using:

   mysql -h <database server> -u <username> -p

and we use the popular PHPMyAdmin software for the database web interface. Please note: we run more than one database server, so you will have to make the correct server choice at the web interface login page.

PostgreSQL instructions

Note that for PostgreSQL we are able to use your NSMS username and password, so it is not necessary to have separate credentials.

For PostgreSQL users the command line tool is psql and can be run using:

  psql -h <database server>

and we use the PHPPgAdmin software for the database web interface

Important notes on access.nsms.ox.ac.uk

You should be aware that access.nsms.ox.ac.uk is not the server that your site runs on, it is only a way of accessing your files. In order to help you manage your sites we tried to install the necessary software.

For customers running Drupal we have the drush utility installed; there should be a current version of drush in in your path. We also maintain older versions of drush under /opt/drush but you would have to change your path in order to use these.

Please note that files on access.nsms.ox.ac.uk are not backed up, as this server is just designed to give you the ability to get to your files. Your website and database however are backed up.

SSH/SFTP fingerprints

We have recently upgraded the server access.nsms.ox.ac.uk and as a result the SSH host keys have changed; the new fingerprints are:

DSA c0:bd:3d:c2:a0:c1:e5:15:1c:08:7a:7a:ea:04:ab:94
ECDSA  5e:ea:11:06:ef:da:5f:9d:fc:6c:4f:48:fe:25:17:27
ED25519 d8:bc:f1:d9:8f:6f:3e:0a:50:0e:32:9e:b6:95:7b:8f
RSA 69:a8:be:25:13:16:14:b3:e3:e9:37:14:9b:bd:4d:b2

Local quotas on access.nsms.ox.ac.uk

As the server access.nsms.ox.ac.uk is shared amongst all our clients, we have set a local quota for the amount of storage you can use on access.nsms.ox.ac.uk. This is so that resources can be fairly distributed amongst everybody. This does not affect the storage used for your web sites.

Currently the local quota is set to 1GB, with an allowance to temporarily exceed this for short periods of time. You can view your current usage using the Linux quota command.

Service area: 

Written by IT Services. Latest revision 8 August 2017