Comprehensive web hosting: file system layout

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When a new site is created, a default set of directories is created to host your site. Theses directories include:






Some or all of these directories will be available when you log in to under a directory named after the primary site name. For instance, if you asked for a site with the primary name of, then after you login you will see in your home directory:

access:~$ ls

and then underneath this

access:~$ cd

access:~/$ ls

cgi  cron  home  htdocs  logs

Note that the document root for the site is the htdocs directory, and files placed outside of this will not be directly accessible over the internet.

Each website is assigned to a storage band (see the charges page for details).  You can ask for this band to be changed at any time, but note that this may also affect the amount you are charged.

We have implemented the storage bands as quotas; each band has a quota set, but you can briefly go over these limits for 7 days. Note that once you go over your limit by too much or for too long, then you will not be able to create new files or directories. If you are over your limit you can either remove files or directories, or ask to go up to the next storage band.

There is also a limit on the maximum number of files that your site can have; this is to protect the web server from malicious activity, and to prevent one site from causing issues with other sites hosted on the same server.

Site technical contacts will be emailed quota warnings when the site is over quota.

Each website is associated with an underlying username for that site, and all executable content is run as this user. All files associated with the web site are owned by this user, so it should not be necessary to change the permissions on any files to make them readable or writable. Static files (i.e. images and stylesheets) need to be readable by any user so that the web server itself can read the files (as it is only executables that run as the site user).

The home directory is outside of the document root, and so may be a good place to store files that should not be directly accessible via the internet. This site home directory is included within the website storage quota, and is different to your personal home directory on

We use the University wide HFS backup service to backup your site; this includes the on-disk files and any databases that are associated with your site. Backups are run daily, 6 days out of 7, following the normal HFS scheduling. This backup includes the site directories; logs/ home/ htdocs/ cgi/ and cron/, but does not include any other added files or folders, these remain within your home directory on

Please contact us if you need files or directories from your site restored.

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The central Service Desk is available 24x7 on +44 1865 6 12345


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