Personal WWW homepages at the Computing Centre

Users of the Computing Centre infrastructure are offered the possibility of creating and publishing their own personal WWW homepages.

The URL's to access these homepages are :

  for VUB students:
  for ULB students:

  for VUB personnel:
  for ULB personnel:

The Web pages currently reside physically on the server MACH (the same system on which most people have their email address), but we advise you to use the correct hostname when addressing/accessing your homepage (e.g.,

How to manage your personal homepage

First this: if you have not yet hosted a personal website on the server, a small modification needs to be executed on your account first. To do this, send an e-mail from your VUB/ULB e-mail address to the ICT-Helpdesk ( or and indicate in the subject "Creation personal website for $NETID" where $NETID is your personal VUB/ULB NetID (login).

Your personal webdocuments are stored on the server on your account in a directory called public_html The first page has to be called welcome.html (default) or index.html (welcome.html takes precedence over index.html !).

To edit pages, you can use a text editor to write "raw" HTML code, or make use of an HTML editor (such as Macromedia Dreamweaver (commercial), though other free HTML editors are available (Google is your friend)).

If you have created your webdocuments on a PC or Mac, you will have to publish (upload) them to the server to make them available online. You can do so with an FTP program, or use the build-in options that are available in your HTML editor. The options below indicate the publication settings where you have to publish your page to:

where username is your username on the server. You will also have to specify your username and password during the PUBLISH procedure. Please check your HTML editor's Help feature for more details on publishing pages.

What kind of documents can I store on the server ?

All basic web-documents can be stored on the server, such as HTML documents, image files (GIF, JPEG) and downloadable documents such as PDF files, Word or Excel documents and the like. You can also include Javascript in your documents if you like.

However, CGI-scripts in whatever form (perl, shell, programs, ...), PHP and ASP aren't available on the server.

About your personal homepage

You are of course free to change your personal home-page to suit your individual taste and needs. However, we remind you that you are using a central facility, restricted to academic education and research. Your home-page should therefore pertain to yourself and your activities only as a member (student or staff) of the VUB or the ULB. Improper use will be dealt with by the Computing Centre and submitted to the academic authorities.

Support by members of the Computing Centre or the network teams will be limited to an absolute minimum. References to information on and guidance to HTML can be found in the About HTML paragraph below.

If there is a technical problem with the WWW server itself, you can send a message to

Registering your personal homepage

A webpage to have your webpage registered is available (see details).

About HTML

HTML - HyperText Markup Language - is a language in which WWW documents are written.

You can find the latest HTML-specifications on the WWW pages of the W3C (WWW consortium) which include references to HTML (latest version is 4.1).

Technical background

The mechanism behind the personal homepage is that every user can have a directory named 'public_html' in their home-directory where they store their personal HTML documents. Some conditions have to be met however before the pages actually will be accessible:
  1. the home-directory has to be 'accessible' to everyone. You can achieve this with the UNIX command 'chmod o+x $HOME' on MACH.
  2. subdirectories, if any, in this 'public_html' directory have to be accessible to anyone. chmod o+x directoryname
  3. files in the 'public_html' directory and/or subdirectories have to be readable to anyone. chmod o+r pagename.html

The file in the directory 'public_html' containing the home-page itself is 'welcome.html'. Do not rename this file, otherwise the URL above will no longer work ; the WWW server expects to find it.

To make the creation of such a homepage as easy as possible, two scripts have been prepared to assist the users in setting up personal homepages. Additional information will be provided when these scripts are executed. To run these scripts, simply enter their names on the UNIX command line and press enter/return.

creates a directory 'public_html' in your home directory and copies a standard 'welcome.html' file into it. Users are expected to modify this page to suit their taste.
corrects the permissions of the files and directories in your public_html directory to allow the WWW server to access the documents.

To reinstall the default homepage, remove or rename the file '$HOME/public_html/welcome.html' (with the rm or mv command or through FTP) and rerun 'createhomepage' or recreate your homepage.

VUB/ULB Computing Centre
Created: 19 May 1999, Modified: 17 October 2012