Troubleshooting personal webspaces

OVERVIEW

This article outlines common problems you may encounter when using personal webspaces and how to troubleshoot them.

 

IF YOU DON’T HAVE A PUB_HTML DIRECTORY, DO THIS ONE TIME PROCEDURE:

  1. Download and install WinSCP
  2. Use WinSCP to make a connection to rock.its.sfu.ca using your credentials.
  3. Navigate to your home directory.
  4. Create a new directory by selecting File(s) > New > Directory. A Create Folder dialog box will appear. Within the dialog box:
    • Ensure you name the folder pub_html
    • Change Octal to 0755
Setting access permissions for pub_html folder
 

If you get a message saying 'access is forbidden' when viewing your pages at https://www.sfu.ca/~account, try:

Changing file permissions with WinSCP (for Windows):

  1. Log into your web account using WinSCP.
  2. Move into the directory where your files reside by double-clicking the folder in the right pane.
  3. To change the permissions, right-click the file name (for example, index.html) or folder whose permissions you wish to set. A pop-up menu window will open. Select Properties.
Viewing properties of a file in WinSCP
 
  • The Properties window for the selected file will open. To change the permissions, you can either select the Permissions checkboxes or edit the Octal text field. Both the checkboxes and Octal text field are synchronized, and a change in one area will be reflected in the other.

Properties window of a file

 

If individual pages within your site are responding with 'access is forbidden':

  1. Use WinSCP to make a connection to rock.its.sfu.ca using your credentials to make sure your web files are permitted appropriately:
  2. Navigate to pub_html, the following file types should have Octal 644 permissions: 
    • *.htm,*.html, *.gif, *.jpg
    • This will ensure that all files that end with the indicated suffixes are world readable.
    • Any sub-directories within pub_html, should be permitted 755:
    • Any files within that subdirectory should be permitted 644 as illustrated above.

 

If you are using an scp/SFTP client that allows you to set default permissions:

  • If you are using a graphical SFTP or scp client to upload your files that allows you to set permissions, set the software to transfer files with the permissions: owner: read/write, group: read, other: read; this is equivalent to setting the file to these permissions with the "chmod 644" command above.
  • Very often the software will also have an option to "set the executable bit for directories" or "Add X to directories" as well ("X" means the 'executable bit', so both phrases mean the same thing). Choose that option, and specify "user", "group" and "other" if the software provides that option.
  • This is an example of how the options might be presented in a typical graphical scp/SFTP client (this image is from the settings within WinSCP):

Example of octal settings within WinSCP client

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Details

Article ID: 4171
Created
Tue 7/26/22 3:45 PM
Modified
Thu 12/14/23 3:40 PM

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