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Faculty and Staff

About the University Web Server

The use of computing and web services at URI is governed by the various policies pertaining to computer facilities, labs, emails and the URI Web Policy. Please read and be familiar with these procedures before requesting an account or directory space on the university web server.

The following guidelines specify additional terms of use for the university web server (, hereafter "the server."

Default home page

The server runs a Unix-like computer operating system based on the Linux kernel. Linux is predominantly known for its use in servers, although it is installed on a wide variety of computer hardware, including mobile phones, desktop and laptop computers and supercomputers.

With a Linux environment, there are things to keep in mind such as file names used on the server and which applications users are able to use.

Most Unix-based HTTP Web servers are configured to look for a default file named index.html or index.htm in each directory they server. Such a file can be accessed without specifying the filename in the URL, thus helping users easily remember your department web address. Instead, only the server name and path is required. For example, if you name the home page of Department of Chemistry as "index.html", users can access the site using URL:

Case Sensitivity

Unlike the Windows system, the Linux/Unix operating system is case senstive. When interacting with the server with a command line interface or navigating through the University's web site, it is important to make sure to use the correct case. For example, if you navigate to, you will arrive at the URI Admission Web site. If you navigate to, you will arrive at a Page Not Found location.

Use of relative links versus absolute links

In the real world Paths explain how to get from one place to another. In the same way, a link path tells the web server how to get from one HTML page to another. There are two kinds of link paths, Relative and Absolute.

  • Absolute paths should generally only be used to create links to outside pages (pages not on the same server as your web folder).
  • Relative paths should be used to link to any of the pages on the same site. A relative path explains how to get from one of your pages to another file on the server.

Use of relative paths makes your web pages "portable" - this means it will run on the central URI web server,, and any other server as long as all the files are kept in the same places.

Examples of absolute links: <a href="">Google Home </a>

Examples of linking to relative paths:

  • <a href="contact.html">Contact Us </a>
    This link will take users to the "contact.html" page that resides in the same folder.
  • <a href="about/contact.html">Contact Us </a>
    This links will take users to the "contact.html" page that resides inside the "about" subfolder.
  • <a href="../contact.html">Contact Us </a>
    This links will take users to the "contact.html" page that resides one level above the current folder.

Please visit the tutorial on About Paths - Understanding Links from to learn more about relative versus absolute links.

Web directory structure

Requests for particular forms of URL are made on a "first-come, first-served" basis and certain URL forms may not be available to you because they are already in use. The university webmaster's office also reserves the right to refuse requests for web directory names that are likely reserved for university administration (e.g., URLs including words like "security" or "emergency").

Site migration and redirects

The Information Technology Services encourages all colleges, departments and units to host their web site on the central web server (in order to enhance security and reliability of web servers and save hardware/software costs and time and resources required to maintain different web servers). Organizations that wish to migrate their web presence either to or off of the central server should contact the University Webmaster ( in order to coordinate an orderly transition. This process has historically not been coordinated, resulting in broken links and/or abandoned sites on the server containing out-of-date information.

Digital media or other types of large files

The server was designed to serve web pages and central web applications, and is not to be used as a media server for large media files, or as FTP server for downloading large files of any type. Large digital media file (MP3 audio, any type of video file, or any individual file over 1GB in size) is not allowed on the server without authorization from the university webmaster's office. This is to insure the proper functioning of the public university web site and to protect the server from the extraordinary traffic volumes and storage requirements that digital media files sometimes impose. Other university resources exist which are better suited for the hosting of these types of files.

Scripting languages and database access

A minimal installation of Perl and PHP is available and kept current on the server, but many of the advanced features will not be installed. MySQL, an open-source relational database management system, is also installed on a separate database server. However, the server is designed first and foremost as a web server (not an application server) to host and serve central university web pages. To ensure the security of the server, departments are not allowed to install custom CGI programs and specific software packages (such as blogs and bulletin boards) on the server. These applications often contain various vulnerabilities that might compromise the entire server.

The Information technology Services is in the process of setting up an application server and related procedures that will host approved secure PHP applications from colleges and departments. The university webmaster's office will then work with individual departments to migrate existing PHP applications from the central web server to the new application server. Individual scripts that are identified by system administrators as potentially exposing others to risk or abuse may be disabled and/or removed. All reasonable efforts will be made to communicate with the site owner and manage the removal in a such a way as to minimize service interruptions, but removal may precede notification if the situation is deemed to warrant such action.

SSL and passing secure information

The university web server is NOT configured to support SSL connections.Please contact the university webmaster's office for alternate arrangements to host applications that require the passing of privileged information.

Website abandonment or lack of maintenance

The University reserves the right to archive and remove sites on the university web server that have been abandoned. Abandoned sites are defined as those sites which have not been edited or updated in three years or more and which contain content that is wrong or misleading. The university webmaster's office also reserves the right, when necessary, to archive and remove web sites when a complaint has been made about a site and the official directory owner cannot be reached or has left the university. The university webmaster's office will make reasonable efforts to contact site owners in such cases.


ITS Web Account Application Form

Departmental Web Server Registration

Request a Link

Request to add/update a hyperlink to my page on the main URI Web site.

What if the Webmaster made a mistake!


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