Managing files remotely

Note: The instructions on this page no longer generally apply, as most web sites are now in the cloud rather than on dedicated servers.

If you still have a personal web space on a dedicated server we encourage you to migrate your content into the cloud (

Web site owners seeking to add or modify pages contained within their sites must be able to communicate with the site’s host server. This page contains information about how to configure your local computer to communicate with the host server.

Intended Audience

The procedures discussed on this page are intended for web site owners and administrators who are able to manage pages and content though the command line, or with a text editor and SFTP. Page owners who are unfamiliar with these methods should file a help request.

Colorado School of Mines web pages are served from one of several dedicated servers. Mines department web sites, personal home pages (for both students and employees), and student organization sites are typically located on Illuminate. You must be able to connect to your site’s host server to access your web site and the files contained within, or to upload new/modified files from your computer. Common server locations

  • Personal home pages are hosted on Personal home page files live in the /public_html subdirectory, and can be accessed via SFTP using your Mines MultiPass (email username and password). More information about personal home page maintenance is available here.
  • Although most Department web pages are in our Content Management System (CMS) some are in directories hosted on If you are suddenly unable to access your department web site, submit a help request or contact your department web administrator for help.

Determining file location on Illuminate After you’ve determined the correct host server, you can examine a file’s web address to determine its location relative to the web server’s “root” directory. The location of the root directory on Illuminate is as follows:

  • (note that many Mines sites on Illuminate map to
    • /www/ or
    • /www/ ex: files are located under /www/ccit/

Sometimes the file name is not explicitly specified, and only the directory name is given. This situation is indicated by the final character in the web address being a ‘/’, e.g.: In this case, the server has several options. By default, the web server will check for four files in the following order:

  1. index.shtml
  2. index.html
  3. index.htm
  4. index.cgi

If no index file is present in a directory, the server will return an error message to the client.

After you’ve determined your Mines web site’s host server, you may log in from your local computer using SFTP or ssh/slogin. Login credentials vary depending on Illuminate are as follows:

  • Username: your Mines username
  • Password: your MultiPass

If you don’t know your MultiPass credentials, contact your web site administrator, or submit a help request.

Users often choose to create and edit files on their local computer (rather than on the server itself) and upload the new/edited files to the server. This process requires that the web site owner/administrator have access to a SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) application to transfer files from their local computer to the server and vice versa. You must also be on campus or connected through the VPN (see FAQ #2 on the Personal Web Site Management page for details). The process for uploading and downloading files using SFTP is outlined below. Uploading (local computer -> WWW server) an existing file Procedure:

  • SFTP to the appropriate web host. Note that Illuminate requires secure FTP (SFTP), not FTP.
  • Select a file on your local computer to upload.
  • Specify the destination directory on the remote host.
  • Transfer (put) the file.

Downloading (WWW server -> local computer ) an existing file Procedure:

  • SFTP to the appropriate web host. Note that Illuminate requires secure FTP (SFTP), not FTP.
  • Select a file to download from the remote server.
  • Select the destination directory on your local computer.
  • Transfer (get) the file to your local computer.

Note that the procedure used to create new files and upload them to the server is essentially the same as the process used to upload an existing file. Create the new file on the local computer, then upload.

New files uploaded to a Mines server almost always have correct file permissions set by default. There are occasions, however, when file cannot be found by your browser or other group members cannot edit the file. This often indicates that the file’s access permissions are incorrect. The HTTPD server will not send a requested file to any browser unless it has world read permissions. To check and correct the file permissions, log into the server (use ssh/slogin) and do the following:

prompt> ls -l

You will get a response like:

-rw-r—–   1 jdoe  staff   2552 Oct 30 17:30 

The last three —s are what is of interest to the browser. These represent the world read, write, and execute permissions. For a browser to access this file, the read permission field must be set. For group access the middle r– fields are of interest.  

  • cd to the directory where the file is located on the server.
  • Check the file permissions.
  • To set the world read permission field, use the following command.
    prompt> chmod a+r

    When you retry the ls command, you will see the file permissions have changed to:

    -rw-r–r–   1 jdoe  staff    2552 Oct 30 17:30 


  • If you are working on a group file, you also need to change group permissions and ownerships. Use the following commands:
    prompt> chmod g+rw
    prompt> chgrp

    When you retry the ls command, you will see the file permissions have changed to:

    -rw-rw-r–   1 jdoe  goldmine    2552 Oct 30 17:30 

Additional help If you are still unable to view the page in a browser, or if you were unable to change the file permissions, contact the Help Center.