ITSweb Publishing

Business owner: Information Technology Services

Web Publishing on the ITSWeb web server cluster

The ITSweb web service is a set of servers available for web publishing to members of the ANU community.



The ITSWeb cluster provides:

  • Basic HTML, PHP Scripting, CGI Scripting,
  • Standard functionality of Apache web server software.
  • Optional Database access, through clustered MySQL server (webdb),
  • The ability to control site access via IP Addresses, Groups of Users (such as All Staff, All Students, or based upon departments, or some other criteria), or even individual Users,
  • Access Logs, Error Logs,
  • Short URLs, via the service,
  • Support for Wordpress sites.

We do not automatically maintain usage statistics for websites,

Access logs and error logs are kept for a few days.

For performance reasons we do not support “.htaccess” files on production sites. If you have configuration you would normally place in a “.htaccess” file, please log a Servicedesk job to have it loaded. If you need to test/develop this kind of configuration, .htaccess files can be enabled by request on development sites.

If your site has requirements not covered by these features such as java/tomcat/postgresql/ruby on rails etc then getting a separate Linux/Windows Virtual machine (VM) may be a better option.

Note: Some website frameworks require the webserver daemon to be able to update the website contents. These tend to be frameworks with an admin GUI such as drupal/wordpress.

One way of achieving is to allow “other write” on some part of the website directory structure. This is sometimes referred by the commands used to set it such as “chmod 777” or “chmod a+rwx”. Some older documentation may recommend setting other write.

However, other write is insecure in a multi site environment and not permitted on the ITSweb cluster. Any files with this permission will have the other write permission automatically removed.

If your require some part of your website to be writable by the webserver, please log a servicedesk ticket to request it.



Within this document, the word Author means someone who has access to maintain a website. A web site should have at least one Author and can have many authors.

The term Editor means someone who controls who can modify the website. They have the right to add, or remove, Authors from a website. They can also add, or remove, Editors from the web site.

Usually the editor is the head of the project or department owning the website. Often Editors are also Authors but it is fundamentally an administrative role and the Editor does not need to be a web developer. All websites need at least one editor. Editors should generally be ANU staff. Students are generally only allowed to be editors for sites for clubs and societies. External contractors should not be editors, but can be Authors.



Those allowed to make use of this service as webite maintainers are ANU staff, VAHA (Visiting academics and honorary appointments), Auxilliary accounts and Students.

If external people such as contractors require website maintainer access, Auxilliary or VAHA accounts will have to be obtained for them.


Creating/Administering a Project Website

New websites are created by submitting a Servicedesk job with the details. You will be given access to a new Website, and made Editor, and Author, for the site.

Also specify if you want development versions of web sites. Having a development site is strongly recommended. A development instance can be set up when the site is first created or by cloning an existing site. However, the development and production versions are separate web sites, and there is no automated mechanism for moving content from the development site to the production site. We recommend that content should be uploaded to the development site and tested. Once approved, the content should be uploaded again to the production site

If you are a site Editor, then you can give other people access to update your website, by using the management interface at


Within that interface, an Editor can add or remove Authors, and Editors from the website.

To be eligible as an authors, the users ITSweb account has to be “activated”.  An error is reported if you try to add someone who’s account hasn’t been activated. In this case, raise a servicedesk job.


Obtaining access to an existing website

If you want access to update an existing website, you need to contact one of the Editors of the website. If you can’t identify the web site Editor, you will need to submit a Servicedesk job to ask whom you need to talk to. The Editor can add you as an author to the site.


Personal Websites

We also provide facilities for maintaining personal web sites. Theres are available at URL http://people/<uniid>.

Alternatively an named alias can be requested for a personal web sites eg

The content for a personal web site should be placed in a “public_html” directory in your home directory.


Maintaining a Website

Once you are an Author, you can update the content of your website in a number of ways.

Method 1: Command line

The first is using command line tools, If you are comfortable in a UNIX command line environment, you can use ssh to login to <uniid> server and then use standard unix tools  (such as cp, mv, rm, vi, emacs) to create, edit, or otherwise manipulate the files that define your website. Drush is available on this host for administering drupal sites.

The password for the account is your “identity” password.

 This can be done with using a terminal program such as PuTTy on windows. From a Unix development environment, you can also use tools such as scp to copy files across.

This can be done from on campus, or by using a VPN client if off campus.

Information on VPN use can be found at

Method 2: Windows/Mac shares.

You can mount the web directories as a network shares from You can do this from a Linux, Macintosh (OSX), or WIndows workstation. This uses the windows standard SMB (CIFS) file sharing protocol.

This can be done from on campus, or by using a VPN client if off campus.

Information on VPN use can be found at

The shares are accessed using username “UDS\<uniid>” and your “identity” password.

On Windows your home directory is available as mount \\\<uniid>

The web content for a specific project is available as a separate mount \\\export-web\<project>.

Your projects currently  appear as directories in your home directory. However in future this feature will be discontinued and it will be necessary to use the separate projects shares.

On OSX your home directory is available at share smb://<uniid>

The web content for a project is available as a separate share smb://<project>.

Method 3: scp/sftp

You can also access files using scp/sftp to

Windows clients supporting sftp include filezilla and winscp and notepad++.

Mac clients include filezilla and fetch. Mac users can also use the terminal for command line access.

The web project  folders contain the website content.

On initial connection, your working directory will be you home directory. You need to move to the project directory to modify a project.

This is one by  changing directory to “/export/web/<project>”.

In newer sites, the website directory will contain an html and cgi-bin directory. In this case, the web content should be placed in the html directory not at the top level.

At the moment, you will find inside your home directory a list of links to the various websites that you have Author access to update. However, this will be discontinued in future. And you will need to manually change directory to the “/export/web/project” directory.


Database access

We provide Mysql database servers ( and If your site requires a mysql database, please include this information in the Servicedesk job.

Normally databases for production sites and development sites are split between webdb and webdb-dev. However, temporarily databases for drupal 7 sites are also being hosted on webdb-dev but will be migrated at some stage.

Database administration is available via phpMyAdmin on or


Log Files

We maintain access logs for all websites we host, these can be obtained by use of the command line only. The log files are not consolidated, so to see them you need to check them out on 2 different servers.

First you will need to know which nodes of the ITSWeb cluster host your site, to find this out, submit a Servicedesk job.

To access the log files, you need to ssh to once you have logged on to that server, you will then need to login via ssh to itsweb-<nodename>, where nodename is one of the ones provided to you in the Servicedesk job.

Once logged onto the appropriate node, the log files are saved as



Logs from previous days (ie not todays) will be compressed (.gz suffix).


Quicklinks service

There is a quicklink service available for provided short URLs which redirect to other web sites.

This is hosted on (or Documentation on requesting a “random” quicklink is available on the site.