Accessing Web Directories

Welcome New Developers Becoming a content developer for a Marshall University department or group is an exciting opportunity, but it also presents challenges for new developers as they learn the development process and infrastructure at Marshall. The aim of this document is to ease this process for new developers by providing them with essential information so that they can get off to a successful start with their development efforts.

Getting Started

When a department or group requests that a web site be created, a bit of behind-the-scenes work takes place to facilitate this request. First, a directory is created on the web server beneath the root content directory. This directory typically has the same name of the users site name (/hr would house the Human Resources web site files, as an example).

Secondly, a new "site" or "virtual directory" is created on our web server. This new resource is pointed to your file directory.

Finally, a new site editors group is created, and every member listed on the IPA is added to this group. Membership in this group is what controls whether a given user has access to edit files for a particular web site. As soon as you've been notified that your site has been created, you should take the following steps to insure that everything is in order with your site setup.

Verifying Site Directory Access

In order to verify that you have access to your web directory, take the following steps: Map a network drive to your folder on the web server. The method for mapping a drive will vary depending on your operating system, but in general:

Windows-based systems:

Map to your folder on the web server using the following format: "\marshall.eduwwwfoldername".

As an example, if you were connecting to the fictional "hr" folder noted above, your folder path would be "\marshall.eduwwwhr".

OSX systems:

Map to your folder on the web server using the following format: "smb://muwww01/foldername$"

As an example: smb://muwww01/hr$

Note that in order to successfully connect, you will need to be on the campus network, or connected via VPN. You will be asked for your username and password in order to verify your access to the directory on the web server.

Enter your username and password in the following format: Username: username@marshall.edu Password: Your MUNET password

Testing Your Access

Once you've successfully mapped a drive to your web server folder, you will want to make sure that you are able to create and edit files. To verify this, take the following simple steps:

Using a text editor (Notepad, TextEdit, etc.) type the following: <h2>Hello World</h2> Save this file as test.htm making sure that you are saving it to your folder on the web server. Open a web browser, and navigate to "http://www.marshall.edu/sitename/test.htm".

You should see a white page with the words "Hello World" in the upper left corner. If you can see this, you have verified your ability to create/edit files.

Common Problems and Resolutions

As much as we'd like the process of connecting to your web directory and editing files to be error free, problems can and do occur. Following are the most common problems our users encounter, along with the appropriate resolution:

You can't map to your server folder

This problem most often occurs when a user hasn't logged out of the MU network since being granted access to a directory on the web server. The rights associated with your user account are assigned by the domain controller when you log in to the network.

When permission changes occur while you are logged in, you'll have to log out of the network and reauthenticate to have the new permissions assigned to your account. If you've been notified that your site has been created, and you're unable to map a network drive to this folder, please make sure to log out/back in and attempting to remap the drive before calling the help desk for assistance.

Your server directory cannot be located

When attempting either to browse to your site in a web browser, you receive an error message indicating that your site cannot be located, file cannot be found, or other similar error. In most cases, the URL examples above should work for you.

There are specific situations, however, where directories are created in other locations on the server, resulting in slightly different URL mappings. If you are unable to reach your site at the http://www.marshall.edu/sitename address, please try http://www.marshall.edu/www/sitename before contacting support. If your site requires this additional /www/ in the URL and you're not sure why, contact us for an explanation.

You receive a "No Default Document" error

When sites are created on the web server, the web server looks for specific file names in sequence to serve as the "default document" for that directory. The web server will use the first "default document" it can locate. If there are no files in the server directory that match the filenames in your sites default document list, you will receive an error indicating that "No Default Document" exists for your directory. When we create a new site, we do try to place introductory content in your web directory that both serve as temporary default content, while also providing you with initial "helper" content.

There are times when we are unable to complete this step. Rest assured that as soon as you create a file in your directory that matches a default document name, this error will resolve itself. In a standard site configuration, the default document names (in order of preference) are as follows: default.asp default.aspx index.aspx default.htm index.htm index.html If you would like a different default document configured for your directory, please contact us and let us know.

Additional Information:
Mapping a Network Drive: Screencast