Web File Locations

The www.cs web server is part of the core.cs region. For most purposes, work on the web can be done from any machine in the CS Core Region. The files actually served by the web server are stored on the regional file server and therefore can be accessed from anywhere in the region. However, the web server software itself is present only on the actual web server and its config and log files are visible only there.

Web Data Files

There are two main places where web documents are stored: “Document Root” files stored in a central location, and user home pages stored within users' accounts.

Document Root

The document root for a web server is the directory which contains the index file corresponding to a request for the hostname by itself. Files corresponding to other locations on the server are in corresponding directories relative to the document root.

The document roots for the virtual hosts hosted on the main CS web server are located in /software/wwwdata_cs.uwaterloo.ca/data/vhosts/. Each virtual host has a directory named after it. For example the document root for www.cs is /software/wwwdata_cs.uwaterloo.ca/data/vhosts/cs/. It is recommended that users needing to make regular changes to files under the document root create a symlink into their personal home directory.

Personal Home Pages

The directory public_html in each user's home directory corresponds to that user's homepage, and is visible on the web at http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~userid/ where userid is the user's (8 character maximum) userid.

Server Configuration and Log Files

The Web server lives in the XHier package wwwapache-1.3_server. So the starting point for finding configuration and log files is /software/wwwapache-1.3_server/ on the web server, www.cs.uwaterloo.ca.

Server Configuration

The server configuration is in the subdirectory config. The most important files are:

  • httpd.conf — The main config file. Contains server-wide settings and options.
  • common.conf — Configuration options that are desired in most but not all virtual hosts.
  • vhosts/[hostname].conf — Configuration file for http://[hostname].uwaterloo.ca.

The contents of these files will be interesting only to people with some knowledge of Apache configuration directives who want to see exactly what configuration choices have been made.

Server Log Files

The log files are in the subdirectory logs. Most of the files in this directory, however, contain only information relating to events in the main server. Since all of our production servers are virtual hosts, their information is in different files. In particular, access_log, combined_log, and error_log in this directory are not likely to contain the information a typical user is looking for.

In order to be able to identify what is happening on different virtual hosts, each virtual host has a subdirectory within logs. For example, the access_log, combined_log, and error_log for the main www.cs virtual host are on logs/cs. This particular directory also contains a number of files prefixed with ssl_ which come from the https virtual host.

When debugging CGIs, the most commonly useful log file is the error_log for the virtual host in question. The standard error stream of CGIs is sent to this log file.

-- IsaacMorland - 22 Sep 2006

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Topic revision: r1 - 2006-09-22 - IsaacMorland
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