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Per-user web directories

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On systems with multiple users, each user can be permitted to have a web site in their home directory using the UserDir directive. Visitors to a URL http://example.com/~username/ will get content out of the home directory of the user "username", out of the subdirectory specified by the UserDir directive.

Note that, by default, access to these directories is not enabled. You can enable access when using UserDir by uncommenting the line:

#Include conf/extra/httpd-userdir.conf

in the default config file conf/apache2.conf, and adapting the httpd-userdir.conf file as necessary, or by including the appropriate directives in a <Directory> block within the main config file.

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Per-user web directories


Setting the file path with UserDir

The UserDir directive specifies a directory out of which per-user content is loaded. This directive may take several different forms.

If a path is given which does not start with a leading slash, it is assumed to be a directory path relative to the home directory of the specified user. Given this configuration:

UserDir public_html

the URL http://example.com/~rbowen/file.html will be translated to the file path /home/rbowen/public_html/file.html

If a path is given starting with a slash, a directory path will be constructed using that path, plus the username specified. Given this configuration:

UserDir /var/html

the URL http://example.com/~rbowen/file.html will be translated to the file path /var/html/rbowen/file.html

If a path is provided which contains an asterisk (*), a path is used in which the asterisk is replaced with the username. Given this configuration:

UserDir /var/www/*/docs

the URL http://example.com/~rbowen/file.html will be translated to the file path /var/www/rbowen/docs/file.html

Multiple directories or directory paths can also be set.

UserDir public_html /var/html

For the URL http://example.com/~rbowen/file.html, Apache will search for ~rbowen. If it isn't found, Apache will search for rbowen in /var/html. If found, the above URL will then be translated to the file path /var/html/rbowen/file.html


Redirecting to external URLs

The UserDir directive can be used to redirect user directory requests to external URLs.

UserDir http://example.org/users/*/

The above example will redirect a request for http://example.com/~bob/abc.html to http://example.org/users/bob/abc.html.


Restricting what users are permitted to use this feature

Using the syntax shown in the UserDir documentation, you can restrict what users are permitted to use this functionality:

UserDir disabled root jro fish

The configuration above will enable the feature for all users except for those listed in the disabled statement. You can, likewise, disable the feature for all but a few users by using a configuration like the following:

UserDir disabled
UserDir enabled rbowen krietz

See UserDir documentation for additional examples.


Enabling a cgi directory for each user

In order to give each user their own cgi-bin directory, you can use a <Directory> directive to make a particular subdirectory of a user's home directory cgi-enabled.

<Directory "/home/*/public_html/cgi-bin/">
    Options ExecCGI
    SetHandler cgi-script

Then, presuming that UserDir is set to public_html, a cgi program example.cgi could be loaded from that directory as:



Allowing users to alter configuration

If you want to allows users to modify the server configuration in their web space, they will need to use .htaccess files to make these changes. Ensure that you have set AllowOverride to a value sufficient for the directives that you want to permit the users to modify. See the .htaccess tutorial for additional details on how this works.

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